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Uplifting mantra

india Updated: Dec 28, 2008 21:46 IST

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In a a world where the paycheck at the end of each month or the returns from business are becoming ever more uncertain, what do people do when they want to buy that nifty designer dress or the latest electronic gizmo? Well, many feel that the best option is to the nick the item and hope nobody notices. Now, it would be wrong, as many shrinks are wont to do, to attribute this penchant for nimble fingers to the economic downturn alone. Well-heeled celebrities from Britney Spears to Winona Ryder have been known to help themselves to goodies and then exit bypassing the pay counter. Of course, they have been nabbed, much to the delight of denizens of the
tabloid world.

A few well-known Indians have also been left wondering how a particular item from Harrods got up from the shelf and walked into their bags when questioned by eagle-eyed shop detectives. But can we blame the hoi polloi for their reluctance to cough up for their purchases?

We in India are well-versed in the art of free acquisitions. Land-grabbing, illegal encroachment and vote-capturing are among our unique skills. Swiping other people’s money has been refined to a fine art by the likes of Bernard Madoff whose covetousness, we learn, knew no bounds. And as for a slew of dictators across the world, what they saw is what they got — for themselves. In the US alone, around $35 million in merchandise is stolen each day and one in 11 people in the country have shoplifted, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. Let’s hope there will be a downturn in this trend. Now where is that computer we were writing on?