23. Bags at the Front … ?

“Leave Bags at the Front“ … ???

I have managed 55 years in this world
without stealing a single thing in my life.

which means that it is impossible for me
– as an honest and honourable man –
to even imagine the type of

self-centred Presumption
and Contempt for human beings

as so evidently exists in shop-owners
and store managers who display,
at the entrance to their establishments,
signs demanding that potential customers

“leave all bags at the front”.

I understand that the generality of the human race
has deteriorated in morals and basic manners
to such a degree over the past thirty years,
that multitudes cannot communicate
without filthy profanity and vulgar obscenities;

cannot move without a TV, radio; headphones
or speakers blasting noise into their brains.

I realise – see it with my own eyes –
that men now dress like slobs,
and do not even possess the self discipline
or respect for those around them
to tuck in their shirts

– a thing so elementary in society that we,
as little boys in the 1960’s, were routinely scolded
by every mother in the neighbourhood
to “tuck in your shirt”.

For pity’s sake, some do not even have the decency
to remove their hats
when seated at a table in a restaurant.

Yes, the basic good manners that were displayed
– and expected – in public,
by every and any mature adult fifty years ago –
have been utterly eradicated from society;
and human beings may have collectively descended
to below the level of animals –

but that – ( surely ? ) – does not give you license
to abandon discernment and the application of discretion,
and presume that EVERY customer who enters your shop

… is a thief;

deserving of having their character
degraded by you ?

Of course, you do not remove the (often large)
‘handbags’ from women;
or bar them from entering your premises.

You wouldn’t dare.

A woman with a bag … is a Customer.

A man with a bag … is a Thief.

In a ‘New World’ of mindless compliance
where every value of decency and morality
is sacrificed on the altar of ease,
and the pursuit of constant entertainment,

I realise that multitudes will see
nothing wrong at all
in being presumed a thief,
and therefore are happy
to leave their personal possessions
at the front of your shop –

but there are a few of us – “old folks” –
still walking this earth,
who have lived lives of courtesy
and consideration towards other people;

who were raised with moral integrity
and “old fashioned” ( dare-I-say
‘biblical’ ) values of conduct
and self control.

I will not willingly surrender my bag
to a thug with a gun:
I certainly will not surrender it to you,
who complacently presumes
that I am a thief.

I have observed – since the mid-1980’s in particular,
the eradication of manners and moral decency
in this world;

and have watched selfishness, vanity,
and crude speech and behaviour rise
to levels that are nothing less than obscene.

Which only makes me more determined
to Never sacrifice
the moral standards and values
with which I was raised,

in order to buy some iToy or vanity possession
that does nothing more than gratify greed,
or waste my brain on mindless entertainment.

Especially when I would have to hand over
my personal belongings and, by so doing,
agree with the shop-keeper’s defamation
of my character.

It may well be that I am the only person
walking this earth
who will not sell his character
for the sake of buying and acquiring some
… thing.

There is nothing in your shop important enough
for me to submit
to you degrading my moral character.

The atrocity, I suppose, is not so much
having the callous contempt of a bully:
but in being so bereft of a conscience
as to feel no shame because of it.

This is an age when corporate supermarkets
hire less staff

and demand customers scan and load
their own groceries;

– in bags that they have to
provide themselves.

( To ‘Save the Earth’ … of course. )

But such brazen disregard for customer service
need not be a hallmark of your shop, surely ?

How would it be then, shop-keeper,
if you began to display appreciation
for those who seek to spend their money
in your shop …

rather than immediately presume
that anyone who walks through your door

is a thief ?

P Livingstone

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