Gabe Fidanque owns Wagon Wheel Liquors, a liquor store in an area of Durango with a lot of foot traffic. He had a lot of shoplifters, and would call the police and have them arrested. But the same people would come back hours later and try again. Then he started a new punishment. He would give them a choice. He could call the police or the shoplifter could give Fidanque one of his shoes. He has a few shoes to show for it, and the shoplifting problem has gotten a lot less. But now the police are telling him to stop that because by intimidating them into giving up a shoe, it’s equivalent to felony robbery.
I’m so torn. There’s a small part of me that knows what the police are going for. If Fidanque takes shoes, the next guy could be asking for money. I guess it sets a dangerous precedent.
But…it’s a shoe! What is Fidanque going to do with an odd conglomoration of mismatched shoes? They’re of no value to him, except for the fact that every offender who gives up a shoe walks out of there humiliated, and probably will think twice about stealing booze from him again. Better still, they’ll spread the news to their other friends that trying to get some free booze from him just isn’t worth the trouble. It seems to be a far better deterrent than going through the justice system, and it’s far more effective than the anti-shoplifting policies of Home Depot or Target.
Now the police have advised him to stop and are asking him to give back the shoes. He doubts any of the guys caught will have the guts to come back and reclaim their missing shoe. Plus, he has to come up with another system that works as well. I hope he can. I would hate to see his past problems return.