Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It's not easy working in a store.

Management tells you not to stop a shoplifter, and then complains that too many items are being shoplifted.

What if it's a gun being shoplifted? What's the store employee supposed to do?

Guns are dangerous -- and, in my view, shouldn't be so easy to buy at all. If one is stolen, you might have a fair idea it could be used for nefarious purposes.

And so we come to the story of Dean Crouch. 

He's the manager of Academy Sports in Tallahassee, Florida. Or was.

As the Tallahassee Democrat reports, on June 29 Crouch noticed that a customer had asked to see a Glock .40 handgun and then allegedly made off with it.

In what some might see as a natural reaction, Crouch and another store employee ran after the man and tackled him.

"I turned and looked and saw Mr. White running from the gun bar toward the front of the store with a firearm in his hand," Crouch told CBS. "At the front door is where I stopped him. I tackled him to the ground. We apprehended him and detained him. We secured the firearm."

The alleged miscreant, Jason White, was found with not the just the gun, but several boxes of ammunition and two magazines.

White, once subdued, allegedly said that he wanted to kill someone who was threatening his family.

Let's cut to the chase after the chase.

Crouch was fired. 

Reports suggest that laying your hands on a customer are against company policy.

I contacted Academy Sports to ask for its view and will update, should I hear.

A company spokeswoman told the Democrat: "While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken. We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved."

We've been here before, sometimes with a famous hardware store.

A couple of years ago, Home Depot fired four employees who chased after a shoplifter.

The company also fired an employee who tried to stop what he thought was a child abduction. Home Depot had second thoughts, but the employee wasn't impressed with those thoughts.

Of course, these policies are understandable. Stores are protecting themselves, as well as their employees. There have been incidents in which employees have tried to prevent shoplifters and been beaten or stabbed.

What's odd, however, is that there rarely seems to be middle ground when it comes to sanctions. 

Too often, firing is viewed as the only option. In Crouch's case, it may be that he prevented serious harm being done to others.

Might Academy Sports have not thought a suspension or some other sanction would have been more appropriate?

Or, as Crouch's lawyer suspects, is Academy more concerned about being sued by the customer?

Doing the right thing doesn't always turn out right. 

In Crouch's case, however, he at least appears to be getting job offers from those who respect what he did.

There's also a GoFundMe page to help Crouch with his legal bills and home payments.

I wonder if, faced with similar circumstances, he'd do the same thing all over again.

Published on: Jul 12, 2018