Friskians, pop quiz time! (Disclaimer: If your boss is standing nearby, please close this window ASAP. But then again, you would never cruise the internet during work hours would you?) Imagine you work in an office: You consider yourself a dutiful, honest employee, though you may have taken an extra granola bar or two from the office’s kitchen stash. In your spare time you have taken on some volunteer work helping out a non-profit company with a special project. You are tasked with making 10,000 copies for an upcoming meeting at the non-profit. Do you:
A) Go to Kinkos and pay way too much for the copies.
B) Ask your employer permission to make 10,000 copies for a “good cause.” Corporations love “good causes.”
C) Sneak into the office wearing all black at 9 p.m. when the last workaholic has gone home and make the copies.
D) Tell the non-profit company that you can’t afford to volunteer for them anymore and that they should find richer volunteers.I’ve already fessed up about my shady shoplifting past, so now it’s time to come clean and tell you that when I was personally faced with the above dilemma, I chose “C.” Before you judge me, check out this new study that reveals that four out of five people in the U.K. (80 percent!!) think that it’s fine to steal from their place of employment. But are we talking toilet paper here or cold, hard cash? Here are some confessions from other hardened workplace thieves.
“I always take pens. There, I said it. I need to keep one in my purse at all times to jot ideas down. And I’m always losing them. Plus, work always has the fancy inky kinds I would never splurge on.”
“I worked at a country store in high school and several of the young men on staff used to steal packs of cigarettes. They’d leave at the end of their shift and grab a pack off the shelf without paying for it. The boss eventually caught on and made me count the packs every night, check it with the number of sales, and report to him if there were any discrepancies. I thought he should have just fired these losers. I, personally, paid for every teeny, tiny little thing at that job. I felt silly putting 75 cents of my own money in the cash register to pay for some Dunk-a-roos, but I figured it was better than getting yelled at.”
“I am the office manager for my company and in charge of ordering all supplies from Staples. Let’s just say that once a month I have a field day ordering a few extra goodies to take home with me. I love me some neon Post-It Notes and Sharpies.”
“At the movie theater I used to work for there was no ticket-taker, meaning that if you were working in the box office, you [would] print the movie ticket, tear it in half, and give one part to the customer. I thought I’d devised a genius scam whereby I’d tear the ticket and then sell the second half to another customer and pocket the money. I’d do this a few times a night—basically enough to go buy myself dinner. I sometimes felt bad about it, but hey, I got paid minimum wage for the four years I worked there. Also, after year two, I caught another co-worker doing the exact same thing. Turns out like eight of us had concocted the same plan. Guess I’m not the most original thief.”
So what do you think? Have you ever stolen from work? We promise not to tell your boss.