psy·chot·ic leop·ard sīˈkädik/ˈlepərd/ noun · anything that is funky, interesting, beautiful, niche, useful, and grabs one's attention

Cart 0

Moral Dilemma: Monkey Mug Shots and Stealing What Might Not Matter

Posted by Lisa Johnson on

Temptation comes in many guises.  For me, it arrived in the form of an ape.


I love unusual mugs.  I think it all started back in fifth grade when the teacher allowed us to drink hot chocolate in class, and my best friend brought in a “surprise mug”:  every sip lead to the treat sitting at the bottom, which in her case was a teddy bear.


I coveted that cup.  Later on in life, I was thrilled to discover the name of the artist famous for these “animugs,” whose name is Sarah Spademan.  I amassed a collection of several, including a golden retriever, mermaid, and turtle - once, I even had a cockroach!  Yet it’s just never enough.


We arrived in LBI, (Long Beach Island, New Jersey) this past weekend, and Sunday morning, I found something on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet which hit my sweet spot: a coffee mug in the shape of a monkey.  Its arms is the handle, and the design continues on both front and back.  Even though it doesn’t feel very microwave friendly (I burnt myself when grabbing that arm), I want it so badly!


Obviously, the monkey belongs to the people whose house we are renting, and it’s certainly not disposable.  Plus, it’s so adorable that I imagine someone would miss it.


This is the first time in quite a while that I have been tempted to swipe something. But this is screaming my name.


Stealing is wrong.  I know not to do it.


Yet, how can people renting out a beach house leave something meaningful, which could be broken at any time?  There are sets of dishes here, and lots of flatware.  This cup just sits among a pile of random coffee mugs.  Clearly, it must not be special to them.


So why not leave it here, and enjoy it each summer we come back?  It can remain part of the positive associations with Gull’s Crest.


The problem is that they’re trying to sell the house.  They have been for at least two years. When that happens, I’m sure everything in these rooms will probably be tossed, and this gem of a cup will end up cracked in a dumpster.


I'm thinking of other ways to maneuver the situation.  Could I just replace it with a different cup?  I mean, there already is a glass with a chip in it which I noticed the night we arrived.  It should be thrown out before someone slices a lip.  Couldn’t we just leave a note saying that not one, but two drinking vessels were damaged?  How would anyone ever know?


So maybe I should just take it.


But knowing myself, I bet every time I drank from the cup, there would be small waves of guilt.  In my heart, the fact would be that I had to steal it for it to belong to me.  Kind of like the Tell-Tale Heart, I would always be haunted.


Is stealing a secondhand cup akin to murdering an old man?


What’s the big deal?  Why not just ask, you might be saying to yourself.  Call the realtor, say we’ve fallen in love with one of the coffee mugs here, and perhaps they say, Just take it!  


It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, isn’t it?  Because then I’m stuck if they refuse.  If the answer is “no,” then there will be a deliberate search to make sure it’s not missing.  


What would you do?

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • As I began reading the homeowner’s response to your blog, I thought the author was joking. As I read deeper into her comment, I realized she was serious. It’s a shame. Why? Well, let’s think about this for a moment. The two reasons given for denying you further future rentals are illogical.
    1-The “self professed potential theif” wrote an entire blog concerning the item. Was the mug still there when she left? Yes? Really? Honestly. Would someone be so dense as to write this entire blog, but then steal it? Makes no sense.
    2-The place was filthy when you left. Ok. We,too, rent a house, in our case it’s for a week (Sat-Sat). Obviously I was not at this house, but if an owner is renting the home out, you are typically using a cleaning service through the realty company. Perhaps it’s not as it seems…

    Jana G on
  • It is my house you rented. It is my mug you were going to steal per your boyfriend who directed me to your site.
    The house is NOT for sale. It was for a short time not two years.
    If it were sold my monkey mug would go to my permanent residence.
    You will not be drinking out of it next summer because you are NOT welcome back- yes I told the realtor.
    1) self professed potential thief
    2) place was filthy after you left

    OWner on

Leave a comment