Are you a thief? I am. I stole a bunch of coffee.

When pulling into Starbucks this evening it hit me – I am a thief!

For years I have gotten to know many a barista as I have averaged about 1.65 coffee shops a day since college. With this has come ‘free coffee’. Free because thats how it was offered to me…but was it? Was it their coffee? Or…was it their shareholders coffee? Or their bosses coffee?

95% of the time it wasn’t theirs and I accepted it. I am a thief.

Why I am sharing this with you? Guilt? Nah, that wouldn’t do you or me any good to share this for that reason.

I think this realization (it shouldn’t have been a realization, it should be painfully obvious) is a signpost pointing out my entitlement and/or indifference…and how this is a major threat to my character.

Screenshot 2014-12-03 21.13.50

‘But I have spent XYZ money on coffee…it’s all good’ (to be exact, after a quick search on it shows me that I have spent north of $7,000 on coffee since 2008…and my gut is that it’s 30% more than that.)
‘No one will notice’
‘The margin on coffee is sooooo high’
BLAH BLAH BLAH. Justification after justification.

By accepting free coffee, not via the owner, I stole. Or another way to look at it…I sold my character for $3.16. To add to the insult, I let that barista steal. By letting that happen I failed in caring for that barista…only my agenda, conscious or unconscious of such agenda.

“Dude you are taking something too far!!”
If you ‘own’ something you realize this is not taking it too far & that this is the truth.

“So what are you going to do…start turning down freebees?”
Yep. Thats exactly what I am going to do. Free coffee. Free booz. Free food. Unless the owner themselves is dishing it out I am not taking it.

So the application: Where are you absolutely blind due to your entitlement and/or indifference and how is it compromising your character?

***For fun….here is a quick glance of what coffee shops mean to me and why I have further reason not to steal from them:

  • Met my wife in a coffee shop + proposed in that same coffee shop (San Francisco Coffee in the Highlands – Atlanta, GA)
  • I made a connection in a coffee shop who vouched for my work ethic and it landed me my first real job after college
  • I got my roomie a job by overhearing a need at a table close by
  • Many of my closest friends got that way over a coffee
  • I can likely attribute 50% of my compensation in the last 10 years to the ideas/passion/meetings I have had in coffee shops. This equals a bazillion dollars (minus lots a 0’s).

2 thoughts on “Are you a thief? I am. I stole a bunch of coffee.”

  1. Not to be glib (I have put forth the effort trying to write a more comprehensive and cohesive response but was unable to achieve a level that I was satisfied with), but I think it’s a nuanced situation. I have many thoughts on when it’s ok versus wrong, but it sounds like you’ve been convicted, and I don’t want to get in the way of that. You should definitely follow your conviction.

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