Shopdropping: The Anti-Shoplifting

Have you heard about shopdropping? It’s the big new fad among burgeoning anarchists who, instead of stealing, spread havoc by smuggling unwelcome items into stores. Think Che shirts in Target’s clothing department, or unwanted bunnies roaming the pet store after Easter. It’s all very badass and has several stores in a tizzy.

At Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., religious groups have been hitting the magazines in the science section with fliers featuring Christian cartoons, while their adversaries have been moving Bibles from the religion section to the fantasy/science-fiction section.

This week an arts group in Oakland, the Center for Tactical Magic, began shopdropping neatly folded stacks of homemade T-shirts into Wal-Mart and Target stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. The shirts feature radical images and slogans like one with the faces of Karl Marx, Che Guevara and Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian anarchist. It says, “Peace on Earth. After we overthrow capitalism.”

“Our point is to put a message, not a price tag, on them,” said Aaron Gach, 33, a spokesman for the group.

Mr. Jennings’s anarchist action figure met with a befuddled reaction from a Target store manager on Wednesday in El Cerrito, Calif.

“I don’t think this is a product that we sell,” the manager said as Mr. Jennings pretended to be a customer trying to buy it. “It’s definitely antifamily, which is not what Target is about.”

What is Target about? Corporate mouthpiece Bethany Zucco explains:

Our goal at all times is to provide comfortable and distraction-free shopping.

Shopping takes focus, people! Shopdropping is a dangerous distraction, a threat that could make us stop and think about our purchases.

Anarchists in the Aisles? Stores Provide a Stage [NYT]
(Photo: Kike Arnal/The New York Times)

Comments

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  1. mac-phisto says:

    Our goal at all times is to provide comfortable and distraction-free shopping.

    then you might want to reconsider the blinding red decor.

  2. zibby says:

    Che shirts? Heck, they sell those at Disneyland nowadays…

  3. Kottles says:

    Do you get arrested for trying to take the shirts OUT of Target?

  4. MCShortbus says:

    Awesome. I wonder, will they still stop you at the door and ask you for a receipt if you just take one of these shirts?

  5. MCShortbus says:

    Whoops, sorry KOTTLES. Thats what I get for abusing Tabbed browsing and reading too many articles at once…

  6. DrGirlfriend says:

    Che is the new Mickey Mouse.

    I think it’s kinda funny, actually. Especially the battle going on at Powell’s.

  7. dadelus says:

    I used to do this all the time. In my neck of the woods they usually have a “Religious Fiction” section. I would amuse myself by moving copies of the bible to this section and then standing back to watch peoples reactions. Some people got the joke and simply chuckled. Others would nearly explode with righteous anger and demand the good book be put back in it’s rightful place among the stacks.

  8. Hambriq says:

    This sounds positively hilarious! Kind of like those people who film themselves throwing drinks at fast-food restaurant workers in the drive-through. Man, what a riot.

    It really boggles my mind that childish immaturity suddenly becomes tolerable because there’s some kind of “message” behind it. Flash mobs, anyone?

  9. Hambriq says:

    This sounds positively hilarious! Kind of like those people who film themselves throwing drinks at fast-food restaurant workers in the drive-through. Man, what a riot.

    [/sarcasm]

    It really boggles my mind that childish immaturity suddenly becomes tolerable because there’s some kind of “message” behind it. Flash mobs, anyone?

  10. EthnicRedneck says:

    It’s all fun and games until a stock-boy goes on a killing spree.

  11. GothamGal says:

    @EthnicRedneck:

    That is too funny and so true.

  12. CaptainSemantics says:

    Well, now I feel put in my place after laughing at the time I flipped all the boxes of pineapple upside-down cake mix box on its top while shopping at the grocery store.

  13. pegr says:

    What are they going to do, charge them with littering?

  14. CaptainSemantics says:

    @CaptainSemantics: on *their tops*

    Damn subject-verb agreement.

  15. @EthnicRedneck: SKU CHECK!!!!

  16. Curiosity says:

    I find it amusing that according to the article it is anti-consumerists artists who “slip replica products packaged with political messages onto shelves” hoping that people pick up the product to buy. It seems that they are consumerist, but just selling a different product – irony.

  17. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I’m all fine with it until they start replacing my food products with alternative labelel substitutes.

    I’m not so sure about “Vive La Revolucion” che-emblazoned anti-freedom fries.

  18. Curiosity says:

    @m4ximusprim3:
    Good point. I would bet that this is technically fraud since it damages the trademark of the corporation (or people) as well as some problem with agency where the person putting the things on the shelf are misrepresenting the business.

  19. SoCalGNX says:

    Assorted religious zealots have been targeting any reading material they do not agree with for years. Always thought it very cowardly.

  20. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    It sure is nice of the consumerist to promote these morons.

  21. Charles Duffy says:

    @Hambriq: I disagree that these varieties of “childish immaturity” are the same thing at all; the example you provide is blatantly malicious, while shopdropping (particularly adding new items to inventory, as opposed to relocating existing inventory — the latter is making work for people, after all) is far less so.

    And as for flash crowds — what’s wrong with organizing a flash crowd? Are adults somehow not allowed to exercise their freedoms in a manner which is amusing not only to themselves but to the public as a whole (excluding stick-in-the-muds like yourself)?

    To be sure, I live in a city where “Keep $CITY Weird” is an ongoing campaign with broad support from local businesses and one of our best recognized public figures is a homeless crossdresser. What fun is a life where nothing interesting or unusual ever happens?

  22. Imaginary_Friend says:

    The article calls them “anti-consumerist artists”, but they probably prefer the term “pro end user allies”.

  23. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Charles Duffy: “What fun is a life where nothing interesting or unusual ever happens?”

    Don’t you know that everything must always be taken Very Seriously?

  24. TechnoDestructo says:

    “Antifamily?”

    So “family” as an adjective means “Christian capitalist?”

  25. n/a says:

    This is really reaching for some of these religious groups.

  26. deserthiker says:

    Changing food labels is going way overboard. I don’t like anyone changing anything I am putting into my body.

    Isn’t this the same idea as the guy who left cyanide laced Tylenol on store shelves?

  27. banmojo says:

    @dadelus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Blessed are the peace makers ….”

    Yes, that IS truly fictional, isn’t it?

    Maybe you should try reading something cover to cover before coming to untrue conclusions. Then again, that would make you intelligent, which is a choice you apparently haven’t acted on yet.

    God bless.

  28. @m4ximusprim3: Che-ze Whiz?

  29. Sam says:

    Mitch Hedberg was ahead of the curve here:

    “I have an old CD. See, this one will be in stores. The only way I could get my old CD into a store was if I would take one in and leave it. They say, ‘Sir, you forgot this.’ ‘No I did not! That is for sale. Please alphabetize it.’”

  30. @deserthiker: Putting a sticker on a box, and poisoning other people to try and cover you murdering your husband. It isn’t the same frickin’ ballpark, it ain’t the same league, it ain’t even the same frickin’ sport.

    How is adding to a label changing what you put in your body. Unless you are eating the box….. Takes that suggested serving picture to a new level.

  31. Sam says:

    @Sam: From his CD Mitch All Together.

  32. Wubbytoes says:

    When I was a kid my friends and I would go into Hastings or Barnes & Noble and move the bibles to the fiction section all the time.

  33. DrTweeker says:

    For some reason the instant I seen this i was intrigued… i actually thought of the very first time I heard about flash-mobs on craigslist – it was the same feeling – complete fascination, and ‘oh boy, i can’t wait to participate’!

    Maybe it’s my youthful age, mindset, or just my generation, but things like this fascinate me. Living in a major city, i haven’t seen it yet, but now my eyes are open!

  34. rodeobob says:

    It’s the big new fad among burgeoning anarchists marketers

    There. Fixed that for ya!

  35. @rodeobob: It’s like the latest rage for kids that’s driving whole neighborhoods crazy.

    Whistle Tips!!

  36. Andrew says:

    Now I know what I’ll be doing next year. Here’s a hint: The Christian Science Reading Room and 500 copies of “Origin of Species”

  37. Charles Duffy says:

    @banmojo: Would you like me to pick out some eternal truths located in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series? I’m sure it has a few here and there, if I read it cover-to-cover. If that’s all it takes to make a book religion rather than fiction…

    I’m not agreeing that moving the Bible to the fiction section is necessarily a particularly appropriate action, but your argument as to why that action is inappropriate is lacking. After all, there’s plenty between the Bible’s two covers which is clearly not literally true; why is a sliver of truth (such as those you quote) arguably sufficient to qualify the entire work as truth while those slivers of nonliteral content aren’t enough to qualify the work as a whole as fiction?

    The strongest universally-acceptable argument for keeping the Bible in the religion section at a bookstore is probably that that’s where people interested in buying a copy are going to look for it; that’s an argument that even folks who don’t accept the contents as true (and there are plenty such people who have read the book cover-to-cover but fail to accept it as the literal word of God — arguing or inferring to the contrary is meritless) will accept.

  38. satyricrash says:

    With this resurgence of shopdropping, it’s now official, everything from the 80s has now come back. Reload now for the 90s.

  39. forgottenpassword says:

    Ugh! This reminds me of those wackjobs who put stickers under the “stop” on stop signs. When we FINALLY passed the concealed carry law (making licensed concealed carry of firearms legal) here in Missouri a bunch of these “gun” stickers started appearing under the “stop” on stop signs.

    Just seems pointless to me.

  40. dadelus says:

    @BANMOJO

    I’m going to make this comment and then drop the subject because I have no interest in starting a flame war with you.

    I have read the bible cover to cover. I was born into a very religious family. I spent most of my developmental years involved in the church organization and spent a lot of my free time reading the bible and contemplating it’s meaning. During that time I came to the realization that while it did present a number of interesting arguments for dealing with various issues in life, believing that it was the “literal truth” just didn’t seem logical to me. So yes, while I respect the bible as a book that can help people, I also do not believe that every word of it actually happened.

    Therefore, it is both Religious, and Fictional. So, having come to that conclusion on my own after careful consideration, I found what I thought to be a comical (and yes, juvenile) way of confronting others with my belief. Lets face it, if God didn’t have a sense of humor we wouldn’t have the platypus. :)

    As for the “Do unto others…” quote, well, that’s why I’m responding to you like this instead of trying to insult you and call you stupid. I don’t believe you are stupid, you simply have your own point of view, I have mine. If God didn’t want it that way free will wouldn’t exist.

  41. zingbot says:

    John Waters did something similar in “Pecker” called “Shopping for Other People:, which is dropping things into other people’s carts which would be embarassing or not something they would buy.

    This all makes us aware there is some unspoken barrier to messing with the shopping experience, even in a public place. It is funny to see it happen, but has potential to be a little risky.

  42. I like to take back the empty boxes, particularly ink cartridge boxes, and leave them in some obvious place in the stores so that they think the items have been stolen and the security thugs were asleep at the TV monitors.

    ——————-
    From: targetfiling.blogspot.com

    C. Five Steps for Apprehension
    Certified AP team members must observe all five steps prior to making a shoplifter apprehension.

    NOTE: If local law enforcement takes independent action and makes an apprehension before all five steps are met, the details must be documented in the CIRS report.

    1. Initiation of Observation – The subject must enter the store/area without possession of Target merchandise.
    2. Selection – The subject must be observed selecting Target merchandise from the display location.
    3. Concealment – The subject must be observed concealing the merchandise, or the AP team member must have NO reasonable doubt based on observations that the merchandise has been concealed by the subject.
    NOTE: If the merchandise is not actually concealed, it must be exposed as the subject exits or attempts to exit the store.
    4. Maintain Observation – The AP team member must maintain sufficient surveillance of the subject in order to know the location of the merchandise and ensure the subject does not discard the merchandise.
    NOTE: A Productive Merchandise Recovery (PMR) shall be attempted if surveillance is broken for any reason, or the AP team member can not maintain sufficient surveillance. (See PMR Directive).
    5. Failure to Pay for Merchandise/Exiting the Store -AP team member(s) must observe the subject attempt to exit the store without paying for the merchandise.
    NOTE: Some jurisdictions allow variances from the exiting requirement to allow apprehensions of concealed merchandise before an individual reaches the building’s exit. In these cases, the requirements must be documented and approved by the Director or Vice President of Assets Protection using the “Variance from Exiting Form” (found on the AP Zone).

    —————–
    D. Restroom / Fitting Room Apprehensions
    AP team members are not allowed to conduct surveillance or make apprehensions in restroom and/or fitting rooms.
    1. AP team members are not allowed to follow subject’s into a restroom or fitting room to conduct surveillance.
    2. AP team members shall not ask another team member to enter a fitting room or restroom to conduct surveillance.
    —————
    B. Searches of Private Residence or Motor Vehicles
    1. AP team members will NOT participate in a search of a private residence or motor vehicle.
    ————–
    1. Fleeing Shoplifter
    a. If a shoplifter attempts to flee after being confronted, do not give chase in any manner (running, driving, etc.).
    b. Store based AP team members shall not use any vehicle to follow or pursue a subject for any reason.
    c. AP team members shall not encourage, condone, suggest or ask another Target team member or anyone else to chase a fleeing shoplifter.
    —————-
    2. AP shall refer for prosecution all individuals apprehended for retail theft when the value of the merchandise is $20.00 or greater and the case meets local prosecution requirements.
    NOTE: If a case meets/exceeds the $20.00 referral guideline, but is NOT referred, the reason for non-referral must be included in the CIRS narrative. (Example: Local jurisdiction limits require merchandise in excess of $75.00 in order for prosecution.)
    3. A team member witness, of the same gender of the suspected shoplifter , must be present in the room at all times during the detention.
    ————–
    A. Photographing Shoplifters
    1. Adult shoplifters – AP shall photograph all adult shoplifters unless prohibited by local statutes or ordinances.
    2. Team Member Shoplifters – AP will not photograph any team member apprehended for shoplifting during working or non-working hours.
    3. Juvenile Shoplifters – AP will not photograph any juveniles apprehended for shoplifting, unless required by local statutes oordinances.
    ===========================
    And don’t forget to look at:
    [targetfiling.blogspot.com]
    [groups.msn.com]
    [sitemeterassetprotectiontargetstores&pw=%3A%3D%3A%3D%3A%3D%3A%3D]

  43. econobiker says:

    Pranking the store’s message.

    I particularly liked rob from cockeyed.com creating and then printing out menu pages with dining suggestions such as “fried lard” and getting the pages into TGIFridays graphic menues.

    Culture jamming is what I believe is the best reference to it:
    [en.wikipedia.org]

  44. chili_dog says:

    Proving for eleventy billionth time that anti-capitalistic nuts have ZERO ability to do more then harass a retailer.

    Their ideas have been proven invalid, and their commitment to a failed cause is an expression of mental instability.

    We should pity these fools who have no other outlet for such childish ideas.

  45. hapless says:

    @chili_dog:

    Sheesh, lighten up. This is hilarious. The fact that left-wing ideology is so very dead only makes it funnier.

  46. Curiosity says:

    @Felix the Cat:
    So I take it that AP believes wrongly that they are the police.

  47. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @banmojo:

    I’m sure Jesus loves your sarcasm and your calling someone unintelligent.

    So, you don’t think it’s fiction, eh? Are you a young earth creationist?

  48. jeffjohnvol says:

    I heard a comedian once say that for fun he would take his wife’s “personal masager/toy” and leave it at table of a neighbor’s garage sale to watch the other neighbor’s reaction. Hillarious.

  49. jamesdenver says:

    Local bands used to do this with CDs. Drop them into the bins of records stores to spark interest..

    I’ve never shopped dropped, but I’ve shopped-DUMPED. A few years back a department store featured a shirt with a cartoon Mexican spouting some stereotypes I found offensive (yes as a white guy.) I didn’t have a camera phone to blog about it, didn’t have time to tell the manager my feelings, so grabbed 10 shirts off the rack and shoved them in the garbage.

  50. jamesdenver says:

    @econobiker:

    Definitely – his “Bacon Churner” was a classic. Cockeyed.com rocks.

  51. goodkitty says:

    @chili_dog: Well I like it… and think about it: we give people no place to express themselves these days. I think most of these pro-consumer guerrilla anti-marketers are younger people, fresh out of the intellectual prison that is our modern school system. If you really want to be frightened, spend a day at a local high school. Those old movies where you can put on the special glasses and see ‘OBEY’ and ‘CONSUME’ everywhere? They’re real… and it’s happening right under our noses. Don’t be surprised when people, being actual, thinking, feeling, emotional beings, actually attempt to do something about it. Unless that is, you’re one of THEM!

    (Somewhere in here there’s room for a “Don’t tase me, bro” reference…)

    @JEFFJOHNVOL: That’s just mean… unless she goes and puts your dirty underwear and girly magazines out for sale too.

  52. dalejo says:

    It was all fun and games until the religious-right and hate-mongers thought it was a good idea too!

    Hopefully these jerks get prosecuted.

  53. @pegr: That’s what I would do.

  54. Kos says:

    These things are most likely actionable under NY Law. See [ypdcrime.com]

    S 145.14 Criminal tampering in the third degree.
    A person is guilty of criminal tampering in the third degree when,
    having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he
    has such right, he tampers with property of another person with intent
    to cause substantial inconvenience to such person or to a third person.
    Criminal tampering in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor.

    S 145.30 Unlawfully posting advertisements.
    1. A person is guilty of unlawfully posting advertisements when,
    having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he
    has such right, he posts, paints or otherwise affixes to the property of
    another person any advertisement, poster, notice or other matter
    designed to benefit a person other than the owner of the property.
    2. Where such matter consists of a commercial advertisement, it shall
    be presumed that the vendor of the specified product, service or
    entertainment is a person who placed such advertisement or caused it to
    be placed upon the property.
    Unlawfully posting advertisements is a violation.

    S 145.35 Tampering with a consumer product; consumer product defined.
    For the purposes of sections 145.40 and 145.45 of this article,
    “consumer product” means any drug, food, beverage or thing which is
    displayed or offered for sale to the public, for administration into or
    ingestion by a human being or for application to any external surface of
    a human being.

    S 145.40 Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree.
    A person is guilty of tampering with a consumer product in the second
    degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to
    believe that he has such right, and with intent to cause physical injury
    to another or with intent to instill in another a fear that he will
    cause such physical injury, he alters, adulterates or otherwise
    contaminates a consumer product.
    Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

    S 145.45 Tampering with a consumer product in the first degree.
    A person is guilty of tampering with a consumer product in the first
    degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to
    believe that he has such right, and with intent to cause physical injury
    to another or with intent to instill in another a fear that he will
    cause such physical injury, he alters, adulterates or otherwise
    contaminates a consumer product and thereby creates a substantial risk
    of serious physical injury to one or more persons.
    Tampering with a consumer product in the first degree is a class E felony.

  55. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @dalejo: Wait, so its ok to put the Bible in the fiction section, or express other lefty ideas, but the moment someone on the other side takes the same tactic they are hate-mongers and deserve to go to jail?

    Nice double standard.

  56. just_paranoid says:

    @Sam: i love mitch hedberg

  57. Womblebug says:

    Doesn’t the fact that they had to pay for the shirts and then pay for someone to print them kind of defeat the purpose?

    But then, you can’t be too bright if this is how you spread your message. Intelligent conversation and debate is right out, yo, let’s bother people and laugh when they become confused or uncomfortable. Viva the cause!

  58. dalejo says:

    @JUSTRUNTHEDAMNBALLBILLICK – you totally missed the point. You are saying the same thing I was. The nuts on the right have as much “right” as the nuts on the left but probably most people commenting here wouldn’t be cool with bible thumpers putting anti-gay literature in gay related books and such. Or how about some good ‘ol KKK material being put out there?

    As for hate-mongers, they are also on both sides of the fence. The left is just as guilty pushing their opinions as the only correct ones.

    If I owned a business and any group came into my store and tried this crap, I’d do everything possible to make sure they are held responsible. Just because it might be a corporation they are messing with doesn’t make them any more just in this action.

  59. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @dalejo: Well then, affirmed…

  60. Rabbigrrl says:

    Could they just send me one of the t-shirts?

  61. Youthier says:

    I don’t get why this is even worthwhile activism. I mean, a religious person sees a Bible in the fiction section and goes, “Huh. I guess it is.” Or someone pro-choice sees an “Abortion” sticker on a stop sign and thinks, “Damn it, they’re right. Pro-life, baby!”

    It doesn’t bother me and as someone upthread said, life would be boring if everything was Very Serious but this seems sort of juvenile and ineffective.

  62. UpsetPanda says:

    @dalejo: Exactly. This is childish, annoying, ineffective, and offensive. Freedom of speech is not the “right” to annoy people in a legitimate business. People have to work in this environment. No wonder as people grow up, they finally understand why every adult hated them when they were teenagers.

  63. trollkiller says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.: I think dalejo was being sarcastic.

  64. trollkiller says:

    Keep putting those Bibles in the fiction section, while you are at it put some in the cooking, photography, or computer sections.

    Silly heatherns, they don’t know they are doing God’s work by getting the message out.

  65. deserthiker says:

    @GitEmSteveDave:

    Tampering with food labels is one step away from tampering with food. I am not bothered by someone leaving a T-shirt, a CD or pamphlet in a store to make a point. Replacing food product labeling is moving into a territory that becomes dangerous. What is someone thinks it’s funny to put soup labels on dog food cans or vice versa? Is that cool with you? If someone wants to put a food label on something, then they should produce some food and put a funny label on it.

  66. mylaptopisevil says:

    Way to fight the system by giving them more things to ironically sell, I guess.

  67. Charles Duffy says:

    @HeyHermano: You’re absolutely right that nobody who’s made up their mind will have their opinion changed by such tactics. On the other hand, people who haven’t made up their minds yet can be influenced by what they see as the weight of public opinion.

    That said, I generally agree: Anyone who sees this as a serious proselytization mechanism is barking up the wrong tree; having some fun and making the world a weirder place is a much more achievable outcome.

  68. Charles Duffy says:

    @deserthiker: There are degrees to anything. Swapping dog food and soup can labels is not at all like putting a sticker on a package truthfully claiming “Now with Twice the RDA of Sodium in Every Serving!”. Making laws with the former case in mind which would punish the latter inordinately is a scary scenario, but that’s just what “all food label tampering is like poisoning!” leads to.

  69. Mary says:

    @Hambriq: I completely agree. If you’re doing something like this to actually make people think, then maybe I can give you a pass.

    But moving the Bible to Sci-Fi? I worked at a bookstore for six years, I know the type that does that. They aren’t trying to make a point, they’re trying to be “better than those people.” They’re rubbing their opinions in other’s faces.

    Same goes for the people leaving pamphlets, actually. Neither is something I would consider interesting. The homemade t-shirts actually are intriguing, but then they show some thought and effort.

  70. b612markt says:

    Awesome. The first time I heard of this was when a guerilla remix artist re-did some of Paris Hilton’s tracks and “shopdropped” them into top record stores in England. It was great.

  71. Eric says:

    Sounds Fight Flub esqe. I like it.

  72. Shred says:

    What the hell is anti-family about this? And why didn’t the reporter follow-up with that question? It’s bad journalism to let someone say something that makes no sense and then just print it without question. It’s a tacit agreement with the statement; “why, yes, political theater is anti-family” or “heck yeah, capitalism is awesome for families.”

    Also, I do not get how anyone can compare thoughtful political commentary with throwing a soda at a drive-thru clerk. Nor do I understand what annoys some of the commenters about people who attempt to respond to the incessant advertising onslaught or to engage in a public dialogue through the few avenues available to those without boatloads of money.

    Why does it seem that The Consumerist is frequented by thoughtless, non-political, capitalist-happy, er, consumers who think that consumers who get screwed by corporations somehow deserved the screwing? Are they the majority of Consumerist readers or just the most vocal? How about a readership survey with published results, dear editors?

  73. @deserthiker: Hrmmm, this chicken soup is a little lumpy, not chicken, and has a tastes dogs ask for by name. Nope, label says soup, must be soup!!!

    What these people do is stick stickers on the labels. I found one on a red bull can that had the bulls screwing each other. It stuck over the main logo. What you propose is a slippery slope, which when presented like that, makes adding a sticker akin to sticking pins in cans of coke.

  74. no.no.notorious says:

    @SoCalGNX: acutally, i think they’re defending themselves, like everyone has the right to do.

  75. nardo218 says:

    *sigh* Annoying underpaid overworked employees will get you nowhere. Send the bunnies to the CEO’s office to get results. And make sure you sharpen their claws.

  76. crankymediaguy says:

    “Wait, so its ok to put the Bible in the fiction section, or express other lefty ideas, but the moment someone on the other side takes the same tactic they are hate-mongers and deserve to go to jail?”

    Uh, why don’t you go to Las Vegas so you can tell Penn Jillette to his fact that he (an atheist) is a “lefty”?

    Being against organized religion is not inherently a left-wing point of view, no matter what Bill O’Reilly tells you.

  77. quail says:

    ?? Nothing new here. Pranksters have done this forever. Back in the 70′s, before even the Heathkit computer, my pals and I took rub-on lettering, made stickers and stuck them on the outside of cereal boxes at the grocery stores. “Makes you poop. Down your leg and in your boot.” Was one of our favorites.

  78. kc2idf says:

    I have also heard this called droplifting, though, clearly, shopdropping is a more correct term.

    There used to be (maybe still is) a web site called the Droplift Project, which had, available for download, a full CD worth of copyright-infringing found-sound music. The idea was to take the music, burn it to a CD, download and print the cover art, make it look all professional, and then shopdrop the CD in the record store(s) of your choice.

  79. machete_bear says:

    @Hambriq: Beat me to the punch. This isn’t going to ‘make anyone think’, it’s just going to cause confusion and more work for some unsuspecting store manager.

    Grow up and get a real job.

  80. vladthepaler says:

    If you take something that was “shopdropped” without paying for it, is it still considered shoplifting?

  81. RvLeshrac says:

    @crankymediaguy:

    I’m sure Penn would respect his opinion on the matter.

    Of course, the vast majority of the religious public seems to be incapable of accepting that, and he’d likely goad Penn into calling security, at the least.

    I find it amusing that an atheist will more frequently just shut up when confronted with someone whose mind is not going to be changed, while a religious nut will argue the point for years until it is conceded.

    I really don’t think they’re trying to convince the OTHER person…

  82. RvLeshrac says:

    @machete_bear:

    Agreed.

    I’m all for free speech. I love free speech. I can’t seem to convince people like this that these things do *IRREVOCABLE DAMAGE* to that right.

    I had a roommate once who insisted that things like burning the flag during the presidential inauguration and pelting the President’s car with vegetables was “exercising free speech,” and I can’t argue with that. I can, however, argue against it being *appropriate* or *beneficial* in any way.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to convince these types of people that smashing in the windows at a Starbucks or throwing things through the front door of a McDonalds is simply wrong, and that this is no different – putting additional items on the shelf puts the retailer at great risk – what if the shirt you’ve dropped off is filled with lead (assuming the ones at the store aren’t), the stickers you’ve placed on the canned food contain the wrong ingredient list (I hope you can live with yourself after killing the guy with the corn allergy!), etc. etc. etc.

  83. Nor do I understand what annoys some of the commenters about people who attempt to respond to the incessant advertising onslaught or to engage in a public dialogue through the few avenues available to those without boatloads of money.

    @Shred: I would argue that since some of this is actually illegal it isn’t really an “available avenue”.

    What’s annoying about it is:
    1) Someone has to fix it after you’ve moved or tampered with the products. They can’t leave the Bible in the fiction section just because someone decided to move it there.
    2) Moving and tampering with the products makes it hard for people to find what they are looking for. This could even result in lost sales if customers assume you are simply out of the product.
    3) People don’t like it when you leave stuff on their property. You wouldn’t like it if someone dumped a bunch of t-shirts in your front yard.

  84. MCShortbus says:

    @AngrySicilian: I think that would become an SKS check…

  85. drjayphd says:

    @kc2idf: Still there, just use the Google. I’ll have to download both of these when I get home…

  86. Jean Naimard says:

    Many, many, many moons ago, I was working for a small software company which made custom software for the $SPECIFIC_FINANCIAL_SECTOR industry. My boss and I would go visit some computer stores, always packing a floppy with the latest version of the software we were working on.

    We’d sneak the diskette in a computer and start the software, play a bit with it, then ask a sales clerk about that software which seemed to “do exactly what we need”…

    Most of the time, the salesmen was trying to bullshit his way into showing how he knew the software to sell it to us…

  87. cde says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    1) Yes they can.
    2) Moving, not illegal. Tampering (i.e. opening, chaning labels) yes.
    3) I would love bunch of new, snarky tshirts.

  88. swalve says:

    Since when is fucking with people OK?

    I hate anarchists.

  89. dalejo says:

    @swalve – apparently it is ok when you think it’s funny or agree with their message.

  90. Hambriq says:

    @Charles Duffy:

    I disagree that these varieties of “childish immaturity” are the same thing at all… shopdropping (particularly adding new items to inventory, as opposed to relocating existing inventory — the latter is making work for people, after all) is far less so.

    Have you never worked a retail job in your life? For those of you who haven’t (think back to your summer job at *insert store here*), let me clue you in. Dealing with stunts like this is bound to be annoying as hell.

    Again, what it boils down to is, we’re condoning immaturity and obnoxiousness simply because there’s a “message” behind it. Granted, this isn’t as malicious as, say, throwing the drinks at the drive-through workers. But it’s about as cool and grown up as saying “Anarchy Rules!” over the paging system at your local Mega-Mart.

    P.S. The only reason Austin can afford to be so “weird” is because it is permanently subsidized by UT students and rich suburbanite high school kids who think that shopping on the drag equals culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city, but its “weirdness” is about as canned and superficial as anything I’ve ever seen.

  91. Hambriq says:

    I disagree that these varieties of “childish immaturity” are the same thing at all… shopdropping (particularly adding new items to inventory, as opposed to relocating existing inventory — the latter is making work for people, after all) is far less so.

    Have you never worked a retail job in your life? For those of you who haven’t (think back to your summer job at *insert store here*), let me clue you in. Dealing with stunts like this is bound to be annoying as hell.

    Again, what it boils down to is, we’re condoning immaturity and obnoxiousness simply because there’s a “message” behind it. Granted, this isn’t as malicious as, say, throwing the drinks at the drive-through workers. But it’s about as cool and grown up as saying “Anarchy Rules!” over the paging system at your local Mega-Mart.

    P.S. The only reason $CITY can afford to be so “weird” is because it is permanently subsidized by $MASSIVE_LOCAL_UNIVERSITY students and rich suburbanite high school kids who think that shopping on the drag equals culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city, but its “weirdness” is about as canned and superficial as anything I’ve ever seen.

  92. cde says:

    @Hambriq: We condone murder and invasion because there’s a cause behind it. We also condoned theft, destruction of property, and general crime because there was a cause behind it (American Revolution)

  93. LucyInTheSky says:

    this is awesome. seriously. this is the only reason i would ever enter a walmart. and this would be a great reason =)

  94. chili_dog says:

    @cde: We also condoned theft, destruction of property, and general crime because there was a cause behind it (American Revolution)

    I suggest you leave America.

  95. RvLeshrac says:

    @chili_dog:

    I hope that was sarcasm!

    If not, well… the truth doesn’t change just because someone wants it to.

    If some people tried to do the same things that were done during the American Revolution today, we’d call them terrorists and torture them half to death.

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter, after all.

  96. chili_dog says:

    A bit of sarcasm. But for anyone who has actually traveled outside the US border will see that unless you go to some god-forsaken hell hole like Africa everywhere is basically the same.

    However, folks that are “upset” over the founding of and actions of the capitalistic society that is America, are more then welcome to go and live where their ideals exist.

  97. RvLeshrac says:

    @chili_dog:

    Actually, folks that are upset over the founding and actions of America are *more* welcome to live here and work to change the country.

    That’s the entire purpose of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, you know. The founders of the country didn’t want another England, where the rulers were absolutely powerful and ‘did no wrong.’ They wanted a society where the norm was “speak frequently and often,” not “shut up or have your head lopped off.”

  98. RvLeshrac says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    “speak frequently and loudly,” rather. Yeesh.

  99. Charles Duffy says:

    @Hambriq

    Again, what it boils down to is, we’re condoning immaturity and obnoxiousness simply because there’s a “message” behind it. Granted, this isn’t as malicious as, say, throwing the drinks at the drive-through workers. But it’s about as cool and grown up as saying “Anarchy Rules!” over the paging system at your local Mega-Mart.

    Again, there are shades of grey. Putting a sticker on the label of some canned food pointing out its MSG or sodium or [whatever] content can be done in such a way as to be a reasonably calculated mechanism for making people think. That’s the point to this kind of stunt, after all, if it’s done well — and if the stickers make the product unsaleable (or obscure the nutrition guidelines, or so forth), the stunt isn’t being done well. If it’s done badly… well, yeah, annoyance created (at minimum) and no minds changed.

    (BTW, wrt Austin’s weirdness being canned, some of it is; some of it isn’t. Certainly, the kind that isn’t isn’t what the “Keep Austin Weird” folks are spending their money promoting… but if you’re hanging out with the right sets of people, Austin is indeed a very interesting place. Not that I hang with those people much these days, but I still have a certain fondness for them).

  100. Hambriq says:

    @cde:

    improper analogy

    Right. And at the end of the day, we look at what those actions caused and decide whether or not it was worth all the trouble. So, take your example of the American Revolution and decide for yourself.

    In this case, what exactly did we gain as a result of these “shopdroppers”? A couple self-important ‘artists’ getting their jollies and the teenager behind the counter at the local MegaMart getting a giant headache from having to deal with it. Sounds pretty noble to me, huh? After all, “It’s all very badass.”

  101. Hambriq says:

    @Charles Duffy:

    Again, there are shades of grey…

    I agree (see my comment above this one). And granted, some of the stunts were rather benign. But what I found particularly troubling was the fact that Consumerist was glorifying the more disruptive stunts. “It’s all very badass and has several stores in a tizzy.”

    What it comes down to is, the kind of shopdropping that Consumerist is glorifying isn’t going to cause any corporations to change their ways or anyone to stop and think. The only people who it adversely affects are the shift workers on the lowest end of the totem pole who have to deal with the ensuing confusion. Ironically, those are the people who profit the least from (and, if you want to go so far, are exploited by) the very thing these shopdroppers are trying to attack.

  102. Hambriq says:

    Oh, and as per “Keeping Austin Weird”… What I take issue with is people being weird for the sake of being weird, using the city’s slogan as justification.

    The city is a great city because many diverse interests are represented and there is a strong cultural identity that is supported by local businesses. You contribute to that by becoming part of that community, not by being weird for the sake of being weird. Generally, those people end up contributing the least to the identity of the city because they have nothing of their own to bring to the table, which is why they have to fall back on “being weird” as their sole defining trait.

    …But that’s a rant for a different day.

  103. Charles Duffy says:

    @Hambriq: Well, yeah. None of the folks I consider interesting self-identify as weird, at least not without being asked — but they fit in here, and wouldn’t necessarily elsewhere.

  104. comedian says:

    @just_paranoid: I love Mitch Hedberg too, he was truly ahead of his time.

    I thought of him just last night when I was walking up a broken escalator at Sears and caught myself thinking, “An out of order escalator is stairs. The sign should say, “Escalator is out or order, sorry for the convenience.””

    Too bad his addictions finally got the better of him in 2005.