Sticky fingers (are best left to Spider-Man)
IN A NUTSHELL - Samantha King () - August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

It’s amazing what one can do with enormous helpings of chocolate and no sense of self-preservation. Once you get past the apprehension involved before engaging in the act (and once the sugar rush kicks in), you are left with the caffeine-induced delusion that there are no rules. And thus, the person who fails to take advantage of this newfound freedom is an idiot.

Or so I tried to tell myself. In reality, people under the influence of caffeine and copious amounts of sugar shouldn’t even be allowed out of their rooms. But first allow me to recap:

It was raining cats and dogs the night my friend and I decided to inebriate ourselves with chocolate nearly three years ago (we were in China for a study tour back then). With the guard not letting anybody out of the dorm that night, you can imagine how completely and utterly bored we were. And so, in our extremely excitable state (thanks to the chocolate sugar rush), we enlisted the services of our resident troublemaker, who helped us sneak out via an unlocked window on the fourth floor of our dorm building. If you want to know how we managed to reach the ground without cracking open our skulls despite the pouring rain — think Spider-Man.

In any case, after we were home-free, we set our sights on the nearby night market — and on the amazingly well-stocked grocery store at the heart of it…

I don’t know what came over us that night, but it would be absolute bull to blame it on the sweets. While the chocolate-induced high only served to get us out of the dorm, our shoplifting was a whole different ballgame. Psychologically, I guess we did it for the thrill of seeing if we would get caught or not — that so-called “cool factor.” Sociologically, I guess we did it since we were in an environment so far removed from the watchful eye of our parents.

Looking back, however, I can only cringe in disgust. So why am I only mentioning this now?

I’ve met some university students who’ve flirted with shoplifting in the past, and who sadly continue to do so until now — for no palpable reason whatsoever. It’s like a chronic illness with them.

Shoplifting is not cool — and it never will be. It isn’t a clever way of “beating the system,” nor is it a “high-risk” venture meant to set back faceless corporations (if you want to do any of these things, you’re probably better off as a hacker). It’s not even a phase. It’s just stealing, plain and simple. Moreover, according to an entry I read on the online Britannica Encyclopedia, the negative effects of shoplifting could be huge: “Stores charge higher prices so they can make up for their losses and pay for security, (while) shoplifting also overloads police, keeping them from dealing with other crimes…”

It could be a bloody catastrophe, so don’t even start.

Going back to my story: although we successfully managed to escape with our loot after that severe lapse of judgment, let it not be said that karma was idly standing by. While going through luggage inspection before the return trip home, our spoils were discovered and subsequently confiscated by the airport personnel.

And in case you were wondering, we stole milk.

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