Lost Scruples

Lost Scruples

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

By Blaney Pridgen

Scruple is a funny sounding word to me.  It could be the name of an inedible fish or the parliamentarian of a school board.  It is a feeling of doubt as to whether an action is morally right.  A fancier word for scruple is compunction, which sounds like a chapter in the catechism of a repressive religious order.  One might become scrupulous, having many concerns about doing wrong.  One might succumb to a darker pathway in life by losing his or her scruples.  I lost a scruple last week.  My wife and I ate the bargain early meal at the Golden Corral.  

Big buffet eateries encourage gluttony.  Even with the promise of seconds on a clean plate, it’s hard not to heap an initial smoking volcano of a plate while already planning the second round.  Then comes the syrupy cobbler topped with a Denali of soft serve ice cream.  Hopefully, (prayerfully) I am not tempted to this experience more than a couple of times a year.  By the way, observing the 4:30 crowd, such human food lots might be named The Silver Trough.

I used to lose a scruple or two every time I went to Walmart, Lowes, or other big block stores.  These retail wildernesses have destroyed many of a small business and lovely downtowns.  Sometimes, I wonder as I wander through these places what they would sell if all Chinese goods were banned.  I used to boycott the bigger barns, but now I have abandoned my scruples out in the ocean of endless asphalt.  I am kind of glad that malls are beginning to disappear.  There was always something about them that suggested a temple to a false god filled with glassy-eyed, pie-face worshippers.  Scruples got lost en masse in those labyrinths of fake downtowns.  If you grew up in the CSRA long ago, you will remember Broad Street in Augusta.  What a magical place!  I could write a coming of age memoir totally set there.  Gone forever.  “O, loss,” as Thomas Wolfe said.  

Somewhat similar to these musings, I have been thinking about cheaper gas at the familiar big boxes and some grocery stores.  If you drive some distance to the gas depots and wait in line with the engine running, how close have you come to negating your savings?  Of course, you could also park and get a pallet of toilet paper and two gallons of mayonnaise while there.  Remember when someone like Jim Nabors would check your levels and wash your windshield while pumping your gas?  Then there’s Amazon and prepared menus delivered to our doors.  Is there a future of no shopping at all, except what you pick out electronically?  Perhaps.  I hope the delivery trucks will be electric with robots to drive them and adequate electric grids to charge them.  Maybe drones will drop our stuff in the shrubbery.  Porch pirating will become a promising career for the scruple-less.  

Another funny word is luddite, which is a person opposed to new technology.  Sounds like a person addicted to cough drops to me.  Millennials and their younger siblings are opposed to old technology or possibly even unaware of it.  I didn’t see any of them at Golden Corral.  Luddites like turnip greens and fried stuff  and Tom Hanks movies on bargain days.  The generations all have their scruples, just different ones.