Monday, 8 September 2008
I recently saw this sign in a charity shop in Whitby and I think it shows an interesting side to human nature. In many high street shops you will see a sign warning ‘We always prosecute shoplifters’ yet it is not unusual to see a shoplifter getting chased through Leeds city centre by a security guard which suggests that, for some people at least, the threat of prosecution isn’t enough to get them to stop stealing. This charity shop has tried a different method – to shame criminals into not stealing from them by suggesting that if you steal from them you are effectively stealing from disabled children and surly not even the most hardened criminals could do that. This is based on a similar principle to a government advert that ran a few years ago to get people to stop smoking. Instead of the usual ‘smoking kills you’ adverts it featured a young man and a young woman who keep eying each other up in a bar, but when the man finally get the courage to go and speak to her he leans in to say something to her then pulls back in disgust and walks away. The girl looks confused, then picks up her cigarette from the table and the tag line ‘If you smoke, you stink’ appears on the screen. This is based on the idea that smokers know the potential health risks of smoking but clearly aren’t bothered by them – the prospect however that everybody else thinks you stink is horrifying.