One NY group is holding workshops to teach “shopdropping,” which they explain is “the opposite of shoplifting.” Basically, they want you to print out their “improved” labels and place them in retail locations. The organization also provides PDFs of the labels they’ve made so you can cut out and tape them to the appropriate products with ease. An interesting idea, but we wonder if it makes any difference? Does printing out someone else’s labels and affixing them to still another person’s merchandise really mean anything? Does shopdropping have “biting back” potential, or is it just a waste of time?—MEGHANN MARCO

CultureJamming 101: ShopDropping [via Gothamist]


Edit Your Comment

  1. thejbs says:

    3 hours of labor coloring and pasting those goofy labels so a stock boy can throw it in the garbage after a few minutes.

    Even an el salvadorian onion picker wouldn’t bother with that kind of waste of time.

    looks like a bad thesis project. could they be any less enthusiastic in that video?

  2. thejbs says:

    and saying “i’m going shopdropping” just sounds stupid.

  3. LAGirl says:

    damn commies!

  4. KevinQ says:

    I wanted to do this once in a grocery store near where I worked.

    They had a rack of cheap champagne, with the sign “For That Romantic Evening.” Valuing truth-in-advertising, I wanted to post my own that said:

    “Get ‘er Drunk! $9.99”

    Then I remembered that I’m an adult.


  5. crayonshinobi says:

    I think did this with the custom label ketchup bottles you can order from Heinz…though for comedic effect and not to make some kind of political point.

  6. AtomikB says:

    Have you ever seen a Salvadoran pick onions, thejbs? I have, and believe you me, they do NOT waste ANY time. It’s like an onion-picking tornado. If you want to criticize any nationality for being time-wasters, why don’t you start with your own?

    Back to the subject at hand, modifying a retailer’s merchandise is a form of vandalism, and of bad taste. If you think items should be stocked based on their comic value, open your own store.

  7. This sounds a lot like the people taking Bibles from the Religious sections of the bookstore and putting them in Fantasy/Sci-Fi.

    It may look hip, but you’re not making any particular kind of statement. You’re just making more work for the poor employee that has to remove the stuff you stuck on.

  8. forgeten says:

    This really doesn’t do anything except like urban said make you look hip. I fail to see how see how putting labels on food showing migrant workers working is doing anything , i can’t imagine that this is new information to anyone. And what to these people want you to do? Stop buying onions? Then your really not helping the migrant workers. I hate pseudo-social actions such as these. Talk about the working conditions , help organize them or something oh wait that doesn’t involve hip words and arty video

  9. thejbs says:

    atomikB – relax, you missed the point entirely. I have no doubt that they work thier arses off and do a fine job.

    I’m just saying that the people who this project is trying to shed light on would probably think the whole thing was stupid. i.e. a waste of time.

    I’m sorry whatever ‘people’ you come from are a little slow to pick up in sarcasm.

  10. Mark says:

    I don’t know about “hip” per-se, sounds more “metrosexual” to me.

    It also sounds like a colossal waste of time.

  11. chimmike says:

    Hippies. All of them.

    ….attention… hippies….put the hemp down. International barter exchange is more effective…….

  12. chimmike says:


    hemp is not the greatest thing around.

    International barter exchange is more effective.

    Now go get real jobs and report to us after you start earning money for yourselves.

  13. Scuba Steve says:

    It sounds like a fantastic way to get banned from your favorite shopping center.

  14. Motor_Head says:

    Like urban bohemian said. I’ve seen too many Xtians flipping Harry Potter books over to see any value in “shop dropping”.

    That, and I am not really sure that anyone would get the message from those labels. This idea is 90% bong water and 10% stupidity.

  15. Benny Gesserit says:

    I’m reminded of those “Postman: No Junk Mail Please” signs I see from time to time. Do these people honestly believe that somewhere a junk mail purveyor will call his/her printer and say “No, Jerry, I only need 999,997 copies this month. Three households don’t want them”?

    Wake up and smell the politically incorrect coffee!

  16. timmus says:

    I am vastly more in favor of using labels that are vastly more direct and humiliating. Most shoppers would not really pay attention, I think. Plus I think most shoppers really don’t care… they’d go buy packages of Kraft Poop Slices as long as it was cheap, fat-free, and tested for E. coli.

  17. mendel says:

    I’m reminded of those “Postman: No Junk Mail Please” signs I see from time to time.

    In some areas, the postman (the real government worker, not some local advertising company) has to obey those.

  18. infinitysnake says:

    Sure it’s silly, but it can be funny. When Space hijackers did the bit with the Stalin/Hitler action figures and the clueless checkers at Walmart, it was funny. Not sure I care for the guilt-tripping political stuff (like the asses who used to paste orange ‘meat is murder’ stickers at Safeway), but I would love to see the funny stuff in my store..that would make my day, I think.

  19. Michael says:

    A while back I decided to “enhance” the local Borders bookstore by printing Customers who bought this item also bought… info from (which Borders partners with for its online presence) on labels and sticking them to the shelf near relevant titles.

    I saw the manager take a close look at a few of them and exclaim, “Hey, this is a great idea!” and then she presumably went off to track down the employee responsible and give them a raise.

    Another time I did something similar with customer reviews. I guess I was acting out some sort of bizarre graffiti fantasy. Thankfully I’m over it.

  20. spanky says:

    I am usually positively inclined toward culture jamming, as long as it’s well done and/or funny. But that was just a big dumb pile of assorted fuck.

    Anyway, I have a related question: Why do smug people always blink really slowly and wear stupid hats? Is that correlation or causation?

  21. Michael Bauser says:

    I’ve been the “victim” of crazy right-wing shopdropping twice in my life:

    First time, back in the mid-1980s, my brother bought a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. (Yeah, I’m a dork.) When we opened it, a Jack Chick tract (Dark Dungeons, of course) fell out. Apparently the Chick freaks had razored a slit into the game’s shrinkwrap so they could slide the tract in. As I recall, my brother and I just thought it was weird, but our mother was really upset about it.

    Second time, back in the mid-1990s, I was working at a drug store. Somebody was sneaking business cards for a white power group into magazines that had African-Americans on the covers. I couldn’t get my co-workers to take that one seriously, so I had to stake out the magazine aisle by watching it from inside the dairy cooler — I caught a couple of middle school kids doing it! I got right in their smug little faces and told them to never come into the store again. (I never touched them, just scared them.) That stopped that.

    So, yeah, there are dumber things you can find at the store.

  22. Frank Grimes says:

    Brought to us by the same asshats that thought “Falsh Mobbing” (was that what it was called?) was cool

  23. royal72 says:

    i suggest steve and amanda get themselves a prescription of happy pills and watch something funny on tv.

  24. rich815 says:

    Friggin’ self-important losers with WAY too much time on their hands. AND their artwork sucks too. They teach a “course” in this? I cannot believe how serious they take themselves. Gimme a break. At first I thought the video was a spoof, those two sure look the stero-type a spoof would use.

  25. Benny Gesserit says:

    Re: “Postman, please…”

    Exactly my point, mendel. The homeowner is self-righteous – “Well, we never let the stuff enter the house” – while it’s the mail deliverer who has to deal with a dozen flyers instead.

    If they want to do something, accept the stuff, call the junkmail source, rip them a new one and recycle.

  26. shoegazer says:

    “Steve Lambert, the Anti-Advertising Agency”? “Culture Jamming?” What a pretentious pack of posers. I’m getting flashbacks graphic design class. God save us all from well meaning slackers with time on their hands.

    and spanky: it’s correlation. brain damage also causes you to blink slowly.

  27. medalian1 says:

    Dang I thought this was printing your own UPCs and sticking them over the regular UPC and getting it for less money :( Doing this thing (shopdropping) is really gay.

  28. Dang I thought this was printing your own UPCs and sticking them over the regular UPC and getting it for less money

    I thought it was printing out improved/correct nutrition information: covering up misleading “all natural” labels, replacing “0g trans fat” with “less than 1g trans fat”, making it clear the beef meatballs, hotdogs, etc. have pork in them, and stuff like that.

  29. r3m0t says:

    Reminds me of the “defective by design” stickers. A lot of wasted effort and paper over nothing.

  30. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    This doesn’t even rise to the level of slacktivism–it’s probably some college kid’s idea of changing the world, utterly ignorant of how the world works. I’d bet that the ratio of people who will buy the stuff just because it’s got a neat label (without ever reading it) to the number of people who take the time to read the label and actually consider the source of the products that they buy and who makes them to be 10:1, and I’m being generous.

    Stickering Sony albums with the invasive rootkit on them–now that I can dig.