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  1. #1

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    Default Would you steal from work?

    A recent article in the UK's Daily Mail -- admittedly not the most trustworthy of newspapers (but then again, none of them are) -- posted the findings of a recent survey of over 15,000 Britons to gauge how the nation's moral compass was doing, and the results were disheartening to say the very least.

    People were asked questions about 50 scenarios in which an actor describes or portrays a potentially dishonest activity, included theft from shops, telling lies in relationship, faking burglaries and stealing stationery from the workplace.

    More than eighty percent of those surveyed saw nothing wrong with stealing items from their place of eployment, and were far more prepared to turn a blind eye when crimes were committed against big companies or faceless organisations. Over two thirds of those surveyed thought it acceptable to keep 'found money', and half said they would not knowingly obtain nor watch a pirated movie, whereas 97% said that taking a DVD from a store was dishonest.

    Possibly the most disturbing fact raised from this survey, according to Dr Stefan Fafinski of Brunel University, was that the younger the person, the less likely they were to consider an act or behaviour as dishonest. "Society is getting less honest," said Dr Fafinksi.

  2. #2

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    I'd believe that, but I would also like to know what questions were asked. I'm sure there are plenty of people that wouldn't think twice about take a pen or two home from work, but home many would actually put their hand into the till??
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  3. #3

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    I know people who steal bandwidth at work, does that count?
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by vecsty View Post
    I know people who steal bandwidth at work, does that count?
    I know plenty of people who steal oxygen at work, but then I suspect they also do that outside of work...
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  5. #5

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    Would I take the coffee machine from work? No, but i would take the extra bottle of milk that might expire in 2 days time. Is this stealing? I don't feel it is, but I assume some of you may consider it stealing.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comet View Post
    Would I take the coffee machine from work? No, but i would take the extra bottle of milk that might expire in 2 days time. Is this stealing? I don't feel it is, but I assume some of you may consider it stealing.
    If its not with your employers consent, its not whether we feel its stealing, it is stealing. Any act of taking something without the owners consent is stealing.
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  7. #7

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    It's only stealing if you're not allowed to take it or there is no expectation for it to be taken.

    If you ask, "the milk is expiring soon, can I take it" then it not stealing.

  8. #8

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    It's not stealing if it was in another state.

    Sorry, had to be said.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    If its not with your employers consent, its not whether we feel its stealing, it is stealing. Any act of taking something without the owners consent is stealing.
    True, but who can make a call like that in a large organisation? Do you send off an email to the CEO? For something like milk don't think anyone can make a call as to whether its ok or not.

    BTW, I have thought about taking it home but have never done so, but wouldn't stop someone from doing it since I do feel that it won't be used and would be thrown out.
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  10. #10

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    A guy I work with is almost certainly light fingered around work. My boss boasts that a friend of his that works for a school has "a permanent loan of a HD projector" from his work.

    My employer is soon to be selling a heap of desk sized office laser printers really cheaply. 2 of my collegues advised me to just throw one in my car boot.

    I'm personally disgusted by it all. But hey, I'm a contractor and as far as my boss is concerned my hourly rate is theft.

    I have never stolen from my employer. It's even more important to me here because I'm here by the grace of your fantastic country. I was worried doing my tax return as I did not know how much interest my account had gained exactly. I think it was about $2.
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  11. #11

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    I doubt the problem is getting worse. It's an artefact of human psyche. Our moral compasses typically don't kick in on small non-monetary 'crimes'. Most people won't think twice about taking home a pen from work, but will about taking a wad of cash. Conflicts of interest is the primary cause of what makes people dishonest, which I think the financial crisis is a prime example of.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comet View Post
    True, but who can make a call like that in a large organisation? Do you send off an email to the CEO? For something like milk don't think anyone can make a call as to whether its ok or not.
    Your direct Manager, or Manager of the cost centre that "owns" the item.
    Last edited by gikku; 10th September 2009 at 01:05 PM.
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  13. #13

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    The splitting of hairs is always interesting.

  14. #14

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    I've taken a paper clip, then felt bad. ahah

  15. #15

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    depends.

    Taking staplers, hole punches and reams of paper etc is theft. They are supposed to stay with you at work.

    Pens, pencils and pads? Certainly not a whole box of them. Most people would blink if you took a pen home (talking about the 50c bic pens here).

    What about larger items though. Some companies are in a situation where they own some outdated equipment. It can't be used, cost too much to dispose of and no procedure to sell them (to staff or a third party). Even donating can be a hassle....e.g. where I work we have a shelf with about 30 Dell GX280's (2.4-3.0 P4's) that we can't give away...you wouldn't think charities,schools etc would be that picky but they are. If someone walked in and took one home for the kids would anyone notice? Off the record it would be ideal if they all left that way, on the record it's stealing from the company and would be instant dismissal.

    Essentially it comes down to the percentage of the loss. Stealing $100 from a person is pretty dodgy as that $100 may represent a significant percentage of their daily wage. $100 worth of goods from a large corporation though would barely make a blip on the radar...it would be like taking less than 1c from someone once a year. Not that I condone either but the perception is that it's stealing only if the vicim gives a shit.
    This opinion intentionally left blank.

  16. #16

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    I haven't done it but that's because my employer made it very easy not to. For example, if I wanted an express post envelope or a stamp we had a jar in which to throw some coins to pay for it. We were also allowed to use the company's stationery discount card, and we were allowed to bulk order stuff.

    Big items were all given serial numbers and logged in a computer and stocktaken once a year. Not that you'd steal anything big anyway, but that ensured if something went missing they'd know about it.

    Any outdated equipment was always offered to staff for free. The office gave up offering things to charity because they were way too picky and we always had to pay the cost of delivery to them or had to pay for them to pick it up.

  17. #17

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    I've helped my ex-company (contractor) make millions off the Aust govt.

    $1.2m for 4 documents each about 40-50 pages, that said, I think you should do xx in 20 years time. If not, then don't worry about it.

    To me that is stealing from the work space coz a monkey could have stepped on a bunch of paper, leaving foot prints that would have had more substance.

    What's scary is that there are more govt contrators

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver View Post
    Most people won't think twice about taking home a pen from work, but will about taking a wad of cash.
    I agree.

    My feeling was that I wouldn't want to lose my job (or even appear dishonest) because of a $1 biro, so I don't think I've taken much from places I've worked (might not have taken anything, but didn't want to say that just in case I have).

    Scenario where I have taken a fair bit of stuff: the Melb office of an ad agency I worked at was shutting down. I asked if I could have some of the studio supplies rather than the agency having to send them back to Adelaide. They said yes. I'm still using the cutting mat, blades, magic tape, pads and other stuff today. The agency shut years ago

  19. #19

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    The reason why almost everyone thinks stealing a DVD from a store is worse is because it IS worse. There is a physical loss because the item is taken.

    In the case of piracy, there is no physical loss and if you weren't going to but the product either way, there is no loss of revenue.

    I don't see how this is 'disturbing'.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    If its not with your employers consent, its not whether we feel its stealing, it is stealing. Any act of taking something without the owners consent is stealing.
    Just in case anyone missed MissionMan's definition. The above is what stealing is. It doesn't matter whether it's a physical or virtual representation, it doesn't matter if it's a pen or a Ferrari, it doesn't matter if the object is currently being used or has been gathering dust in the corner for 2000 years, if it is taken without consent IT IS STEALING. Or to put it another way, if it's taken without consent IT IS STEALING. Oh and it doesn't matter if the people you are stealing from are two-faced-lying-scumbags-who-aren't-fit-to-walk-the_earth <insert your favourite corporate/government entity here>. They may very well be crooks/shysters/complete immoral bastards themselves, but as a wise person said to me (I believe it was my Grade 5 teacher) 2 wrongs don't make a right.

    So if people want to steal...fine. If people don't feel guilty about it....fine too. They just shouldn't be hypocrites about it, and pretend it's not what it is!
    If you can keep your head while all those around you are losing theirs, then maybe you haven't quite grasped the seriousness of the situation.

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