The Great Napkin theft - stealing from restaurants is always wrong
Jamie Oliver says 30,000 napkins have gone missing from his Jamie's Italian branches. Theft can never be justified.
Multi-millionaire cookbook author, celebrity chef, restaurateur and kitchen-gizmo-pusher Jamie Oliver is now complaining that diners at his nationwide chain of theme restaurants, Jamie's Italian, are leaving with more than just a full belly and a faint sense of guilt and self-loathing.
Apparently, branded blue napkins, 30,000 of them or so we're told, have disappeared from sites up and down the country, along with - bizarrely - fixtures and fittings from the restaurant bathrooms such as toilet flush handles.
"It's surprising just how many people can justify being light-fingered with a napkin while at the same time would feel desperately guilty for not paying the full bill."
It's unclear at this stage whether the Great Napkin Caper is part of a concerted campaign by disgruntled diners in reaction to the quality of their meals (and believe me, I have some sympathy on this count after a truly awful time at his Westfield Stratford branch), or, as Jamie himself claims, a sign of economic hard times.
But either way, it's surprising just how many people can justify being light-fingered with a napkin while at the same time would feel desperately guilty for not paying the full bill. Is this a case of double-standards?
Theft is theft, and you can hardly blame Oliver for being miffed his profit margins are being eaten into in this way, even if the sight of one of the UK's richest men moaning about people stopping him from becoming even richer may stick in some throats.
"A quick and very unscientific Twitter poll revealed the most stolen items from pubs and restaurants to be glassware"
We would never advocate stealing anything from a restaurant, no matter how bad your meal was and no matter how desperately you were in need of a new set of napkins, but there's no getting around the fact that there are a significant number of people who consider popping an empty glass or ashtray into their handbag or coat pocket at the end of an evening a victimless crime.
A quick and very unscientific Twitter poll revealed the most stolen item from pubs and restaurants is glassware - no student house would be complete without a set of Stella pint glasses from the local Fleece & Firkin. Other disappearances include bathroom soap, silver cutlery and, from Pitt Cue restaurant in London's Soho, the little wooden animals they used (or rather used to use) to mark table orders.
But just as I would never, even as an impoverished student, do a runner from the local kebab shop, I would equally never consider taking anything other than what’s on my plate and in my glass from a restaurant. So I do have sympathy with Jamie Oliver, and wish him all the best recovering his property. Here’s a tip from me – start with eBay.
- IS JAMIE OLIVER RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF THEFT? CAN STEALING FROM RESTAURANTS EVER BE JUSTIFIED? OR DO YOU THINK THERE'S NO HARM IN SWIPING THE ODD ITEM?
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