This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Netherlands.
Two weeks ago, a mummified toe was stolen from a hotel bar, proving once again that there's truly no limits when it comes to the things people steal when dining at a restaurant or going out at night. Kleptomania is a known side effect of alcohol consumption, which is probably why you've got at least one blurry morning when you woke up with a strange item in your handbag, next to your bed, or even on your head—one that didn't belong to you the night before.
Often drunken theft is reserved for those rare (hopefully) blackout nights, but some people take it a bit further, into the realm of habit, and steal with intent. We asked a few particularly fervent thieves about the details of their respective thievery.
David and Tim*
Tim: Most of our interior decor consists of stolen things, because we want our furniture to carry memories of hilarious nights. All the pieces have a story.
David: For example, this fan was stolen from Studio K during their Chinese New Year event. We pulled it off the wall when nobody was watching and hid it in a corner. This thing has the span of a condor when fully opened, but when it's folded up it just looks like a pole. I stuck it in my pants—it went from my ankle to my navel—and I stumbled out of the club with a stiff leg. I even said 'bye' to the bouncer, who didn't notice a thing.
Tim: It's unbelievable, the stuff you can get past the bouncers. We once all draped our coats over a chair and then walked outside [with it]. That was exciting, and because bouncers often don't expect anyone to steal such big things, they're less aware of it. We've never been caught!
David: We also stole locker door 383 from the Claire [nightclub in Amsterdam]. It was attached only with simple hinges, so you could easily [remove it]. I had a big sports bag with me, so the locker door was easy to fit in there.
Tim: Our projects are also getting bigger and bigger. It's kind of a contest. But the question remains: Where's the line? That locker door teeters on the verge of vandalism. Sometimes we feel a little guilty.
David: We're planning to steal more functional things from now on. Plates, cutlery—you know, stuff we can actually use.
My housemates and I once ended up at a bar for this disco party. We were drunk. While we were dancing, I noticed a disco ball. I'd always wanted one, so this was the perfect opportunity to make that dream come true. When we walked towards the exit with our coats at the end of the night, I swiftly put mine over the disco ball. The ball was placed right next to the exit, so it all happened very fast.
We went to McDonald's immediately after, but it would have been very suspicious if I'd walked in there with a huge disco ball. Luckily, two road workers were working on the tram rails nearby. I was allowed to leave my disco ball with them in exchange for two cups of cola from McDonald's. I think those guys realized something wasn't quite right, but they didn't really care.
A few years ago, my housemates and I created a rule that only stolen Christmas decorations could be hung from the tree—just for the joke and so that there would be a story behind each item. We stole from pubs and restaurants, as well as a Christmas tree from a tree market. Eventually we had a beautiful collection.
I also once woke up at Terschelling (an island in the northern Netherlands) with a didgeridoo in my tent. I have no idea how I got it. The only thing I remember is that I saw it hanging on the wall in a pub that poured a lot of good and cheap cocktails the night before. I felt really guilty because the owner was very nice. It's a small island, so everyone probably heard about it right away. I left the didgeridoo at the campsite.
Jolien and Maxine
Maxine: My housemates and I held a contest to see who could steal the most toilet rolls. It went on for about a year and a half. We were all living on our own for the first time and had a tiny budget, which was why we didn't want to spend money on toilet paper.
Jolien: We stole from cafes, restaurants, schools—just to name a few places. We knew exactly which cafes had the huge roles, and at schools, we'd sometimes find multiple packs of toilet paper. That was the real jackpot.
Maxine: There was a strong mutual competition. Stealing toilet paper was always on our minds, whatever we did. I often carried extra plastic bags with me in my backpack in case I encountered a big stash.
Jolien: Every month we decided who was the winner and wrote it on a special scoreboard.
Maxine: We'd made room for the toilet paper in a big closet. It was full in no time, so our plan really worked out. We didn't have to buy any toilet paper for three years!
During my time as a student, I was low on cash and when I got drunk, I got very rowdy. I often— very often—stole the things I needed. I stole ten big glasses from the Chicago Social Club, four small ones and a few with a nice crystal base. At the Westergasfabriek, (a cultural venue in Amsterdam) they have very expensive gin and tonic glasses with a green base, and I also have four of those. The goal was to gather a bunch of glasses on different nights and create a beautiful set. I'd put them in my bag quickly, and then I'd run to the bathroom and wrap them in toilet paper so they wouldn't break. I still get compliments on my glass collection whenever I have guests over.
I also stole a trashcan from a nightclub once. When I saw it standing there, I thought, 'I need one of those, too'. So I just put it in my bag and walked out the door. In addition, I once stole a painting on a school trip, along with lots of pepper and salt mills. I always have a linen bag with me—those things are great, because everything fits in them. I also had a stolen carpet in my old house for a long time. My roommate just pulled it from underneath a table in a club, rolled it up, and walked out the door.
*Some names have been changed to ensure anonymity.