The Argument for Stealing What You Need

There_Is_No_Honor_Among_ThievesCharles Davis of The New Inquiry argues in favor of stealing what you need:

Via The New Inquiry:

“Stealing is stealing. I don’t care if it’s on the Internet or you’re breaking into a warehouse somewhere—it’s theft.”

—United States Senator Patrick Leahy

If a rich person has something you need, you should take it. And if a big corporation has something you want, you should steal it. Instead of paying retail prices when you go to a chain store, just don’t pay. After all, you earned it.

The rich people who run these big corporations like to act as if we live in an age of austerity. So do their spokespersons in politics. We just don’t have enough money anymore! We’re running out of things. In this economy, you are lucky to have a freelancing gig. Full-time jobs are a stop on the way to collecting unemployment, not a career with a picket fence and a pension. It has something to do with the economy and it is all very confusing.TNI Vol. 20: Off-Brand is out this week. Subscribe now for $2 and get it Wednesday.

The truth is the human race has never been better off. We live in an age of plenty. The problem is one of distribution: Instead of being used for the benefit of all, that plenty is exploited for the benefit of a select, privileged few, who profit from polluting and in some cases sabotaging the commons. Natural resources, from the land beneath us to the electromagnetic spectrum all around us, are monopolized by corporations bound by law to maximize quarterly profits, not the good of society. Our mutual inheritance is passed on to a handful of wealthy people who rely on the labor and genius of others to make themselves wealthier.

Those at the top take all the credit in the best of times and blame everyone beneath them the rest of the time. At all times, though, they take the money.

Keep reading.

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  • mole_face

    I have a friend(definitely not me) who’d never consider stealing from an independent business or an individual under any circumstance, but he used to very blatantly hit up corporate chains a lot in his teen years and early 20s. Though he’s too paranoid to do this sort of thing anymore, he’s told me that you’d be surprised how many stores’ anti-shoplifting measures seemed to rely solely upon “the illusion of surveillance” and how even very brazen shoplifting often goes completely undetected if the perpetrator is able to project a casual, calm demeanor.

    He’s told me that self-checkouts are still very exploitable, as long as you can convincingly play dumb when caught. “Oops… thought that scanned… I’ve never been good with computers!”

    • echar

      About the self checkouts: A friend of mine told me that you select something like potatoes and put in the weight of the steaks you have. He also told me to always have the cash on you to pay, in case they catch on. Like you said, play dumb.

      • mole_face

        My friend also told me that 99% of self-checkout attendants(aside from the rare ones who take their slave wage jobs too seriously) NEVER bother to check your bags when the bagging area’s scale detects a small discrepancy in the weight – like, say, a small bottle of expensive vitamins that you accidentally neglected to scan.

    • kowalityjesus

      If people could commonly make that distinction, between Johnny Retailer and Corporatey McCorporatleton-Corporateheimer, I think this could be promoted. I would sooner destroy the brazen waste and piss-poor environmental effort these companies make, but this is pretty widely practiced throughout the citizenry. I think “maybe if we destroy the mothership” only works in movies.

  • Rhoid Rager

    This is commonsense to anyone with a mindset for subversion and sabotage. This is the logical conclusion of the concentration of wealth–DEconcentrate it.

  • Haystack

    Some of the advice in this article is just plain bad:

    “At a big-box retailer and feeling a little bold? Grab what you can and run out the door. No minimum wage employee really wants to chase you…”

    In fact, minimum wage employees are instructed not to challenge shoplifters because big-box retailers have professional security staff who are trained and equipped to catch people doing dumb stuff just like that. Target’s security cameras have been even used as a test-bed for facial recognition systems used by the go’vt, so even if you get away, that still doesn’t mean that the police won’t come knocking.

    That having been said, I agree wholeheartedly with the advice about slacking off at work. If your employer is one who pays you as little as it can get away with, it’s only natural that, in return, you should work as little as possible. Minimum wage buys minimum effort.

    • BuzzCoastin

      old Russian commie joke:
      They pretend to pay us
      we pretend to work

    • echar

      I was told that Target has the best school for computer forensics.

      “Target’s state-of-the-art forensics lab catches more than just shoplifters”http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/10/21/target-forensics-lab

      • Calypso_1

        I am aware of instances were they and other retailers have put gps trackers on frequent shoplifters cars.

      • Simon Valentine

        bear in mind
        schools are like retailers
        some are johnny
        some are corporate

        how about the “get fired” takes a turn
        and there is a new holiday
        “anyone can fire anyone and it is permanent” holiday

        very quickly the thought experiment, from a very agreeable start, finishes with abundant absurdity

        rug swipes and table manners.

        “fire me or be honest enough to hold a gun to my head”

        familiarity with ecosystems would say that specifics and lack of specifics as concerns “x can fire y” directly
        coincides with unemployment phenomenon like intentional self-inflicted
        unemployment, unemployment rates, en masse attitude(s) regarding
        unemployment, etc. so here’s the loop: unemployment is a problem created by people (or people friend/ally/symbiotic with them) who abuse the spirit of at-will employment or if not directly making threats to fire, not making the appropriate moves to dispel/debunk ill-feelings. certainly not all employers are so god awful, but such does seem to be a majority.

        on another note, conservation of law. no where is “this is stealing” and “that is not stealing” set in stone. besides, stones break. etc. the point is that thus far thieving is so undefined it may as well be all those involved with [x] as a company, corporation, and insurance [fraud] net who are guilty of not only thieving, but inherently bad praxis.

    • emperorreagan

      When I worked at Target during college, the security spent more time trying to use the cameras to look down women’s shirts than trying to catch shop lifters. Maybe they’re better now, but no one I’ve ever met who works as a retail security guard has ever inspired me with their competence.

  • BuzzCoastin

    I had a friend(definitely not me)
    who made an art of stealing from the corporations he worked for
    he used every trick he learn from B’school & the street
    padded his unlimited expense account
    took bribes from suppliers (cash only)
    and also distributed the corporation’s largess to his clients
    with junkets & gifts
    meanwhile back at the ranch
    the Chairman/CEO was lining his pockets with all he could
    while screwing everyone who worked there except for the elite
    and all legal and kosher too

    • echar

      Conagra buys corn and soybeans from hardworking farmers. Those who bring in corn with infestation, sour, too moist etc get a percentage taken off depending on the grade and the futures. Conagra then takes that grain and mixes it with the good grain to make it a passable grade. They then fill up barges and send it to Asia.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    I cannot say it better myself, so let me lend you the thoughts of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUb450Alpps

  • BuzzCoastin

    > Off-Brand is out this week. Subscribe now for $2 and get it Wednesday.

    where can I steal this?

  • Ted Heistman

    I think overall shoplifting creates a climate of distrust. I think these wage problems can be better handled with organizing and general strikes.

    • echar

      Devil’s advocate: It can be argued that encouraging the masses to steal/shoplift is an organized strike on paying for what you need.

  • Roedaif Emes

    I have no sympathy for big corporations/chain stores, if I saw someone
    stealing, I would just look the other way, I care about the stores as
    much as they care about me.Walmart treats employees like crap, tries to
    hire part timers so they don’t have to pay benefits, they pollute ground
    water at some stores by illegally keeping chemicals like fertilizers
    outside in the rain and the run off contaminates the rain water.
    Companies are also trying to take over free use of water, in Brazil they
    are having a hell of a time “privatizing” water, also Nestle in our
    country. Info is all over the net, easy to find. Why should I care about
    these companies? Take what you want from them.

  • Rus Archer

    stealing things you don’t need (like hdtvs?) doesn’t eliminate the slavery involved in the production and distribution of those products

  • Frater Isla

    Wow. I think. I agree.

  • gustave courbet

    I’m a security guard (mercifully part time) at a low end corporate retailer and 95% of our camera bubbles are empty. Additionally, we do not prosecute shoplifters, signs not-withstanding, and we are prohibited from physically intervening in case someone wants to run out the door with some merchandize. Good hunting.

  • bobbiethejean

    Very nicely written and a strong case too. There are a few million people I think would be better off if they considered these notions and took them to heart.

  • Joel Tattooing

    I have a friend (definitely not me) who worked at McDonalds when he was between 16 and 18, he and his colleague used to write up every other meal as waste and put the money in their pockets when they worked late night on their own, also he used to give away free food to homeless people through the drive thru.

  • Ted Heistman

    it works for chipmunks!

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