Wednesday, February 8, 2012


So what do you do when you steal something you don't need?
When you steal food, it could be because you or someone you feel responsible for is hungry.
When you steal a coat it could possibly be because you are cold.
So when you steal something you don't need? Something you cant use?
What do you do?
The hardest thing about stealing odds and ends is turning them into money.
 I would guess.
So what do the maggots who steal things do?
In ye olde days they would go to a "fence"
Someone who specilised in moving stolen goods along. Finding buyers for them. The fence was well known in the community of criminals. He was the go-to guy.
Lets say (for example) that I stole a Gold Chamber pot.

Its worth a LOT of florins, but it has the family crest of the former owners boldly emblazoned on the bottom.
So I would take it to the fence.
He would ascertain its value, and offer me much less.
Say, knowing that he could sell the gold to a reputable goldsmith for 600 florins, he would offer me 60.
We would haggle, and in the end I would walk away happy with the 50 florins clinking in my pocket.
The fence would then approach his friend the goldsmith, the man who asks no questions, and offer the poo-pot to him.
The goldsmith, knowing that he could easily convert this polished toilet into 2000 florins worth of jewelry offers the fence 400 florins.
They haggle, and in the end the fence walks home happy with the 750 florins jingling happily in his money pouch.
Twenty days later, Jewelry done, A man and His wife come into the shop. 
She is depressed because recently her fathers family crested chamber pot was stolen and insurance (not being invented yet) obviously refused to cover it.
So the husband, being a wise man, takes his wife to the local goldsmith. An upstanding member of the community, well known to all. Once there he buys her three beautiful pieces of gold jewelry purchased at the "friend" price of 2200 florins.

Little does she know, that 20 days previously she was pooping in the pot she now wears happily around her neck.
Its a win win.
In a word, no.
There is one really really unhappy party. Party being a word I am using to describe an entity, or group of people rather then where you go to hit pinatas.
This unhappy Party is, of course, the government.
Especially when the goldsmith is elected Mayor.
Knowing full well where the poo-pots were originating from he invites his friend the fence over to dinner.
Over the clams he mentions offhand that he wants a piece of the action.
After choking on his clam, the fence asks the Mayor if he has gone soft in the head.
The Mayor smiles and twirls his Grotesque mustache. Which is really gross cause its covered in clam juice.

This is actually a sign for the local watch to come in.
6 burly chaps with clubs that work for the Mayor. 
They stand behind the fence and make growly sounds and hit their clubs against their meaty palms.
All is clear.
So the fence and The Mayor haggle. In the end it is decided that the fence only has to pay the Mayor a small percentage of everything he sells. 6.5 percent to be precise.
As the fence leaves, nervously stepping wide of the brute squad the mayor, slurping down a few more clams calls out "HEY! we will just call it a sales tax" his grotesque mustache bobs obscenely as he laughs.
So everyone is happy.
The thief gets to steal, the fence gets to fence and the Government gets to make a little on the side.
The Mayor laughs. 
He collects taxes from the people who pay the Mayor to protect them from the thieves who steal from the people, the theives sell it to the fence who sells the stuff to other normal people and some criminal types at a higher markup to cover the sales tax which he pays to the mayor to protect the fence from the brute squad who protect the Mayor from the criminal types and other normal people who could perhaps threaten his position, The Mayor pays the brute squad with the money he gets from the fence to protect the people.

Make perfect sense.
Good thing it is all a fantasy.
Do I need to spell it out?
Plain English?
Okey Dokey.
Pawn Shops are fences. They can buy "loan" on anything of value. The person selling the object does not have to prove that they own it. Possession is enough for the LAW and the Pawnshop.
They pay "loan" very little compared to the real value.
The Police force is funded primarily on taxes, in my town, the Majority of which is sales Tax. The Police are essentially paid by the pawn shops. (greatly simplified, I realize)
Now lets say you are an enterprising active property owner, a payer of taxes and a (fairly) good citizen. All your stuff gets stolen.
You go to the Police, they tell you that their hands are tied.
So, you venture forth and find your stuff, some of it, at a local pawn shop.
You know its yours cause it has your name written on it.
So in triumph you call the police, who arrive at the Pawnshop.
Well, no.
You see. According to the law, since the pawnshop has now paid for your stuff, they own it. You now have to "prove" that it is yours.
Receipts and serial numbers are good. Pictures of you holding said objects will work in a pinch.
Your name being on it? Not good enough. Pictures of you and your family on the film in the camera and on the tapes? Not good enough.
So then you go to a city council meeting and yell at the Mayor.
Who then sends the brute squad round about your house to remind you that if you do ANYTHING wrong at all. They will arrest you.
Or is it?

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