Confess your micro-crimes here

Sometimes I take an extra packet of Splenda from Starbucks to use on my cereal in the morning.

On several occasions I may have “forgotten” I had put a nice pen in my pocket at work.

Before going travelling I always stop by a local fast food franchise and gather a few packets of: ketchup, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, plus a few of those finger wiping, wet one, style packets.

They all fit in a zip lock bag, and reside in the bottom of one of the compartments in my day pack, so they’re always with me. They weight next to nothing to carry around.

And most every trip, at least one of those items, has proven invaluable, somewhere along the journey. (My last trip we scored some great Malay food right before jumping on a long haul bus, but it came without utensils of any kind! No worries, got it covered! Trip before that, actually had a run in with a jellyfish, and had vinegar right in my bag!)

I know you’re thinking, “As long as you’re eating there, they probably don’t care!”

But I loathe fast food. Can’t stomach it. Never eat it. So I do, in fact, just go there to get their goodies.

I steal plastic utensils from the work breakroom

Years ago I bought some paint at a now defunct hardware chain. 4 coats would not cover my living room walls. I brought the remaining paint back to the store and asked for a refund which was refused because the paint was gone. I was so angry I decided to shop lift my refund. No guilt here.

I’m not quite sure that last one there is a micro-crime.

When getting a self-serve, no-free-refills fountain drink like at the work cafeteria or 7-11 or wherever, I fill the cup, take a few big gulps, then top it off.

Whenever inside a Taco Bell I take WAY more hot sauce packets than I’m going to use for that meal, like 2 fistfuls. I started doing this because when you go to the drive-thru they only give you like 3 packets, so I wanted to have some at home in reserve.

So you tried to return an empty paint can and get paid for the entire empty can and upon refusal you stole from the store. Nice.

While traveling for work I once bought a can of tuna fish and a small package of plastic forks to eat for lunch. I ate only half the tuna fish and only used one fork and kept the rest but I expensed the cost of the entire can and all the forks.

*Note: The true story is that I know someone who did get the tuna fish and forks and then only expensed half the tuna and the cost of one fork.

Last week I scored a few packs of Louisiana hot sauce, and salt and pepper packs from the deli counter at the grocery store. I “needed” them to take to work.

But they had to pay for the whole can of tuna. You can’t buy half a can. And you can’t save tuna while you’re traveling for your personal use later. They incurred the cost of an entire can of tuna even though they only ate half.

Forks, well, I guess if you saved the rest of the forks for your own use. But expensing only half a can of tuna isn’t super moral; it’s just dumb.

I often leave the dog park with an unused poop bag that I got in case my dog needed it while we were there.

No way man, Big Brother is always watching! (o ) (o )

I take extra saltine packets from the supermarket salad bar and put them in the top drawer of my desk. They are my mid-morning snack. I’ve probably eaten hundreds of completely free saltine crackers by now.

He may have mentioned saving half the can for later. It doesn’t matter, he was entitled to expense the entire cost even if he kept the extra forks. He was living up to his own moral code, I respected him for that even I didn’t find his code to be sensible.

Anyone remember hearing about JonBenét Ramsey a few years back? Well,


I’ve got a jar in my kitchen, filled with sugar packets from various donut shops and fast food joints. These go in my weekend morning coffee.

I’m so ashamed.

Whenever I get coffee from somewhere that has little flavored coffee creamers, I always grab a few them but never use them. I stockpile them for the weeks when the budget’s REALLY tight and I have to buy a can of Chock Full O’ Nuts or similar instead of a pound of real coffee at home. Two Irish Cream packets into a large mug of awful preground coffee and I can barely taste my poor finances.

While on the confessional streak, the first time I ever did a propane tank exchange at one of those automated kiosk exchange things, I wound up essentially shoplifting a tank of propane. The first door popped open, and there was a full tank in there. I took it out, put my empty in, and started to leave. Then a second door popped open and the screen told me to take the tank. I put both the full tanks in my car, confused as to what happened. I thought I might have accidentally bought both a refill and a new tank. Upon reflection, I realized that the first door was supposed to be empty, but something got screwed up in the system. But since the employee of the store pretty adamantly refused to help me with the process in the first place, I didn’t really feel super inclined to drive the extra tank back to the store.

I occasionally grab a few paper towels from the outside dispenser at gas stations. I used to eat at McDonald’s a lot back in '84-'86. I was newly out on my own, and their cheeseburgers were 39 cents. I used to grab napkins for home. One time I swiped a whole pepper shaker- the gray plastic, non-refillable kind.

I’m better now, but for many years I would ask for a water cup at fast food joints and fill it up with soda. The infamous east coast soda bandit was me. I would read about people getting in trouble for it, and it would always confuse me, since no employee ever said anything to me through the many years of wanton soda theft.

These days I am avoiding soda, but I still like bubbles in my water, so I always pay for a soda cup even though I fill it up with just seltzer and no syrup. Its a simple, down to earth living, far from the danger and glamour of my old ways, and that’s just how I like it.

Once, at a wedding reception, two of us exchanged the contents of the salt shakers and sugar bowls in the banquet storage room of a large hotel in Mission Valley. We said bad words too.