Welcome to Eater's latest feature, Shit People Steal, in which we ask restaurateurs what items in their restaurant have been (or are frequently) stolen.
In this special edition of Shit People Steal, a reformed restaurant world thief remembers of old klepto days:
I saw your feature 'Shit People Steal' and it spoke to me: Back in the day I used to routinely steal things from restaurants and bars. At the time, smoking was still allowed in bars and restaurants, and my main focus was ashtrays. I accumulated quite a collection from various places, probably about 15 in total. Most of them were pretty nice. I also helped myself to the "Employees must wash hands" signs in bathrooms (which I posted in my own bathroom), as well as interesting shot glasses. I once got a pair of shot glasses from a dump in Mount Vernon called The Bayou, which looked like little cowboy boots. And once I had a friend steal some really cute shot glasses for me from a now defunct place in Astoria called Karyotis. I miss the thrill of shoving stuff in my purse while no one is looking.Bonus round: we have another story of a thief up ahead.
My Great Auntie Annie, 92 years old, 95 pounds, and all of 5 ft tall, is convinced that the price of going to dinner in America is much too expensive. As she says, "Why, during the great Depression, you could get a steak and mashed potato dinner for two dollars, and nowadays, I'm just not getting my money's worth."· Previous Editions of Shit People Steal [~ENY~]
Since she isn't 'getting her money's worth' she feels that to make up the difference between prices in the 30's and today, she should be allowed to 'take home,' or what the restaurant staff might classify as 'steal', anything she can get her hands on. Silverware, plates, salt and pepper shakers, anything that's at hand. At Easter brunch she stole the decorations, including plastic eggs, from the table.
I don't know why people steal generally, but every time we go to eat with my Great Auntie, she leaves with a belly full of good food, a purse full of tableware, and a heart at ease with her chronic restaurant theft.