Without us noticing, successive governments have knocked out our manliness. My recent experience has brought home to me just how much.

Two weeks ago I was pushing my trolley out the supermarket checkout and came across a staff member asking a big, burly customer whether she could look into his very large and very full gym bag.

He clearly would rather she didn't and pushed past her. I thought the man rude.

I suggested to him that he should afford the lady the courtesy. It was her boss' shop, he was on the premises and she had a job to do.

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He took no notice and kept walking. I pushed my trolley after him but once out of the supermarket he took off at a good clip. I concluded he had been up to no good, ditched my trolley and chased him down the mall to pin him to the wall.

Supermarket staff arrived to explain they just wanted what was in his bag, which he promptly ditched, whereupon I let him run off.

I gathered up my groceries and was on my way feeling pretty good. The fellow was bigger than me but I still managed to thwart him. "No one steals from my supermarket," I thought a little too proudly.

I also thought I was a bit lucky. He could have had a knife. I never considered the consequences. I was driven by the belief he shouldn't be able to get away with thieving.

I was back in the supermarket this week and one of the boys stacking the shelves thanked me, saying the thief had $230 of meat in his bag. He also sheepishly explained that they are not allowed to chase shoplifters.

I thought that pathetic and rang my mate who runs a supermarket.

"Oh no, we can't chase them. We can't touch them. That's assault. We could be charged."

I suggested that was a bit nutty. "Yup. But that's the rule. Shopkeepers have been convicted for nabbing shoplifters."

My mate explained the thieves know the rules. They know they can't be stopped. They know no one can lay a hand on them.

They just do what my guy did. They push past staff and head out of the supermarket. They can't be stopped unless a police officer happens to be passing by.

My mate suggested police take very little interest. "They are only interested in serious crime where people are hurt."

There you have it. I'm the one the police are interested in. I might have stood on the perp's toe or cracked his rib.

So an admission for Minister of Police, Judith Collins: It seems I'm guilty of assault. Send the boys in blue around. Or better yet, change the law so we can once again defend ourselves and our property. Give us back the self-respect and dignity that comes from standing up for ourselves and our rights.

Come on Crusher. Please.

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