Your problems solved, with Holly Harper

Dear Holly,
Although the recent English riots didn’t extend as far as our town, I fear that I have played my own shameful part in the civil unrest and have been wrestling with my conscience ever since. At the weekend I went to Argos to purchase a gazebo for the garden and inadvertently walked out of the shop with one of their miniature pens. Do I try to sneak the pen back without anyone knowing, risk being caught but clear my conscience? Or do I just keep hold of the damn thing and take my chances with the police? It’s just such a lovely writer.
Kings Lynn

Dear Edith,
My granny says the riots are a symptom of a steady moral decline in today’s society. But I reckon she’s been at the cognac again: looting is an age-old tradition, the roots of which can be traced back to the  playground scramble. All it takes is for one poor, helpless marble collector to accidentally let his prize haul slip from his fingers and before you know it, the gleeful shout of ‘scramble’ goes out like a beacon, calling the kids from each far corner of the playground to fall upon the glorious treasure which is scattering across the concrete. In less time than it takes to smash a shop window and yank an iPhone from it’s moorings the marble wealth becomes evenly distributed across the student body and the unfortunate collector must resign himself to his loss. It’s human nature to pounce on a freebie. Scramble or be scrambled: that’s the law of the playground.
Hope that helps!