Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Theft Certificate

A gift to steal for
  (+9, -7)
(+9, -7)
  [vote for,

This theft certificate entitles the recipient bearer, during a limited period (1 week?), to try to steal what he or she can from the affiliated stores listed on the card. Any goods taken without discovery may be kept, but any foiled larceny will result in voiding the certificate. Furthermore, no violent means may be used and no damage may be caused in stealing the stores’ property.

The stores issuing these certificates would not only earn money by their sale, they could thoroughly test their security systems. These would be establishments that would welcome the publicity directed toward and attempts on their “foolproof” detection of shoplifters.

The over-eighteen recipient of this unique certificate may be too apprehensive to make use of it or may obtain illicit excitement from trying to steal his or her own gifts.

FarmerJohn, Jul 22 2002

(?) Terry Pratchett - Guards, Guards! http://www.digiserv.../Guards-Guards.html
Look about a quarter of the way down, or search for "thieves guild". [PeterSilly, Jul 22 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Card forgers would have an absoloute field day
The_Englishman_Abroad, Jul 22 2002

       This would be great fun but...I could buy a couple of certificates and practice being a thief without the danger of being sentenced to any crime. After a while, if I'd become any good I would no longer need the certificates.
Jinbish, Jul 22 2002

       Hmm. Kind of like Terry Pratchett's Thieves Guild idea (see link). Why not go the whole hog and introduce that kind of concept? Otherwise I'm not too sure what the purpose of this is.
PeterSilly, Jul 22 2002

       Well, there's a bit of a logic issue here, dear Farmer. If you must use it without discovery, how will the issuing merchant know whether it was used?   

       What is to prevent the issuee from making a second theft, or third etc? As many thefts as they want to attempt... when they get caught, they could always claim it was the first attempt.   

       Those who excel at shoplifting would not bother to pay for the privilege.
waugsqueke, Jul 22 2002

       The_Englishman&Abroad: Of course there would have to be some sort of ID check and that the certificate is authenticate as with gift certificates today.   

       PeterSilly: The purpose being to give an exciting, different "present" and being crass commersialism.   

       Mephista: Some interesting ideas, though TV might popularize and publicize theft instruction too much.   

       waugsqueke: The merchant probably wouldn't know until the inventory is checked, if the store had won or lost on the proposal. Maybe the validity period should be set at one day only, and I was thinking of unlimited number of successful thefts until caught (if caught) whereupon the recipient's certificate becomes void and the latest contraband is held by the merchant. Further thefts after being caught or after the valid day would be prosecuted. This somewat immoral idea is not meant for proficient shoplifters.
FarmerJohn, Jul 22 2002

       No matter how you whitewash it, I'm paying for something someone else gets for free. Unless the 'License to Steal' costs $50,000.
phoenix, Jul 22 2002

       [phoenix]: it's not that much different from the store having a raffle, giving a discount coupon, donating a shopping spree as a contest prize, having a sale, or even hiring a for-profit security firm. Do you feel differently about these acts?   

       (p.s.: "externalities"! boo! hahahahaha!)
wiml, Jul 24 2002

       What happens if someone steals the theft certificates?
waugsqueke, Jul 24 2002

       I guess it depends whether they had one in the first place...
timo, Jul 24 2002

       What use is this? If a theft is successful, the card is pointless; if a theft's unsuccessful, it's worthless.
bookworm, Jul 24 2002

       With this birthday present from Aunt Mabel, you can steal without a bad conscience or loading your pants. If you get caught, you're not prosecuted.
FarmerJohn, Jul 24 2002


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