Gadgets

Rants & Raves

In the spirit of your article (“Pranksters: Steal this UPC Code,” April 16, 2003), I suggest this story: “Pranksters stop pedestrians, satirically take wallets and jewelry.”

No matter how much you dislike Wal-Mart, there’s no difference between what these people do and stealing. Their website puts it quite nicely when it encourages people to “name their own prices.” Satire is an integral part of our society, but I suspect that if you examined the crowd using this website, you would find that its heaviest users are not “anti-globalization activists.” Instead, you will likely find that they are teenagers and petty thieves.

A real example of pranksters are the people who swapped the voice chips between GI Joes and Barbie dolls a few years ago, not people who put together a system for ripping someone off.

I know that dictionaries may seem anachronistic in this wondrous age of spell checkers, but it serves the additional purpose of defining a word. According to Merriam-Webster, the current definition of a prank is a “mildly mischievous act” or “a ludicrous act.” Interestingly enough, the definition of a thief is “one who commits theft of larceny.” A suggested alternate title to your article, with this knowledge in hand: “Thieves: Steal this UPC code.”

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