I often think of Sweden as a model country. In many respects, Sweden is a great example of social, political and economic achievement. But there’s always an exception.
In a small town somewhere in Sweden, there’s a hypermarket. This hypermarket is called Dollar Store. Dollar store has lots of problems with shoplifting. And so, they have devised a plan.
It costs 1500 Swedish crowns to hold a shoplifter until the police arrive. The shoplifter has to pay this fee. But now, they have a choice. Instead of paying the money, they can stand in the shop wearing a big sandwich board. On the sandwich board it says,
‘I am a thief. I have stolen from Dollar Store.’
If this wasn’t so horrifying, it would be funny. My immediate reaction to this is this is even legal? It feels like a serious infringement on personal integrity, even if it is someone who has committed a crime. We used to sew red letters into the front of the dresses of women who had committed adultery, we used to throw tomatoes at people in the stocks, cut off hands of thieves.
Haven’t we moved on since that? Obviously not, in the Dollar Store somewhere in rural Sweden.