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16 January 2009 @ 04:27 pm
A comment I'm not posting there, because it would only lead to tears  
(The idea of posting here the comments I won't make there has been stolen from someone on my friends-list, without even bothering to file off the serial numbers. You know who you are, and thank you!)

Reference, background

You know, you're absolutely right about this. Despite the fact that I know you're right, I seem to be unable to resist nitpicking.

At what point is it theft? If I pause briefly to read the first couple of paragraphs of the headline story? What if I just glance at the headline as I'm walking by? Does it make a difference if the paper is next to the counter and I skim the top story (not picking it up, just reading what's visible) while I'm waiting in line?
QKat: Bubble pwns cat by jadesevladyqkat on January 16th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
I agree with your statement because I do the same thing. However, if ther is something the catches my interest I will buy said paper to peruse at my leisure in comfort.

There used to be a bookstore in Cupertino that I adored called "A Clean Well Lighted Place". I don't know if it there anymore but they had benches scattered throughout the shelves where you could sit down and read through a book. I would spend hours in there reading and was never bothered by the clerks because they all knew that when I had money I would buy the books I had been reading. Many times they would hold the book for me until I did have the money. But then some people started abusing the priviledge and they had to 'police' the stacks. Especially when some of the books were being trashed by some people's children (of all ages).

I miss that place.
aedificaaedifica on January 16th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure when it becomes theft, but I think (for me at least) the point where it becomes egregious is when it becomes a habit.
Daniel Gundersongundo on January 16th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
I remember when the owner of a magazine store chased me out of the store, accusing me of trying to memorize the music to a very complicted song. I had held the magazine for 3 minutes, was browsing thru it, and it was one I regularly bought at his store but didn't have the money to buy right then.

I later bought the magazine somewhere else...
Adrian Turtleadrian_turtle on January 16th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's theft, when it's not interfering with anybody else's ability to read the newspaper. If a nonpaying reader stands in front of the display rack while reading a whole magazine, blocking access for paying readers, that's a problem. If a nonpaying reader unfolds a newspaper to read it, so the person who buys it later gets a messed up paper instead of a pristine one (likewise, somebody who reads books in a bookstore and leaves them looking lightly used rather than brand-new.) But it's a perversion of the whole concept of "theft" to apply the word when a member of the public looks at something that is displayed to the public, then goes home and leaves the display there in public.
(Deleted comment)
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on January 16th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yes. That.

But reverting to the original situation, I don't think it's out of line to call it "theft" when someone apparently makes a habit of reading the paper in a store without buying it. If I were the manager of that store, I'd direct the customer to the public library, which has copies of the paper available for any patron who wants to read one.
Adrian Turtleadrian_turtle on January 17th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Would you consider it theft if somebody were to listen to the radio the store plays over their PA system, without buying anything?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on January 17th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
I would say no, since the music is not for sale. I might consider it loitering, especially if the person was getting in the way of other customers.

I also wouldn't consider it theft if someone went into a music store, listened, and left without buying anything because in that case, the merchandise still available for sale hasn't been made less-than-pristine. Again, though, I might consider it loitering if the person makes a habit of it or gets in the way of other customers.

(Now I'm thinking of something I can't substantiate, a supposed quote to the effect that "leaving the room during the TV commercials is theft of services, because the commercials pay for the TV".)
onyxlynx.blogspot.comonyxlynx.blogspot.com on January 30th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Very brief Delurk
The "leaving the room during TV commercials" had to do with being able to skip commercials automatically when TiVoing, which was considered Heinous by TV executives. I don't remember whether that was resolved.


D. (from a.c long ago)
Villiersdianavilliers on January 16th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty certain that newspaper publishers consider material on the front page, and particularly that above the fold as a free sample advertising their product.
born_to_meborn_to_me on January 17th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
I think the key is in the phrase "...read the newspaper" not "glance at the newspaper", "look through the available papers to pick one" or even "pick the paper up to buy it".

Add to that phrase the fact that the weather outside causes this person discomfort. If I glance at a headline, read a paragraph of a story, even flip it to read beneath the fold (all of which are fair use, IMHO) it does not take long enough that the door opening or closing would cause me trouble.

To me it seems obvious that they are *reading* the *entire paper*, which, since they are for sale in that establishment, seems to constitute some level of theft.
The Mad One: Shhh I want to finish the chaptermadfedor on January 17th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Having read the referenced thread, I'll return the nit by observing that "theft"'s pejorative connotation puts a damper on the entire topic. So long as one (anyone) has some level of agreement with the epithet, one is unlikely to tolerate disagreement with its use.

Ahem. Sorry. My professorial streak woke up before the rest of me this morning.

I call it abuse of privilege, and every store owner/manager is faced with it to some degree. The store is there to serve the public in exchange for money. It places its goods and services as conveniently as possible, both to make the public as comfortable as possible and to make the shopping experience as time-efficient as the shopper wishes it to be. The best store, IMO, is the one where one can observe people rushing through and people sauntering and browsing at leisure at the same time.

In a book store, or with the newspaper example, "consuming" a product with no intention of paying for it may rightly take on the "theft" label as a subset of abuse of privilege. So too would eating small quantities of loose produce in a grocery store. Intent is the common aspect.

There is wide room for matters of degree with intent, by which I acknowledge the stories of "I always buy it (there), but this time I didn't have the money". For those stories, I simply point out that while you (and the store) may agree that you are not abusing privilege, you are still behaving as if you were. As a member of the public, you stand as their equal in the eyes of other members of the public who may not enjoy the same level of acquaintance with the store as you do. A small nit, perhaps, but one that I believe should be considered with the rest of the nits.

My retail experience is limited to grocery store and hardware store, both very unlikely to attract much browsing. Having had the privilege of owners sharing their thoughts and ideas with me, concerning attracting and dealing with customers, I feel some confidence in my position here.