Proportionality Failure. Getting Screwed at Home Depot.

For the second day in a row, I’m telling you about a lawsuit over a minor incident that snowballed out of control.

In today’s installment, we’re looking at an 80-year-old New York woman who got fired from her job at Home Depot for what appears to be this situation:  She bought 24 cents worth of screws at the store, but then did not take them home, according to the New York Post.

Did Home Depot have a screw loose over loose screws? Or was a long time employee screwing with the company?

Once again, it seems people have lost a sense of proportion. Maybe the employee violated a store rule, but really, firing her over 24 cents? None of which the store lost. What if she was a criminal who stole the 24 cents? Take her to the parking lot and have a firing squad shoot her?

Did anyone consider she just deserved a slap on the wrist? Or does that make too much sense?

As the story goes, Ellen Strickland needed some cash, so she bought the screws with her debit card, and got $40 in cash back in the transaction. She did this to avoid ATM fees, and she said fellow employees told her they did that all the time.

I can relate, because I’m always confused when I go to ATM and they charge me $3 for obtaining my own money. Does it really cost the bank $3 for them to process the fact that I took $50 out of my account?

Anyway, Home Depot was Mad, Mad, Mad at Ellen. According to the Post, Home Depot said Ellen’s actions “resulted in the manipulation of inventory.”

Geez, if that’s true, maybe Home Depot needs a new inventory system. Since she didn’t take the screws home, the store will discover in a subsequent inventory they have six more screws than they thought they had.

How is that going to gum up the entire store inventory flow? “Sir, I’m sorry, I can’t sell you that bathroom faucet fixture and that wall paint because we have six more screws than we thought we had.”

Somebody’s got a screw loose.

Maybe there’s more to this story, but Home Depot is not commenting, so I can’t be sure.

Ellen is reportedly a 19-year employee with a great employment record. She’s suing for age discrimination, saying the store wanted to get rid 80-year-old Ellen in favor of younger employees.

A have to come back to that thought on proportionality. It’s everywhere. I wrote yesterday how a guy was unhappy with a stripper, so is suing for $1.8 million. That’s one stupid example.

But the proprotionality problem extends everywhere.  It’s why a girl who passed around a couple of cough drops to friends was threatened with expulsion and called a drug dealer. Sure, nobody wants drugs in schools, but  Halls Vitamin C candies?

Some people don’t merely dislike President Obama’s policies. He’s a America-hating, socialist, communist, Muslim terrorist in the eyes of some of his opponents.

To some on the far left, Sarah Palin is not just a daft woman from Alaska with somewhat delusion dreams of glory. She’s a fascist who will open fire with an automatic weapon on all her opponents, so say her craziest critics.

Maybe people who lack this sense of proportionality think that their hard views show they are principled and unshakeable in their beliefs. Maybe some people have no sense of nuance, that life is messy and gray and indecisive and confusing and unpredictable.  Or they don’t want to acknowledge that messiness. So they cling to black and white and resolutely ignore the 98 percent of life that comes in a billion shades of gray.

Can you imagine if life was really so out of proportion. For a mundane example: I was a little hungry a little while ago, so I just had a light snack. But if I take the black and white people to a logical conclusion, I would have had to either stuff myself until I weighed 800 pounds, or starve myself to death.

Is this the way we want to live?

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