What's the difference between a freebie and stealing?

12 March 2013
What's the difference between a freebie and stealing?

According to a survey by Paintballing.co.uk, the lines between taking something that is clearly a freebie and stealing someone else's property have become blurred.

Hotel shampoos, other people's internet, pick & mix sweets and office stationery have all been named as items it's socially acceptable to steal in the survey.

The survey of 1,000 adults asked which items they felt it was acceptable to steal without feeling guilty.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, items from hotels topped the list, with more than nine out of 10 people (93%) saying they were acceptable to steal.

Unsecured internet came next, with almost nine out of 10 people (88%) saying they would happily access a neighbour's network if it wasn't password protected.

Condiments from restaurants came next on the list, with more than half of respondents (55%) saying they would happily pocket them without remorse.

Pub beer glasses were next, with 37% of those polled saying they felt no guilt whatsoever in taking these home after a night out.

A spokesman for Paintballing.co.uk said: "Everyone loves a freebie but it seems the lines between what is intended as a complimentary give-away and what is someone else's property isn't always clear.

"It seems many of us believe we can help ourselves to all manner of things without a moment's hesitation or guilt."


1 Hotel shampoo and other items 93%2 Unsecured internet 88%3 Restaurant condiments 55%4 Pub beer glasses 37%5 Office stationery 27%6 Colleague's tea/coffee 22% 7 Pick & mix sweets 17%8 Supermarket fruit 11%9 Pens from IKEA/Argos/Ladbrokes 8%10 Park flowers 3%

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking