Angela and Vanessa Simmons, daughters of Reverend Run of Run-D.M.C., are following the Hot Topic business model of ripping off the designs of other people. In this case, their fashion line Pastry keeps putting out t-shirt designs that are uncomfortably similar to the tees that Johnny Cupcakes puts out first. Last Spring, he had his lawyer contact them about trademark infringement, but he says that hasn’t stopped them from using his line as a free design resource. Classy!
Another electronics store was taken for millions by an invoice-fixing scheme: a buyer for Best Buy and a vendor have been charged with overcharging Best Buy $31 million over four years.
Once again, Hot Topic is selling someone else’s art as original work. The mallternative retail chain purchased the supposedly original design from Newbreed Girl, which has its own history of ripping off designs.
Reader Angel writes that a DirecTV installer in Oklahoma added a cable to her house, and subtracted $10 in quarters and a nine millimeter.
What kind of world do we live in where even dogs have started shoplifting? A mildly amusing world, that’s what kind.
Between 1992 and 2003, Citibank operated an “automatic sweeping” program that would without notice remove positive balances from customers’ credit card accounts—mainly those of the poor and the recently deceased—and pocket the money. Now it’s paying back $14 million dollars to the affected customers, plus another $3.5 million in penalties to California, thanks to that state’s Attorney General.
John at Needcoffee.com writes that he’s come to expect the occasional “damaged in transit” theft of items from packages he ships or receives, at least through the U.S Postal Service. With private carriers, however, he notes that he’s always had better luck. But last week he opened a box of DVDs shipped to him via FedEx to discover a rusty can of $5 house paint.
Last Thursday, a 400-pound man in his early thirties was confronted at a Macy’s in Oakland, California, and accused of shoplifting a hat from the men’s department. According to CBS News in San Francisco, “Security officers at the mall then attempted to arrest and detain Gomes, who allegedly resisted and assaulted security personnel, according to police.” The police were called, but on their way to the mall they received a follow-up report that the man had become unresponsive. He died later that evening at a hospital.
The Freakonomics Blog had an interesting piece the other day about shoplifting in supermarkets. Theft of “Health and Beauty” items (usually the most stolen category) is down this year. The category has been surpassed by “meat and analgesics.” When we’re broke we want to eat a steak and get numb, right? That’s the American dream, right there.