Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Moral Compass

Copy of Lorna Recently, my husband made a trip to Sam's Club to buy me a new toner cartridge for my printer.  Being the cheapie that I am, I was determined to get every last ounce of toner out of the old one before I replaced it.  That meant taking out the old cartridge and shaking it every so many pages.  But eventually, the thing ran out.  So I went to the closet to get out the new toner cartridge.  I found the box had been opened. That was odd.  I asked my husband about it.  

"Did you open that new toner cartridge box?"

"Why would I do that?"

Toner cartridge Inside, the bubble packing had been breached.  The "new" toner cartridge had no tab on it.  My "new" toner cartridge had been used.  And in fact, used UP!

Evidently, someone had purchased a new toner cartridge, taken it home, opened the box, taken out the new cartridge, replaced it with an empty one, closed the box, returned it to the store and gotten a refund.  The box had been returned to stock, and my husband had picked THAT box to purchase.

Of course, I didn't find this out until six weeks AFTER he'd purchased the cartridge.  He returned it and of course got a replacement.  The store was good about it, but I worried that they would think WE were the despicable customers, not the person who'd original stolen the cartridge.

What does that say about people these days?  Quite a lot.

Cellphone & driving I see instances like this all the time. Okay, maybe not exactly like this, but little moral lapses are happening at an alarming rate.  I only have to be stopped at a red light and watch the traffic around me to see people on their cell phones as they zoom off the exit ramp of the local expressway.  On any given day, 20 people will zoom past me and at least a quarter of them will be on their cells phone.  It's illegal to use a hands-on phone and drive in my state.

Roadside litter And what about those people who feel free to litter while they drive?  Every day I'll see someone toss a cigarette butt or something else out their car windows either at a traffic light or as they're tooling on down the highway.  Do these people toss their butts and trash out the window in their own driveways?  I think not--so why do they do it as they're driving?

I happen to live in one of the safest communities in the country, but this is not due to any exceptional work done by local law enforcement.  Our town's police force is currently in turmoil.  A number of officers have been arrested on all kinds of charges (our chief is currently suspended and was arraigned on a number of charges, and this isn't the first time, either).

Moral compass What's happened to our moral compass?   Why is it so many people feel that laws don't apply to them personally?  

Maybe that's a reason I write cozy mysteries, where little things matter and good triumphs over evil.  It doesn't seem to happen all that often in real life.