I have a bit of a ..five finger discount habit.

It started somewhere when I was a kid, but nowadays it's more of a thrill thing. It's not like I'm sticking cars under my shirt and walking off the lot, but I've been known to get "a little extra" from the grocery store now and again. I hate to promote the idea -- because it is wrong (and at my age sort of reckless and stupid), but every now and then when I see outrageous prices on little things that I don't feel like paying, I tend to go a little Robin Hood on them.

It's never anything big, and it's not like I'm not buying a full cart of groceries anyways -- but if nothing else:
It's a rush.
I think the first thing I ever really lifted was a magazine from a 7-11. Something dumb, like a MAD magazine or Surfer. It wasn't like I couldn't have asked my parents for money for a magazine, it was more to see if I could actually do it.

It was the middle of a Florida summer, but my entire master plan hinged around wearing jeans. The magazine rack was in the front of the store, sort of in a blind spot from the cashier. My plan was to stoop down in front of it, which would put me out of his line of sight -- and then curl the magazine around my leg and push it up the cuff of my jeans.

It felt like it took 10 hours, but eventually I got it done. Then I used the money that was in my pocket to buy some candy, and then walked out the door as cooly as I possibly could. I expected to be busted every second of the way (or more to the point, I sorta thought the redneck working a midday shift a convenience store actually cared about his job and would give a crap if he came up one Hit Parader short at day's end) -- but I somehow made it out.
I never pedaled my bike faster than I did that afternoon.
Worse yet, I couldn't shake the fear that somehow everyone at home would find out what I had done. That it would show on my face, or that the sight of a new magazine in my bedroom (already piled over with guitar magazines and comic books) would prove the smoking gun that would send me directly to jail.
But of course, not only did no one notice -- but it quickly became clear that no one really cared one way or the other.

I went from a week where I was terrified to read the magazine with my door locked to realizing that in certain circles of this world a slice would never really be missed off a cut loaf. But it wasn't like I immediately went from cramming magazines into my pants to robbing banks. It was more of a thrill thing -- a once in a while bungee jump off the tallest roller coaster I could find.
So the question is -- where did this come from?
Because when you get right down to it, my parents were grounded and sensible people. They were both very much about promoting the value of hard work and earning the things you wanted. They told me "no" plenty of times when I wanted something stupid as a kid, but they were also very good about sensing the things that I really wanted and more often than not found a way to make those things happen.

So it's not like I was in a place where my whole life was spent looking up at other people who had things I "couldn't have" to the point where I decided to get them by any means necessary.
So why do I love doing this?
I'll probably never know the real reason behind it all -- but I did pick up an important clue Saturday night.

It's my weekend to spend with my son, and with the weather so nice we spent the better part of the day hanging out at the pool at my apartment complex just splashing around and playing.
Hot fun in the Summertime, ftw.
So when we finally decided to call it quits with the pool, Curren wanted to call his Grandfather to tell him all about it, and while they were on the line -- Dad suggested we meet up somewhere to grab some dinner.

Like all little kids, mine won't eat anything that doesn't come with a toy inside or doesn't fit into the four major kid food groups of hot dogs, chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, or pizza -- So I suggested we all head over to the Mellow Mushroom, which isn't technically a mom and pop, but ain't exactly Pizza Hut either, knammsayin?

So we're hanging out with my dad, going to town on a couple of pies, talking about sports, pointing out hot waitresses to each other (that one with the pigtail braids? Dayum!) and goofing off with the boy -- when it gets to that point where clearly enough pizza has been eaten, and anything left is going into a box for lunch the following day. Our waitress brings over the box and I start moving slices into there using that little spatula/cake server sort of thing they always give you in places like this, that are just perfectly fit for this type of activity -- when my dad catches my attention and says,
"Hey, go ask the waitress if we can get a balloon for my grandson here."
The request was a little out of the blue, but the boy loves balloons -- so I didn't really think that much about it. I headed over to the receptionists podium, sweet-talked a balloon out of the girl standing there, came back to the table, gathered up all our stuff and started to head outside when Dad hands me the pizza box and says, "Eh, I'll never eat these -- you guys take 'em."

So the next day I go to the fridge to grab the box so I can warm up the pizza and serve it up for lunch --
When I discover this:

[Listening to:  Johnny Cash"One Piece at a Time" ]


I'm Frank said…
I have a criminal record for shoplifting. I got caught stealing a Spiderman comic from a pharmacy.

I was 8 years old.

And that old fucker behind the counter PRESSED CHARGES.

I want to find his grave and piss on it.
whatigotsofar said…
I can't speak for the rules and laws in Florida, but around my parts, Soviet Canuckistan, shopkeeps cannot chase shoplifters out of the store. So a thief could walk into a store, pickup a large object in plain sight then run out. Unless the shopkeep can ID the thief in a lineup or something, the thief can get off scott free.

I knew this guy who got charged with assault (by the shoplifter) because he tackled the shoplifter. And the charges stuck. I love living in a country where criminals are the only free people.
Satorical said…
Geez dad, I didn't need it that bad, y'know?
Jaeme said…
I don't steal, but I am not blindly honest like my parents raised me to be. For example, if I get too much change back, I don't trouble myself to return it. I always seem to come home with extra groceries which I can only assume were mixed up with the person's stuff in front of me during bagging. Again, never bother myself to bring the stuff back. If I find money on the ground, I keep it.

I think you might have impulse control stuff going on. Which is why you lift stuff. And do other random weird shit.
Dude, you thiefing ass thief! lol

I was especially happy with your refereence to the waitress with the pig tails... hawt.

great post. Love the blog
Heff said…
Oh, keep the damn thing. We've accidentally boxed up the dried pepper shakers from Pizza Hut a few times. There's also been a time or two coming out of a grocery store that we realized we didn't pay for the shit (beer) on the bottom of the shopping cart. Think I made an effort to go back in ?
Peanut Angel said…
Apples truly don't fall far from trees do they? *wink*
I don't steal from stores but I have been known to help myself to a few extra perks from work. Ink pens, postage stamps, envelopes, toilet paper..... Well, if she'd give me a raise MAYBE I'd stop.... nah....
Maria said…
Oh man. This is so funny and so comforting. It isn't just me. We should start a blog group for petty thievery anonymous.

I don't think I have ever taken anything 'big' like jewelry or valuables, but doctors offices pens and drug company freebies are a total score for me. Thank you for this post!
Hex said…
Frank -- I'm sorry all that happened to you when you were a kid, bro -- but I think the facts here are clear.

My dad and I are better criminals than you.

WIGSF -- Soviet Canuckistan? LOL. I once saw a guy steal a bunch of clothes out of a department store -- he literally just grabbed an armful of things and just bolted for the door, and I told the first cashier I could find, and all she said was "..Again?"

Satorical -- It was kinda awesome, to tell you the truth.

Jaeme -- I think most people do that (heck I do that too), but what I'm talking about here is actually taking stuff ..on purpose.

Slaus -- She was somethin' else, man. We'll probably go back to the scene of the crime just to gawk at her.

Heff -- See, I think you're misunderstanding me here. Of course I'm keeping it. But it wasn't an accident. My dad jacked that thing, straight up. And I know that, because that's exactly what I do when I'm jamming stuff into the spaces on the empty spaces in the case of beer that I buy when I go to the store.

Peanut -- Office supplies are the gateway drug. Then it's the communal fridge, and then the next thing you know it's on like Red Dawn.

Maria -- I think that's a big part of it. Rich guys like doctors or big corporations provide a lot of the lure, I think.
The Kaiser said…
Stuff like the grab and run you mentioned is why a lot of stores don't keep stuff right by the front door any more. I totally caught one of those guys by pure chance once when I worked retail security, though it paled in comparison to the experience of trying to stop a girl by grabbing her hair and getting a big nasty handful of weave.

Grocery stores and Wal Marts are pretty safe to jack stuff from, but be careful (or preferably don't do it) in department stores, electronics stores and larger clothing stores. They are many times more likely to have plainclothes security.