I was going to post something about my Apple Store-related frustrations (mostly fueled by this one girl working there who didn't know what she was talking about--but that didn't stop her from giving me answers that eventually forced me to come back to the store to return what turned out to be the wrong item). However, on the way home from the mall, I saw something far more profound.
After a stop at Radio Shack (related to the Apple issue, but that's a long story), I was driving around the back of some stores when I saw that a clothes donation bin had been broken into. In fact, the perpetrator was sitting right there.
Normally, I don't hesitate to report a crime when I see it, but I had to hesitate this time. The "perpetrator" was a woman who was homeless--it was obvious. You can't fake looking that pitiful. She was trying on things she had found in the bin, and the scene was downright sad.
Part of me still wanted to call the police. After all, it's still theft. More importantly, there are a lot of people who could be helped by those clothes. Also, she may not put the rejects neatly back in the bin, and that would be a waste of those charitable donations.
Still, I couldn't help but think, "there but for the Grace of God go I." Maybe I should have called. I don't know. There probably isn't a "right" answer. I don't give beggars money on the subway, because I suspect they'll use that money to buy drugs--but I always say I'll be glad to actually buy food for someone who is hungry. I even give to charities that do things like that. So how could I send someone to jail for trying to clothe herself? That just felt wrong.