One of the features of the looting which accompanied this summer’s rioting in the UK was the rather low aspirations of the looters. Mindless entertainment and cheap clothing seemed to be the primary targets for their larceny – though some also aimed for cheap, “value” range food staples. Bookshops escaped almost entirely unscathed – which strikes me as a searing indictment on the quality of today’s opportunist criminal element.
Today, I learned that such low aspirations are not limited to looters, and that paucity of ambition has been the undoing of at least one criminal. It would seem that someone has been attempting to use my credit card – or at least its details, as I still possess the card itself. However, the fool used it for a moderately large shop at Tesco and this was immediately detected as fraud (by the splendid folk of John Lewis Financial Services). Had they attempted their scam in Waitrose or the Co-op, it may have gone undetected for months – but I haven’t shopped at a Tesco in many a year (though reading Matathew’s recent post suggests it can be quite a profitable experience for the sharp-eyed shopper!)
My woolly, liberal attempts at middle-class, ethical shopping have finally borne fruit! My shopping habits are sufficiently unlike those of the typical felon (or indeed, most of the country’s law-abiding citizenry) that they provide me some protection from card crime.
The attempted fraud does mean that my card has had to be cancelled (though it was almost life expired anyway, added to which almost all the writing has already rubbed off), which will that mean my spending habits will be somewhat constrained for a few days. I should be feeling terribly upset and/or violated – but to be honest I was more amused by the whole incident and rather proud that JLFS had recognised how out of character use of Tesco was. I suppose the rather poor quality of the modern criminal is rather depressing: it seems we should not be relying on our fraudsters to haul the country out of its current financial difficulties (though, perhaps the banking crisis should have acted as a small clue in this regard).
On a related topic, I heard the splendid Andrew O’Neill on the radio pendant le weekend who had (for reasons unexplained) been without a mobile phone for some months, and had been relishing the freedom. I am now wondering if I should plan to set aside a few days each year to do without one of modern life’s apparent requisites? A sort of rolling lent, if you will? I feel it could be rather good for the soul – or closest humanist equivalent.