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17 Items That Are Socially Acceptable To ‘Steal’

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In a world where private property is king, stealing is generally frowned upon. But there are some things that many people agree are okay to steal. One user on a popular internet forum asked others to answer, “What are items that are socially acceptable to steal?” To be clear, stealing these things is NOT legal because some people deem these things socially acceptable. However, this is what people voted as acceptable societal theft.

1. Abused and Neglected Pets

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The highest-voted comment on the thread suggested animals undergoing abuse or neglect are okay to steal away from their owners.

One user shared a story about a neighbor who severely abused his dog. The commenter had a friend who planned to move away soon, and the two plotted to steal the dog in the middle of the night before the friend moved. “I hope that dog had a much better life after that,” they added.

2. Napkins

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Do you think taking a handful of extra napkins from where you’re dining is theft? Some people don’t believe this one even technically counts as stealing. Instead, many voted that napkins are socially acceptable to steal, along with ketchup packets and other small items you can take home from a restaurant.

3. A Few Grapes

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Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Marge eats a couple of grapes while shopping for groceries, and Lisa makes Marge own up to her crime at the cash register?

This example came up quickly in the thread. People sometimes like to sample a few grapes as they browse the produce section, and many others agree that it is perfectly fine.

4. Branded Pens

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“Pens with a company logo.” One argued that these pens are asking to be stolen because the more people who take them, the more free marketing the company gets.

5. Workplace Office Supplies

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Similarly to branded pens, many people believe office supplies at your workplace are up for grabs. This includes stuff like post-it notes, pens, and staples. What do you think?

6. Time

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Have you ever hung around a little longer before punching off the clock? Many users agreed that time theft, or “lingering at work before punching out,” is justified.

Some suggested that the company is probably exploiting its workers anyways, so you deserve to scrape any extra pennies into your pocket that you can.

7. Plant Trimmings

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While plant nurseries would probably disagree, many people believe cutting plant trimmings from other plants that may not belong to them are perfectly fine.

Many users shared memories of their grandmothers, like one who pulled over on the side of the highway to get the perfect tree clipping, and it became the most “beautiful tree in the neighborhood.”

8. Hotel Room Toiletries

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Who doesn’t take little soaps? Some people might use hotel room toiletries while on vacation and leave them behind when they return home, but many others take advantage of these freebies and take them all home with them.

Ensure you don’t take anything too big; the hotel might charge you for it! I think towels and artwork are better left in the room.

9. Food, When You’re Starving

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Would you steal bread to feed your starving family? Many admitted they would never report someone in the grocery store for stealing food. “People don’t want to steal food. They need to steal food,” one user shared. Many agreed that the same rule applies to baby formula.

10. Pads and Tampons

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Similarly to food, many people believe stealing women’s sanitary products is necessary. Finally, one noted, “If you see someone stealing tampons, pretend that you didn’t.”

11. Recipes

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Recipes are often shared and adapted freely, and it is not considered stealing to use someone else’s recipe.

12. Wild Plants

It is generally considered acceptable to pick wild plants for personal use, as long as you don’t damage the environment.

13. Salad bars

salad bars
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It is considered acceptable to take more than one salad bar serving for yourself or even to take them home if you can’t eat them right away. This is because salad bars are typically intended for self-service and there is no specific rule against taking multiple servings.

14. Low-hanging fruits

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Picking a few oranges or other fruits from trees that are easily accessible is generally considered acceptable, even if they don’t belong to you. This is because the fruits are considered to be wasted otherwise, and taking them to eat doesn’t cause any significant harm.

15. Ramekins

Ramekins
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Ramekins, small ceramic dishes used for baking or serving food, are often considered fair game to take from restaurants. This is because they are often considered to be disposable and are typically meant to be used once. So, after that meal, you can take some with you if you wish to.

16. Ketchup

ketchup bottle
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Getting a few drops of ketchup from your neighbor’s ketchup bottle is generally considered polite and not considered stealing. This is because ketchup is a condiment that is typically shared at tables, and a few drops aren’t going to make a difference to the bottle.

17. Food from a buffet

buffet
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Taking home leftovers from a buffet is often considered acceptable, especially if the buffet is advertised as “all-you-can-eat.” This is because the purpose of a buffet is to allow people to try as much food as they like. So, taking home leftovers shouldn’t harm the restaurant or its business.

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