Episode 174: Starbucks Castle Doctrine

"Starbucks Castle Doctrine" is the 174th episode of My Brother, My Brother and Me, which was originally broadcast on November 4th, 2013 at 11:05 AM.


We're back! All three of us are back! We had a rough patch there, but don't worry -- your podcast flow isn't gonna be interrupted by any pesky wedding rituals for like, three weeks or so.

Suggested talking points: Eatotron, The Ron Paul Extranet, Shoplifting, Tick Tock Barber Shop, Guy Fieri's Rat Fans, Herald Lover, Stealing Channing Tatum



(Justin) The weather outside is frightful. Merry Christmas everyone!

(Griffin) It's 81 degrees outside of my house right now. It's 81 degrees.

(Justin) It's gonna be a warm Christmas as the McElroy household. By that I mean Griffin McElroy.

(Griffin) I guess that's kind of frightful, when you think about the Earth and the fate of its peoples.

(Justin) Christmas time has sprung, because Halloweens over. So we're full blown Christmas season. I've got my Scrooge graphic tee-shirt on, which I wear every holiday season. A frosty mug of cocoa, hot cocoa.

(Griffin) I actually literally just drank some hot cocoa.

(Travis, in joke voice) Well hey kids! I"m Tom Turkey. Let me teach you a little lesson about why Thanksgiving deserves a chance!

(Griffin) Tom Turkey, you had your fucking time, in late August, and you fucking blew it, because you slept through it.

(Travis, in joke voice) I was on vacation

(Griffin) Yeah, I know you were. But --

(Travis, in joke voice) I'm full of tryptophan.

(Justin) What we should do, is we should celebrating American Thanksgiving during Canadian Thanksgiving, which is in October, pre-Halloween, and just get it out of the way.

(Travis) Listen, okay, straight up though, it's an arbitrary date anyways for Thanksgiving. Like, it changes every year, and does it just matter? Why not just make it -

(Griffin) 23rd

(Travis) - I dunno - March?

(Griffin) Nah, nah, I mean, we should settle on a fucking date on this fucking thing. Cause it -

(Travis) September 17th

(Griffin) No, it's the 23rd, the 23rd I feel like, is a good average Thanksgiving day. And it's not like when the pilgrims and the Native Americans had their first sit down, their first colabo, it's not like that shit happened on a set Thursday. It was a day, you know what I mean. It was the 23rd, I think.

(Justin) It's not like the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ, which happened at December 25th at 6:38 p.m.

(Griffin) Yeah, it would be like if we celebrate Christmas, like "Hey, when was Jesus born?" "I dunno, Tuesday? The third Tuesday, maybe? I dunno, that seems about right?"

(Justin) It seemed like a Tuesday. It had a Tuesday vibe in the bible.

(Griffin) Historians have a hard time pinning down... nope! 25th. Says it right here! Ecclesiastes 20:2

(Travis) Here's the problem, though, is that if we don't do the Thanksgiving on a floating day, one year it will just be like a big Saturday lunch. Like, there will be nothing special about it, except "oh, we had three more sides than normal."

(Griffin) Well, maybe for you, Eatotron. That would be your robot name. Cause you eat so much all the time. I'm not saying you're fat, but you consume a lot of content.

(Travis) Well, I want other people to not have it.

(Griffin) Fair enough. Makes sense.

(Justin) This is My Brother, My Brother, and Me, an advice show for the modren era. You wouldn't know it from this intro, but this is a comedy program, and we're going to be serving up fresh laughs to you, just as soon as we find our rhythm. It's been a while since we've made a live... an actual program. I'd say about three weeks or so, since we made an actual My Brother, My Brother, and Me episode.

(Travis) We've been busy!

(Griffin) Well, you've been busy.

(Justin) Listen, that's not an excuse. To the people at home, we're just, we're just voices that come into their ears. Like, we're not human beings.

(Griffin) They don't have time for marriages... and other big, important life events.

(Travis) They don't want to see us wiping off the grease paint.

(Justin) Exactly!

(Travis) Returning back to our lives.

(Justin) We don't have any stage door Johnnys, waiting for a glimpse of us as we step out the back of the podcasting theater.

(Griffin) As soon as we.. we pronounce that "kiss your dad square on the lips", we die for a week.

(Justin) We die in their minds. We have no lives, and we certainly don't have weddings.

(Travis) Or murder mysteries

(Justin) but that's okay, we're here in your ears now. Let us cradle you into wisdom, with this first question.

Listener Question #1 (4:25)

"Since American politics have become such a hot topic lately, I've been having a problem with one of my closest friends, whenever he finds a news article or political meme on the internet. Although we don't share the same views on these matters, he and I normally have a great time when we hang out. But since he's been constantly been bringing up these topics, I find him difficult to be around. I don't want to ostracize him from my life, and I've told him a few times that talking about politics isn't how I want to spend my time with him. But he just won't listen. Is there a way I can avoid these conversations, while also maintaining our friendship?"
-Congressionally Confused in Connecticut

(Travis) Someone has to be engaging with him. Like, there's no way he's sitting there like "Obama, right?" and he just keeps going. Because if so, your friend is insane.

(Griffin) You've gotta make him feel small. you've gotta learn so much more about whatever subjects he wants to talk about, that you politics him on to the table. If you haven't already started, and man, it could be too late, but you need to start reading La Mon exclusively. You need to start reading back catalog of the Economist. And just get, so deep, in politics.

(Justin) You could do that. Or, you could do what my parents did when I thought would start discussing politics with them. This was actually pretty savvy on their part, so I'll pass this on to you. What they did, when i would start espousing political opinions, they would just keep asking me questions about my political opinions, until that thin veneer of basically a hodgepodge, paper machete construction of hope and good feelings, and a minimal amount of information -

(Travis) And stuff that you learned from the Daily Show

(Justin) Exactly. it became sort of a tapestry that I would wrap myself in. And they would just ask questions about my beliefs, until they crumbled around me.

(Griffin) This would have pre-dated The Daily Show, though. This interaction. Like, I don't know -

(Justin) Don't fucking age me, Griffin.

(Griffin) Naw, I'm saying, your'e old as fuck, but where did you get your shit. Nick News? What was your --

(Travis) He read it on The Onion

(Justin) The Onion... the paper one.

(Travis) Oh, that would be great. Every time your friend brings up an article that he read in USA Today ,bring up an article that you read in the Onion. Like, hey, "Can you believe this, he's mating with aliens!"

(Justin) Listen, you're basically fucking describing Facebook. That's basically my Facebook wall right now that you're describing. "Hey, Obama's a Muslim." "Hey, somebody at a mall believes something about a dragon." That's an Onion headline, isn't it? I don't read much.

(Griffin)That's pretty good.

(Justin) That's not bad. I'll find it. "Obama says french fries are Benghazi."

(Griffin) I have friends that are, I would say are very political. They talk about political things. But, like, does anyone really like talking about this shit? Is there anyone who it doesn't make you just feel impotent? And so angry?

(Travis) That's the thing. Nobody enjoys talking with other people about this. They like talking at other people about this. They like just hurling facts and knowledge and random shit. I guess, in the hopes that the other people that are listening will realize that they're the superior political mind.

(Justin) People say not to discuss religion and politics because it's impolite. And I think that's fair, because it rarely leads to any sort of positive discussion discussion. But I think, the other side of that is because those conversations, almost by definition, can't be fruitful.

(Travis) Yeah

(Justin) Because you're going to have one of two things. Either you're gonna have two people so dug in that all they are doing is espousing their own beliefs at the other person until they run out of breath, or you're basically going to have an echo chamber, where you're hearing your own beliefs repeated back to you. Neither one is healthy.

(Griffin) Well somebody's gotta be -

(Travis) You ain't Lincoln/Douglass, you know what I mean.

(Griffin) But somebody's gotta be listening to this shit, you know? Or else, explain Ron Paul. Ron Paul started with one guy. It was like, Ron Paul talked to this one dude. And that dude was like "Oh my god, RP, I'm so into you." And he told two friends, and they told two friends. And all of a sudden, you had the Ron Paul extranet of human beings. You had the Ron Paul hive mind. And that was started by word of mouth. That wasn't big political contributions. Can I tell you some things about RP that I like?


(Justin) "How long do you have? I know everybody's lives are so busy"

(Griffin) "Are you opening to joining with me and opening your hearts and joining the re-love-lution? That's the revolution, but there's love in there. Let me tell you all about it. Do you like guns? Ron Paul sure as shit doesn't."

(Justin) If your friend wants to talk about politics, you should carry around in your pocket forms to sign up for the next election. To like, make him run for city counsel, if he's so belligerent about this. Make him run for political office. That's your only out. Because if he's not going to do that, then he's not serious enough about it. And if he does do that, you have to be his campaign manager. Oops! You fucked up now! You played Chicken, and you lost.

(Griffin) You lost!

(Travis) Oh, cut to four years from now, he's president and you're his chief of staff. And then you're like, 'Hey, by the way, I never really liked you that much. This was all a mistake."

(Griffin) "But i'm proud of the progress that you made. Too bad that you beat the shit out of Ron Paul in the primaries. I was really rooting for that guy. I heard some really good news about him."

(Travis) What if every time your friend brings up 2013 American politics, you bring up 1913 american politics, but don't let him know the difference. Like, "And I hear they're voting on something called prohibition!" ,and see if he'll eventually stop hanging out with you.

(Justin) You could always bring up rap beefs. Those are about the same thing. "Yeah, but when they got biggie..."

(Griffin) "Who? The GOP"

(Justin) "When the GOP got biggie, that's when things really -"

(Griffin) They probably fucking did. I could send you some guys some literature, but that shit was entirely politically driven.

(Justin) Griffin, do you have a Yahoo?

(Griffin) It was a three way beef between Pac, Biggie, and Ron Paul. And let's just say, one of them's still alive. And the other two died.

(Justin) Ron Paul was like, "Biggie, they might as well call you the IRS, because I'm not convinced of your continued solvency."

(Griffin) And then Ron Paul said nothing. He just got it fucking done. He just did the damn thing.

(Justin) Just did the damn -

(Griffin) Just did the damn thing.

(Justin) Did the hit on Biggie.

(Griffin) Did it once? No, Did it twice. Mystery solved. Now you know the rest of the story. Ron Paul, 2014. When's the next election?

(Justin) Please... Yahoo... please.

Yahoo Question #1 (11:10)

This Yahoo... as long as we're talking about politics... this was sent in by Harrison Ross. Thanks Harrison. It's by Yahoo user Friendly Cow, top contributor, who asks:
"Why can't you just walk into a store and take something? Then walk out? Like, who is going to stop you? Walmart stopped funding that greeters, so you could just walk in, take whatever, and walk out, as long as it doesn't have one of the things that make the alarms by the door go off."

(Travis) That's actually an unspoken law.

(Griffin) What?

(Travis) If noone see's you, then you're good. It's like, "oh, you got us!"

(Griffin) You're saying shoplifting is legal if you cross the barrier and nobody sees you.

(Travis) Mmhmm

(Griffin) The statute of limitations on that is until you get to your car. And then once you're there, it's olly olly oxen free.

(Justin) I mean, that's the question. If the question is "Why don't you do that?", the answer is, "Everybody does, all of the time."

(Travis) Yeah.

(Justin) You've just described the exact conditions through which everyone is stealing everything.

(Griffin) Everyone's doing it? I've never shoplifted anything in my life.

(Travis) Can I tell you why everyone doesn't do that? Because it's not exactly everybody who would shoplift from Walmart is a master thief. I worked in loss prevention at Best Buy, and the ability to be, "Oh, look at that person who is hiding their eyes and looking around." It's like, "Yeah, you're not exactly Pink Panthering this shit. It's that guy, in the hoodie, who won't make eye contact with anyone."

(Griffin) But like, at Walmart, what's gonna... like, someone. I've never understood. You can just grab the thing and walk out the door, and even if someone is like, "Hey, you can't do that! I work at Walmart and you have to pay for that". What's stopping you from being like, "No... there's really not anything you can do to stop me.", and then getting in your car and driving away.

(Justin) I mean, you can do that. Can't they detain you?

(Griffin) No, they can't, you know why? I'm a fucking adult, and they have no legal authority over me!

(Travis) So wait, griffin, are you implying that all of capitalism is just a smoke screen, and we only do it because we think we have to do it?

(Griffin) I'm saying that societal norms are all entirely projected into our own minds and our teachers. I'm saying, if I go to Target right now, I could pick up a fucking PlayStation 3 and walk out the door and someones like, "Hey, you can't take that, I work at target!" I could say, "You're not my dad... like, later... later." And then I could hop on my skateboard I've been riding through Target the entire time, because nobody can fucking... They can't touch me, that's for fucking sure!

(Justin) I'ts like a haunt... Target is like haunted house rules. They can't touch you.

(Griffin) They can't touch you. There's a security guard by the door. He's not... a fuckin... ordained by the city. My taxes don't pay his salary. He's not gonna fucking shoot me. "Later."

(Travis) If you ever want to have some fun -

(Justin) It's... his gun squirts mustard!

(Griffin) That's why he sits by the fucking food court. He's not a cop. "Later dawg! Later!"

(Travis) If you ever want to have some fun at a big box store. Trust me as someone who worked in loss prevention, they won't do shit until you try to leave with it. Even if they watch you do it. So just make eye contact with someone in the electronics department and put something down your pants. And just before you leave, pull it back out and put it on the shelf. And then just walk out, "Goodbye everybody!" And like -

(Griffin) Or, can I give you an alternative theory? Just shove it down your pants and walk out the store. Because they're not cops! I wouldn't shoplift from a cops store! A cop good stores staffed entirely by cops, becuase they're going to be fucking enforcing that shit.

(Justin) Travis, what could you actually do to somebody you thought was stealing?

(Travis) Um... like, what was my process?

(Griffin) Crack this open. Crack open how fucking impotent these dudes are!

(Travis) It really is... okay... listen... I don't want to put all security guards on blast, because I feel like i'm betraying my brotherhood. But here's the thing you guys. The amount of ... the amount of things that you have to prove before you could even have someone arrested. Like, there's the thing. I could watch you, Griffin McElroy do it... like... steal something.

(Griffin) Yeah, and you know that I'm fucking going to after this god damn podcast.

(Travis) And if i lost eye contact... like, if I lost visuals on you, and you were just gone, and showed back up, I couldn't do shit!

(Griffin) Couldn't do shit!

(Travis) Because I couldn't prove... all you would have to say was, "Nah, I put it back."

(Griffin) "Hey, that's not cool! I'm gonna call the real cops." "Alright, they'll be here in like 20 minutes! Later! Later! My car is like 20 feet away! Bye!"

(Justin) The point Griffin is making, it's not about whether or not they see you do it. What he's saying, they can watch you do it, watch you walk out the door, and they cannot do anything.

(Griffin) They can't do fucking anything, because they're not a cop or my dad. If my dad was working loss prevention, and he was like, "Now son, don't", I'd be like, "Alright, I'll put it back", and *'d put it back. But very rarely would that happen, because my dad doesn't work retail.

(Justin) That would be a sweet, like some sort of duel between... they bring on Clint, b/c he's the only one that can stop Griffin. It would be sort of a Thomas Crown Affair. Griffin's like, repelling through the ceiling, and dad like cuts the string.

(Travis) Except, repelling from the ceiling, you mean like, walking through the door and picking up a handful of boxes of Mike N Ikes, and walking out.

(Griffin) If you think I would go that small. I will go that small. I'll go small to big, but I'm not paying for shit anymore. I don't want -

(Travis) I actually... I don't believe in shoplifting. It makes me so sad because I know who it affects. So what I do is I go in, I pick up the thing, and I leave a clay pot I've made. Or some shiny stones.

(Justin) You like, so you like covert bartering, basically.

(Travis) I know that they can't saaaay yes to it, because then everybody would do it. But I know that they appreciate the sand dollars.

(Griffin) It's like farting in yoga class. That is what i equate shoplifting to. It's like farting in yoga class. Because its... what... You've done inventory at a major retail chain before. I have too. I imagine Justin has, since he has worked about 28 retail jobs. It's like... typically 75/80%, and the other shit gets straight up cribbed. And if you become a cog in that machine, you're literally a drop in the bucket. You're adding .001 to the shoplifting rate at that point. It doesn't -

(Travis) Griff, I do want to drop... when i worked at Best Buy, i had like 10 fools arrested.

(Griffin) Yeah

(Justin) How Travis, how?

(Travis) Because I called the cops before they tried to leave

(Justin) But you said... you couldn't... until they tried to leave...

(Travis) Until they tried to leave! And so the people would walk out the door, and then the cops would fucking, you know... swoop.. come in.

(Griffin) Did you profile people?

(Travis) Because I was fucking on point!

(Griffin) With your profiling?

(Travis) No, because I wat... okay, so... this is why there are greeters. Because people come in, and you say, "Hi", and like your normal average person goes, "Oh, hi", and people that are coming into steal shit...

(Justin) So they look at you all like "Can't talk!"

(Travis) There would be people that would come in, and they'd be so surprised that a human being was acknowledging them...

(Griffin) "In which aisle is your small and valuable things? About pocket sized, please?"

(Justin) "Do you have the special belt that loosens your pants?"

(Travis) The thing is, all you have to do is watch people. And people, as I said, are not exactly master thieves. So their looking around all shady, and like hiding stuff. And like, you know, when you see a 12 year old kid checking out the refrigerator section... It's like, "You're back there stealing stuff!"

(Justin) I'm going to give you one last chance before I just declare your entire former profession made up. You can't physically stop people as they're leaving the store, correct?

(Griffin) If someone went... let's paint a hypothetical -

(Travis) No, no, no, I can. I have to prove that they were bypassing the checkout -

(Griffin) You can't fucking touch them though. You can't grab them by the scr... That's what I'm saying. if someone walked in the store -

(Travis) Oooh, I heartily disagree!

(Griffin) Let me finish my scenario. Someone walks in the store, goes full blown Supermarket Sweep in two and a half minutes, runs through the phone aisle like, "Wheee", just like knocking shit into their giant pants... you can't do shit about that scenario.

(Travis) I would tackle the shit out of them!

(Griffin) You can't. That's assault. That's assault and you'd go to jail and I don't want that happen to you. You're my brother.

(Travis) I wouldn't, I wouldn't do very well in prison.

(Griffin) I'm just sayin..

(Travis) Here's the thing. I would though.

(Griffin) The settlement would pay for all of the shit he was going to steal. And you'd be back to square one.

(Travis) But see... the problem is, Griffin.

(Griffin) You're not Batman. You're not Batman

(Travis) I don't know why we've been talking about this for 20 minutes. The problem is, the fiction that you're crating is not how people shoplift.

(Griffin) It's reality.

(Travis) No, I've never seen anybody do that. I agree it would be a solid play But people are trying to heist it. They try to Oceans 11 it. And the first person I ever had arrested was hiding it in a baby carriage.

(Draft transcript stops at 20:15)