It turns out that we’re really not as good as we think we are. Ask most people if they think that they’re a ‘good person’ and the majority are likely to say yes. But dig a little deeper and a different picture emerges.
Tasked with helping supermarkets reduce shoplifting, criminologist Emmeline Taylor discovered that there had been a huge rise in the sale of carrots through self-service checkouts. It appeared that some customers were buying up to 18kg of carrots in a single purchase and one supermarket seemed to have sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock. Taylor discovered that people were simply stealing by taking expensive items such as avocados to the till but weighing and paying for them as if they were carrots. The scale of this theft is enormous – estimated at £3 billion in the UK every year – that’s about £50 each for every man, woman and child in the country!
Taylor concluded that ‘carrot swapping’ is now so common that most of those who do it don’t even think of themselves as committing a crime.
No wonder then that when someone called Jesus a ‘Good teacher’ he responded by saying ‘No-one is good – except God alone’ and went on to urge his enquirer to keep the commandments including, of course, ‘you shall not steal.’