December 21, 2005

Having had the fortune to snag at a very reasonable price a "full contents of the shelves" auction lot -- toys, mitts, scarves, candy -- I had called in our local town crier, a friend of mine who also doubles as hospital and shelter Santa Claus (and makes a much better one than I do!): I had acquired some goodie giveaways for his bag. Because of the cramped spaces within which the auction was conducted we were not allowed to remove anything just then: fine, I would return the next day per instructions.

By the time I returned, they were gone.

I find I don't care so much, when what is stolen is only something of mine. (I seem to have had enough opportunities to discover this.) However, in the previous two thefts, what had been stolen from me were gifts given me by another: and this time what had vanished had been earmarked for others also. It seems, for me, that makes all the difference.

The cheapest third of the lot we quickly tracked down as being an honest mistake: the purchaser of the shelves had thought what remained on the shelves came with them, and we remedied that part of the situation quickly and parted on good terms (and with a quick swap once we recognised each other's priorities). But long before the shelves had been removed by their purchaser, the rest of their contents had quietly been pocketed by another: no mistake here, but outright theft.

Congratulations, sir. You have stolen candy out of the mouths of sick children. May you at least derive some personal enjoyment of it.

that's terrible!

At least that one-third of the vanished lot made it into Santa's sack -- confirmed this today -- and at least it did include some really nice winter hats and scarves as well (if not the really good candy, and I don't have the money to make up that loss). With luck, it will all be given away by Saturday :)

Since it is impossible to absolutely prove anything in the chaos that was the store post-auction, I don't think any further action will be possible. I find a certain anger in this -- I am perfectly willing to embarrass, if nothing else can be done -- but without a specific purpose both anger and frustration are a bit pointless. Set it aside, go on to something more constructive. Goodness knows I have enough needing doing.

In at least this much fairness, I reiterate that the one person did return his third when the mistake was discovered. I have had so many things returned to me over the years -- some of them significant! -- that I can see beyond the immediate incidents without any difficulty whatsoever.

I also am almost completely certain the thief can't have known what he was stealing from. Almost everyone else at that shop was either a professional buyer or buying for themselves alone.
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