Gordon Davidescu wrote this article.

I was in a Duane Reade store recently, waiting in line, when a man who was ahead of me made it clear that he could not be any less happy with the store. He said that he had accidentally left his wallet in the store one day while waiting for a prescription at the pharmacy counter and when he called about it, the manager assured him that the wallet was there and that he could come and pick it up.

The man said that when he came to pick up the wallet, he found it entirely devoid of cash and there was definitely cash in there when he had left it behind. He requested, no, demanded that they turn over their security videotapes to him so that he could review them and personally find and apprehend the criminal that stole his cash.

I didn’t stay long enough to find out if the man got access to the security tapes but I can’t imagine that he did. The fundamental issue that the man had, I thought, was that he took something that was his own problem and escalated it to the extent that he made it the problem of everyone else in the world that he could find to blame. He assumed that someone who worked at the store stole his money, or that someone who came into the store, and that it would just be as simple as watching the footage on the security tape.

This man’s actions reminded me of something that happened recently that managed to get all over the national news and was near the top of Google’s hot search results for exactly one day – November 22nd. It seems that a woman in Arkansas had sent photos of herself naked to her husband. Her husband subsequently left the phone at McDonalds by accident, of course. A little bit later, the manager contacted the husband’s mother and let her know that the phone would be available for pickup afterwards.

Not too long after this, the woman got a couple of text messages from her husbands phone, announcing that her photos were very nice and well appreciated. Soon after her husband got her phone back, they discovered that the photos of her were now on a web site along with their personal information. They requested that it be taken down and were told that it would take up to seventy-two hours to remove the photos. I find this to be odd because when I want to remove a photo I have posted online, it takes me less than seventy-two seconds to do it.

Now, months later, they are suing McDonald’s, the manager of the restaurant, as well as a few others for the humiliation that they suffered due to her naked photos being online – I am not convinced that they could have been completely removed, because a seventy-two hour time frame would have given plenty of people time to copy the photos and put them on their own domains. It is safe to assume that people undoubtedly downloaded the photos to their own private collections.

Rather than looking at the actions of the people responsible for transmitting the photos from the phone to the web site and deciding the ethics of their actions, let us instead consider what the young couple did that brought this about and the real reason behind the lawsuit.

Could it be that the only reason that they are suing is because the photos are of a naked woman that were not meant to be shared with the world? We know that there is no such thing as coincidence, and that had the photos been taken of the family celebrating the Fourth of July, with snapshots of people enjoying barbecued chicken and fireworks, would there have been a lawsuit? There is no chance that it would have gone to court if it had been a simple family picnic.

Looking back at the article, something sticks out to me. His wife had previously sent nude pictures of herself to this cell phone for his own use, according to the complaint. For his own use? What exactly does that constitute? How was he making use of those photos? Given the nature of mobile phones and how relatively easy it is to get into other people’s phones if the will is there, were they really expecting that photos taken on the phone would really be that secure?

The man at Duane Reade and this couple are equally culpable for their own behavior. If you have no qualms taking naked photos of your wife but don’t want to have anyone see them, guard them as though they were bricks of gold at Fort Knox. You can bet that if the man were carrying a twenty-five thousand dollar diamond ring with him, he wouldn’t have just as carelessly left it at McDonald’s.

When will it be time to start taking responsibility for our own actions? When will we stop searching for people to blame for our own mistakes or will some of us remain crybabies forever?  


  1. Hi Gordon,
    I agree that the man at the store should have ideally walked away with his wallet and all the other valuables it had in it.
    But then I can’t help thinking that if the store doesn’t trust its customers – which is why it had the security cameras in the first place – then why should it expect its customers to trust it?
    Maybe he had a point in demanding that the security footage be scrutinized to see if the theft had indeed taken place. After all, if the footage proved otherwise!
    The other incident, I think the burden of guilt falls more on the couple and especially on the man. He should have guarded it like gold.

  2. Hi Gordon,
    How idiotic can people be! Sorry, couldn’t manage to sound less rude.
    Point no 1 – if I misplace my wallet then I have to depend on other’s mercy –
    Yes I know, they should give it back, keep it intact etc. which helps to pass the moral science test – but rarely happens in real life.
    Similarly, if a man carries her wife’s naked photo in his cell phone and then leaves it on a McDonald’s counter, then I am not sure about his own morality and stability.

  3. You have an excellent point about the first case, David. I would assume that the crime occurred sometime in between someone finding the wallet and choosing to take the money and then someone finding the wallet and then handing it in. 🙂
    Some people lock their phones so that you can’t even use them without a password. I wonder if that had occurred to him.

  4. Katha,
    The man was definitely idiotic. 🙂 Moreover, it wasn’t just a photo – but a whole photo gallery! How exciting for him – and now the rest of the world.

  5. I think you meant “Dananjay” and not David, Gordon.
    Love the article and the blending of the past and the now to condemn the crybabyism of both.
    Everybody is insulted. Everybody wants to be redeemed. Nobody wants to pay any price that isn’t instantly reimbursed.

  6. Why would you assume that, Gordon?! Eitherways the security tapes would have most probably revealed the truth. So why hide it? Shouldn’t technology be for everybody’s benefit?
    You’re absolutely right about the locking of the phone!

  7. Ooops! I’m so used to your response being first! It is so true about how easily insulted people are 🙂

  8. Well my assumption is based on giving the store employees the benefit of the doubt, which I probably shouldn’t just give so freely to the employees – but I like to try to give it anyhow. Somebody must have taken the money. The security tapes will only show someone doing it, if they weren’t clever enough to do it off camera, and it won’t be so easy to just find someone out of a city of millions!

  9. Gordon!
    Why doesn’t the man who claims to have lost his money deserve the same benefit of the doubt?
    What if the tapes revealed a store employee doing it? If the tapes reveals someone other than a store employee taking the money then the store can be on a watch for him. The better for everybody! If the tapes reveal nothing then what was there for the store to hide?

  10. Usually I associate reviewing store tapes with the police and official investigation. Now I kind of wish I had stayed to find out how it ended! 🙂

  11. So do I, Gordon! 🙂
    Do update us if you find out on your next visit to the store!

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