Am I a thief?

So I was introduced to a super fun new backyard game called Kan Jam a few weeks back. It’s a four person frisbee game that kept me and my friends entertained for hours. Instead of explain to you how the game works, here is a nifty little tutorial…

So you basically throw a frisbee towards the can that’s 50 feet away from you. Your partner can help try to slam the frisbee down the top or in to the side of the can for points if you can’t hit it directly. I was pretty much obsessed with the game and decided I needed to own it. I went home, searched online, and found it on Amazon. List price, $40.

As you can see from the picture above the cans are nothing special. Just a thick piece of plastic that rolls in to a cylinder. The game also comes with a frisbee. I already own a frisbee and don’t really have a need for a second one. We could obviously afford to pay the $40 asking price to own it, but I couldn’t just bring myself to add it to my Amazon cart.

Instead, I stole the idea. 

Dang. Does that make me as bad of a person as I think it does? I just couldn’t justify the $40 purchase when I knew I could make myself the game for a fraction of the cost. So on Friday I went out on an epic journey to find the best material possible to make the game. First, I stopped at Home Depot to see what kinds of plastic sheets they had. Turns out, they don’t have any. Next stop, Joanne Fabrics. Nothing. Okay, maybe I wasn’t going to find rollable plastic sheets.

Off to Big Lots I went. They had a 26 gallon garbage can for sale for $7. I nearly bought the thing, but decided the diameter was too large and it would make the game too easy. If I was going to copy Kan Jam, I wanted my version to be as close to the original as possible. As I wandered through the store I stumbled upon a $6 cylindrical plastic laundry basket that was absolutely perfect. It was the proper height and width. I made my purchase, spent about 20 minutes at home modifying it, and BOOM! I just made myself Kan Jam.

I brought my home-made set to a friend’s lake house this weekend and we spent hours playing. It was a total blast and I don’t think having the original Kan Jam would have made the game any better.

So, my question today is simple. Am I a thief? Do I have a moral obligation to purchase the game?

Part of me thinks yes. I mean, Kan Jam was made by two guys and it’s super fun. They deserve to be rewarded handsomely for their ingenuity. But then again, who hasn’t replicated someone else’s idea before? Am I obligated to buy a Hamburger from McDonalds instead of make one at home? Does Girl Ninja have to buy that shabby chic picture frame from Pottery Barn when she could easily antique a thrift store frame for pennies?

I guess the big takeaway from today’s story is this: If you are going to create something, make it too complex for a simpleton like me to replicate.

Have you stolen anything lately? 

(side note: I never go to Big Lots and still have absolutely no idea what one would go there for, nor do I know how to describe it to someone else. It’s like Ross, meets Walgreens, meets Albertsons, meets People of Walmart)

17 thoughts on “Am I a thief?”

  1. I think you have to ask yourself, is it stealing to fix something yourself instead of hiring a plumber, contractor, or handyman? I don’t think it is. It would be one thing if you were using the idea for Kan Jam and selling your own knock-off version, but to use for yourself and your friends? Pfft, you worry too much, my friend.

    I’m not obsessed with DIY, but I do like saving money by making things myself when possible. If it’s beyond my skill level, I’ll just pay for it, but not if I can make it on my own. I don’t feel bad – I’m definitely grateful to whoever thought of it first, but I’m not going to spend money unnecessarily if I can help it.

  2. I agree with Andrea – you worry too much 🙂

    Kudos to you for being creative. I bet you had a lot of fun searching for materials and then making the game 🙂

  3. My Mom would rather “steal” the idea and make her own for her personal use than spend the money, and she’s got the money to spend! Kuddos to you, Ninja!

  4. Is that really any different than making your own corn-hole (maybe it’s just a midwest thing to call it corn-hole) board, or any other tailgate game? As long as you aren’t trying to sell it I don’t see a problem.

  5. It’s not stealing. They sell marshmallow shooter kits for twenty dollars. I can make it for less than four, same principle.

  6. It’s only stealing if you took the idea and tried to sell it. That said, it’s not even like the idea is that original. I mean, a dozen different types of these yard games could probably be created in an afternoon.

  7. If the thing you “steal” is used often and you feel greatly indebted to the creators you can always donate some money to them. Bands are starting to do this by putting music on their websites and then charging a “whatever you feel they deserve”, which could be free – $100 or anything at all. And the bands are actually making money even though some people will just download it for free (steal?) and do not pay anything.

  8. What you did is fine. Just last month I printed Yahtzee score sheet off the internet and collected 5 random dice and a plastic drinking cup to play yahtzee with the kids. I was actually proud of myself for saving $15! Can’t say I lost any sleep worrying that I might be a thief.

  9. I think it is wise to ask yourself such questions. It keeps integrity at the forefront of your mind. In my opinion you didn’t steal it, but just call it another name if you’re worried about it.

    I’m sure your post promoting it is better than your paying for a kit. I want to play now.

  10. My friends and I play a Swedish yard game called Kubb. You can buy the sets for anywhere from $40-150 dollars depending on how fancy they are. Instead my friend who is handy with woodworking took some scrap wood he already had made some sets for pennies on the dollar. We then painted them to our liking, and we still use those sets to this day. I have never felt bad about it, I don’t think it’s stealing as you’re not trying to profit from the idea just making a reasonable facsimile of the original for your own use.

  11. I agree with the other posters–it isn’t stealing unless you’re now going to go out and sell your version of the game at a cheaper price. As Andrea said, it’s more about the DIY effort than it is stealing. In which case, I applaud your efforts!

  12. “I guess the big takeaway from today’s story is this: If you are going to create something, make it too complex for a simpleton like me to replicate.”

    No way! You’ve provided free advertising and increased reach. I’ve never heard of this game, but it sounds awesome and it’s price point likely is within range for people that don’t want to drive to a store and hunt for appropriate sized bins. You saved ~$28 at a cost of around 2 hours of thinking, searching and modifying. Tons of people would be on the fence with making versus buying for products like this that are fairly priced.

    Thief? I prefer to call it hoarder of ideas.

  13. Your description of Big Lots is SPOT ON…. I used to never shop there either, but you don’t know what you’re missing out on! There are some REALLY GOOD deals to be had at Big Lots. I mentioned in a previous response to you that I shop for things like TP, paper towels, dish cleaner, etc there. You DO have to beware of the food items because if you aren’t careful you may end up with something that’s expired, or will be expiring soon…

    BTW – as far as the game… it would only be stealing if you tried to sell your own knock off version of it.

  14. I am sorry to say this but you have chosen the wrong words. Staling is taking something which does not belong to you. Remember there is not copyright law for ideas in USA. There are copyright laws for the procedures but not for the ideas.

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