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Fruit Loopy Entitlement Pigs

I have a front yard planted with super dwarf fruit trees to give a green fence, and three grape vines being trained to grow over a pergola to give shade and fruit. The peach has been producing for a few years IF the frost doesn’t get it which happened so we only got a few fruit. The apple trees finally put some fruit on and held them, I got a few. The quince has been fruiting for a few years, it puts on BIG YELLOW apple things, and I’ve had to explain, those are NOT apples, they are quince (I love quince jam).  I don’t have a huge harvest, but it’s enough to enjoy some fresh fruit and I knew what was put on them (sprays or not).

There’s going to be a dip in temp so I spent morning plastic sheeting the screen house and moving container veggies in for the few days; then I get about another month of growing…. and this afternoon went to harvest the front yard. The red table grapes has been harvested for a few weeks and are nearly gone; the green table grapes turned out rock hard this year and it put on very few.  The Concord grape vine is happy and it gave. I am about through harvesting a full  cake pan off that and a car rolls by. I hear “she’s harvesting already” and they take off.

Less than ten minutes later, I’m getting off the step stool and up pulls a pickup truck and five adults and four kids get out. They start across my lawn with baskets and pails in hand and start looking at my trees!  I say, “‘Excuse me”,  to those descending on the quince,  “but that’s a QUINCE and it’s nowhere near ripe yet.” Someone picks a couple of the green grapes and tries them and does,  “Eww gross”, and spits.

The mother of this batch, starts in… “You don’t have any fruit?!?!?!?”    Um no, I didn’t get much harvest as spring frosted a lot. I have a big cake pan full of concord grapes in hand, the last of the harvest.

“Oh OH NO! I need 10 bushels of Peaches, 15 bushels of apples, and 6 flats of grapes! How can you not have ANY!?!?!?!?!”   She’s staring at the grapes I’m holding.

“What about the Farmer’s Market, their last weekend is this weekend? The (another state) peaches and (different state apples) looked really good last weekend.”

“Oh no no no. You always have LOTS in your yard, always. I just planned on coming over here!”

My DH has heard voices, and opened the front door. I hand him the grapes and make the gesture with my body blocking “close and lock door”. He does, stepping out of sight in house.

“What! Wait! Where are those going!”

“Into a pot dear, I’m making jelly tonight…”

“How dare…”

“No, how dare you, please leave NOW. And I counted the quince. If any leave I’ll turn the picture of your truck sitting in front of my house over to the police. Go, now, please go.”

I called the non emergency dispatch number and left a note for the dispatcher so they have a heads up in case I have to call on these … people. My lawn when it’s fully mature might do 1/3 to 1/5th the amount she was looking for… I mostly got a good fresh taste this year. Just because you can SEE it doesn’t mean it’s yours for the picking… 0911-14

I’ve encountered several land entitlement pigs over the past 30 years of home ownership.    Everything from kids walking right into the property to eat the cherries off the tree to hunters who sauntered into my pasture intent on shooting crows.   More recently a neighbor decided he and his employees liked our driveway better than his own until told that was not acceptable.  Anyone with a large piece of rural land can tell stories of hunters or people on motorcycles/ATVs trespassing to the point of  breaking down fences, cutting fence wires, etc.

In case of such narcissistic entitlement, the only remedy is a spine of titanium to confront it head on and not back down from the guaranteed guilt trip that is sure to justify the behavior.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jools September 15, 2014, 11:52 am

    I have to say I’m even more grateful than ever to a father I overheard a few years ago. I live in the city, but have a small garden that was easily accessible from the sidewalk until my landlord put in a hedge a couple of years ago. Late one summer, I had a good crop of tomatoes that were almost ripe. Every day, about the same time, I’d see a father and his roughly 2 year old son going on a walk, and every day the son would see my tomatoes and run to grab some, only to be told “No, those aren’t ours, leave them alone.”

  • Calli Arcale September 15, 2014, 11:53 am

    When I was a kid, we had all kinds of fruit around our suburban property. Multiple fruit trees (eventually even a Honeycrisp — we’re lucky enough to live in the Twin Cities, home of the University of Minnesota and it’s magnificent agricultural department that turns out a lot of really fine hybrids), borders of alpine strawberries that bore quite well, huge rhubarb plants, apricot and cherry trees that bore heavily despite our cold weather, and multiple varieties of grape plus all the annual stuff like squash and tomatoes and so forth. And lots of flowers as well. We didn’t often get theft, but it did happen. I do wish we could’ve intercepted the family that stripped the Concord Grapes and all of our apples before they were ripe because they *also* stripped the bitter nightshade we’d never gotten around to removing from the fence. Although bitter nightshade isn’t as bad as *deadly* nightshade, it is still poisonous and occasionally there are fatal poisonings. That was the only time anyone ever harvested our yard so thoroughly; I imagine there must have been some resulting illnesses that put them off a return visit.

    I’m just amazed at the chutzpah of the family that drove up to OP’s house expecting to share in the harvest and even daring to criticize any shortcomings they perceived in it. The raiders we had were all covert; they knew it was theft and tried not to get caught. (Not that we minded if it was just one of the students at the school behind our house grabbing a snack; it was whole bucketloads that we objected to.) To actually think one was *owed* the fruits of another person’s long, hard labor — that’s way over the top gimme pig behavior!

    • Mary September 15, 2014, 2:22 pm

      I live in Minnesota. I would love to have a Honeycrisp tree in our yard!

      We had a large apple tree at our old house. The apples were ok. Better for cooking. Our next door neighbors would always ask if they could have some since our tree was bigger and better than theirs. Since they asked, of course we shared. We had more than we could ever use. Plus that would mean our neighbor would show up at our door a few hours later with a hot apple pie in her oven mitt covered hands. She made her crust with lard. Best apple pies ever!

      • AnaMaria September 15, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Yup, my dad loves to garden and always gets way more than we can eat (especially now that he and my mom are empty-nesters), so he always puts extras in a wheelbarrow in front of our house with a sign saying “Free! Help yourself!” It’s always empty within 24 hours, and they have neighbors return with a loaf of zucchini bread or some other treat they made with the veggies. My parents don’t expect it, but it’s just a fun thing to share with the neighbors.

        Of course, key point here is that the veggies DO have a sign on them saying, “Help yourself!” Thankfully, the only thieves we have to deal with in our garden have been furry and four-legged!

      • Devin September 16, 2014, 10:10 am

        In my small town its always a joke during harvest time that you come home to a bag of produce on your doorstep. Peoples gardens produce so much, especially tomatoes, zucchini, and corn that they pass it off onto unsuspecting neighbors. Sometimes there’s more than one bag, and you end up having to pass it along to a friend.

      • Calli Arcale September 16, 2014, 11:21 am

        That sounds delicious, Mary!

        What I really miss is the Northern Greening that we had. It eventually got too old and had to go, but it made these gigantic green apples that were rather tart for eating (and really too big for eating) but were fantastic in pies. I don’t think the breed caught on, because I’ve never seen it anywhere else; it was one of those many U of M introductions.

        Hey, pretty soon they should be doing tastings at the Arboretum; it’s always fun to go out and see what new stuff the U has come up with. What will be the next Honeycrisp?

        We freely shared our fruits with neighbors too, and the flowers as well. My dad caught a little girl trying to take a big flower to give her mother who was sick; she was terrified at being caught, but he just nicely told her she only had to ask first, and helped her cut a whole bouquet. It was a adorable. We always shared if asked, and we often offered — it’s the silent thefts that were bothersome, and I do sometimes wonder how things turned out for the family that took all those poisonous berries. I have no way of knowing, of course. But that’s another reason why it’s idiotic to steal produce. It might not be what you think it is.

        Interestingly, we also had old roses that produced enormous, fabulous rose hips, but nobody ever stole those. I’m guessing they didn’t know what they were.

  • Harley Granny September 15, 2014, 11:56 am

    I’m going to defend the OP with all the “why did you engage them” questions.

    I never in my right mind would think that they would actually be there to steal my fruit. It sounds to me that she was trying to figure out what’s up before making any accusations.

    Good for you OP for standing up to these slobs!

    • Miss-E September 15, 2014, 7:07 pm

      I agree. It almost sounded to me like they were lost and confused and thought the OP ran some kind of farmer’s market. It seems weird to turn up to steal fruit and ask for bushels and flats…

  • Ashley September 15, 2014, 11:58 am

    I don’t understand why we needed to know the number of plants or what kinds of fruit. All we needed to know was that they are your private plants on your private property, and that someone came on to your private property to take your private fruit off of your private plants.

    I wouldn’t have even discussed types of fruit with anyone, I would have explained “This is our private property, please leave now or I will contact the police.”

    My parents have had issues with some people on their property, using it for stuff it shouldn’t be. They have lived in their house for 26 years, and when all us kids still lived with them, there was a deal worked out with the farmers who owned the land behind my parents house, that my brothers could use it to ride their dirt bikes, as long as they stayed on the CLEARLY MARKED paths that the farm equipment had already caused. They had a whole circuit that went around my parents yard, down the hill, around the field, and back up the hill. Well, one day my brothers were out there doing their thing, obeying all the rules, I was watching, and the farmers had even stopped to chat with me, saying they always appreciated how my brothers and I followed the rules. A bit later, I noticed a truck had pulled up, with a father and two sons about my brothers age. They watched my brothers for a bit, including seeing them go up the hill back into my parents yard, and then left. A few days later we’re all sat down to dinner and this dirt bike comes FLYING up and over the hill into our yard. We knew the farmer had given permission to some other kids to ride in his field but my brothers were the only ones with permission to come into our yard, so my dad runs out to question them. Turns out it’s that dad and his two kids who had pulled up to watch my brothers, and they just thought that because my brothers were doing it, it was okay for them to do so. My dad set them straight real quick and explained in no uncertain terms that if they wanted to ride in the field they needed the farmers permission, and they were not to come into our yard no matter WHAT the farmer said. Then he stood there at the edge of the property and said “I’m standing here for you leave, and if you try to come back, the cops will be called”. Later he talked to one of the farmers to explain what had happened, and the farmer told him that he had seen the bikes and they weren’t any colors he recognized and he was just about to get in his truck to come yell at them but my dad got their first. They had rode IN the actual field too and destroyed a number of pumpkins.

    • LonelyHound September 15, 2014, 1:18 pm

      This is always so sad to me. Not only do people like that disrespect the land owners, but then they mess up a nice deal for the rest of us. Bet if they had asked the farmer he would have explained the deal and how they could access the trails without damaging his crops. Sorry this happened to you and the farmer.

      • Ashley September 16, 2014, 10:38 am

        The farmer knew it wasn’t us, my brothers had very distinct paint jobs on their bikes, that he could see even from his house because of it being up on a hill compared to the field, so thankfully these idiots didn’t ruin it for everyone else. He was mad about his pumpkins sure, but he didn’t blame us for an instant. Ordinarily the roads around my parents place/this farm are EMPTY except for the people who live around there, so we don’t even know where this guy and his kids came from. A sign went up after that explaining that it was private property and that you needed permission to do ANYTHING on it. It was never an issue before that.

        My dad was crabby they came into our yard because A) Private property and B) At least if my brothers tore up the grass, they were around to fix it as part of their chores. These kids though, no one knew them!

  • acr September 15, 2014, 12:11 pm

    “Oh no no no. You always have LOTS in your yard, always. I just planned on coming over here!”

    Am I the only person who thinks this family has been stealing fruit from the OP for a while?

    • Cecilia September 15, 2014, 12:41 pm

      No, acr, you are not the only one. Especially after the “she’s already harvesting” comment and then the fruit stealing family shows up.

  • Stephanie Ward September 15, 2014, 12:16 pm

    In the house where I grew up, we had a beautiful lemon tree. Huge, with hundreds of lemons, fruited all year round (very temperate climate) to the point where no matter how much lemonade we made, lemon bars, lemon panna cotta, lemon juice frozen in ice cubes for use in future cooking and baking, lemon juice frozen in 2 cup containers for future lemonade, we literally always had rotten lemons falling off the tree and going in to our compost bin. Let me tell you, this lemon tree was incredible. Several of the neighbors would knock on the door and ask for a few lemons, we always told them they could have as many as they wanted. Most continued to knock on the door to make sure it was still ok, especially when they wanted a bunch for lemonade or something like that. But we never yelled at anyone who picked them. We couldn’t use them, so there was no reason to restrict anyone else’s access to them.
    I can understand OP’s stance that since she has had to work hard to get yield from her fruit and has plans to enjoy them, doesn’t plan to let them go to waste, absolutely she is able to decide who has permission to pick the fruit. However, a couple of the commenters have said in their own stories, one about mushrooms and one about plums, that the owners refused to let people pick simply because they didn’t ask.
    Of course it is polite to ask, but if you have any intention at all of letting the fruit etc go, why would you be near so possessive of it? If you want to punish people for their lack of politeness, charge them money. But I don’t think it’s fair to punish others by letting your fruit, etc go to waste (assuming you didn’t already have plans that would use all the fruit, which I think is the case because otherwise why would you even consider letting them pick “if they just asked.” )
    As a final note, that wonderful lemon tree got cut down by the new owner of the house, before she even moved in. Her prerogative, of course, but it’s sad that she didn’t even know the potential of what she had.

    • PM September 15, 2014, 12:47 pm

      because people don’t appreciate what’s “free,” even if the only cost is the effort of going to the door and asking for permission. They figure if they walk away with three lemons without asking, they can take a dozen next time. And why not take a bushel the time after that? They’re free, right?

    • MsDani313 September 15, 2014, 12:52 pm

      The beauty of owning property is getting to decide what happens on that property. Even if OP never intended to harvest any of the fruit and let it all rot away that is her choice. After all, the fruit trees are her property. I understand that to let the fruit rot would be wasteful. But to take without asking is theft and is a punishable crime.

      Your family was able to provide lemons to many people but those of us without fruitful trees should not have to do the same because someone thinks we have fruit (or any other food) to spare. It does not take much to ask permission.

      My mother has the same problem with a neighbor who comes into her yard and plucks the roses and tulips. Although my mother does this for her home and my grandmother’s, it is quite presumptuous to think that they are free for the picking. I would not even pick without asking first and I helped plant and maintain her yard when I lived there.

    • JWH September 15, 2014, 1:07 pm

      “It’s a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don’t amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans!”

      — Lt. Frank Drebin

      Because it’s my lemon tree, by gum, and the resulting lemons are my property, to be disposed of as I see fit. I can make food, can them, preserve them, plant them, carve them, squeeze them, or sell them at my whim. When somebody takes my lemons without asking me, he’s depriving me of the ability to use and enjoy my property.

      This isn’t a matter of mere etiquette. It’s also about the fundamental social contract. If that social contract — the tacit agreement between each of us — includes individual property rights, then it is incumbent on me to not trespass on your property, and incumbent on you not to trespass on mine or to steal from me. Steal from my lemon tree, and you’re breaking the social contract.

      Etiquette — asking permission, being polite, and leaving my lemon tree alone if I tell you no — is a way of gently enforcing that social contract and making sure that you and I know what our rights are. If we’re polite to each other about it, then we don’t get into the less pleasant ways I might enforce my property rights. Not to mention that the social contract also relies on a certain amount of reciprocity. You don’t steal from my lemon tree, and in exchange, my mime college class doesn’t practice on your front lawn.

      Start stealing from my lemon tree, and you implicitly give me permission to send fifty folks in creepy makeup to sit in invisible glass boxes on your lawn. After all, you aren’t using that lawn for that particular span of time. Oh, and did I mention the mimes will leave the boxes behind: (Mimes are very bad about picking up after themselves). There’ll be invisible glass boxes all over your lawn, and you won’t be able to find them (because they’re invisible) and you’ll be tripping over them constantly.

      Now, these property rights exist entirely by consensus. I have my lemon tree to myself and you have your mime-less front yard to yourself because as a society we generally agree that people should be able to own property and control what happens on it. If you’d like to change these circumstances, you are certainly free to petition your local, regional, and national governments to change the private-property laws to community-property laws. But until you succeed in doing so, don’t take my lemons. And if you do, I have mimes, and I’m not afraid to use them.

    • twik September 15, 2014, 1:08 pm

      Well, first of all, I’d object to people trespassing. It doesn’t matter if they’re taking stuff I’m throwing out. It doesn’t matter if they’re just sight-seeing. They are going on my property without authorization.

      Second, by making people aware that you will lie down for trespassing, you end up in the LW’s situation. People will soon assume that they have a right to the fruit, and start demanding that you provide it to them when they want, how much they want, and hop to it, peon, they don’t have all day.

      People need to be trained to ask politely, not just rampage over other people’s properties.

    • cdubz September 15, 2014, 1:19 pm

      I’m with the others who say “if they don’t ask first, they should get any.” For on, if you let someone get away with mistreating you and your property now, they will likely try take advantage of you again. And believe me, once they’ve gotten away with it once, they will try again, and again, and again until you give in.

      Second, not everyone is as lucky to have such a fine crop, so they may have limited fruit. The gimme pigs that don’t ask first are likely to strip it clean, leaving none for you and your family! At least if someone asks first, you have the option of either refusing or limiting them to one or two pieces.

      Third, it’s not their property. They have no idea what your plan for it is; for all they know, you were going to sell it at the farmer’s market and their theft is costing you money you could have earned.

      Finally, asking first is a sign of respect and common courtesy. Why should I give something away to someone that so obviously doesn’t care and feels entitled to my property and hard work?

      • cdubz September 15, 2014, 1:22 pm

        *Shouldn’t* get any, I meant.

    • Gail September 15, 2014, 1:21 pm

      Because it’s stealing if they don’t ask, plan and simple. It’s still mine and what if I intended something different with the extra, like a food bank? Where is the line drawn? Do they help themselves to my lawn chairs, because I’m not using them at the moment? Probably not, but I’m trying to make a point.

      • Yet Another Laura September 16, 2014, 9:32 am

        Do they help themselves to my lawn chairs, because I’m not using them at the moment?

        Yes. They do. I went digging through the Archives and found this previous submission in which someone comes home and finds someone doing exactly that. http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=3478

    • Steve September 15, 2014, 1:37 pm

      Could you please post your home address? Because I’m sure there are plenty of things lying around your house that I might decide could be put to better use when I stop by without asking.

      You better post it, too, or else you’ll be punishing me. Why would you want to punish me?

    • Lenore September 15, 2014, 2:03 pm

      Maybe if everyone were as polite and considerate as your childhood neighbours, this would be a moot point.

      However, out of the dozen people that would take no more than they needed, you would get one selfish clod who would show up with a truck, strip the tree and swan out, leaving nothing for anyone else. And then if the tree didn’t bear the same amount of fruit the next year, or you decided that this year you’re going to keep all the lemons, they will storm up to your door and cuss you out for being selfish and not thinking of anybody else and they had *plans* for that fruit etc etc.

      And maybe, just maybe, out of the hundred or so really nice people that wouldn’t overstep their bounds, you’d get one that’d think it’s perfectly fine to also take your kid’s bike that was laying in the yard that the tree is in. Oh, and maybe pick some of the pretty flowers you grew. Bring their entire family over for a whole day of harvesting, thereby interrupting your daily routine. *

      That’s why you don’t let people just waltz onto your property and do what they like.

      *This happened to my inlaws when they were trying to sell their farm. A prospective buyer-family came over *every* weekend for 5 weeks, with different family members for tea, lunch etc. Letting their kids run around, rummaging through all the rooms and furniture of the house – that was still being lived in and used by my ILs!!

      • Steve September 16, 2014, 9:37 am

        There are whole blogs dedicated to peoples’ behavior at real estate open houses.

        Letting children run around unsupervised is universal. I have seen kids pulling clothes out of dressers to play dress up, rummaging through toy boxes to play with the toys, helping themselves to snacks from the kitchen cupboards or refrigerator, and worse. I especially enjoy seeing buyers’ children when they have severe colds, and they cover the sellers’ children’s’ toys with their own mucus.

    • YersiniaP September 15, 2014, 6:01 pm

      However, a couple of the commenters have said in their own stories, one about mushrooms and one about plums, that the owners refused to let people pick simply because they didn’t ask.

      I posted the comment about neighbours walking into my mom’s backyard and helping themselves to her Mirabelle plums.
      Like other above have said, it is not just a matter of being possessive about the fruit. It’s the simple fact that taking what is not yours without asking is stealing. And just because there’s enough plums on the trees for the whole neighbourhood to take some, does not mean I (or my mom in this case) am ok with letting people steal my property. That thieving family has chicken. I wonder how they would react if my mom went into their coop at random to take some eggs?
      Or if I have more money than I need to survive, is it okay for people to go into my house and take whatever cash they think I don’t need?
      No, it’s not.
      If someone asks, I can decide if I want to share with them or not. And since it is my property, I should have the right to decide what happens with it, don’t you think?

      And the second part is the trespassing. How would you like it if you came down into your living room and look out the window to see a group of strangers or even uninvited acquaintances run around your back yard?

      I really find it strange that you seem to see nothing wrong with this behaviour. I see it as inappropriate.

    • hakayama September 15, 2014, 8:39 pm

      I wonder if the “old” former neighbors “got the number” of the new owner of your former home.
      It’s quite possible that they’ve realized that they can’t/won’t be friends of that individual. This is one case in which I feel there is no proverbial second chance, a bit like with unjustified premeditated murder.
      And it won’t be on acct. of the lemons either… it’s because of the nature of the beast.
      In the recent past I overrode my initial repulsion towards a new neighbor. I really tried hard to overcome my disgust with some actions she undertook with respect to nature. In the end, she and her wannabe girly girl* of a daughter, showed their mettle. Glad they’re out. I hope for good.
      * I AM being reticent, OK?

    • Alli September 16, 2014, 5:56 am

      Trespassers can also cause a lot of other harm. My MIL has had trespassers trying to take fruit from an orange tree leave the gate open and let her cows out. The same could happen with dogs or other animals. Or trampling other plants. Or the fact that I don’t expect strangers randomly near my house and it makes me uncomfortable.

    • A different Tracy September 17, 2014, 9:22 am

      “Of course it is polite to ask, but if you have any intention at all of letting the fruit etc go, why would you be near so possessive of it?”

      Wanting to keep what I own is “possessive?” How interesting.

    • Miss Mercy September 17, 2014, 10:38 am

      Also, without asking, the person taking the fruit doesn’t necessarily know that the fruit owner doesn’t have need of/ plans for it.
      How are they going to be able to only take fruit when the fruit isn’t wanted, without actually asking first whether or not the fruit is wanted?

  • YardFruitLady September 15, 2014, 12:58 pm

    OP again.
    I am not going to go into the possibilities that they have been filching in the past; not catching them, I have to give that nature cut the harvest. Fruit does fall from trees before it gets to ripe. In years the peach has fully set, after fruit thin it was still go out there every other day and pick up the falls until harvest. (rotting fruit=hornet/wasp/ant magnets)

    DH and I have had a discussion; we want to expand our mini orchard and have decided to move most of the fruiting trees to a more secure area and add to their numbers; I am choosing replacement trees; and we are going to get a Chow puppy. Chow’s are very much a one or two person dog, and they are big enough to chase off anything else. She can patrol our crop for us. I hate being in a police state with security cams everywhere so the old fashioned organic methods for us.

    A sign. “Patrolled by Extreme Prejudice” and beware of the dog signs.

    Usually if I have bountiful crop I will harvest it myself THEN pass it to others. I have never given picking permission to anyone.

    • Tash September 15, 2014, 7:07 pm

      If you do decide to get a puppy, just make sure to keep a close eye on it and spend sufficient time training it to keep its little mouth away from the grape plants. Grapes (and raisins) can be rather toxic to dogs. http://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/digestive/e_dg_grape_raisin_toxicity

    • hakayama September 15, 2014, 8:50 pm

      Good idea, Fruity Lady! * You have your hand on the “pulse”, you do the picking.
      (On the grapes: apparently they do not care much for high water tables, as a neighbor recently learned the hard way.)

    • Jen September 16, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Having owned a Chow Chow mix, I can tell you that males are very protective of their homes.

      Not sure where you live but I know that in some areas of the United States, Chows are considered an “aggressive” breed and can cause your homeowner’s insurance rates to go up. Just something to think about.

      (Says the person whose family also owned a Rottweiler who was an absolute cream puff. Fortunately, Merlin (the Rottie) and Bear (my Chow mix) passed away before they passed that insurance law here in the state of Connecticut).

  • just4kicks September 15, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Reminds me of a story when I was a little girl and my mom had a small garden. Two plants each of strawberries, banana peppers, large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. My grandparents came over for a visit and my Grandpop was admiring the garden. He called out to my mom, “Hey, Mary! What on earth happened to these two plants on the end?!? The tomatoes are SO SMALL!” He had never seen cherry tomatoes before, and was perplexed as to why they weren’t as big as the ones on the nearby plants. We can’t eat cherry tomatoes without having a good chuckle over that.

    • Andre September 17, 2014, 1:37 pm

      I still remember the first time I saw a cherry tomato. I was with my grandparents at a Roy Rogers back in the late 1970’s, and this one had a salad bar. I remember Grandmom saying to only bite into it with your mouth fully closed, or it will pop.

      Well, being a little kid, I thought of it popping like a balloon, so for awhile, I was actually afraid of the things!

  • lakey September 15, 2014, 1:02 pm

    I don’t understand why OP had this longish conversation.
    After they headed for the quince and the green grapes she should simply have said, “This is private property, you have no right to be here.”
    Their behavior was outrageous. Engaging in a back and forth, let’s them think that there is something okay about what they are doing. Explaining that the quince aren’t ripe yet, or that there weren’t many of a certain fruit this year, allows them to think that if the quince were ripe, or there were more of the fruit, that they would somehow have a right to come on the property and help themselves.

    • Christina September 16, 2014, 2:36 pm


    • Jen September 16, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Not that this makes it OK but, apparently, in her updates, the OP has stated that she knew these knuckleheads and they is why her reaction was somewhat tempered.

  • Yarnspinner September 15, 2014, 1:20 pm

    I’ve told at least one of these stories on the main site, but they are appropriate here–and I am constantly amazed by how people who would go off on you for taking anything from them think disrespecting others property rights is fine:

    1) My mother had nurtured a very small patch of strawberries which she had staked off with posts and string, protected from birds and deer and anything else that might get at strawberries that was four footed and furry.

    She imagined that the fact that the plot was staked, tied and gated meant she didn’t need to protect it from two legged threats. But one day she shot out the door to give hail Columbia to a woman and half a dozen kids who had walked down our driveway, past two cars into our yard and through the gate so they could pick strawberries.

    My mother, as you might imagine, was called every sort of selfish there is and that “God put those berries there for all to enjoy.” Mom said later she wished she had said “Well, I’m God and I planted them for *my* family to enjoy, not yours.”

    2) My former landlady had a big backyard, a paved drive where her grand children could play basketball and, in the summer, she usually hauled out a small plastic wading pool which she would fill with water and sit in to cool off. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come home from work and find her and two or three neighbors sitting with their feet in the pool, or sitting in the pool at any time. (I always wondered how they got more than two in there, since she and the neighbors were all pretty zaftig, myself included.)

    Anyway, the first casualty was the basketball hoop. I came home in the afternoon and five young men who were not her grandchildren were playing hoops in the driveway. When I pulled in I recommended to them that this was not their property and that the people who lived there got to use the basket hoop, not them.

    A few minutes later, they rang my doorbell demanding that I move my car so they could play. I repeated to them that this was not their property, that if they wanted to play hoops they should put a basketball hoop up on their property, that my landlady, her family, and I lived there, not them and that they should go home now.

    “So, you mean we can’t use your driveway to play?”

    “It’s called trespassing boys and you could be arrested. If you want to be arrested, I can call the police right now. ”

    That meant something because they left. The kicker was, they didn’t even appear to live in our neighborhood. When I left later, I saw them walking close to a mile or two from where we were.

    The second thing we lost was the wading pool. My landlady kept coming home and finding kids who didn’t live in the area had dragged the pool out from under her porch, cracked open the little door that hid the hose and filled the wading pool up. They were surprised thereafter when they could not get at the pool and that the hose door was now padlocked shut.

    I have had plenty of experiences with people who seem to think that it’s only stealing if it’s their stuff that is stolen and it’s only trespassing if someone comes on their property. I do not understand how that works in their minds and continued to have my brain boggled by it….ah well.

    • Mary September 16, 2014, 12:48 pm

      Seriously? I would have pointed out to those using my pool that you can buy any plastic wading pool at Home Depot or any similar store for less than $5. After I told them to get off my property or I was calling the police.

  • Nina J. Hodgson September 15, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Check the laws of your state regarding trespassing. It may be as easy as buying several No Trespassing signs from a hardware store and posting them conspicuously near your fruit trees and vines. You will have a better leg to stand on when you call the police because the violators will have had notice that coming to your property is not allowed.

  • acr September 15, 2014, 2:01 pm

    OP, you may want to seriously consider some kind of game camera. I doubt you’ve seen the last of the fruit thieves.

  • Gabriele September 15, 2014, 2:02 pm

    To the OP: Beware of Dog signs could be interpreted that the dog is dangerous so if anyone is injured (even if trespassing) the owner would be at fault. ‘Keep Out’ signs would protect the home owner and a barking dog…especially a chow…should do the rest.

    I had a small garden in front of my business (a shoe repair shop) in a rural community. I had noticed fruit missing from a plum tree so not wanting to lie, I used a very dilute nicotine sulfate spray on the tree (a pesticide) which is technically toxic but not at all in the dilution I used. I then put signs on the tree “Pesticide applied. DO NOT TOUCH”.
    I was at work (this was in a small house, no large windows to look out on the garden) when a woman who had been in the shop picking up a pair of repaired shows and witnessing to her faith (I didn’t belong to any particular church so seemed to be on an unwritten list of local born-agains for personal testimonies to help me ‘convert’) went outside and then came running back inside.
    Her child had eaten one of the plums-or maybe two. Should she rush her child to the hospital to have its stomach pumped? I didn’t tell her about the dilute solution, I just told her the pesticide degrades in sunlight in three days and it had been more than that so I didn’t think stomach pumping was needed.
    She then told me ‘I wiped them off before I gave them to her’. Sitting in the back of the shop, out of view of the customer was a good friend whose father had been a minister (and she was still a church goer). She told me she couldn’t help herself….she asked out loud ‘Isn’t there a commandment about not stealing?’. The offending person turned very bright red and ran out of the shop.
    I went out and bought the plastic bird mesh to cover the (young semi-dwarf) trees which solved that problem but I still had people who thought they could take tomatoes and peppers or flowers… NO didn’t seem to have an effect so I put up a sign ‘ASK before you TAKE’. That helped some…I finally had to put up the cable that blocked the road that led down to the shop. People had (I found out from a neighbor who observed it) been parking their vehicle so it screened what they were doing from the shop…

    • Anon September 15, 2014, 5:57 pm

      Re: Beware of Dog signs, it’s actually the other way around; if there is a sign prominently posted warning that a dog on the property is dangerous and the ‘victim’ chooses to trespass anyway, legally they made an informed decision and the consequences are their own responsibility to deal with. Google has several examples of precedent for this, but this writeup seems most pertinent to OP’s situation: Someone who ignores a prominent “Beware of Dog” sign is probably not going to be able to blame the dog’s owner for any injuries. For example, a Maryland delivery man ignored a “Guard Dog on Duty” sign at a warehouse and was bitten by a German shepherd that most definitely was on duty. He sued but lost. A court concluded that he knowingly risked injury. (Benton v. Aquarium, Inc., 489 A.2d 549 (Md. App. 1985).)

  • Freckledbruh September 15, 2014, 2:16 pm

    I’m not sure what “land entitlement pigs” are supposed to be but where I’m from the OP was dealing with trespassing thieves.

    • Lenore September 16, 2014, 2:41 am

      I’m going to hazard a guess that it means “People who feel that they are entitled to the fruits/use of your land.” Which covers trespassers, thieves, hooligans etc.

  • Shalamar September 15, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Yesterday while I was out for a walk, I passed two ladies who had spotted an apple tree on someone’s property. The tree’s branches were hanging close to the fence that divided the house from the sidewalk where the ladies were standing. Those two were trying their darndest to grab some of the apples, including jumping up and swiping at the branches. I was more amused than anything (they looked rather silly), but I wondered what they’d do if the homeowner appeared and asked just what they thought they were up to. I’m guessing the reply would be “You have so many – we didn’t think you’d miss a few!” or “They’re just going to fall on the ground and rot anyway!”.

  • Abby September 15, 2014, 2:30 pm

    I’m still puzzling over this story. The OP has stated that she was friendly with the would-be thieves, as opposed to total strangers. So, they walk up to her, pails in hand, and present her with an itemized list of things they need, with no mention of payment?

    I was trying to figure out a way to spin this so that the intruders were just clueless as opposed to willfully stealing. I thought maybe, *maybe* they were from out of town, somehow mistook the OP’s yard for a berry patch that is open to public (for purchase) and the woman intended to pay the OP for the fruit. However, it appears the above scenario is impossible, and the ‘friends’ believed by virtue of knowing the OP not only were they entitled to clean out her garden, but OP should be chastised for not immediately surrendering all her grapes to them, for free.

    I’d say no one like that exists, but unfortunately I do know that to be false. My grandma had a peach tree for many years in her yard that she gave up on ever getting any peaches from, because people would drive right up to her lawn (tree was located closer to the street than her house) and help themselves. She caught the neighbors (all of whom she was friendly with) also snatching as many as they could carry. When she commented offhandly that she’d kind of like to enjoy the peaches that belonged to her, her neighbors started watching for when she’d leave her house before stealing her peaches. Unreal.

  • David September 15, 2014, 2:30 pm

    When we first moved into the new house there was a big apple tree, two plum trees, hazelnuts and huckleberries growing on the property. Unfortunately they grew very close to the property line, overhanging the fence. The property was also on a blind corner of the main road through the area. From the road to my fence was about two feet at a very steep downward angle.

    One day I was getting coffee and looked out the window. Someone had driven their van as close as possible to my fence and was standing in the passenger doorway picking fruit. The van side door was open and children were standing in the open area picking fruit. The van was sticking half out into the lane on that side and since the curve was blind, anyone who was driving wouldn’t have very much time to react and keep from hitting the van. Which would have probably hurt everyone in the van when they were thrown over the fence onto my property.

    So I made an appointment the next day and had every fruit and nut plant you could reach from the road cut down. I hated doing it, but I hated the thought of people getting hurt much more.

    f they had just asked, I would have let them pick without all the danger.

    • BellyJean September 17, 2014, 10:18 am

      Ah, that does suck. But good for you for being preventative and compassionate.

  • Enna September 15, 2014, 3:16 pm

    The OP stood up for herself. People shouldn’t take fruit or veg like this. In the previous post about all thr fruit going missing in the night. That was clear theft. I do think people should ask for permisison to go onto someone’s property to take fruit. That is basic manners.

  • Enna September 15, 2014, 3:17 pm

    P.S it is also a safety aspect too asking. Maybe someone could get away with taking an apple from a branch that is overhanging onto a public path.

  • CaffeineKatie September 15, 2014, 3:39 pm

    And people like that are the reason that the FIRST thing I planted was a nice sturdy chainlink fence with locked gates when I decided I wanted a fruit orchard. Best of luck, OP–I hope you scared them off for good.

  • JenyLind September 15, 2014, 4:10 pm

    This story reminds me of a youtube video that came out last year about a rhubarb patch on an alleyway.
    Strong language!

    • Margaret September 16, 2014, 10:46 am

      This is what my parents dealt with for years. No profanity involved, however. Some people asked, some people just stole. Rhubarb apparently likes alley sides. My parents’ rhubarb did grow on their side of the fence near a driveway. It was indisputable that it was on their property but it apparently belonged to the world.

    • Cecilia September 17, 2014, 8:22 am

      My goodness, that woman was quite prolific in her use of curse words! Do you know if she was prosecuted or questioned by police?

      • Lizajane September 19, 2014, 8:04 am

        This seems like a sketch from SNL or Monty Python. They could be recurring characters: The Growler and the Whiner.

  • Jenny R September 15, 2014, 4:27 pm

    I don’t have any knowledge of fruit thefts firsthand or stories of it but I have a related story. I saw in the news where my cousin, while he was at work had a crew come in and cut down a walnut tree in his front yard that to have been at least 80 years old. This is an actual thing, crews wait until they think people are gone, swoop in, cut and grab and take off. I guess the trees are scouted out ahead of time.

    • hakayama September 15, 2014, 9:12 pm

      In a rural setting, old black walnuts along the property line of a part-time owner were removed by the town crew during the absence of said owner. There was no prior notice, “no nuttin'”. Just stumps and neighbors saying “whodonit”.
      Stealing and govt. corruption on the scale appropriate to the level of the agency…

    • Lizajane September 15, 2014, 9:52 pm

      Big money in furniture quality hardwood. We have several oaks, walnuts and pecans that are crazy100+ years old. A timber man pulled up our drive and told me one of the oaks was leaning and would “go” soon. I asked him what sort of deal he had in mind. $2,000.00 and he’d dispose of it for us. I told him, no thanks, that tree’s been leaning since grandpa was a boy and when it did “go, I’ll keep the oaks10 grand that it’s worth for myself. I love playing with people who think they’re up smarter than everyone else.

      • hakayama September 16, 2014, 1:15 pm

        Possibly the “timber man” took you for a “citidiot”… not realizing that even city folk know a thing or two about trees. And other “country stuff”.

        • Lizajane September 16, 2014, 3:57 pm

          I’m sure he thought I was some kind of idiot and maybe I am, but not one who gives up smarter$12,000.00 for….NOTHING. We are in the country and I was a farm girl, but I like that word.

    • Vrinda September 16, 2014, 12:48 am

      Sounds like something that happened on a property my parents own in India. There were two sandalwood trees and, one day, someone came and cut both of them down and took them away. Our relatives, who live next door, said they didn’t see or hear anything. I’m not so sure I believe them.

    • Cecilia September 16, 2014, 11:58 am

      And things like that are why I like very large, very loud, very dangerous-looking dogs that are put on a line or in the backyard fence when I am gone from home (errands or visiting) and security cameras or trail cameras to catch the thieves.

    • Devin September 16, 2014, 12:05 pm

      Growing up the country, the electric company would come around every few years and ‘clean-up the easement’ which meant any tree or bush whose branches could touch the wires in a storm were topped. This usually left a lot of very bear trees and a bit of a mess in the yard, but it was an eminent domain issue. They tried to be as unobtrusive as possible and sometimes would come and go while everyone was a work.

    • Jo October 4, 2014, 5:01 am

      Yep, this is a common scam all across the country. My godmother and her husband own about 200 acres of very wooded (well, it was) land that they purchased when they were first married with intentions to one day build a house and a hobby farm there when they retired. It’s on the other side of the state from where they currently live, and so they visit rarely. However, godmother’s brothers-in-law, who live much closer with their families, had an open invitation to hunt there and went about twice a year.

      One day, when nobody had visited the land for about six months, one of the gentlemen and his wife decided to drive up, do some fishing (there are several ponds on the land), and have a picnic. I happened to be visiting with godmother that day, when brother-in-law and sister-in-law called in a panic. There was huge equipment on the land, and a good 1/4 of the trees had been cut down and removed! Fortunately, they had called the police first, who put a hold on the work, and godmother grabbed the deed to the land out of her safe and went speeding off.

      The lumber company who turned out to be doing the harvesting at first tried to say THEY had been scammed and had paid someone who said they owned the land for the trees. But they couldn’t come up with any paperwork, or even proof of payment, and they had multiple BBB reports of doing the same thing to other people. Several of the cases went to court together, including godmother’s, and the company lost their license and had to pay large fines. In addition, they had to pay to replant everything they had cut down — including replacing about 500 seedlings on godmother and her husband’s land.

      They’ve since hired someone to go out regularly to check the land, monitor the ponds, etc.

  • Vicki Cole September 15, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Wow. Just – wow. I am completely unable to understand the mental workings of someone who thinks it’s just fine to TRESPASS on someone else’s property and STEAL fruit (or vegetables) from their garden. Why would they think that is any different than walking into a supermarket and taking produce without paying for it? If I had been this woman, I would have told the interlopers immediately that they were trespassing and I could have them arrested. If these losers come back, I hope she follows through and has them arrested for theft.

  • AnaMaria September 15, 2014, 5:25 pm

    For the first four years of my life (and several years previously) my parents lived on the very edge of a medium-sized town surrounded by rural area and farmland; it was all woods behind us. I believe the woods were privately owned, but the owners didn’t mind the my brother and I playing back there with the other neighbor kiddos or harmless hikers passing through. However, some teenagers who used to meet up in the woods to poach or make drug connections decided my parents’ property was a free-for-all. My dad had a bullet whizz past his head while playing in the back yard with my then toddler-brother, and he eventually had to put a fence up because these punks kept driving their four-wheelers through the yard and tearing up our grass. The following night, he was working on something in the front yard and some four-wheelers pulled up, and they all sat their for several seconds glaring at my dad- how DARE he block off his private property and not allow them to tear through it to go smoke pot and play with guns in the woods??

    OP, your property is yours and you were right in defending it!

  • Cat September 15, 2014, 7:11 pm

    This sort of behavior is everywhere. My Florida orange tree would be stripped while I was at work; and my Alabama brother’s pecan trees were under constant attack by those who thought that, just because he owned them, he had no right to pick and sell them. They would come by when he was at work and strip his trees.
    I planted a coconut palm when I lived in Miami, FL. I don’t care for coconut, but my neighbor, who was from South America, loved green coconuts. He watched those coconuts, waiting for the right moment when he could, with my permission, pick them. One night, while I was working, he heard, “Bam, bam, bam!”. A man had pulled his truck into my drive way and was standing in the truck bed, harvesting all of my coconuts under the cover of darkness.
    Neighbor was incensed, grabbed his hand gun (this is Miami, FL, and this is not uncommon) and ran out. The thief also spoke Spanish. I don’t know what my neighbor said, but I got the impression that he cast doubts on the man’s ancestry and suggested that Miami would be improved by his immediate removal. The man sped off, never to be seen again in our neighborhood.
    The bottom line is this-it does not matter that I have a lot of something. If I have a lot of money, it does not mean you have the right to take it because you want it. If I have a lot of clothes, you have no right to take the ones you want. If I have oranges, pecans, or coconuts, you do not have the right to take them just because you have decided that I don’t need what I have. The commandment does not read, “You shall not steal, unless you decide that you want it and that I don’t really need it or that I have too much of it.”

    • hakayama September 16, 2014, 12:03 pm

      The “I have too much of it” thought must have guided my very much younger neighbor to whiningly bring up the fact that in my home I had three (3!) desks and she had none. My past generosity led her to expect that I would just have to offer her one. Probably letting her choose.
      By then I had enough of her sense of entitlement, using her single mother status as leverage. I sweetly told her that by the time she reached my age, she also was apt to also have 3 desks.
      She also once asked to borrow a roll of TP and, before I could get it, in a tone of reproachment added “And don’t tell me you don’t have any because I saw the bundle in your car trunk.”

      • Cat September 16, 2014, 4:26 pm

        I would love to have told that neighbor, “I wasn’t going to say that I don’t have any. I was going to say that I won’t give you any. Buy your own.” ” Borrow”, indeed! Was she planning to return it after she had used it as if it were a chain saw?
        Most of us are too polite to tell these folks no. They know it and take full advantage of the fact that asking for it means they will get it. I can’t tell you how many books I have lost because, to so many people, borrowing means I get to keep it for my very own.

        • Cecilia September 17, 2014, 8:44 am

          After I “lost” many books and DVDs due to friends borrowing them and then “misplacing” them, I no loan books or DVDs.

          • Amanda H. September 17, 2014, 12:16 pm

            This is why my parents started keeping a list of who borrowed what, and my husband and I followed suit. At least we know who to hound, and the friends we loan to know we WILL be asking them to pay us back if they “misplace” our stuff.

            Luckily my husband and I have only had one item go missing since we started this system, and the people we loaned to were upstanding enough that we found out the DVD was lost when they presented us with its replacement, completely voluntarily.

      • PM September 16, 2014, 5:49 pm

        ***Blink Blink Blink***

        Well, that’s crazy rude.

        • PM September 16, 2014, 8:27 pm

          By the way, the “crazy rude” comment is directed at the toilet paper claimer, not Cat.

  • Jess September 15, 2014, 7:53 pm

    I think the OP handled it very well, sometimes people’s rudeness is so baffling that you don’t know how to react straight away and this might result in giving reasons why they can’t do something/have something, rather than the often recommended flat out “no”, followed by a “get off my property”.

    My family have encountered similar situations, one of my uncles has a few farms that grow oranges, pecans and macadamias – nut trees take 20 years to mature and bear fruit/nuts so they are a significant investment and it explains why finished product is so expensive (in Australia anyway). Although most people are ignorant as to what trees grow what, those that do recognise them, and the few that have the chutzpah to climb under the fences to get to the trees have taken a substantial amount of the harvest – not to mention general disruption and disrespect to my uncle’s work and livelihood. He’s so softspoken and gentle that the trespassers and thieves often get sent on their way with their loot, a “please don’t do that”, and a wave goodbye.

    This “free for the taking” attitude isn’t just limited to fruit and vegetable unfortunately, 2 or 3 other uncles, my cousins, myself and my partner are keen fishers, divers and shooters. There have been a number of times when one of us has come to shore with our catch and in the process of cleaning or packing away have had a random person walk up, pick up something and either walk away with it to “show my partner/child/sibling” or just casually “hey can I have this”. Often it is something that is labour intensive to harvest (think diving to depths of 10 metres and holding your breath for more than a minute all whilst swimming against the current/grappling with your quarry/manipulating and aiming a 1.5 metre speargun) and would be expensive to buy – like lobster ($40/kg) , abalone ($100+/kg), squid ($20/kg), or other species of fish ($15-$40/kg) and have bag limits; lobster and abalone are limited to 2 per person, per day. I’ve noticed it gets worse during holiday season when we have an influx of city-dwellers. Sometimes we have the odd whiner who says “oh but you have plenty, just give me some” that doesn’t understand that the ocean is not a supermarket; we can’t just drop in whenever we want – so we freeze and preserve fish for when we cannot go fishing.

    After a dive I am tired and often hungry – and I do not take kindly to people playing with my food. I’ve had to ask on more than one occasion to ask people to “stop playing with my lunch/dinner”. One woman got a bit snippy when asked to cease so I countered with “would you walk into a cafe and stick your fingers in someone’s salad?” she left in a hurry. (hopefully not to find a cafe to try it out lol)
    I don’t mind people watching and asking questions, I enjoy educating people and showing them where their food comes from – but I have my limits and they end where rudeness begins.

    It’s almost as if people think that if it’s not behind glass, wrapped in plastic, barcoded or in a refrigerator that it is free for the taking – and are ignorant (or not) that someone actually worked to harvest and catch the produce, clean and process it.

  • Angel September 15, 2014, 7:55 pm

    I cannot imagine having the balls to march onto someone else’s property to pick their fruit! The nerve of people! You handled the situation just fine. Maybe a sign up saying private property–no trespassing might be more of a deterrent? You are perfectly within your rights to call the police when people trespass on your property!

  • babs September 15, 2014, 8:00 pm

    My parents lived in a nice neighborhood on a lake and had many citrus trees. They were kmown and appreciated for their generosity and especially for their huge juicy naval oranges. They gave oranges, tangerines and other fruits and vegetables from their garden to friends and neighbors. One time a neighbor was having his driveway resealed and my father told the workers they were welcome to pick themselves some oranges. My dad went outside later and they had brought over buckets and picked his trees practically clean! They had actually harvested his crops, obviously to sell! Who does this? Apparently the same type of people who thought they were entitled to OP’s fruit!

  • Patty K September 15, 2014, 8:05 pm

    I had a hard time understanding this posting. Am I alone?

    • Jinx September 16, 2014, 8:24 am

      If you mean you have difficulty understanding that so many people march onto other people’s property and feel fine, and even entitled, to remove anything they want, and furthermore the owner of the property being stolen is a jerk if they don’t allow the stealing to occur… then you are not alone.

      This post and some of the replies have made me lose my faith in humanity. I had been training my pooches as good citizen/mild service dogs, but now I’m wondering if I should have made them guard dogs instead.

    • hakayama September 16, 2014, 11:50 am

      I can see two possible reasons/solutions for your bafflement, and they are probably linked and strongly intertwined:
      1. Slipping reading comprehension skills — fixable by coaching and practice in adult ed courses and/or book clubs or literary circles.
      2. Adult onset ADD/ADHD — also fixable with help mainly from a nutritionist and complementary “healer” (as opposed to mainstream practices that control the symptoms).

      I dread the thought of you not seeing the posting as a tale of thieves vs. victims of theft. Actually, victims of daylight brazen unarmed robbery. Actually “armed robbery”, with the trespassers armed with their entitlement and chutzpah.

      • Steve September 18, 2014, 11:53 am

        I don’t think you are in any position to diagnose other posters with mental problems.

        • hakayama September 22, 2014, 8:48 pm

          Please, “Read it again, Steve.” 😉 CAREFULLY…

          P.S.: I usually find your comments right on target. Perhaps “upstream”, but logical.

    • Christina September 16, 2014, 2:27 pm

      No. It seemed purposefully difficult, to me.

  • Angela September 15, 2014, 8:13 pm

    I kept waiting to hear that the “visitors” had mistaken the OP’s property for a farmer’s market or something like that and that they were horrified to find out otherwise. I guess I’m naive.

  • Marian Perera September 15, 2014, 8:32 pm

    Oh, this happened to my extended family in Sri Lanka.

    We had a lovi tree near the garden wall. I don’t know what lovi are called in English, but they have bright red skins and pale flesh, and they taste great. Each day, after school let out, a bunch of boys perhaps in their early tweens would climb the wall and go up the tree to pick lovi.

    One day my uncle had enough of that, and he let the Doberman loose. The lovi tree was far from the house, which was one reason the boys felt safe climbing it, and that also gave the Doberman enough time to start baying like all the hounds of hell as he came running. Most of the boys jumped out of the tree and ran, some leaving their schoolbags behind at the foot of the tree. A few boys were still trapped up there with the Doberman barking and scratching at the tree trunk. They got in a lot of trouble and we never had anyone trying to take lovi again.

  • Cathy September 16, 2014, 12:42 am

    Big fence. Big “no trespassing” sign. Big dogs. End of problem.

  • penguin tummy September 16, 2014, 2:11 am

    We used to have an enormous mulberry tree when I was about 8 years old, that actually was growing in our neighbours yard but half the canopy was in our yard. It must have been very old. It was so good to have so many berries to eat! Since we had basically half a tree each, we just picked from our side.

    I’ve constantly been surprised at the cheek of people who go into others yards to take things. In my city, drink bottles and cans are worth 10c each at refund depots, and so we save ours until we have enough to cash in. A lady walks around our neighbourhood with a large hat on and scarf covering her face, stealing from bins and driveways. I saw her open my next door neighbour’s gate to steal out of their bin but just sat out the front so she could see me. I have also had to tell off a young man who walked into my front yard to fill up his water bottle without asking while my partner and I were both standing there! He didn’t even ask and got offended when we told him to leave.

    Also, congrats to the OP on getting a Chow Chow, they are just lovely dogs. And great guard dogs.

  • B September 16, 2014, 3:24 am

    All these stories of people doing this are just so weird.

    Just the idea of walking into someone else’s garden, stealing from their strawberry patch (???), going on their lawn, playing with their pools and basketball hoops…I just can’t even picture it. It’s so weird. *So* weird. I’ve never encountered anyone doing anything like that. Someone’s garden is their garden.

    Am I missing something? Are American gardens completely open and the boundaries unclear? Isn’t it a massive trespass to start going all over someone’s garden? I’m genuinely struggling to picture this being something people would even contemplate.

    • Abby September 16, 2014, 7:34 am

      Well, I certainly think people have stolen before- snipping flowers from a neighbor’s garden, helping themselves to apples or other fruits off trees, etc. However, usually these people know they are stealing, know it’s wrong, and make an attempt to hide it by doing it only when they believe there will be no witnesses.

      However, to walk up the owner with a list or pails or whatever, and making it clear you intend to take something from them, while they are standing right there, that *is* a new level of bold that I have not encountered much.

    • Amanda H. September 17, 2014, 12:20 pm

      It’s generally been my experience that American gardens aren’t open with unclear boundaries. Even in places where the garden itself isn’t fenced in, there still tends to be a pretty obvious line where the general “yard” ends and the garden begins, usually because the garden plants are neatly laid out. Even local community gardens I’ve seen without fencing have a clear line where the garden visibly starts.

      In this case, it’s just a lot of people who were never properly taught (or choose to ignore being taught) that if you didn’t plant the obvious garden and there isn’t a sign saying the food is either for sale or free, you don’t take it.

    • azulvioleta September 17, 2014, 3:13 pm

      The physical structure of gardens varies widely. It certain IS a massive trespass in US culture to go into somebody else’s yard, especially if there is a fence.

      Some people are just brazen thieves.

      I occasionally pick up fruit if it falls on a sidewalk or into a street, but I would never enter a stranger’s yard without asking.

  • Harry September 16, 2014, 3:43 am

    When I was younger Mum rented our old place, and the landlord owned and maintained nearly all of the properties down one long driveway, and his partner planed lovely colorful tulips all the way down the side of said driveway. They looked gorgeous 😀
    Anyway, one morning as we were leaving the house we spotted a woman picking armfuls of these tulips, and her teenage son was standing at the entrance to the driveway (we lived in the second house down) looking like he wished he wasn’t with her.
    Mum marched over to her and said “Excuse me, those aren’t for picking.” (this was true, the landlady had put a lot of effort into planting these bulbs!) and the woman retorted “Well they’re not YOUR flowers!”
    When mum politely reminded her that they weren’t hers either, the woman got pretty nasty and said something along the lines of “You live THERE,” (pointing at our house) “right?”, which I’m guessing was her way of insinuating that she knew where we lived and could cause trouble for us. At that point her son dragged her away, and as far as we know she never came down the driveway again.

    That’s not the first time entitled people have tried to get away with this kind of thing by using non-sequiturs, but she was definitely the dumbest I’ve met.

  • Kimstu September 16, 2014, 6:24 am

    I can’t find a YouTube version of Jo Stephenson’s song “To Whoever Stole My Giant Marrow, I Hope It Does You No Good”, but victims of produce pilfering should track it down and give it a listen: very satisfying and funny tale of fate handing out some retribution!

  • PM September 16, 2014, 8:38 am

    BTW, I would have called the cops on the rhubarb lady, not because of the rhubarb, but because someone behaving in a manner that hostile and unbalanced so near my property. Jeez. Stop taping her and take some action

  • LonelyHound September 16, 2014, 9:13 am

    To the poster saying it is no big deal, it is. A lot of these stories, and stories like it, are liability issues. If someone gets hurt on your property, at the very least, you can be sued. No one takes personal responsibility any more. They see it that if they got hurt on your land then you should not have had what they got hurt on on your land. Not that they should not have been trespassing in the first place. I bet they would not be so warm and fuzzy if they got a farm share delivery, and the OP came and helped herself to their produce. It is the same thing.

  • CC September 16, 2014, 10:04 am

    When I was growing up, my parents owned a motel in Florida. The motel was on an island and we were on the lake side, with steps leading to the water and a we also had a dock. At least once a day, we would have people snorkeling from the inlet, getting out at our steps, using our outdoor shower, and then sunning themselves in our dock chairs. None were guests of the motel. My mom would generally put our dog on a leash, walk out, and calmly tell the trespassers that they had 30 seconds to leave our property or she would take the leash off the dog. The dog was not mean or a biting dog, and more than likely would had licked them to death, but on the leash, she was fierce. My mom never had to take her off the leash. We would also have people take our key limes, oranges, and bananas. We even had someone climbing our trees to get the coconuts.

  • Outdoor Girl September 16, 2014, 11:06 am

    I always shake my head when I hear these stories – not that I don’t believe them but that I’m just incredulous at how brazen these people are.

    I’m actually having the opposite problem. I put an herb bed at the front of my house. Herbs do better if they are regularly trimmed so I’ve invited my neighbours to help themselves whenever they’d like. I get very few takers and my herbs got scraggly because I haven’t had time this summer to properly care for them.

    I think I lucked out with my neighbourhood, for the most part. 🙂

  • JD September 16, 2014, 11:37 am

    I remembered this today: there sometimes is retribution by Mother Nature.
    There was a tung oil processing plant out by itself, about 30 miles from the nearest town, the town in which I live. It was on what was then a heavily traveled highway (I-75 and I-10 have taken a lot of that traffic since then). People often stopped on the road shoulders by the tung trees — clearly being grown in a grove on private property — and helped themselves to a few tung nuts, thinking they were an edible nut. The hospital in my town always knew who the thieves were, because it had the closest emergency room. The nurses and doctors on duty always reminded the nut thieves that not all nuts are edible, and one should never pick off of someone else’s trees.

    • NostalgicGal September 20, 2014, 2:31 am

      I looked this up… the fruit is a sort of woody pear thing that’s on the smallish side (4-6 cm long and 3-5cm wide, or about 1.75 to 2.25inches long and 1.25 to 1.5 inches wide) and inside is 4-5 oily seeds. One seed can be fatal. All parts of tree are considered poisonous. The poisoning can cause vomiting, diahrrea, slowed breathing, and may cause a rash similar to poison ivy.

      I think out of kindness the grove owner should have put up a few signs saying These Trees are Poisonous, and the phone number of the nearest Emergency room (and labeling it thus). I bet that would have saved a lot of traffic through the ER.

  • Christina September 16, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I’m sorry, but I can’t be the only person who thinks this writer is purposefully making this situation, and letter, much more difficult than it needs to be. Like someone else said, we didn’t need a long, drawn out description of every plant and layout of the property. And neither did the person trying to take some. If it was my property, they wouldn’t have ever gotten near my plants to be able to take any before I told them to leave. the way she talked to the offenders seems insane to me. All that needed said was ” I’m sorry but this is my private property. I do not sell or give away my produce. It is just for my family’s use.” If they continue or don’t take no for an answer, you say “I’m sorry I said no. Don’t come on my property again” etc, etc.

    In the comments section, she replies that she is getting a puppy to be a lookout and posting a sign that says “patrolled by extreme prejudice”. Once again, making things purposefully difficult. Many people won’t even understand what that means. You want a sign?
    Then post a sign that says “private property. No trespassing. No picking produce.” It needs to be clear and obvious so there is no chance of confusion.

    They were wrong for assuming they could, but you just tried to sound superior and elitist in talking to them and in your letter.

    • hakayama September 16, 2014, 9:10 pm

      Could we perhaps try the following: [Where the heck do I place the question mark in relation to the colon?]

      “This lady had a big yard with fruit trees in it. Some not nice people came into the yard and wanted to pick fruit. They did not ask permission. The Fruit Lady was surprised and upset. She told them to leave.”

      A while ago, when I ran into a former student I was told by him that I made the complex simple. Possibly he may have referred to something like “use of the imperfect subjunctive in contrary to fact conditions.”

      I’m sorry to say, Christine, that you sound like a troll, or at least like someone who got up on the wrong side of the bed. For while, according to those who study those things, the majority of the US population reads at the fourth grade level, I don’t think it’s fair to insist that ALL writing be done at that level or below.
      I really cannot find ANY element of elitism or tone of superiority in the posting. But then, if one insists, even the most straightforward text can be open to interpretations and hair-splitting.
      An afterthought type of question and a speculative conclusion: Do you have a garden, house plants or some other hobby you devote any time to? Something that requires contact and observing of growth? Possibly resulting in emotional attachment on some level?
      Probably not.

      • Yet Another Laura September 16, 2014, 9:43 pm

        Agreed. The details are what bring these stories to life. You can’t please everyone. One person’s TMI is another person’s “We don’t know the whole story so I’m going to take the side of the rude person”.

      • Faye September 17, 2014, 9:04 am

        “the majority of the US population reads at the fourth grade level” That sounds snobby. If you are upset at what Christina wrote, keep your thinly veiled insults restricted to her, instead of dragging the “majority of the US population” into it. I get so sick of people insulting the US and Americans every time they want to make a point. Christina was *not* the first poster to mention they found the post hard to follow, with possibly too many details, and I did not see a four paragraph response to those posters.

        Yes, I think details do make the story more interesting and if Christina disagrees, there is reason to insult her or “the majority of the US population”. What makes you so sure that Christina is from the US?

        • YersiniaP September 17, 2014, 12:37 pm

          Did you read the first part of that sentence that you are taking offense with?
          according to those who study those things, the majority of the US population reads at the fourth grade level”.

          Your comment reads a bit as if you just skimmed, saw a key phrase that annoys you, and went off.

          By the way, hakayama’s comment wasn’t just a cheap jab at Americans, like you perceive it to be.
          There was a world-wide test of adult life skills and literacy not too long ago (I think last year?), where US adults scored rather poorly. Google “adult literacy US” and you’ll find info about it.

          • Faye September 19, 2014, 8:14 am

            I think the part that bothered me most was that Christina basically said she had trouble following the story, several other posters stated they had trouble following the story as well, and @hakayama’s 4 paragraph reply seemed overly harsh. @hakayama assumed Christina was troll or woke up grumpy, then insinuated that Christina can not read above fourth-grade level. That seems like a lot like what I have seen referred to on this site as “interesting assumptions”.

        • hakayama September 17, 2014, 9:25 pm

          American by choice*, rather than by accident of birth, responding to Faye:

          # Quoting perhaps outdated** statistics is not snobby, it’s being objective. It is very sad that you should see sad statistics as insults.

          # There was one prior responder that wrote about HER (?) not “getting” the point of the post.
          I made some suggestions to her (?).

          # Lenore (probably from SA) chimed in to say that SHE had no problem in reading the post. She also implied actually READING books. Shockingly enough, I’m sure not from mandated school lists.

          # I am not upset with Christina. I was trying to show that by sticking to the barest minimum, a lot of the impact/background of the posting would be lost.
          Also, some imperceptible reasons make me think that Christina is from the US, but that is irrelevant regarding reading comprehension.

          ** From what I see around NOW, that information might need some adjusting. And sadly, not for the better.
          I’ve spent three decades teaching high school students, mostly a foreign language, but making occasional forays into other subject areas as need arose, and my competency matched the situation. Over the years I’ve observed several trends come and go, a bit like styles in clothing and hairdos.
          It pained me when the changes were introduced just because some highly placed individuals needed to justify their outrageous salaries. Not because the change would bring improvement to the students.
          When we see some stranger commit a booboo, we can easily blow it off. When it’s a family member, we cringe.

          * Inadequate education on Planet X can be overlooked. Shortcomings right here, at home, are hurtful and make us wish it were different. At least that is MY wish… and this is MY home.

          Recognizing/identifying/acknowledging the problem is the first step towards fixing it.

        • oregonbird September 18, 2014, 3:03 am

          Faye, the average reading level in the United States *is* 4th grade. There are a number of studies available on-line. If you feel that level is too low, please give out books for Halloween instead of candy! But its only basic fact that most of the conservative news agencies peg their work, both in print and in live reporting, at a 4th grade level, and there are some media shows that are deliberately pegged even lower. Learn something new every day!

          • Faye September 18, 2014, 9:29 am

            I don’t give out Halloween candy and will certainly not be purchasing books, since apparently no one in America can read above fourth-grade level.

            I still think @hakayama’s comment to Christina was rude, considering several other posters also seemed to have trouble following the submission and were not lectured about reading levels in the US. @hakayama assumes Christina only reads at the fourth-grade level, as well as assuming she is a troll, got up on the wrong side of the bed, or that people dumb down their submissions to suit Christina. There have been many, many LW’s that have been told they have included too many or irrelevant details and that it made their post hard to follow. The lecture about reading levels in the US was not needed.

            I also find it strange that no one reads above the fourth-grade level even though most children are tested for reading comprehension/levels several times a year, at least in state I live in, and if they cannot read on grade level, they receive tutoring or are held back.

          • NostalgicGal September 18, 2014, 1:58 pm

            Three plus decades ago I landed the coveted job of student librarian assistant in our high school library. I had to deal with returns, had power to check books out, and had influence on what was ordered. Imagine my surprise when I was told we could NOT order any book above third grade reading level, and had to order about 20% at first grade level. For high school. Entire school body was English as first language… And finding out as a senior, knowing what we had ordered, seeing some classmates selecting only the first grade level books to read. I don’t think that has changed and if anything has gotten worse. Why can’t Johnny read?

          • Jlh September 18, 2014, 3:00 pm

            Actually media outlets write their stories at an 8th grade level. Easy enough to read and understand, but not ridiculously dumbed down.

        • Jlh September 18, 2014, 3:05 pm

          *I forgot to add
          I know this because I work in media. People get annoyed if you make things too simple for them (which I don’t see as a bad thing, but to each his own!)

    • another Laura September 17, 2014, 3:53 am

      It’s also possible that OP, FruitYardLady, is from a different region or country from you, where sentence structure, phrasing and vocabulary differ, thereby making it sound elitist to you when it is “normal” where she’s from.

    • Lenore September 17, 2014, 4:35 am

      I’m from “third world Africa”, and I managed to understand it with absolutely zero problems. And frankly, if everyone wrote in the way you want them to write, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter would never have happened. If you want short and sweet stories, stick to twitter and maybe tumblr.

      • hakayama September 17, 2014, 8:15 am

        Shakespeare anyone?
        Aw, shucks! That sounds like “cruel and unusual punishment”… 🙂

  • NayNay September 16, 2014, 3:37 pm

    I’ll add another story to this post. Years ago we owned 40 acres in northern Alabama. I had a small patch of lilies in a garden bed out by our driveway. One Mother’s Day we left for some MD activities; when we returned, every one of my beautiful lilies (there must have been 20) were cut off at their bases. I assumed that someone didn’t want to spend actual money getting flowers for their mother!!

    This farm attracted lots of thieves, probably because it was out of sight of its neighbors. We had potted plants (one a 50-yr-old jade plant) stolen from the back porch; a lawn mower and metal detector stolen from the laundry room; and peonies dug straight up from the dirt.

    It was like living in an area of voracious locusts that ate up everything in their path.

    • hakayama September 16, 2014, 9:11 pm

      Ambush anyone? 😉

      • NayNay September 16, 2014, 10:19 pm

        Actually, yes. One evening, just at dusk, I was sitting alone in the living room, just enjoying the quiet. I had not turned on any lights so the house was dark. The rest of the family had gone off on some errand with our only car, so……it looked like the place was empty.

        I hear a vehicle pull up so I look out to see who it is. Wellllll, two guys. Pulled into my driveway with their pickup, just waiting, obviously casing the house.

        Since we’d had so much trouble and thievery, we had a (loaded) rifle on hooks above the entryway door. I grabbed the rifle and stepped out onto the carport in full view of the trespassers. I didn’t even need to raise the rifle — they backed out so fast they nearly got stuck in the ditch by the side of the road.

        • hakayama September 17, 2014, 10:57 am

          Thanks for the giggle. I’m visualizing a potential scene with you stepping out, with your “equalizer”, and politely asking “Looking for someone?”
          In a totally differing situation*, my Georgia born son in law insisted that I get a shotgun. He claimed that it would be easier to “sow goodies” than the rifle which requires at least SOME aiming.
          *A former neighbor had pointed a derelict drug addict towards my dwelling. She told him that she “left his check” with me, and he came to claim it.

    • PM September 17, 2014, 8:46 am

      I’m from a rural area. I’ve noticed that while people living in a rural area together respect boundaries and property lines of nearby homes (because they don’t want their neighbors sneaking into THEIR property and taking their stuff) people who are from a different area of the county or just driving through are more likely to stop to pick available fruit/flowers or steal a weedeater peeking out an open garage.

      I regularly visit an aunt who has a very long driveway leading up to her rural home, which is visible from the highway. She took care to plant a beautiful mix of bulb plants on either side of the driveway, leading all the way up to the house. While wild daffodils and day-lillies are common in our area, (and people do stop to dig up the plants from ditches and roadside banks) wild tulips and irises are not. On several occasions, I have arrived in the driveway to find someone digging up bulbs from very clearly marked flower beds. And when I stop to ask if they have permission, (they always say, something like “I thought they were wildflowers” or “I didn’t think she’d miss a few.”) or even KNOW my aunt, they don’t. In general, when I tell them the flowers are intentionally planted on private property and they need to hit the road, they act sheepish and leave. A few have asked for containers for the bulbs they’ve dug up because they’re “out of the ground anyway.” And then get snippy when Aunt takes the bulbs back.

      I’ve noticed that the plates on their cars are always from other counties or have “my child goes to a school all the way across the county” stickers. Because they wouldn’t do this to their neighbors, but if they steal from someone they’ll never see again? It doesn’t count. You’re not going to steal from someone who you’re going to see at church on Sunday.

      Also, people figure that there’s such sparse law enforcement coverage in rural areas, that the cops aren’t going to a) witness or b) respond to reports of missing flowers.

      I’ve asked Aunt how she can keep her enthusiasm for her flowers, knowing that people are going to steal the result of her work. She says “they’re my flowers and my house and I’m too stubborn to give them up.”

  • Cat September 16, 2014, 4:33 pm

    I had a realtor who was showing me homes. We went to one house which had some of the qualities I was looking for in a home and she immediately ran into the neighbor’s front yard and began picking their fruit. She was supposed to be showing me a house, not taking me along on her law-breaking activities.
    I stood there, aghast, and she called me to come help her. I had to explain that I bought my fruit from the local market as stealing was wrong.
    I still have problems believing that happened.

    • hakayama September 16, 2014, 8:28 pm

      If one is to believe there’s (at least some) truth in stereotypes, then your realtor did fit the group’s reputation: a smidgen above used car salespeople who, in turn, are only beat by politicians. 😉

  • Ellie September 16, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I had a very pleasant mother and daughter (strangers) ring my doorbell the other week to give me squash out of my own garden. I guess they were hoping I’d offer that they to keep it, but I was so caught off guard that there had been strangers harvesting in my garden that it didn’t even occur to me until they were long gone. After reading this, I’m happy they didn’t steal, though they did trespass!

  • Lady Anne September 16, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Our church property backs up to a row of townhouses. You’d be amazed how many of those folks think this is a public park. We don’t mind people walking their dogs, as long as they pick up after them and we try to be considerate as possible about noise and lights, etc. We have had people wander through with metal detectors “just pickin’ up old stuff” and we have had to explain – VERY CLEARLY – that this is not only private property, but a Federally Protected National Historic site, and they are NOT entitled to dig holes wherever they wish.

    The real prize is a woman who calls the police whenever we have a large function and park cars in the field when the parking lot is full. “They are blocking my view of the park. I bought this house because it backed up to a park, and they are blocking my view.” She’s done it more than once, and the police have explained the ownership of the property every time. I think we’re on go-round number four, and we’re having a fundraiser this Saturday, so we’ll hear from her again.

    People seem to think that if they can see it, it is theirs.

    • o_gal September 17, 2014, 6:37 am

      We do a sport – orienteering – that is held in larger parks. One day some competitors came back saying that a lady had threatened to shoot them for being on her land. My husband was meet director that day, and he ran out to make sure that he had set that control (orange and white flag) within the park boundaries. Yep, he did – there was even a white MetroParks boundary sign between her backyard and the control location, which was also on a path through the park. We called the police over the shooting threat and she told them that even though she didn’t actually own the land, she still considered it hers and the competitors (from a high school team) were trespassing.

      • hakayama September 17, 2014, 8:07 am

        Unhinged narcissist?
        It looks like the authorities need to tell (maybe also write) her very bluntly that SHE runs a risk of being arrested and thrown in jail if she threatens anyone in the park.

      • PM September 17, 2014, 8:56 am

        Well, if that’s the standard we’re applying, I consider the Tiffany Store to be mine.

        • hakayama September 17, 2014, 1:14 pm

          Nah… too many colorless clear stones. Not to mention gaudy shiny metals. :-/
          Wouldn’t you rather move into a nice old-style hardware store? With wood floors? Or a bakery?

      • NostalgicGal September 20, 2014, 2:35 am

        So did she mow it, water it, and maintain it too? Or just look at it and consider it hers?

  • Anna September 16, 2014, 9:59 pm

    I’d like to say that I’m surprised, but I’m not. The human mind seems to be more complex than I anticipated. /sarcasm

    One year for Mother’s Day, my husband took our kids to the local nursery to pick some flowers out for me to plant in our front yard. My oldest selected a beautiful blue calla lily that bloomed beautifully once planted. It was the first plant that didn’t die under my care, so I was quite proud of it. Many of my neighbors also commented on how beautiful it was.

    Fast forward to two years later. We came home from church one Sunday and I immediately noticed my calla lily was missing. Thinking the kids had kicked a soccer ball into it and it was smashed down, I walked over to the area, only to find a big gaping hole where my beautiful flower had been.

    Someone had dug up my Mother’s Day present and stole it from my front yard.

    To this day, I still can’t get over the audacity of some people.

    • PM September 17, 2014, 8:59 am

      My dad took up macrame while he was ill back in the 1980s and learned to make really complex hanging planters with multiple “tiers.” That year everybody got hanging planters as gifts. They were actually really pretty. And Mom’s was some crazy very complicated pattern that took Dad months to complete. He was very proud of it. I can’t remember what kind of plants were in it, but it was proudly displayed on the front porch… until we came home one afternoon from school and it was missing. Someone took it from our porch, plants and all.

      Dad’s still a little bitter about it.

  • NostalgicGal September 16, 2014, 11:37 pm

    I remember reading a Reader’s Digest condensed book story; that was set during the depression I think. Family was sharecroppers, raised beans. They had a commodity dole started, they had never seen grapefruit for ex, and figured out it was for ‘dessert’. And the mother scraped up and bought a milk cow, and paid $5 a month to pasture it; keeping some milk and putting the rest into 5 gallon cans to be picked up once a week. She would get a check mailed for her milk. It was noted that the amount paid seemed to be short after a while so one morning mom took the can to the pickup water trough location, and hid and watched. One of her neighbors showed up and filled up two large pitchers, bringing a big ladle to dip the milk out. She confronted the woman, who complained bitterly about her being upset, after all, they all got commodities and she was ENTITLED to the milk as the cow ran in common grazing land. The thief was informed that rent was paid to run the cow, it isn’t FREE milk. The thief dumped the milk on the ground so nobody could have it then. And got them disqualified from the dole because she couldn’t steal a couple of gallons of milk a week.

    Mid 60’s, a farmer planted 3 acres of sweet corn next to an approach in his field. It got around town that the corn had come in; and my parents were two that went out there to quickly pick/snitch a couple of brown grocery bags full. I was too small to understand why it was wrong…. some got caught as they went out there to grab too much and their vehicle got seen and called about; I don’t think the farmer got very much of his crop. Whatever he was going to do with it; it got locusted by almost the whole town.

    This entitlement bit is no where near new. Defending strawberries isn’t new either. Family friend had close to an acre of them behind the house and shelterbelt; at one time they provided in season to a few local grocery stores. People figured out how to drive up to the patch through a fenceline road and go out there and pick berries. 50 feet from the house, they’d be out there and picking; they would usually get caught by slamming a door too hard or smoking and the wind would carry it to the house. Didn’t matter that it was a for-sale crop, they had so MANY they could spare several quarts. (or so those caught offered up) They finally got one big MEAN crossbreed dog that treed people in the back of pickups to patrol. (this was mid to late 60’s)

    • PM September 17, 2014, 9:00 am

      It’s crazy to me that people think , “I want this. I deserve this. I’m going to take this. And if I can’t take it, I’m going to fix it so no one else can have it, either.”

  • FizzyChip September 17, 2014, 1:30 am

    My home is in a small newish estate, and all the homes on the estate were moved into within a month. As such, we had a whole street full of new plants as we all planted to establish gardens. Half of which were stolen under cover of night. I was devastated as I had meticulously planned my yard and agonised over the choice of plants. Most annoyingly, was roughly 6 months after the initial theft, was an apparent return visit by the theives. Except this time, the plants had become established and instead of being able to merely lift out the plants from the ground, they had been crudely half ripped away. I cannot imagine the plants that they stole in their second attempt survived, as their remains certainly died after the trauma. I now only have cheap and commonplace place plants in my front yard like lavender and daisies. They’re still pretty but seem less attractive to theives and they stay where I plant them.

  • Green123 September 17, 2014, 6:18 am

    I wanted to share this photograph which I saw on Twitter today: