A class of mine had a project called reverse consumption. The idea of the project was to buy a product, mess with it somehow, and put it back on the shelf. When the semester first started, I bought a bunch of puzzles with my roommate and decided that I could write on one of the puzzles and back it back on the shelf at the store.
I finally got around to putting the puzzle together in early April. I wrote on the the Disney puzzle with a Walt Disney quote, of course. “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this all started with a mouse.”
I drove myself back to target (mask wearing and hand sanitizer ready). I walked over to the puzzle section and lo and behold… not one puzzle on the shelf. I had a very heated discussion with myself in my head, do I leave it or not? I put the box on the shelf, quickly took a picture and walked quite quickly to the door. I finally got to my car and sat there for a minute.
Doing this project made me question a lot of things about shoplifters. Do they wait until there is a lot of stock of one thing before they steal it? Do they know what day the shipment comes? Or is it a spur of the moment decision? Regardless, I felt terrible for leaving an opened and written on puzzle on an empty shelf.