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Greed, Wealth & LEGO

By Greg Harris

The Theft of LEGO Products

Greg's Corner It was the word LEGO that caught my eye in the local newspaper. While the national news gets most of the attention, what's happening in my neighborhood is far more critical to my life. And yet when the local news seems to mirror the national news, the impact is magnified.

The article detailed the theft of $30,000 worth of LEGO products. But it was the second paragraph of the article that caused my jaw to drop.

The article went on to identify the alleged thief as my neighbor who lives in the mansion on the hill behind my house. While I don't know the neighbor, the house has always created twinges of jealousy. It's got to be worth at least $3 million and sits on a huge piece of land overlooking the open space reserve that gives it expansive rare rural views of the Silicon Valley. Not only is he clearly rich, but the paper pointed out that he is a Senior Vice President at one of the world's largest technology companies. So why did this guy steal LEGO Mindstorms ?

Here's the jaw-dropping part. According to the paper, he would purchase an inexpensive LEGO product, go home and scan the barcode to create a duplicate barcode sticker. Then he returned to the store and covered the real barcode with his homemade one. The result was that he purchased the product for a fraction of its value. The greedy game clearly worked long enough for him to amass $30K worth of stolen inventory, but ultimately he was caught by in-store security cameras.

Here is someone who seemingly had everything, yet "excessive greed" appeared to have led him to break the rules.

We've been thinking a lot about greed lately. Jameco's catalog features a depression-era image shot by Dorthea Lange that is still relevant today. It depicts an American worker, head down, out of work with his back to the wall. Sadly, with stubbornly high unemployment rates and a struggling economy, American workers continue to be backed against the wall.

It appears to us that "excessive greed" is driving problems both on a local and national level and at the end of the day the people who suffer the most are those who can least afford it.

Jameco plays by the rules and plays for the long-term. We're accountable for our actions. We hold our employees, our vendors and even our customers accountable every day. It's a core value that makes it difficult for us to understand what drives excessive greed.

From my corner of the world, there is only one answer. With the Fall elections in the United States quickly approaching, now is the time to register to vote because voting is the best way for the average citizen to hold someone accountable.

There is nothing more frustrating in life than when people and companies don't play by the rules. Whether it's parking within the lines, or being courteous to a stranger, the world works better when we all follow the rules.