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Settling the Score: Millions to Celebrate Steal Something From Work Day

On April 15, 2010, millions of employees around the world will steal from their workplaces. Sweatshop seamstresses will slip spools of thread under their sweaters. Cashiers will outsmart surveillance cameras to pocket cash from registers. Secretaries will pilfer envelopes, carpenters will slip screws into their tool belts, baristas will treat their friends to lattes on the house. Employers expect to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to employee-organized shrinkage in the US alone.

April 15 is celebrated as Steal Something From Work Day, an awareness day focusing on the ways, means, and causes of workplace theft. As one website associated with the campaign proclaims, “Steal Something From Work Day calls attention to the motivations behind employee theft and the horizons ahead of it. Viewed in terms of individual cases, this phenomenon appears to be a matter of isolated misbehavior; but taken as a whole, it indicates widespread discontent with capitalism itself.”

Outside earshot of their employers, many working people admit that the campaign resonates with them. “If you took all the wealth in the US and divided it by the number of people who live here, it would come out to something like $150,000 each,” explains career wage slave Robin Bossis. “I come from a hard-working family, but none of us have ever seen that kind of money. That’s because we have to spend our lives working for corporations that keep most of the profits of our labor for themselves. The least an honest person can do is take back a little of what he earned.”

Steal Something From Work Day is celebrated by white collar workers as well, according to receptionist Emma Bezel. “With the economy in turmoil and executives losing credibility through fraud and dirty dealing, stealing from your job isn’t just for criminals anymore,” she reports. “For many of us, the bank bailout was the last straw. We’re sick of selling our lives away to make the rich richer."

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