woolworths – oh, the irony

I’m not one to laugh at the misfortune of others. Lord knows I’ve created enough misfortune in my own life for me to ever do that.

And I would certainly never advocate breaking the law. I’m constantly thankful that I never reached that level.

But I couldn’t help raising a wry smile when I read the news tonight about Stuart Oswin, a Woolworths manager from Brisbane.

Oswin was ordered to serve six months of a two and a half year jail term by the Brisbane District Court today. He was found guilty of giving way stock to the value of $96,000, in exchange for cigarettes, fuel cards and cash. A lot of cash… close to $20,000. He used the cash to play the pokies.

Kind of ironic, given that Woolworths has such a massive stake in poker machines in this country. You could almost call this a case of creative accounting… sure, he stole goods and gave them away for cash, but at least he re-invested the cash in the pokies! How could Woolworths complain?

I’m being a bit silly here, but seriously… I only hope that someone, somewhere in the upper levels of the Woolworths hierarchy, takes notice of this case, and wonders just how wise it really is for them to have such an involvement in gambling. It’s inevitable that Woolworths pokies will take millions of dollars from problem gamblers.

And don’t forget… Oswin has two young children. He had a good, stable job. And yet he’s blown it all because of his addiction. I really, really feel for him and I hope he can serve his time and come out the other side a stronger person. He’s a classic example of the havoc poker machines can cause.

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