Guilt Trip as a Theft Deterrent?

This a dog water dish provided and filled by my local Starbucks for dogs waiting outside while owners get their java fixes. Quite a nice service, really - it gives even non-dog-owners warm fuzzy feelings. But it's not tethered to anything, and it's left out at night (when I took this washed-out photo), so it needs some other method to stay put against the forces of thieves and misguided cleaner-uppers. That method is its label: "IF YOU STEAL THIS YOU ARE DISPICABLE."

Setting aside the misspelling of despicable, this is actually a very clever psychological trick on would-be thieves. A more conventional label would read something like "PROPERTY OF STARBUCKS" or "DO NOT REMOVE." But these are commands - and anyone prone to thieving doesn't like to be told what to do. In fact, those two phrases would more likely be read as challenges, only increasing the poor bowl's chances of being pinched.

Instead, the bowl makes an observation about the thief - and an objective and undeniable one, to boot. Who wants to steal something that reminds you of your own faults? Sure, there may be the rare outcast who'd consider the label a trophy - but overall, I suspect this label is working as well as any label could to keep that bowl in place. In any case, it beats playing good-cop/bad-cop...

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YASIN said...
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