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)