Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Announced Shoplifting

Earlier this week I wrote a post about how I told AT&T I was about to walk out of their store with merchandise without paying for it unless they at least recognized that I was standing at the counter and started to help me.

I thought of this tactic because of some shoplifting I DID do a year and a half ago at a beach store in Ft. Walton Beach named Wings.

We were at the beach for vacation and decided we needed a few new toys for the beach. A couple foam wave runners, a new shovel and some sand toys, and a few other things. All in about $50 worth of stuff.

I went into the store late morning one day and there were hardly any customers- but there were plenty of staff. Probably 6 or 7 of them all in that 18-24 year old range. There were a couple in the back sitting on top of the air-brushed tee shirt counter, a couple out front smoking cigarettes, and a couple more on the far side of the check-out counter talking away about some party or other.

I brought my purchases up to the counter to check-out and stood there for a minute or so while listening to the two clerks chat away. They didn’t even look at me.

I politely interrupted and said hello. I asked if one of them could please ring me up. One of the girls looked at me and informed me that she was on lunch break. She then left the front desk with the other girl and they went to the back. I was standing alone at the front counter. I then wandered to the tee shirt area and asked if someone could help me. The guy said he wasn’t a cashier, but would find someone to help me. He disappeared into the same back room door the two girls had just entered. I stood there a minute or so but no one came out.

I went to the front desk and waited. And waited. About 5 minutes. I then announced to the store (about the only employee that could hear me was the other guy sitting at the tee shirt counter) I was going to leave without paying. I waited another minute and then walked out with the booty. As I did I ran into a couple staff people coming into the store after a smoke break and told them what I was doing and could they help me. They said they were on break.

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13 comments:

Cigar Jack said...

Wow... customer service at its finest. I don't know if I'd have had the guts to but yeah I'd like to have done the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Legally (and morally), that's stealing. Stores and restaurants have the right to deny you service if they choose to. Most don't because it is not good for business. Denying you service does not give you license to steal. Period.

Anonymous said...

You were right...though I would've grabbed a few more things on my way out...lol.

Mrs. Micah said...

I think technically the employees gave it to you by not objecting when you said you were taking it.

I wouldn't have done it myself (unless it were emergency lifesaving medicine or I were out of tampons or something). But I think you could make a valid case that the employees decided that it didn't matter and you informed a number who neither attempted to help you pay or even told you to give the stuff back or threatened to call the police.

I suppose the store is getting what it pays for. If you'd tried that on me at the library I would have called our security guy. Apparently I'm more motivated.

LotharBot said...

The employees have no right to "permit" you to steal from the store's owner. You were stealing, and you have no way to claim that you had "permission", since your interaction was with employees rather than ownership.

That said... the store's employees not only permitted you to steal, but they themselves were stealing by not doing their jobs.

You could make it right on both counts by finding out who owns or manages the store and paying them directly, and letting them know they should fire the lazy bums who were supposed to be working.

Money Blue Book said...

Announcing it doesn't make it right...somehow that just seems unethical.

Using your logic, the next time I see a purse lying in someone's car, I am within my rights to holler out loud that I shall proceed to break into the car in the next 5 minutes unless someone stops me.

Anonymous said...

Stealing is stealing. Period. It sounds like you were trying to punish the store for bad service. I'm sure if you were caught my the owner going out the door with the unpaid merchandise, your logic wouldn't fly and you'd be sitting in the back of a police car.

I'd be embarrassed to tell anyone this.

Alex said...

If you were dissatisfied with the store's service, you could have just, um, left the store? By taking the items you just managed to make yourself be as lame as the store.

Something tells me another store in Ft. Walton Beach may have stocked beach toys.

Ryuko098 said...

OK, so stealing's stealing. Announcing out loud "I'm stealing!" doesn't really make a moral difference. but when you walk past store employees who don't give a damn enough to do something, and just sit there while they watch you leave the store -- so what? It's on them. If I were the boss, I wouldn't pursue criminal charges. I'd fine the employees. Do you know how this looks on camera? Walking past the employees out of the store? It looks like they are either negligent (to the extreme) or actually *wanted* you to take the stuff free. I still would've left a few bucks on the counter... unless you didn't have cash. Then they're SOL cuz that's stuff you need when you're at the beach :p.
So, even though you stole, considering the extreme circumstances, it's hard to truly fault you.

(note: at least you didn't murder anymore, come ON!)

Ryuko098 said...

OK, so stealing's stealing. Announcing out loud "I'm stealing!" doesn't really make a moral difference. but when you walk past store employees who don't give a damn enough to do something, and just sit there while they watch you leave the store -- so what? It's on them. If I were the boss, I wouldn't pursue criminal charges. I'd fine the employees. Do you know how this looks on camera? Walking past the employees out of the store? It looks like they are either negligent (to the extreme) or actually *wanted* you to take the stuff free. I still would've left a few bucks on the counter... unless you didn't have cash. Then they're SOL cuz that's stuff you need when you're at the beach :p.
So, even though you stole, considering the extreme circumstances, it's hard to truly fault you.

(note: at least you didn't murder anymore, come ON!)

Anonymous said...

I think its really sad that when my dad does something everyone says is "morally wrong" people all of a sudden start attacking him. Seriously some of you guys need to get a life. And that might not mean alot coming from a 14 year old...but come on people.

Chava 812 said...

Hey, I just thought it was damn funny. I am from just up the beach in Pensacola and am surprised that went on. But, still it's funny.

On another note, whoever defended it and said he didn't murder anyone, that raised another question concerning the ten commandments. Assuming they came from G-d, were these listed in some kind of priority sequence or are they all equally important to G-d? (Another humorous discussion should ensue.)

Could you imagine being the owner of this shop and reading this post? I'm laughing.

Btw, sounds like it happened at some cellphone companies too. Is this a trend? Some kind of discrimination going on? Not enough tan in Florida? Not enough geek-glow in Tennessee? Mind try a blonde rinse, I have a feeling this is discrimination against brunettes! :D

Pamela said...

What you did is a crime and punished by the law! If none of the employess came out to charge you for the things you should have NOT walked out of the shore with the items. You should have left the items and left the store, instead of steaing them..You have no shame whatsoever. At least you should have left some money in the counter that covered the total amount of the items..