Scene: a prison cell. The new detainee walks in, a nervous look across his face. His cellmate, a large man ironically named “Tiny” barely glances towards the door as he lies on his bunk, staring at the ceiling.
The new man has a seat on the lower bunk. He attempts to make small talk, but to no avail. Apparently, people in prison don’t want to chat a lot. Finally, though, he breaks the ice.
“So, how’d you end up here?” he asks.
Tiny turns his head, making eye contact with the new man for the first time. The next few minutes are filled with a story of blood and gore, stolen cars, gun shots, and, eventually, the tracking down and incarceration of Tiny. He’ll be up for parole in ten years, but until then, he is trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Then, Tiny asks the question the man had been dreading.
“Whatcha in for?”
The man shifts nervously, trying to think of a perfect way to say. The story he had just heard had all of the makings of a Jason Statham movie, complete with explosions and many things that would terrify most men. One of his friends had his entire ear sliced off. There was a helicopter theft and, inexplicably, 14 high-speed motorcycle chases involved. How was he supposed to compete with that?
Finally, after much thought, he decides to just do it. Just say it quickly and hope no one notices.
“I got busted for stealing $25,000 worth of Tide…”
The story above seems absolutely ridiculous. In fact, it seems like a story based on an unrealistic premise with unbelievable characters. I’m sure most people read it and thought to themselves, “That Nathan! He’s a real wildcard! What a nut! Ha!”
Well, it isn’t as ridiculous as it seems, so stop calling me names! Okay?
In fact, the basis of this story is 100% true. The man’s name is Patrick Costanzo. Over the course of 15 months, Costanzo stole around 250,000 bottles of Tide laundry detergent, reselling them at flea markets and on the streets for low prices. His business was booming because who doesn’t want to buy detergent from a man in a dark alley?
With many people out of work, this type of theft has reportedly starting popping up around the country. CVS Pharmacy has begun putting security devices on some bottles of Tide, hoping to squelch some of the thievery. Of course, this will most likely lead to more elaborate, Ocean’s 11 style Tide heists complete with an overly complicated plan and witty banter, but that’s a risk they’re willing to take.
Of course Tide can’t be too upset. This is publicity you can’t buy. “Detergent so good, people commit felonies for it,” should be emblazoned on the side of every box. In fact, have Costanzo do commercials from prison (provided Tiny has not yet stabbed him to death). He clearly needs money and would be very willing to do it.
In fact, the real victim of these crimes are not the store owners, but the other detergents. No one has said anything about thefts of All-Color Cheer. That’s because no one cares. If someone were to sell stolen bottles of Gain right next to stolen bottles of Tide, the Gain table would be very lonely.
Tide is the best detergent. The black market has spoken.
While Tide should be benefiting, there is one other unforeseen beneficiary of this recent rash of crimes. Because of men like Costanzo, the pun and wordplay market is thriving. In just one half of an article, these delightful wordplays were found:
“Thieves seem to be embarking on an anti-grime spree…”
“Was Costanzo using the detergent in a literal money-laundering scheme?”
“Did he sell it for dirty deeds?”
Yippee! Fun with crime!
Soon enough, our trips to buy detergent will be much different. We’ll have to take a number and wait patiently. When our turn arrives, we will be escorted into a dimly lit room by an armed man who will allow us to pick up one, yes only one, bottle of Tide before escorting us to a cash register. Anyone who tries to break protocol will be shot in the knees. It’s the only way to keep order.
When this day happens, you can thank Costanzo. Our laundry time will never be the same, solely because he steals ridiculous items.
On the bright side, he must have had really clean clothes. Not a lot of criminals can say that.
I’m sure he’ll use that as a bragging point in prison.
Hi. We’ve had a lot of fun here today with thievery. While Costanzo may have made it seem cool to steal, it most certainly is not. Especially if you’re stealing anything laundry related. Maybe if you were stealing something like a diamond that weighs 12 pounds, it would be a little cool. Or a plane. If you were stealing a plane, that would be REALLY cool.
I digress. Don’t steal. Thanks for reading.
- Tide detergent emerges as a new target for thieves (fourbluehills.com)
- Nationwide Spike in Theft of… Tide? (inquisitr.com)
- Tide of Thefts (snopes.com)
- Police take on rising wave of Tide detergent theft (foxnews.com)
- ?WTF? Tide Detergent Stolen From Stores Across the Country (disclose.tv)
- Clean Thieves (wdok.radio.com)
- Sudsy Crime Spree Sweeps Nation (myfoxphoenix.com)
- Tide Detergent Is a Stain on the Black Market [Video] (jezebel.com)
- Orange bottle, black market: Tide detergent thefts sweep nation (mnn.com)