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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to confront someone for potato theft?

There's a Dan Ariely book about this. A few highlights:

1) You caught them once. They steal habitually. They've been stealing for a long time. They steal because they're entitled. They will keep stealing because it's their right.

2) Nearly everyone steals. Something like 20% of people don't steal little things. Stealing little things is part of our social nature, it's one of the things that gives us a sense of belonging.

3) Clamping down on the minor breakage that is a part of any organization will cause more breakage.

4) Reminding people to be honest will actually make people more honest.

5) Confronting someone for stealing and then asking them not to steal anymore will do more to ramp up their theft than anything else you can do. They understand intellectually they shouldn't steal, but spiritually they deserve what they're taking and forcing a reckoning of that dichotomy will double down on the intellectual justification to address the gaping spiritual need provoked by your contesting their right to theft.

The positive thing to do is put a hand-written sign on the fridge that says "we wouldn't take your beer without paying for it! =(" and literally nothing else. Don't mention it to the member, don't mention the cameras, don't mention it to anyone else, let it the fuck go.

And even that might be too much. This member sounds as if she's pretty deeply involved in the organization. And it sounds like she doesn't feel properly appreciated. My father had a saying - "if you don't fairly compensate your employees, they'll work out fair compensation on their own." Of course he stole a bunch of shit. And I took that to heart - one job bought me a brand new Fluke 87 without knowing it. Another gave me a full set of tools. Granted I kept their $23m in contracts humming so really, who's making out best here?

See how insidious it is?

    We found the beer undrank and unopened in the yard in the morning - it was the clue that led us to checking the video footage actually.

Here's that thought process:

"I do a lot for this place. Also, I want a beer. Also, this place owes me a beer."

"Maaan, I do not feel good about taking this beer."

"I cannot return this beer for that is truly weird."

"If I do not drink this beer I did not actually take this beer."

    They also are one of our most frequent user, spending about 5 days a week in the woodshop working on their business. They do a lot in integrating new members, keeping the space clean and other small and useful tasks. This member also has a tendency of feeling victimized when confronted with certain facts, and twisting reality to selfishly suit their personal needs. Like bringing up certain issues as community issues, while it's their personal gripe with someone.

I have an experiment for you

I'll bet she's there when other people aren't. Just work people. Give her a sixer of beer - when nobody else can see it, just from you guys to her, nothing to do with budgets or sales or organization or whatever - to show her you appreciate everything she's done.

I'll bet theft goes down.

I'll bet she becomes less defensive.

And I'll bet you'll have another few weeks worth of checking inventory to see if breakage goes down or stays constant.

All it will cost you is a sixer of beer.


Either that or kick her out now because confronting her in any way shape or form is going to poison everything with every person she interacts with. It'll be like giving your organization leprosy.

mk  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    2) Nearly everyone steals. Something like 20% of people don't steal little things.

Wow. This suprises me. I would have put it at 50%.

kleinbl00  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The semantics of "steal" is very important.

    So, you know, we tend to have an easy time kind of raising a finger and say, oh, it's this banker or it's this particular person, and if anybody else was in the job, they would have acted very differently. The reality is that we all have the capacity to cheat a little bit and feel good about ourselves.

    And I'll just give you a small example. In many of our experiments, the way they work is the following: We give people a sheet of paper with 20 simple math problems, and we tell people go ahead and solve as many of those as you can, and we will pay you a dollar per question. People work as hard as they can for five minutes. At the end of the five minutes, we say stop, put your pencil down, count how many questions you got correctly.

    Now take the sheet of paper and go to the back of the room and shred it so there's no evidence remaining. Come to the front of the room and tell us how many questions you got correctly. And people come, and they say they solved six problems, we pay them $6, they go home.

    What people don't know in the experiment is we played with the shredder. And the shredder only shreds the sides of the page, but the main body of the page remains intact, and we can find out how many questions they really solved correctly.

    And what we find is that lots of people cheat a little bit. So we've tested about 30,000 people so far, and we found 12 big cheaters, people who cheated kind of all the way, and together they stole $150 from us. And we found 18,000 little cheaters that together stole $36,000 from us.

    And I think it's - for me, it's kind of this realization, that it's true that there are few big cheaters out there and it's really terrible, but the capacity to cheat a little bit and feel good about ourselves is really much more common than we think it is. And because of that, it's much more dangerous. And because of that, also, we need to think about how we engineered the environment - especially around politics and the business world - not to let that cheating kind of blossom and create tremendous devastation.

katakowsj  ·  111 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Points well made. Seems like so many of our anti-vaxxers are like the 18,000 little cheaters all stealing our freedom from the larger pool that we are all part of. An anti-vaxxer thinking, "I don't deserve to take any risk by getting the jab, I'll slide by and steal some protection from those saps that are listen to actual scientific reasoning. That choice mulitplied by the thousands now becomes our problem with the Delta Variant.

kleinbl00  ·  111 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've been coming around to the theory that progressive politics is driven by empathy for several years now. COVID has made me hypothesize that conservative politics is also - but that conservatives lack the abstraction necessary to see someone outside of their homogeneous socioeconomic strata as human.

I think it's a much easier sell for progressives to go "we're all in this together." I think it's a much easier sell for conservatives to go "it's a matter of personal responsibility." Unfortunately, there's a profound scientific bias to "all in this together" in virulent contagious diseases.

I remember when AIDS was GRID - "Gay-Related Immune Deficiency." It wasn't until we'd vilified a hemophiliac kid to death that Hollywood could even think of making Philadelphia.

My wife disagrees with me, but I saw a profound sea change in the Los Angeles anti-vaxxer community when Disneyland had a measles outbreak, and California mandated childhood vaccines in response. There were a lot of entitled white women firmly in the "herd immunity is what the little people owe me" camp but as soon as it became "and I'm going to have to home-school them and my friends at Whole Foods don't think I'm cool anymore" all the casuals got their kids poked. There were still anti-vaxers, they were just militant. They were unreachable. Nobody was on the fence anymore.

We're seeing that now. We lost a client yesterday because we told her that if she wanted to bring her 5-year-old with her to appointments, her 5-year-old was gonna have to wear a mask. We lost another long-time client because she decided she didn't want any vaxed people "shedding antibodies" around her while she was in labor.

I don't know if I have a point. Mother Earth News did a survey about six years ago to find out the political leanings of their readership and were stunned to discover that racist preppers will put up with the hippies if it means they can learn about windmills, and that granola-crunchies will totally stockpile AR-15s if it means they can ride out TEOTWAWKI. I think there used to be at least two axes in politics: "I do/don't care about my fellow human being" and "I do/don't trust my government as far as I can throw it." It kinda feels like COVID is bringing those axes to light again as the CrunchGranolas end up discovering they have more in common with the redhat libertarians than the BLM libtards.

I guess my point is the anti-vaxxers ain't the 18,000 little cheaters. They've opted out of our society but since they don't have anywhere else to go, they'll show their contempt for the one they're stuck in. That's why teenaged boys vandalize shit - they have no agency but they have a lot of anger.

The lady with the unmasked 5-year-old is an anti-vax protester who made the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune by like beating someone with a sign at a protest or some shit. We weren't sorry to see her go.

What about the 5-year-old tho

b_b  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    3) Clamping down on the minor breakage that is a part of any organization will cause more breakage.

Great line. I think this is a point that is virtually lost on all upper level managers. When I first started at my last job, they used to have parties with an open bar twice per year, and they used to give you your birthday as an extra holiday (which you could use another time if you want). They used the financial crisis (from which they didn't really suffer very badly) as an excuse to cut every small perk that cost them money. The net result that I can say anecdotally is that everyone basically said, fuck this place if they think I'm a line item on a spreadsheet, and we were all the worse off for it. Clearly government also suffers from that same thinking on all sides of the spectrum.

kleinbl00  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Foreign policy is determined by elected officials on a four-year window and carried out by career spooks practicing a career. "Look I beat the Soviets" gets Charlie Wilson a Congressional Gold Medal. "Look you're sowing dragon's teeth" falls to Benezir Bhutto.

Management is determined by power-hungry appointees eager to Pareto Principle their way past their competence and carried out by employees who just want to trade their lives for a paycheck.

"Look I decreased our revenue burn by 0.16%" is easy to put on a powerpoint. "Look he made our jobs suck now" is not.

uhsguy  ·  111 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really think this is the right way to go if the person is a net contributor. The amount of chaos to your tribe this will bring for a single potato is not worth it. If you were running an authoritarian company then maybe it’s worth making an example but in a cooperative it’s not wise unless the losses from that person outweigh the benefit they bring