Once, I was eating dinner in an Irish pub with some work contacts. None of us were particularly good friends–we were just together because we had participated in an event together.
One of the girls mused, I love this bar! Then shoved her beer glass in her purse.
On the other side of this, I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 18. Missing glassware has been a huge deal for us.
If one of our tables walked off with a glass, we’d get a talking to about watching people more closely.
And then as I got more responsibility in restaurants, I was sitting next to the GM as he sighed about losing 30 glasses in a few weeks.
After having to stop people from putting expensive stoneware in their bags very recently, I’ve realized something–people don’t see taking things from restaurants as “stealing”.
People who wouldn’t normally steal anything suddenly are okay with pinching items from a bar.
I don’t know what the root of this phenomenon is–and why it’s suddenly not stealing when it is a restaurant instead of an individual person.
So when a friend mentions to me that they snagged a US Airways glass off their flight, I wonder if the flight attendant got talked to about paying more attention to the glassware.
And as I chase down a couple and explain the the items on their table are “not for taking,” it really makes me wonder about this.
Do you see something inherently different in businesses, or are people just justifying things to themselves so they don’t feel like thieves?