The first time I had to make a real moral judgement was when I was at the mall with a good friend. We were both teenagers and we had gone to the mall and the movies and other places since we were ten years old and we always had fun together. I had been raised to know right from wrong but I had never been in a position where I had to make what I would call a moral judgement until that day at the mall with my friend.

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We went into a drugstore and she was looking at the makeup and suddenly she tucked a tube of mascara into the sleeve of her shirt. It really bothered me that she would do that. It was just a tube of mascara but there was no reason for her to steal it. Her family was well off and she always had plenty of money whenever we went out somewhere. I whispered to her to ask what she was doing and she just laughed and said she wanted to see if she could get away with it. Then she walked out the door. I waited for a few minutes to see if she would get caught, but nobody noticed what she had done and I wound up going home by myself.

It seems like such a little thing, a tube of mascara, but stores take that sort of thing seriously and if they catch you, you can be in real trouble. I stopped being friends with that girl. I can’t honestly say there was any high moral reasoning in my decision. In fact, I would say it was the lowest moral judgement of all because the only thing I was really concerned about was that if she got caught, I would be punished too. The store would assume we were both shoplifting even if I didn’t have anything on me and my family wasn’t wealthy. My friend’s father would get her a good lawyer and she would get off with a slap on the wrist, and I would probably wind up on probation or with community service or something.

We were just kids and I know she didn’t really think of the consequences but to this day I can’t understand why she would take a risk like that knowing she could get a friend in trouble too. My moral judgement to not hang out with a shoplifter was not really very moral, but it did keep me out of trouble growing up.