Oh, Spam. The beloved canned meat was cherished by 40s housewives and scheming advertisers. However, since the 1940s, the questionable pink ham substance has made a major comeback in Hawaii, where it’s beloved by millions.
This is a comeback so monumental that vendors have to lock the product up.
No, we’re not kidding.
Fox News reports that a string of Spam thefts have prompted grocery store owners to treat Spam as a luxury item. In Honolulu, for example, police have posted a $1,000 reward for a man who stole a whole case of the meat from a store. He also allegedly punched a security guard who tried to stop him. While security guards make $30,000 per year on average, that might not be enough to be punched in the face over canned meat.
In a similar incident, a thief ran out of a store with eight cases of Spam in Pearl City, according to Fox News. A witness told KHON that she couldn’t believe the man actually took the Spam.
“That’s when I thought, ‘OK, this isn’t real. No, he’s not going to take it, no, no,” the witness said. “Next thing I knew once he passed the register, that’s when I heard the intercom [call] management to the front and it was really fast.”
As for the motivation, Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii told KHON that the state passed a new law that moved the threshold for felony theft from $300 to $750. This makes minor crimes carry less penalties. She also said that these thieves are getting more aggressive with their crimes.
“They’re just getting a lot more brazen,” she said. “A lot of times when loss prevention is trying to apprehend them, they’re being attacked. Either they’re getting punched or they’re seeing knives being used. I’ve heard of some guns a couple of times.”
Yamaki told The Washington Post that she has heard rumors of black market sales for the product as well.
“We’ve heard they work through middlemen,” she said. “We’ve heard that they’re selling if from the back of their cars. We’ve heard all kinds of rumors. Whether they’re true or not, I’m not sure.”
It remains to be seen which of the theories has the most meat.