In today’s post over at the Simple Dollar Trent asks the question when is frugality stealing? The debate stems from an earlier post where Trent explained how he read the recipe from a bookstore cookbook into his voice recorder so he wouldn’t have to purchase it. If you haven’t checked out this post and the 50+ comments that follow I urge you to take a peak.
I found myself asking a similar question a few days ago. I was in a long line at the checkout for Rite-Aid. In order to occupy my time, (while the cashier waited for a price check), I grabbed a magazine off the rack and began rifling through the pages. I started reading an interesting article about personal finance in the latest issue of Redbook. It was only a few pages long, but suddenly the line sped up and before I knew it I was at the front of the line.
I put the magazine aside and began unloading the items from the basket. As I was moving items onto the counter the cashier scanned the magazine into the register. When I told her I didn’t want the magazine she said, “you have to purchase it you were reading it.” It turns out the cashier was just kidding, but it did make me wonder whether or not I should purchase a magazine I leaf through while I’m waiting.
I went home and searched for the Redbook article I was reading on the Internet. I figured if I could find the information for free then I wouldn’t feel so guilty about reading the magazine without paying for it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the article on the Internet. So now I’m wondering should I consider this act stealing?