Politics Magazine

So Today I Am a Criminal

Posted on the 17 May 2015 by Calvinthedog

My Guilty Heart

Now normally I never steal a thing. I don’t even keep my friends’ borrowed books. I couldn’t steal a penny from any of my readers or probably anyone else, really. I never intentionally shoplift from stores.

Over 30 years ago, we were helping a friend of mine move, and I found a dime under his bed. I pocketed it. They figured out that I took it and teased me about it through the moving, but I never gave it up. “Hey Bob, you seen any dimes around? Hey Bob, you didn’t find a dime by any chance did you?” I was a hardcore punk rocker in those days who wore leather and studs all the time and snarled at everyone. I was in such a “fuck the world” attitude back then that I wouldn’t give up the dime even when they teased me.

But even to this very day, I still feel bad about stealing that dime. That’s how honest I am. Actually I envy thieves, legal and illegal. I wish I could steal. I long to steal stuff and live free like all the other loose people, but I am just too civilized and uptight. I don’t think I could steal even if I tried. I would grab it, and then I would put it back.

Criminal for a Day

Well, today I went to the supermarket. I bought my stuff, then I went outside. They had a bunch of chickens barbecuing on a grill. They were done. The chicken grill was abandoned. I stood there waiting to buy a chicken. I stood there and stood there like an idiot. Everyone who walked by me laughed and said things like,

“I guess they are free.  Go ahead and steal it – I would. Today they’re free! Take one – go ahead.”

Everyone who walked by encouraged me to just steal it.

I stood there for 10 whole minutes waiting to buy a chicken. A number of employees moved in and out of the store. There were some employees around a van in front, doing something or other. I looked hopefully at each one of them. No one would come over and wait on me. Finally I got really angry, and I grabbed a bag, walked over to the grill, grabbed some tongs and started to put a chicken in the bag. Some dumb Mex came running over to me accusing me of stealing his chicken. This idiot had been working around the van with some others, and I looked him in the eye a number of times while I was standing there. Like an asshole, he never came over and helped me.

I laughed and put the chicken back, then walked away, saying things like, “There was no one there – I thought they were free. If you won’t sell it to me, I will steal it! I thought they were abandoned, so I decided to take one.”

He followed me through the parking lot, accusing me loudly of being a thief. Some people looked at me funny, and it was rather embarrassing. Then he cornered me and asked to see my receipt. He tried to force me to fetch it for him, but I refused and made him get it out himself. He looked at the receipt and the three items, called me a thief again and put the receipt back. Then a fat Mex rentacop drove by, and the other burrito-biter told him what I had done. The fat Mex started unloading on me.

Then he said, “If I ever catch on you this property again, I am going to arrest you!”

I laughed and said, “For what?”

He said, “Bla bla bla bla bla I’m a dumb Mex bla bla bla bla!”

I looked back. The other stupid Mex walked away from me and went back the van, abandoning his chicken grill once again. What a foolish, moronic ass.

I drove away. Then I thought, what could he arrest me for? Because last time he saw me, he saw me trying to steal a $4 chicken? For trespassing? Does he get to decide who is a trespasser and who is not? On what basis can he arrest me anyway? He’s not even a cop.

I don’t even think I committed a crime. “Attempted stealing” is not a crime. Attempted pretty much anything is not a crime, nor should it be. There are exceptions for serious things like rape, murder and possibly kidnapping. But even those are a bit hard to prove except for attempted murder, and even that can be hard to prove. You have to “commit” a crime. You can only “commit” a crime when you have stopped attempting to do it and actually do it. It’s not really a crime to try to do something bad as long as you don’t do it. The law busts you for stuff you do, not for stuff you try to do.

I also could not believe they were going to arrest me for stealing a $4 chicken. Police would actually cuff me, take me to jail and file charges against me for stealing a $4 chicken? Would they arraign me? What would the judge say? California jails are insanely overcrowded. How could they justify making me do time. How could they justify fining me much of anything for stealing a $4 item?

I honestly feel that I did the right thing. If you put a bunch of products out for sale and then walk away, I will just assume that you abandoned your stuff, and I will steal things.

Some Philosophical Hypotheticals around Thievery

Question A: If I was in a supermarket and all the employees suddenly walked out of the store and started walking way, what would you do?

I might stand around like an idiot for 10 minutes, and then I would go back in the store and load up a shopping cart and steal as much food as I could. I assume a lot of other customers would probably wait a bit and then just start stealing too.

Question C: What would you do if you stood at a counter in a market for 10 minutes, and no clerk ever showed up? Would you just say, “I guess everything’s free today,” and walk out of the store?

I have been in flaky corner markets where you get to the counter, and there is no one there. I wait about five minutes, then I start yelling, “Ok I guess I’ll have to steal it then! I guess everything’s free today! Sale today – everything’s free!” I yell pretty loud, and pretty soon someone comes around apologizing profusely.

But I think that is horribly lame. Why would people who work in a store ever abandon a cash register and act like the store is abandoned, leaving customers in the lurch? I always thought that I would wait 10 minutes, and then if no one showed up, I would just steal whatever I was going to buy and figure, “Go to Hell. If you don’t sell it to me, I am going to steal it!”

Question B: On a side note, have you ever accidentally stolen something? What did you do? Did you take it back or just laugh and steal it?

I have done this a few times, always at drugstores. I get out to the parking lot or my car and suddenly I realize that I just walked out the store without paying for something completely accidentally! I do different things when this happens. Sometimes I just laugh and say, “Oh well, looks like I just got away with shoplifting, see ya!” Then I go ahead and steal the 1 or 2  items I was going to buy. Other times I feel bad and go back and pay for it.

I think I would, and I think it would be the right thing to do.

Question D: What would you do if anyone walked away from their sales stand, you came upon some items for sale that looked abandoned, you stood there for 10 minutes to be waited on, and no one showed up? Would you steal it? Or would you just walk away and not steal stuff?

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