I'll say it loud and I'll say it proud - I steal from grocery stores!
It's not that I have 7 starving children at home that I have to provide for and welfare doesn't give me enough aid to do so. It's not that I have a debilitating illness that keeps me from holding a steady job and my disability checks aren't large enough to put dinner on the table. It's not that I lost all my money in the economy that George W. Bush built.
No, I steal from grocery stores because I can.
Right after college, I had this roommate that worked at a Whole Foods precursor in Miami. While getting his master's degree, he earned extra cash ringing up overpriced gourmet meals, organic vegetables, vitamins, soaps, and other crap upscale health food stores charge insane amounts of money for. He and I made a deal. Every day or so, I would go in there and fill up a shopping cart with the most expensive shit in the place. Then, when I went to checkout, he would ring up $10.43 or some other sub-fifteen dollar sum. No questions asked.
In return, I would share the spoils with him when he got home. We'd barbecue Maine lobster and Kobe beef, we'd dip Beluga caviar and goose liver pate, we'd drink French wine and Belgian ale. It was glorious. Eventually, my roommate quit his job and he's now a high school principal. The store we robbed was acquired by Fresh Market for some crazy sum. I didn't get caught, my roommate didn't lose his job, and the store didn't go out of business. Truly, a victimless crime.
Later, when I moved out to Colorado, I got a job as a janitor at Eldora. At that time, I actually was hungry and I didn't have food (I spent my whole salary on weed and booze). One of my fellow janitors used to work at King Soopers. He told me that they had a policy - they would never prosecute anybody for eating inside the store. It was like this unspoken rule - anything consumed under their roof was free. For the rest of my tenure as a janitor, I spent most of my off time at King Soopers eating. Shit, I brought dates there. I hosted business lunches there. When my parents were in town, I took them out to dinner there. Not once did I get in trouble.
From those two experiences, I learned a few valuable lessons. First, for the most part, nobody notices when you steal from grocery stores. Second, except in extreme cases, nobody will punish you for stealing from grocery stores. Third, stealing from grocery stores hurts no one. And fourth, food stolen from grocery stores tastes really, really good.
So now, even though I no longer need to steal from grocery stores, I do it as much as I possibly can. And why not?
With my limited knowledge of economics and accounting, here's how I see it: Grocery stores know that people are going to steal from them. Subsequently, they mark up their prices to account for the presumed theft. That means that the people that don't steal pay for the people that do steal. Doesn't seem fair to me! I'm not going to let bums and indigents benefit from these one-sided policies at my expense. I want my piece of the pie -- if that pie is made by Safeway, even better.
When I go shopping, I immediately order some prosciutto and imported cheese from the deli. I make my way to the bakery where I grab that fancy bread, the stuff Mitch Hedberg talks about. I get the non-Kraft mustard from the condiment aisle and the organic lettuce and tomatoes from the produce section. I then consume a free delicious sandwich as I shop. That's just the beginning. Soon, I'm devouring eggs and donuts and Jello and pizza and meat, sort of like Belushi in Animal House. I eat everything I can. Hey, it's not like I'm gonna be arrested.
Next, I stuff small, but expensive items like olive oil, chopped garlic, macadamia nuts, and filet mignon inside potato chip snack packs, cereal samplers, fabric softener boxes, or anything with a little excess room in the packaging. Chances are, nobody will expect me to hide these products (macadamia nut theft is not yet a major epidemic). So, I pile them away. I also slide non-perishable items like razors, deodorant, early pregnancy tests, and Magnum XL Condoms into my jacket pockets. I don't really look like a thief (no mask, no striped shirt, no large sack over my shoulder), so nobody imagines that I have the Fort Knox of toiletries on my person.
Then, I throw large products like kitty litter, Gatorade, and toilet paper on to the bottom rack of the shopping cart. Upon checking out, no one ever looks at the bottom rack. They think you'll be honest and alert the checker to what's there. Honesty's for suckers. I just pretend that whatever's beneath eye level doesn't exist and I walk out of the store saving forty or fifty bucks. I rarely get caught doing this, but when I do, I claim ignorance. It's an obvious oversight because I, much like most checkers, don't look that low. Anyway, they got some fucking nerve charging twelve bucks for a 16-pack of toilet paper. It goes in your ass. It shouldn't cost that much.
If I don't have anything in the bottom rack, I head to the self-service checkout line. They expect us to ring up our food ourselves and not steal? Crazy! I pretend to run things over the scanner and make that little beep sound with my mouth. I'm the Larvelle Jones of shopping. When I "accidentally" miss some items, nobody knows any different. I love exploiting trust!
Over the years, I've stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of food. I make a good living and, for all intents and purposes, I shouldn't steal anything. Well, I steal from grocery stores for reasons that go beyond frugality and avarice. I like to stick it to The Man. Yes, as the owner of a business, I could be perceived as The Man, but not The Man that owns grocery store chains. There's a Man hierarchy and I fall lower on that totem pole. Plus, in my business, I get it stuck to me all the time. I have clients that won't pay and employees that take advantage of my generous PTO policies. It's time for some payback! Stealing from grocery stores is my way to get paid, biatch!
On another note, in the grocery store parking lot, I don't appropriately put away my shopping cart. I just leave it dangling in the middle of the road and go on my merry way. You might think I do this to be an asshole. However, I actually do it out of benevolence. That's right! If I put my shopping cart in the designated shopping cart depository, the retards and the Mexicans and the old people whose job it is to collect carts won't have a job. I just can't have that on my conscience. See, I'm not all that bad.