So... if you take a Vanilla Reload from one CVS to another to buy it, is that stealing?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by gconnery, Feb 25, 2014.  |  Print Topic

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Is it stealing if you take a Vanilla Reload from one CVS to another to buy it?

Poll closed Mar 4, 2014.
  1. Yes

    84.4%
  2. No

    9.4%
  1. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    I hit one CVS last night that had a pile of VRs. Very exciting. Of course I go to the counter and the cashier says I can only buy them with cash. People were using them to gamble online she says. Shocking I say. Anyway, I figured I'll just try again with a different cashier, and if that cashier says the same thing maybe ask for the manager to see if it really is store policy.

    It did occur to me to wonder, at least theoretically, if taking a non-activated VR from one CVS and buying it at a different CVS would be a problem.
     
  2. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    I should mention the obvious--a Vanilla Reload card that isn't activated is worth precisely $0. But of course it is worth something to the store, in that selling one will earn them $3.95. And since they'll have fewer if you take one, then you are depriving them of revenue seems to me. Of course the reason they have a bunch is that there aren't that many people with cash that need to buy these. So it might only be theoretical revenue. And they might just be able to keep their stack of cards full over time by getting normal deliveries. If that makes a difference to your vote.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    In general, I tend to decide what my things are worth. You can't take my ancient rusty car and say it's not stealing because it's worth nothing. Or last week's newspaper on my porch. It's still my stuff, and I get to decide what it's worth. Stuff in the CVS store is generally owned by CVS. Or perhaps the cards are owned by InComm and CVS just leases them shelf space. Who knows. Have you asked them what the cards are worth to them and whether you can just take them without activating them?

    Let's say you take the cards, and they catch you. Are those few hundred miles really worth the risk of getting accused and potentially convicted of shoplifting?
     
  4. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I am pretty certain it would be viewed as shoplifting if you bring any unpaid merchandise out of a store unless it is clearly stated as free / samples etc. There is always a value associated to everything.

    Also, what's to stop a competitor from removing all VR cards just to limit sales and never activating the cards. There is really no way to enforce card activations anywhere once you walk out of the original store.

    This is just my opinion but I would like to think that it is in line with the society values.
     
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  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    It's not stealing if you ask them first ("say, you don't mind if I pay for this in a different CVS, do you?"). Otherwise. . .
     
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  6. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    and if they say yes, that is not stealing but I struggle to see why they would say yes.
    And if one intended to get permission, there would also be no concerns nor need to get a poll.

    But I know what you are doing here :). So far it seems like 7 Yes, 0 Nos.
     
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  7. rrgg
    Original Member

    rrgg Silver Member

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    It bothers me that this question has come up more than once. Why would you have to ask if taking something from someone without their knowledge is stealing? There is no grey area.
     
  8. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    From a pure criminal statute perspective (at least in my state), the answer is likely "no". Theft is based upon the actual value of the item, not the perceived value. The value of an unactivated VR card is likely less than $.01. In fact, don't they even say "Card Has No Value Unless Activated By Cashier"?
     
  9. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Well, I hit the store again today and almost all the cards were gone. I found only one hiding behind the Paypal reload cards. Interesting. I suspect this means that during the day anyway, other cashiers at the same store were selling them for credit, but hey, what do I know. Maybe there's huge demand for these things for cash by the original intended "unbanked" people.

    Anyway, I tried my usual trick of buying the card at the pharmacy, and she seemed like she'd never seen one before so I figured I had a good shot. But something came up on her monitor, and she had to ask another pharmacy person what to do and they directed her to tell me to go to the front of the store. Where the same cashier was present on the one open cash register. Oh well. Interesting that there was actually something on the register. I presume this is something unique to this CVS unless something has happened globally that I would expect to be blowing up all everywhere.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not just unbanked. The cashier (manager, actually) at a CVS recently was quite happy when I pulled out my credit card. She told me that the night before someone had tried to buy a card with two counterfeit $100 bills.
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So in your state I could walk into the CVS and fill up a garbage bag with all the hundreds of unactivated giftcards on the racks and walk out and it's okay?
     
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  12. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I think you might be overlooking the most obvious customer base for this product, which is people with giant sacks of cash of dubious provenance which they wish to convert to portable, untraceable electronic assets.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  13. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Yeah in another thread the guy was talking to a WM cashier about somebody doing $50k a month there. Certainly seems like these things are perfect for money laundering, which is why I assume they will eventually disappear and we'll have to find something else.
     
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  14. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Okay, so in one of the cut scenes for the final season of Breaking Bad, Walt and Skyler are discussing how to best launder the $50 million in the storage unit by taking it $5,000 at a time and going to CVS to buy VRs. And Skyler thinks its a great idea but Walt doesn't like the idea of losing almost half a million in fees and is worried about the cost of all the gas, isn't sure there are enough CVS's in the state, and wants to know how she's going to get that many Bluebirds...
     
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  15. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Taking anything from inside the store, whatever may be its value, is not desirable.
    Taking anything from the store dumpster in the back is acceptable.
    But that is me. Others may do whatever their conscious dictates.
     
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  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Try a split tender...a few counterfeit $100s, a few stolen gift cards and a forged CC for the balance. :)
     
  17. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    To the OP, this is not worth chancing. All VRs have serial numbers....so presumably Incomm and potentially CVS know which stores which cards are at.

    The risk of a) getting tagged with walking out of a store with unpaid (admittedly nil value) items, b) facing an issue and questions loading the cards at an alternate store and/or c) the risk of a post-load flagging of the card if they in-fact reconcile serial numbers to load sites seems way too much.

    Walking out of the store with the cards could make you subject to arrest for shoplifting if you get unlucky with an overzealous cashier or local constable. Even probability adjusted, the cost of being wrong far outweighs 5,000 miles or 5% CB.
     
  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    :confused:Is this the "twilight zone"? "Taking anything from inside the store, whatever may be its value is"... stealing. Period.
     
  19. ariosto

    ariosto Silver Member

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    I Totally Agree !!!! :eek: I would not do IT
     
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  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Have you been to the Manufactured Spend forum on Flyertalk? It most definitely feels like the twilight zone (or bizarro world) to me.
     
  21. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    The fact that three people (so far) voted no is rather appalling, but not surprising, sadly.
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have not been to TOBB in a long time but I can only imagine how bizarro a forum on something like this would be over there when it has overtones of the twilight zone in this usually more sedate BB.;)
     
  23. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Agreed, but I did not want to pass a moral judgement on others in that situation. You are free to do so.
    People in this forum and elsewhere may have "used" mistake fares to their advantage. There are a million ways to rationalize that act. But what would you call it other than stealing from the airlines? "Period".
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  24. mooeyjc

    mooeyjc Active Member

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    It is stealing, period.
    Besides, no matter how obsessed you are with points and miles, it is not worth the trouble.
    There is only one CVS around me that allows cc payment, I don't bother running around checking other CVS if they ran out of VR.
    Manufacture spending is a great idea, but does it moderately is ever better.
    just my 2 c.
     
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  25. JohnnieD
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    JohnnieD Silver Member

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    My 2C, I cant agree more. This is called shoplifting, aka stealing. Hiding the VR's somewhere else in the store, I find extremely annoying but not stealing.
     
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