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Have you ever watched a bootleg movie?

In some circles, it is still considered proper etiquette for a man to bring a woman a small gift on the first date.  Sidebar:  I’m not being biased by not including gender-neutral terms.  I simply have no idea what “dating norms” are for same-sex couples.

If you ask people what’s an appropriate gift, you will get a lot of suggestions for inexpensive items.  Based on my quick google search, NOBODY believes flowers are acceptable.  That idea is one whose time has passed.  While some believe a gift is creepy and un-necessary, I went on a date with a guy who believed such would impress me.

Guess what he gave me?  TWO BOOTLEG MOVIES!!!!!  Yes, bootleg movies!

I was turned off by that for reasons, not “boogie” reasons, that I don’t think he could fully appreciate.  I think bootleg movies = theft!  Yes, it is that serious.

I am a creative professional.  Essentially, this means that I spend lots of time and money creating the stuff that I do for a living.  By “for a living”, I mean SELL.  Sometimes, in addition to buying the materials to do what I do, I have to spend time learning how to do certain things.  I present workshops and have to design the workshops that I present:  I WISH SOMEBODY WOULD JUST PHOTOCOPY THE MATERIAL THAT I HAVE WORKED HARD TO CREATE!  Yes, I would sue you if I found out.  If it wasn’t a big deal, why didn’t you create it?

Sometimes, I can be a bit of a stickler for certain points; thus, I couldn’t just say, “thank you” and let it go.  If you’re going to get to know somebody, you may as well be authentic and transparent from the beginning.  Why waste a fake smile (we save those for work!)!  So, I asked him whether he, too, saw it as stealing.  Of course, he didn’t.  Then, I asked him why did he think every movie, including the bootleg ones, come with the FBI warning at the beginning.  He said, he said that he it was a legal crime, but not a real crime.  He further said that the “movie people” weren’t suffering for it.

Yes, this was quite the not-so-enticing conversation for a first date!  I walked away (no, there was no second date) thinking that it was interesting that he thought that it was okay to steal people’s stuff if they already had money.  I argued that he was same guy who complained about how black people never get credit for the good thing we do or our contributions to society.  I also pondered what I thought was the slippery slope of the thing:  if you don’t see this as an issue:  if you’ll buy bootleg movies, will you also buy other stolen goods (I know someone who bragged about buying a MacBook for $100 that was “still in the box”)?

What’s your opinion?  Is it stealing to buy OR WATCH bootleg movies?


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