A specific form of stealing, referring to theft from a public store. Also commonly known as the five finger discount. The reality of shoplifting has encouraged stores to create slush funds, and the installation of electronic theft detection devices.

I had a shoplifting phase when I was younger. I was good, too. I really wanted to be a highly skilled jewel thief, dressed in close-fitting black leather, with expensive, professional tools, but I went on to live a life of slack instead.

My favorite coup was at a pet store in Florida. I was 16, and it was my friend Krista's birthday. We went in with no intentions. Krista, sensitive soul that she was, wanted a milk chocolate-colored bunny (a real one) that fit in the palm of her hand. "Bunny!" she said. "I'd name it Mocha." So I, um, walked out with it.

Krista went nuts. For a week I was like The Beatles with an audience of one.

When I was either eight or nine, I went through the shoplifting phase. It was weird. Like kessenich, I was a world-class shoplifter. I don't know where it began. I think it was at an Eckard store on Halloween. I stole some lime green lipstick. I can't imagine why I went to all the trouble to do so. I was caught by my mom later that night who asked me where I got it from. I was too young to elaborate a good story, since she had been by my side all evening (with the exception of when I stuck the lipstick in my pocket).

This led on to further shoplifting, usually things I didn't want at all, things no one would want. To this day, I still wonder what I really saw in Bing Crosby Christmas albums and plastic Home Alone 2 bookmarks. I was one sick kid.

The point is: if you're going to steal, make sure it's not from the school bookfair.. and please good lord, don't steal Lionel Richie albums. It's more trouble than it's worth.

Maybe it's just me, but the idea of shoplifting is very foreign. Why would I want to do such a thing? The thrill? No, that lasts a milisecond, and can be gotten from any stupid act.

The possibility of spending time in lock-down for a few CD's? That can't be it either, so why? What is it that draws people to the rap section where just today we found 8 CD's cut and looted. That's about $130 that just walked out the door.

You know what else that is?

That's my bonus. That's right, the thrill of the game for one person just cost me part of the money that was going to allow me to pay off my bills.

So what is it that makes thieves take from every employee in the store? Is it that they don't like someone? Greed? Petty selfishness?

Don't get me wrong, I know that $130 isn't going to lower my bonus by more than a few bucks, but that was only tonight, and that was only what we found. In the past week we've lost game boys, playstation games, CD's, in fact, one person walked out with a cart loaded with stuff, and the Loss Prevention employee was busy with too many people to notice. So no, the $130 dollars isn't much. . . but the $2000 is, and that takes a huge chunk from me, as a college student, and more importantly, from other employees who have actual families and lives to support.

"The thrill" is not a good enough excuse when you think about what you're doing, who's being hurt, and why.

Those CD's that went missing tonight will probably be listened to for a month max, and then they will sit with the rest of the collection, or maybe have a second life as a frisbee. For me, the impact is more long lasting.

I guess I don't shoplift because I think too much about the people involved. No, it's not just the big corporation that takes the hit, it's me, and every other hard working individual out there, so please, give me a good reason why shoplifters do it, so then maybe I can understand why I have to suffer for it.

"Shoplifting raises prices!"
"Shoplifting causes me, as an employee, to lose money!"

Stop whining. Problems have solutions.

Don't get me wrong, I've never stolen anything in my life. But I think it's silly when I hear people berating friends of mine who occassionally lift a 20 oz. Pepsi at a Circle K for reasons like this. The shoplifter is not the one raising prices and cutting employee bonuses due to shoplifting. Somebody higher up on the company totem pole, who makes money based on how much money the store makes, decides to cut his losses by creating company policy (slush funds, etc) that punishes employees and shoppers, instead of spending money from his budget to beef up security. You don't like it? Shop or work somewhere that doesn't have such problems with shoplifting and/or doesn't institute these kinds of policies. If enough people think for themselves and respond to behavior they dislike, then either the company will alter its policies or go out of business and be replaced by a store that may or may not learn from its predecessor's mistakes.

Shop"lift`ing, n.

Larceny committed in a shop; the stealing of anything from a shop.


© Webster 1913.

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