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To say I grew up on the ‘straight and narrow’ would be an understatement. You know that joke about the kid who told the teacher that she forgot to give the class homework? I was that kid. I didn’t sneak an extra cookie from the jar, I didn’t lie, I didn’t cheat. I did everything I was supposed to do ever and always.
That is until my sophomore year in college. Despite my best efforts at doing The Right Thing, I was broke. I didn’t have much scholarship money. My parents sent me a few bucks here and there, and my class load only allowed me to wait tables for two shifts a week. Ends were barely meeting—and funds for things like new shoes or clothes? Forget it.
So when one of my friends told me how he’d discovered that the local big box furniture store had a major security flaw that allowed you basically to walk straight out the store with your items without even passing a counter, let’s just say our crew was surprised by how excited I was at this revelation. While no less than five of the homies used this as an opportunity to furnish their sparse dorm rooms and off-campus apartments (as did I—Curtains! Duvets! Bookshelves, oh my!), I also saw a bigger opportunity.
And that’s how I found myself literally loading up the trunk of my car every week with furniture and home goods to flip on Craigslist. $150 for a $300 entertainment console? I got you. A $500 bedframe for $300 bucks. Quick come up for me, quick come up for you. I didn’t think too much about the moral consequences, because stores essentially steal from consumers (and certainly from laborers) each and every day. I was terrified, every single time. What would my parents say if I got caught? My school?
Alas, I got addicted to not being broke anymore. While my homies bowed out once they had made their own places look good, I kept this up for a good three months. It’s like I had a theft internship. Finally, the possibility of losing everything weighed too heavily on me and I got out the game for good. I got a decent on campus job and went back to my goody two-shoes ways. I’ve never stolen anything sense. But I will admit that when I go to the local version of the store that I robbed blind 10 years ago, I still worry that someone’s going to come out from the back with a few questions for me…