A Justifiable Theft?

So, gas is down. It’s currently $3.35 here.


Isn’t it sad that we think like that? You know raising gas prices to a nearly unacceptable level is a ploy by the government to train you to get used to the higher prices so that when it falls to a more reasonable level (though I still say anything over $3.00 is not really reasonable), we’re all like, “I can totally afford that! Let’s drive all over town to see if we can find the perfect Rocky Road ice cream! Gas is so cheap we can AFFORD to drive aimlessly around!”

(Hey don’t laugh, my in-laws used to do that – but then never had the time to oh say, sit down and read anything significant. Don’t get me started).

Though all kidding aside, I HAVE noticed more cars on the road since prices have fallen $0.50 cents.

Have you?

We don’t really drive unless we have to, anyway. We’re homebodies so the thought of getting out, just because, sort of turns me off. (Though I have been known to make a special trip to a Starbucks with a drive-thru simply because I was too lazy to change out of my sweats – but we won’t go there).

And I’m a bit annoyed that gas prices have fallen, if you want the truth. Why? Because I once again think it’s a ploy by the government (I really don’t harbor government conspiracy theories, honest) to divert our attention away from trying to find alternate energy sources.

I mean, it’s when gas prices are soaring and people start complaining do you REALLY hear about companies/individuals getting in there and researching alternatives. I, for one, am READY to drive electric cars. And I can’t wait for solar energy methods to come down in price (because you know eventually, they will) so that we can equip our houses and shift our energy needs to solar as opposed to coal. And if I didn’t think the neighbors would object? We’d TOTALLY install one of those wind mill thingies in our backyard. In fact, the husband has been obsessed with watching the Planet Green station lately to get ideas on how we can convert our energy-sucking house into something more energy efficient.

But now that gas prices have fallen, the motivation to do these things has ebbed somewhat. Notice I didn’t say the motivation has disappeared entirely, but our enthusiasm has died down, just a tiny bit.

And now that gas prices have fallen, we don’t have to worry so much about someone siphoning our gas.

Not that we have to worry about that now anyway; the husband bought a locking gas cap for his truck.

Let me ask you something – is there EVER a time that stealing is justified?

Here’s a scenario:

It’s time to get the husband’s 2000 Ford F150 tags renewed. So, he takes it somewhere to get it inspected. Only, it fails because the wheel bearings are going out and they can’t okay the truck until the bearings have been fixed.

But the price they quoted? WAAY too much.

So, the hubs takes it to a buddy’s garage. (M’s the drummer in my husband’s band [He’s the cute guy on the far right playing guitar]). Only, this guy’s garage? Is in a, um, less than desirable area of town.

But hey whatever, right?

So, I follow the husband over one morning to drop his truck off before work. Only when we reach the garage, that is smack dab in the middle of a low-income residential area, and park his truck, there is no drop-off box for his keys. He puts his keys in the mailbox. And as he’s walking back to my car we notice a neighbor, sitting on his front porch, watching our every move.

Okay, NOW we’re nervous. What’s to prevent this guy from stealing my husband’s truck as soon as we leave? Nothing but his scruples, that’s what. We couldn’t stick around to keep an eye on this guy until the garage guy showed up because the husband needed to get to work.

We reluctantly left it there swallowing the boulder-sized butterflies in our stomachs because it was very possible there wouldn’t be a truck TO fix when the garage guy arrived.

But you know, you can’t live your life in fear. And just because the guy lived in a low-income part of town didn’t automatically mean he was a thief, right?

We swallowed our uneasiness and went about our day. The husband called the guy, told him his truck was there and he kept in touch with the guy the rest of the day.

The guy fixed the wheel bearings (for about $150 less! Woot!) and the hubs picked his truck up after work that day.

No harm, no foul.

That was on a Thursday. He drove his bike to work on Friday (he saves us about $10 every time he drives his motorcycle to work, not only on the gas he saves, but because he takes his lunch and eats in the kitchen at work. He’s such a GOOD husband. *grin*)

On Monday, he drove his truck to work. And about halfway there, he calls me.

“Guess what,” my husband asks in his sexy I’m-not-quite-awake morning voice.

“What?” I ask while pretending I’m not stuffing a waffle into my mouth.

“I think that guy on the porch siphoned the gas out of my truck.”


“When I dropped my truck off at M’s, I had a full tank of gas. Now, my low-gas light is on. I haven’t driven it all weekend … what else could have happened?”

So, the creepy dude staring at us when we dropped the truck off? Most likely sucked $50 worth of gas out of my husband’s truck.

Granted, it might not have been him. It might have been someone in M’s garage. But considering it was M himself working on the truck and the husband and M are buds, it’s unlikely.

Possible, but not probable.

No, what most likely happened was the guy on the porch moseyed on over after we dropped the truck off, siphoned out the gas and moseyed on back to his house before M arrived.

There’s nothing QUITE like the feeling that someone has stolen from you. Sure, there’s the feeling of being violated, but it’s a disappointment really, in mankind, that someone could stoop so low as to cross that line to begin with.

Interestingly enough, we weren’t really that upset. I mean, I can UNDERSTAND someone stealing gas. Prices are high. People are on fixed incomes. And if you don’t have gas, then how can you get to work to MAKE the money necessary to live on.

It’s a catch-22 situation. I know this, I understand this. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s stealing – however well intentioned it might be.

We talked this situation out with the boys. We always use situations like this to open the lines of communication up with the boys – to teach them a little something about life. And we discussed how there is really never an excuse to steal from someone else. Though there may be people better off than you, they still had to work very hard. It’s never right to take something that doesn’t belong to you, no matter the situation.

BUT even though we can’t condone the behavior, we can certainly understand it. And perhaps … that understanding makes it a bit easier to look the other way if/when it happens. You know?

Of course, that will never happen to us again, the husband put a locking gas cap on his truck. But it was a lesson we needed to learn and an opportunity to teach our boys about what people might do if desperate enough.

Stealing is wrong. But sometimes … understandable.

5 thoughts on “A Justifiable Theft?”

  1. Thanks for your comments (and award, TorAa!) everyone.

    The husband did let M know about the theft. I hope none of his other customers had anything like that happen to them. I don’t know if M has taken any precautions, but he does know about it.

  2. This is a very interesting post. I think you are absolutely right that stealing is rarely justified but sometimes understandable. Justified, perhaps, in an “exploited peasant indebted to an unscrupulous employer and unable to buy milk for her infant” type of situation, but hardly ever else. But I think it’s really smart, and admirable, that you talked about this incident with your kids and helped them to think about the complexities of this situation too. That’s not something many parents would think to do — and it’s wonderful. I do agree with the comment above, though, that you should alert the garage to the problem, if for no other reason than that they may want to have a surveillance camera installed in case another customer tries to accuse THEM of stealing the gasoline.

  3. Oh Dear Karen,
    you have noticed I had about 2 weeks Vacation in US first half of August.
    At Gas Stations everybody complained about the high prices.

    -I said: High? What are you complaining about? We have not ahve such low prices in Europe for at least 25 years!
    – They asked: What do you pay?
    – I answered: You can multiply your “high” price with 2.5 or 3.1.
    – They answered: No, kidding – is it candid camera?

    It’s not. It’s a fact. Yes it is.
    So, Well, I can tell you TVA (National tax for buying goods) here is 25%, Food is 13% etc etc.

    By the way, I have nominated you for an Award. I’m not the blogger that do that very often, but at this occasion, you were among the choosen.
    I’m looking forward ro read many more of your posts.

  4. Even with the drop in price we’re still driving less. Stealing is never the answer to anything. Had the person who stole your gas needed it for say an emergency ie. rushing wife to hospital to deliver baby, then there should have been a note left on your truck.. a big thank you card or something. Now… I would alert M to what you think may have happened as he may not be aware of it and perhaps you could save him some problems with a less understanding customer who might be the next one to have gas stolen from in front of his business. I’m a firm believer in karma… seen it happen. Your thief will receive what he put out…. only 3 times worse.

  5. Even with our gas prices so high, I don’t think I’ve seen less cars on the road. I know the prices haven’t changed my driving habits. 🙂

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