Looting or Liberation?

In honour of yesterday’s hideous unemployment  figures, which showed that there are now 9.3M economically inactive people aged between 16-64  I have an ethical dilemma for you – or rather a series of dilemmas…. “Liberating” toys! Looting as we know, is so over, especially if you have the misfortune to appear on the front page of the Sun buckling under the weight of your stolen trainers… but at what point does looting become liberation? I speak as someone who regularly shouts at the scruffy old man I find standing on tiptoe reaching into the Oxfam book bank pulling out armfulls of books to load into his shopping trolley. “Stealing from the starving? That’s classy” I shouted at him last Sunday (I can be quite self-righteous, especially when someone’s only possible way of fighting back is his, admittedly creative, range of four letter words). And yet I have been known to buy the odd thing from Oxfam myself and pop it on eBay. Is that crossing the line? And again on Sunday, after feeling the warm glow of satisfaction that only comes after a successful drop off at the local dump I stopped at the “help yourself shed” and almost picked up six ice cream bowls simply so I could put them on eBay. I didn’t but I thought about it. I turned to my financial barometer, Vix, for guidance. Now Vix, who is still trying to tunnel her way out of the Spitalfields workhouse where she earns the minimum wage gradgrinding statistics on super rich oil states, told me not to be so bloody soft. She reminded me of the fabulousness of the food at her last Christmas party – paid for with the profits from a particularly successful, and technically illegal, skip surf when she stumbled upon two champagne coolers in a skip outside a defunct gastropub. She sold them for £45 each on eBay and used it to pay for her Christmas dinner and subsequent party…. So, when does helping yourself become depriving others? Skip surfing with permission I feel is fine, pilfering from charity bins is a definite no-no, but I still can’t decide about buying from charity shops in order to sell on. My heart says no, but I don’t know whether you can be arrested simply for being churlish… Let me know! Deal of the day: 7% back for your kids when you shop through Cloggs – my tip is to grab a pair of FitFlops in the sale and save save save! Scary statistic of the day: According to the Office for National Statistics the number of people claiming unemployment benefits jumped by 37,1000 in July – the largest monthly increase since may 2009