Daylight Robbery

Meanings of “Daylight Robbery”

The phrase “daylight robbery” means to swindle in the business, or day to day transactions. It simply implies an unfair and blatant overcharging. The phrase is used when a person has to pay too much for some ordinary items. It is often used in artificially created shortages where people are forced to pay the price of a regular commodity higher than its actual price.

Origin of “Daylight Robbery”

The phrase “daylight robbery” is stated to have originated from the tax law introduced by William-III in Britain of that time in 1969. The tax stipulated that a house having six windows required the inmates to pay the tax. This Window Tax continued up to 1851, though people stopped building more windows, or just bricked most of them to prevent sunlight. Therefore, this was referred to as daylight robbery. The phrase had the correct citation in the year 1949 in Daniel Marcus Davin’s Roads from Home, which thus goes: “I can never afford it, said his sister. It’s daylight robbery.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Daylight Robbery by Paul Henry

Silent as cut hair falling
and elevated by cushions
in the barber’s rotating chair
this seven-year-old begins to see
a different boy in the mirror,
glances up, suspiciously,
like a painter checking for symmetry.
The scissors round a bend
behind a blushing ear.

And when the crime’s done,
when the sun lies in its ashes,
a new child rises
out of the blond, unswept curls,
the suddenly serious chair
that last year was a roundabout.

All the way back to the car
a stranger picks himself out
in a glass-veiled identity parade.

Turning a corner
his hand slips from mine
like a final, forgotten strand
snipped from its lock.

The poet here used the phrase to present a boy getting hair cut from a saloon, for he is made into a new person. The boy does not agree to this cut, which seems to the poet a crime, yet after an hour, his hairstyle becomes quite serious. This seems to be the poet’s son who does not like him when going back into their car with this haircut that seems to him a daylight robbery. The metaphorical representation of cheating with good use of irony.

Example #2

Daylight Robbery by Heap Imogen

Don’t mind me, just cruising by
By the girl with the balloon
Good, it looks like we’re the only ones around
Caught on C-C-T-V
Heading towards the city light
Winking diamonds at me
Arms stretched out now

It gets me every time
It gets me every time

Happiness and silhouettes
Revolving in the deep water indigo
It’s high tide
Pleasure moment
Thinking big
Thinking positive
And itching to get on with it
It’s all stops out

These lines show that the speaker is very happy to state that they are all heading to the city to enjoy life when he comes across a girl with a balloon, who “winks diamonds” at him. Although it is high time for pleasure, he recalls the same girl who peeps through his memories yet stay a silhouette of her original shape. The taking of his comfort with her winks is a daylight robbery for the singer.

Example #3

Daylight Robbery: A Story of Bankers, Shysters & Others who Want to Steal Your Money by Ian Wishart

This book sheds light on the loans write off of the big companies and corporations who borrow excessively and then go for bankruptcy during financial crises. He strongly believes that as the people involved in such scams never suffer any financial hardships, they are engaged in daylight robberies. Therefore, he has equated this practice of the corporations and executives as a crime. This is a direct meaning of the phrase.

Example #4

Walls by Waikum Muhammad Basheer

A single holy mosque or temple in India that I haven’t visited. Not one sacred river I haven’t bathed in. Mountain peaks, valleys, forests, deserts, seacoasts, ruined temples …”
“So What?”
“God will not leave you unpunished!”
“But I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“What about the daylight robbery you committed today?”
He seemed surprised. “What robbery?”
One day, you die and your soul appears before the divine presence. God asks then, Oh you wretched jail-warder, where are the matches, the blade and the two packets of beedies you took from poor Basheer?”

This excerpt in the story revolves around the jail time of the author when he comes face to face with the jail-warder on account of his corrupt practices. The jail-warden tells him that he has come across every holy place in India and has bathed in all the holy rivers. However, Basheer inquires him when he would be answerable to God about his corrupt practices he is using against the prisoners, he will come to know the worth of his pilgrimages. The phrase, in this passage, has been used as a metaphor.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Sam’s act of increasing prices every month began to look like a daylight robbery now. All his customers were getting tired of it.”

Example #2: “Most of the acts committed by the financial institutions about interest rates are like a daylight robbery. Nothing is valid.”

Example #3: “Harper took advantage of the pandemic and doubled the rate of everything! It was no less than a daylight robbery.”

Example #4: “Half of my friends did not come to know the daylight robbery of the traders. It is because they never visited the market; instead, they purchased the grocery from the main city center.”

Example #5: “The store belonged to a Politician and everyone was scared to speak up against the daylight robbery they were doing! But, Karmen was determined to unveil the truth.”