Man Loses $600 and His Job Over a Soda Refill

In Charleston County, S.C., a construction worker was given a $525 fine for `theft of government property' and fired from his job after failing to pay the $0.89 fee for a soda refill in the VA Medical Center cafeteria. 

The man, Christopher Lewis, was minding his own business, refilling his soda cup during his lunch break, when a hospital official approached him and asked if he was going to pay for it. 

Lewis said that he didn't know the refills cost money and offered to pay the $0.89, but it was too late. The official slapped him with a fine and told him he was no longer allowed on the hospital premises "“ effectively firing him from his job.

Reports say that signs were posted around the cafeteria indicating that the refills weren't free, but many thinks it's unreasonable to fire the man for such an honest mistake.

However, we here at Guff think the VA Medical Center officials are onto something.

Have you ever been an employee at a restaurant or retail store, and had multiple customers a day asking you questions that were already answered on clearly posted signs around the area? It's really annoying, isn't it? Nobody wants to deal with that, and it's a great source of frustration amongst the workforce the world over. It's one of those great social injustices that have been tormenting people since time out of mind.

"Why can't people just reads the signs!?" you'll lament as the billionth customer asks you if you take Discover, even though the placard literally three inches away from their face indicates that you only takes VISA or Master Card as clear as day.

What better way to put an end to this injustice than to attach a hefty federal fine and threat of unemployment to it? No, VA Medical Center aren't unfair bullies. They're heroes of the working class, modern-day Robin Hoods of slightly annoying inconveniences, and defenders of eyes across the globe "“ blood-shot and aching from hours of rolling so far back into our heads that we can see our brains.

But let's not stop there, VA Medical Center in Charleston County. We need to right more of these wrongs. Here are the top four social injustices, and the criminal charges that need to be given to them:

4. Too Many Free Samples 

We've all been in line at the frozen yogurt or ice cream shop, waiting far longer than any person should ever have to wait for a cup full of frozen milk, because the person in front of us "JUST CAN'T DECIDE!" They'll ask to try every single flavor, licking it greedily off of those stupid little spoons or those miniature paper cups.

Free samples are what's wrong with the world. That isn't how life works. You can't just try every decision and see which one suits you best. You take a gamble, commit to it, maybe it pans out, and maybe it doesn't. Who knows? Maybe you'll really love Pralines and Cream. Maybe you'll hate it. But you've gotta just choose it and stick with your decision. If you don't like it, you'll know not to get it next time.

Charge: Embezzlement. By the time you've tried all those samples, you've basically gotten an entire serving of ice cream for free. After that, you've left the store with two for the price of one. It's the greatest scam ever cooked up by a fat housewife with a toy poodle in her purse.

3. Sneezing/Coughing Without Covering Your Mouth

Listen, I am in awe of the beauty and wonder of nature as much as the next guy, but that doesn't mean I want to see the spraying arch of your sneeze stream billowing out of your face as its being backlit by the sunset. Nor do I want to help you conduct a science experiment based around how long it'll take the bacteria from your cough to infect my body and fill my lungs with phlegm. 

There's never an excuse not to rip out a hanky, grab a napkin, or at least turn your face into your shoulder when you feel a sneeze or cough coming on. It's very simple, and can save you a lot of public embarrassment and me a lot of hours furiously washing myself in a scalding-hot shower after you've just unloaded an entire Ghostbusters' worth of slime on me. 

Charge: Public Endangerment. You are essentially a walking, talking, texting bio-weapon. Your payload is the germs nestled gently inside of your sinuses, and your delivery system is a well-placed sneeze or cough in my direction. You are a viral menace to society and must be stopped.

2. Unwanted Conversation

When I'm at a coffee shop or on the train, the greatest asset I have is that I am free to be alone with my thoughts. With all the conversations, meetings, discussions, phone calls, and interactions that I have during the day, there's nothing better than being able to be left alone for a while. Even in your own home you aren't free from the danger of conversation. There are still those pesky roommates, wives, children, and door-to-door Mormons. But in a public place, where there's no reason for anyone to talk to anyone, you can finally be at peace.

Whenever you approach me and try to strike up a conversation, you are ruining my day. You are taking away the last little bit of control I have over my life, and depriving me of my much-needed quiet time. You are the real enemy, and I'm now tearing a picture of you in half.

Charge: Disturbing the Peace. This one is kind of obvious, but it's so true and appropriate that it can't be avoided. The only unfortunate thing is that this charge doesn't come with any kind of hefty prison sentence. Unfortunate for me, but not unfortunate for all the prison inmates you would have annoyed in the showers with your inane blabbering.

1. Accepting Gum Without Chewing It

When someone offers you a stick of gum or a mint after lunch, this is a gesture of good will. Your friend is recognizing that they have gum and you don't, and that you might possibly want to wipe the stench of garlic knots from your breath before heading back to the office. The gum is for now.

If you don't WANT the gum now, then don't accept the gum. If you're going to just save the gum for later, then you can buy your own stinking gum later. When I offer you this gum, and you stick it in your pocket for later use, you are stealing. You're stealing from me. This isn't some gum charity; gum is a precious commodity, and it was only out of the kindness of my heart and the appreciation of our friendship that I offered you some of mine. But if you don't even want it to scrape the shameful stench of Taco Bell waffle tacos off your tongue, there is absolutely no reason to take it from me. It's $1.29 at 7-11.

Charge: Theft/Larceny. You are a common thug. Not even a fancy cat burglar or jewel thief. Just a down-on-his-luck thug boosting TVs out of the back of trucks. The only justice fit for you is a few years of prison time in which you are quickly made the girlfriend of a muscle-bound white supremacist, and promptly traded around the yard like a box of Twinkies.
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