In 2016, if I could’ve illegally downloaded an onion from the internet, I would have. I’m sorry if this offends your moral sense and sensibilities, but I was on Centrelink at the time, okay? I was barely making ends meet, had no savings, and had to sometimes skip meals because I just didn’t make enough money. It was a legit 4/10 time in my life.
Concerningly, six years on, in 2022, the root causes of such suffering haven’t been solved. This can be demonstrated by the fact some folks are really struggling financially. Lots of families are trapped in similar or worse cycles of hardship to the one I was stuck in. Moreover, as always, Centrelink isn’t the only institution causing such devastation. Some folks can’t get ahead because their wages have stagnated while the expenses have zoomed the heck up. So thanks for that one, cost of living crisis.
This disaster is causing some people to shoplift food instead of literally starving. In a survey of 1,100 people conducted by Finder, they discovered that 9% of its respondents had stolen some stuff from a supermarket at a self-checkout in the last 12 months. Ten percent also admitted to scanning an item as something else at a self-checkout.
As Finder’s Richard Whitten explained, “Most self-checkout machines can’t tell brown onions from portobello mushrooms. A lot of people are doing it tough as the cost of essentials like petrol, rent, and energy have risen sharply.”
What Can Be Done About This Situation?
Poverty isn’t natural. There is no good reason that some humans thrive while others starve. The fact some people need to break the law not to go hungry is a national failure.
Moreover, there are plenty of things that can be done to help these folks out. For instance, our supermarkets shouldn’t lock up their fresh food that’s about to expire in their dumpster bins. This food should just be free on their shelves.
Oh, and here’s another idea, plenty of multinational corporations don’t pay their fair share of tax in Australia. How about we tax these companies and then use that money to make sure nobody is starving here? Surely that’s something all our politicians can get behind.
I’ll say it again for the folks at the back: Poverty isn’t natural. I shouldn’t have been skipping meals in 2016, and people shouldn’t be forced into shoplifting food now.