the joy of stealing — from Pathmark

Oh, excuse me, was I recently berating people for their thievery? I must have conveniently forgotten that too I have enjoyed stealing a little bit, albeit rarely and in a petty way.
You know how a lot of supermarkets nowadays have those self-checkout things rigged up? A computerized female voice prompts you to “please place the item in the bag” after you scan the barcode. Ever tried just putting shit in the bag without scanning it first? The robot doesn’t like that. “Please remove the item from the bag and place it on the scanner, ” says she. It’s hard not to anthropomorphize that humanoid voice. After the fourth or fifth repetition of this routine I am surprised that she/it remains so patient and polite, and doesn’t say, in the same even-tempered robotic voice, “please stop trying to steal shit from the Pathmark corporation.”
But you can occasionally steal shit just by leaving it in your cart and wheeling your way through, pretending it’s an oversight. I had the pleasure of purloining some figs this way a while back, and it really was a mistake that time. “Oh look!” I said to myself in the parking lot, “free figs!” Some months later I stole a nice can of sardines because I had recently read or heard something about how nutritious they were and decided a couple more sardines in the diet would be healthy. They were also delicious! I was really glad I stole them. I might even pay for some next time. (Which gives rise to the interesting possibility that this free sample, so to speak, will ultimately benefit the grocery store’s and/or sardine provider’s profitability.)
The sole employee overseeing the several self-serve checkout stations doesn’t give a shit. It would have been fun to be a fly on the wall at some meeting of Pathmark executives where they decided to do this. You just know they had to have known customers would get away with some filching, and decided it was still cost-effective because it meant fewer humans on the payroll, hence a savings that would outweigh the loss of loss prevention.