Category: Customer Stories

Violence After Costco Files Heist

Date: Wed 12 Sep 2001

From: Blake Rogers <blake_at_blakerogers.com>
Subject: Violence After Costco Files Heist

rico,

i'm glad you wrote to me, because you're just the man i wanted
to talk to. i think you exist on a low intellectual level. i'm
not saying you're stupid - although it certainly seems that
way and i'm not talking about your poor communication skills,
grammar, etc - i'm just saying you are a mainstream person
with mainstream ideas that goes to burningman and thinks he
knows where its at but is essentially ignorant. certainly you
are not a radical thinker with any interesting opinions. you
are small-minded. listen to yourself. listen to bob dylan's
"ballad of a thin man" if you are curious about how connecting
to a more enlightened worldview.

additionally, you have very little sense of humor.

you cannot accept flux, and think that just because you and
your group puts work into the process that you *own* its entire
outcome, like  mcdonalds owns every fucking word that starts
with "mc", like burningman.org thinks it "owns" burningman. i
don't think *all* or even a majority of the people that filled
out those forms give a flying fuck if they're matched up by you
guys or redistributed, certainly not those i spoke with. they
knew they'd get a better match if they could just choose them
outright. simply because i fill out a form does not in any moral
sense give you ownership over the form, even if you design the
context in which i fill out that form. furthermore, if the form
is silly and my answers are silly, that information is not truly
"private" nor really property in any meaningfull sense.

also, my interest was never to de-escalate the situation; simply
because you're a jerk and a bully and a control-freak doesn't
mean i should seek to de-escalate the situation in response
to your violence. misinformation is integral to pranks, silly
boy. tricks are not just for kids. do you think assaulting,
battering, and pulling the hair of a guy half your size (in
response to an explicit and obvious performance art prank) is
"de-escallating? yeah, right. what planet do you live on? oh,
i know - you live on planet george bush.  irony: compare me
to a frat-boy?  violence is a frat-boy response, baby. i am
not remotely akin to a frat-boy. who the fuck do you think
you are to tell me about growing up? is violence a mature
response? i am a mature and peace-loving guy, and you should
thank me and my peace-loving burly guys for not pounding you
to an unrecognizable pulp after what you did to the brilliant
sweet ninja, oh master of war. the rangers wanted the situation
de-escallated, but not for your sake, simply because it made
political sense because of your violent response and potential
police involvement etc; one ranger, a  tax attorney, lecturing
me on the finer points of performance art law - ahem - there was
a wise older ranger clearly amused as he told me to disperse.

the heist was the result of collaborative artistic involvement
of many people, old burningman hands, new burningman hands,
weirdos and random people. many people knew it was going
to happen (well in advance) and thought it was hillarious,
including dpw/rangers, art car drivers, costco insiders,
and lots of folks all over the playa that i approached but
it just wasn't their cup of tea. how does that compare to
fratboys rushing the burningman tower?  you're right though,
doing something like that to the dpw would have been an act of
another order. anyhow, i guess there's no accounting for taste.

i spoke with so many people about this, and only a few
conservative people feel the way you do; a very small-minded
minority. most people including me think you're egotistical and
take costco far too seriously and that your group is hardly
a parody of commercialism and corporate attitudes but rather
simply bringing those attitudes to the playa. and by the way,
you screaming "i've been coming here for eight years...!  -
the irony was was really priceless; everyone had a good laugh
about that.

peace and power to the people,

-blake

here's the story as i am telling it:

while i was waiting in line to trade gina bunny in for a
soulmate at costco it occured to me that it would be funny if i
stole their soulmate profiles, redistributed them, and the
costco doorman thought it would be funny also and gave his tacit
consent, expressed that some of the group would find it funny,
acknowledging that some wouldn't as well. he suggested i case
the joint and what to pay attention to, i did and discovered the
files and the layout of the place and how it could be
penetrated. so i rounded up some cool people who remain
anonymous to carry out the deed, picked up my soulmate's profile
and told the costco doorman that i'd planned it and would carry
it out shortly. my ass was covered and the plans were laid.
there was an artcar driven by a pinkhaired woman, a ninja, a
general prankster, and a few burly dudes. the plan was to have
the burly dudes walk in a back door and stand by the files doing
nothing except blocking the way while the ninja slipped the
files and himself out the corner of the tent, handing them to me
to run to the getaway car. we all drove up to the edge of the
playa and ring and got out and the ninja slipped into the costco
tent, i waited by the tent corner, pretending to take
photographs.  suddenly the burly dudes waiting by the door were
pointing at the fileboxes, i picked up a box and the ninja
grabbed the other and we made our way out to the artcar and i
stashed the files under a blanket and yelled "out to the playa"
and our illustrious driver gunned the car around, however the
ninja wanted to sneak one file back which was even more funny so
we waited in the car while he snuck one back in the tent and
snuck back in true ninja style. i yelled "out to the playa" with
more gusto, however the ninja wanted to do a drive by and wave
the files in the air so we prepared to drive around ring in
front of costco; this proved unnecessary as we had already been
discovered by their fascist capitalistic leader who was
screaming about thefts, private property, how they work so hard,
how he'd been coming 8 years, and the law would get us... and i
was saying fuck you this is performance/participation art, the
leader grabbed the ninja by the hair and unleashed a rain of
blows upon his head, back and shoulders, the burly guys
disappeared, their bold yet unsentient leader was pulled off and
the rangers came and the sheriffs came and this red haired girl
on a bike shows up, the high maintenance goddess who gave me a
"live your dreams" sticker and got in between all of us and
chilled people out a little, their leader was yelling at the
rangers to make the goddess get away from the scene of the crime
and all these people were crowded around, someone was taking
pictures (i want copies). the ninja made a public statement
about being a ninja, one ranger at the scene, a "tax attorney",
lectured me that this was in fact stealing personal property, i
was laughing my ass off. anyway, we gave the files back and the
rangers told everybody but the fascist leader and the ninja to
stay, and the driver and i headed back to camp. i heard from
participants in the heist that the "employees" were very
cooperative during the heist inside the costco tent, looking for
someone's glasses or something and helping the ninja find the
files. the ninja's camera is still missing.

desperatley seeking my soulmate!!

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
From: Elizabeth  <elhart1670_at_aol.com>
Subject: desperatley seeking my soulmate!!

Hi there! I did not make it to the soulmate trading post,
however my soulmate did.  He is from Vancuver and his name is
Jason. He is 38 years old and was matched up by you guys with
another man. I met him in center camp and we didn't exchange
e~mail addresses! Our energy was so strong the our friends
picked up thier cameras and started snapping pictures of us.
I don't know if you have any information on your "custumers",
but if you do and you are committed to introducing soulmates
than I must beg for your help. My name is Elizabeth and I
live n Los Angeles. If you can not help me, thankyou anyway
for your time.  

<3 elizabeth <3

Me and my soulmate are still best of buds

From: Adia <adia.kapoor_at_gems6.gov.bc.ca>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2001
Subject: thank you!

Hi Hi! this is just a note to let Rico know that me and my
soulmate are still best of buds almost one year after meeting
at BM 2000 thanks to Costco (a wholly owned subsidiary of
Kanadia). Thanks Rico and all the other wonderful Costco
folk. Will there be a soulmate reunion thing this year? A
soulmate wall of shame? Can't wait to see you guys again at
the KBK. Come by for a drink with us dirty Kanadian girls (
you know us all too well )....  luv luv adia (the low-fi ninja
fire princess)

Leopard Queen Soulmate

Date: Tue, 1 May 2001
From: Fiona 
Subject: RE: Leopard Queen

My soulmate and I are doing wonderfully, thank you very much. I
think Lola said she just got some photos back from Folsom St.
Fair in September, and I'm sure there's a couple of good ones of
us. I'll ask her to scan one and send it your direction.:)
 
Yes, we are both in Austin, and tearing up the town on a regular
basis. Very fun, to be sure!
 
Gotta run, Fiona

Hello? Soulmate!

Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000
From: Fiona <fiona_at_burningman.com>
Subject: Hello?

I guess that since you have contacted me, I will take this
opportunity to tell you about the awesome fucking amazing
incredible soulmate I picked up at your camp in 1998! Actually,
it's not quite that simple.

In 1998, I stopped by Costco and filled out an application. It
was the end of the week and when I went back, I discovered that
I had been given a boy and a girl (being bisexual and all). I
was exhausted, and never went and found either of them....

Fast-forward to the year 2000. I decide to make a reconaissance
mission to Burning Flipside, being held in Austin, TX to
see if I want to move to the area. I meet all sorts of
wonderful people, including a lovely woman named Lola. One
night somebody turns to Lola and says, "Hey, Leopard Queen." I
perk up immediately on the mention of the name.

"Are you Leopard Queen from Gigsville?" I ask her. She admits
that she is, indeed, one and the same.

"Ohmigod!" I say. "You're my soulmate!" I explain the rest of
the story to her while everyone else sits about, dumbfounded
at the scene before them.

Since then, she and I have spent quite a bit of time together,
and it's working out beautifully. We will both be living in
Austin soon, and have identified each other as ideal partners
in crime. I can't even tell you how pleased I am with my
new soulmate!

Feel free to use our story as one of your success stories. We
had several wonderful photos taken of us over the weekend,
and I will send one when they are in my hot little hands.

Best wishes, and thanks again.

Fiona

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