Britney Spears has allegedly stolen a lighter from a Chevron gas station store, according to People magazine. She's not alone: Many of us, aware or not aware, have tapped into the five-finger discount. Here's how:
1. Borrowed, but did not return a pen or pencil at a bank, customer service desk or grocery store. For me, this little theft works like this: "May I borrow that for a minute?" I sign the card, check or document and then mindlessly slip the pen or pencil into my pocket. Oooops. I am now making a big effort to return a pen right after I've used it.
2. Buffet extras: Sure it's all you can eat, but not all you can take away. Taking a to-go platter from a buffet is stealing unless you've asked the manager for permission or have paid for take-out. Amy Dacyczyn addresses this issue in the Tightwad Gazette.
3. Condiments and sugar to go. A few restaurants in Florida have a lock-down on their Splenda. When the yellow packets are out on the table, people swipe Splenda by the fistfuls. Putting lots of sugar/sweetener in your coffee is fine, but preparing a sweet take-out package may also qualify as a five-finger discount.
4. Unfair use of children's discounts: It's so expensive to go to out. For example, at Disney, adult prices kick in at age 10 or 11, which means that I pay adult fares for my sons, including my 12-year-old, who still looks very young. But it's wrong to pass kids, teens and tweens off as younger in order to qualify for cheaper tickets for theme parks, movies or other events.
5. Under the radar cable hook-ups or electric connections. A few families were busted in South Florida a few years ago for using a bypass connection for their electricity. Somehow, they were able to rig-up some connection or fix the meter so that they could light up their homes without paying for the juice. Ditto with cable connections. Personally, I prefer to watch tv on the Internet. (How I Get Cable Shows For Free)
6. Jumping the line: When we cut into any line: at a theme park, bank or movie, we are actually stealing time from the people behind us.
7. Goldbricking. Okay, most of us have done this. But if you're shopping on company time or writing the Great American Novel when you should be proofreading a company report, you are stealing time from the company.
Here is another version, with photos, of the alleged lighter theft:
Britney Spears Steals A Lighter From The Gas Station
Here are links to my other Britney stories:
Britney & Celebrity Economics: The Perfume & Cents of Fame
Britney's DIY Haircut & $500 Emergency Funds: My Weird & Frugal News Wrap
Advice for Britney Spears: Go Frugal; Cover Your Assets & Learn from JLo
Off Topic Rant: Leave Britney Alone
The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store
Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues
Frugal Comic Book Connection