Shoplifting Essays

Shoplifting Essay

Shoplifting When someone steals merchandise offered for sale in a retail store it
is generically called shoplifting. To commit shoplifting one must
"intend" to permanently deprive the merchant of the value of the
merchandise. Shoplifting most often occurs by concealing merchandise
in a purse, pocket or bag but can occur by a variety of methods. Most
shoplifters are amateurs. However, there are growing numbers of people
who make their living by stealing from retail stores. Amateur
shoplifter can be highly skilled, and some steal almost every day, but
don't do it to make a living. Most amateurs are opportunistic, crude
in their methods, and are detected more often than others.
Professional shoplifters run the gamut from being highly skilled to
thug-like. Some professionals work in teams or use elaborate
distraction scenarios. The crude professionals sometimes use force and
fear much like gang intimidation and often commit grab-and-run thefts.
Being a professional means that they steal merchandise for a living
and like other trades, practice makes perfect. Thoughtful
professionals are very difficult to stop in a society where retail
stores openly display their merchandise.

Shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes, ages and sexes, and vary in
ethnic background, education, and economic status. Some shoplifters
steal for the excitement, some steal out of desire, some steal for
need, some steal out of peer pressure, and some steal because it is
simply a business transaction to them. Some shoplifters are
compulsive, some opportunistic, and some are mentally ill and don't
know any better. Some shoplifters are desperate from drug addiction,
alcoholism or from living on the street. Children and elderly persons
sometime steal without realizing they are committing a crime. In urban
cities, it is not unusual to find a network of "fences" who send out
teams of shoplifters into specific retail stores to shoplift specific
items, much like filling an order for a customer. The fences only pay
10-20 cents on the dollar to the thieves and sometimes pay their room,
board, and provide training on how to steal and defeat the anti-theft
technology. Some fences have been known to bail their workers out of
jail when caught or provide for their legal defense. This creates a
kind of strange street loyalty much like the tale of Oliver Twist.

Theft from stores, including employee and vendor theft, cost retailers
many billions of dollars per year. Independent retail studies* have
estimated theft from retail stores costs the American public 33.21
billion dollars per year. Depending on the type of retail store,
retail inventory shrinkage ranges from .5% - 6% of gross sales with
the average falling around 1.75%....

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Shoplifting is an unfair way to try to cheat the system. It involves taking advantage of other hardworking people in many different ways; the stores have to buy equipment to try to prevent shoplifting, while other consumers must pay for items for the system to work. I shoplifted because I thought that I could be the exception, if everyone followed the rules but me, nothing would be wrong. However, this is an extremely selfish and unreasonable way to think.

Shoplifters steal from all types of stores including department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores, thrift shops, large companies, and small mom and pop shops. Shoplifting can hurt more than just the business from which you are stealing. It causes a tidal wave of other problems that aren’t apparent on the surface. Of course everyone would want to be the exception and not have to pay for items while everyone else does. To keep everything working properly everyone must be a part of the system, if too many people try to escape it, then there would be no system.

Stores would not be able to operate. Possibly an extreme example of this would be countries that are corrupt and crime ridden because of too many people refusing to follow the rules and be a part of a society based on laws. Depending on others to do the right thing while I benefit from doing the wrong thing is completely unfair and unreasonable. A metaphor for me shoplifting could be countries like Iraq and Nigeria where there is abundant oil reserves inside their country, but even with that source of income, the country still cannot strive because of corruption of the money coming in to the government.

There is so much corruption that even with the oil bringing in so much money, the government is still very dangerous and is not as put together and helpful as other countries such as the United States. This applies to my situation because I am an extremely lucky person to be born into the life that I have been. I live in a safe neighborhood with two parents that love me with enough money to live a comfortable life. All the privileges that I have are similar to the oil, and shoplifting is equal to the corruption.

I have all these things going for me, there is no reason to ruin it all or risk it all by doing something stupid like shoplifting. I was selfish and wanted to try it to see if I could get away with it, but there was no reason for me to try it in the first place. There was no reasonable motive that could of convinced me to do such a stupid act. Such a selfish and harmful act can never be justified. The way I see it, there are four main groups who suffer when an individual decides to shoplift. If friends or family are aware of the individual shoplifting, that will cause them to look down on the individual.

This can lead to embarrassment or lower self esteem because of people not approving of the actions that you are committing. Society frowns on those who break the law, especially those who flaunt their brazen attitude and almost dare the system to try to catch them. The second group that suffers is the retailer. The loss to the retailer comes in many different ways, the first of which is the lost revenue for the stolen item. Obviously, the company cannot make back the money spent to create the item because the item was not paid for, resulting in a loss with no sort of gain back for the company.

As a result, the loss must be passed onto consumers by increasing the price of goods in general to compensate. The second way that the retailer is affected negatively is money being forced to be spent on prevention of shoplifting. This includes more personnel, door security scanners, video monitoring equipment, tags to be put on merchandise, and more. All of these devices are very expensive and lead to having an effect on a store’s bottom line. Stores are estimated to loose between 1 and 8 percent of their yearly gross sales to shoplifting. National Association of Shoplifting Prevention or NASP) This leads into the third group, which is affected, the consumer. To compensate for the shoplifting, the retailer has increased prices, which may cause consumers to shop elsewhere to purchase comparable items at a cheaper rate. The store is no longer the best place to go for the item they desire, so they must search elsewhere to save money. Time spent during that travel and research, plus the gas and wear and tear on the vehicle or simply an increased volume on the public transportation system, are all real effects that can be seen.

Finally, shoplifting causes community time to be spent trying to resolve issues surrounding it, rather than the planning of civic projects that will make a positive contribution to the community. Time must be spent addressing the issues of shoplifting instead of working on something more productive. Focusing on how to stop a bad thing is much less productive overall than building forward and creating new great things. City council meetings, police and community relation meetings and civic organizational meetings need to spend their time in a more productive way instead of being forced to combat a problem that manages o cost our nation more than 30 billion dollars annually. (NASP) Time spend on this topic could be spent doing bigger and better things, but shoplifting is a major problem in the United States that must be stopped. The NASP has found that more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year. That’s more than $35 million per day. There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.

Preventing shoplifting is not easy, and some stores like small shops do not have the money or access to the equipment that would really help in the prevention of shoplifting. The NASP says stores that do not have the equipment to stop shoplifting well are targeted by shoplifters, leading to many items stolen without getting caught. The NASP says that these shoplifters will then eventually move on to larger stores that do have the proper security, which is how most shoplifters get caught.

They work there way up until eventually they are attempting to steal from stores with the security that is far greater than they can trick. The shoplifter leaves a metaphorical trail behind them of small stores that have lost substantial amounts of income because of items (usually the most expensive because they can take anything with the lack of security) being taken without any compensation. The large stores that do catch the shoplifters may be partially compensated, because they get the items back and then also collect a fine from the thief.

The fine helps pay for the equipment and personnel used to catch the shoplifter. So all in all, the large stores spend money to catch the criminals, then make some of it back with fines and receiving the stolen item back. Small stores just loose the money that they would of gained from the merchandise and do not gain any of it back. Shoplifting is our nation’s “silent crime”. Parents don’t want to believe it, schools don’t address it, retailers don’t want to talk about it, police don’t want to respond to it, and courts don’t want to deal with it according to the NASP.

The people who do the shoplifting either rationalize it as “no big deal” or are too ashamed or too afraid to admit it. This makes a shoplifters habits grow because it is not as in the spotlight as for example fighting is. Statistics on the NASP website show that the vast majority of shoplifters are not caught per each occasion they steal. This leads to more confidence because they think that no one really cares so they can take anything that they want no problem. To stop this, one possible solution is to make shoplifting more of a big deal.

Have every store be required to have anti shoplifting equipment so that small time criminals will not grow into larger shoplifters because shoplifting would be virtually impossible if the criminal was not going all out as in an armed robbery which is much more of a big deal than the majority of shoplifters would be willing to do. Most of people who shoplift are small time criminals. They would never do anything that is on a higher level than shoplifting. They think it is easy and leads to a gain of new items without for spending money on it. Shoplifters may think they have the advantage when attempting to steal from a company.

All they have to do is waltz on in, take some items and maybe put them in their pockets, and then walk out the store. There are usually no guards at the doors, anyone can walk in and out. Sometimes there are cameras, but even with cameras, it is hard for the retailer to stop all shoplifting. It is hard to effectively prevent shoplifting without turning the shopping experience into something ridiculous for the every day honest shopper. Hypothetically, it would be effective to search everyone who comes in and out of a store, because that would lead to there being no way for someone to leave the store with an item that is not paid for.

However, this would be extremely arduous and painstaking for a regular shopper. It would be extremely frustrating and annoying, which could possibly lead the consumer to shop online or at a store that does not take such extreme measures. It is hard for the retailer to prevent shoplifting without becoming too extreme or spend too much money. This situation puts the retailer in a loose loose situation. They must decide to either inconvenience honest shoppers with high security measures and risk loosing their business, or risk loosing money to shoplifters because of lower security.

Shoplifting hurts everyone in a community. It is never worth it to steal anything and have every single person in a community suffer. To keep society moving and operating correctly, everyone must take part in it even if there are parts that they do not like. Even if they think that there is a part of the society that can be taken advantage of like stealing instead of paying for things, they must contribute so everything works together. It is not fair to think that you are the exception to the rules, and that if you do something wrong that benefits only you and no one else does it, than it is fine.

That is a terribly selfish and unfair way to think and no one should think in such a close-minded way that would lead to them thinking that shoplifting is ok. I was that person, I thought the only person who was effected was the CEO of the company who would make a couple bucks less than their usual millions of dollars that they would make if I didn’t steal from them. I was close minded, selfish, and unreasonable. I am extremely ashamed of what I did and I cannot even describe how grateful I am to be given a second chance.

This whole process has been eye opening, my close minded, idiotic way of thinking has been opened up and I now understand how terrible stealing really is, and there is no way that I will ever steal again. People should be proud to be an important part of the system, the American society that works so well, instead of trying to exploit it and take advantage of every part that is hard to defend against trouble. Branching off of the harmful things that happen to the individual who is shoplifting, the NASP says some shoplifters can experience a sort of “high” feeling after stealing.

This can lead to an addiction, where a criminal will feel empty and want to feel that high way again. The only way to feel that way again is to steal more items. So eventually, it can be that people are stealing just for the excitement of it instead of for the actually items that they are stealing. To summarize, the NASP says, while most non-professional shoplifters feel guilty, ashamed and fearful of getting caught, the excitement they experience from shoplifting entices them back, again and again.

The excitement of “getting away with it” produces a chemical reaction, which is described as an incredible “rush” or “high”. Many shoplifters say that this is the “true reward” of shoplifting rather than the item itself. Some people shoplift because they are unhappy with their lives and the small amount of excitement and release from getting away will brighten their day. Shoplifters who do this can learn how to feel this happiness without doing anything illegal like shoplift. Through “offense-specific” educational programs, shoplifters learn how to substitute natural highs” such as shopping, eating out, reading a good book, playing ball, getting their hair done or calling a friend, according to the NASP. Once shoplifters understand the pressures, which triggered their shoplifting incident and how to get relief, the chances of repeating the offense typically drops from 25% to 2%. Although it is not as common as an addiction to drugs or cigarettes, a shoplifting addiction is very real and many people in the world feel the need to satisfy their urge to steal again and again.

If a shoplifter is not addicted to stealing, some might do it because they are going through a tough time in their lives and the phrase misery loves company comes into play. They think that hurting the store while they are hurting will make them feel better. Besides hurting the retailer, this all hurts the individual because they are repeating the illegal action uncontrollably until eventually they are caught. When caught the individual will be hurt by being put in jail, which can result in loss of jobs or loved ones, or they will have to pay a fine or do community service.

Besides the community service, all of these options will negatively impact the individual who steals on a regular basis because of reasons that usually, they cannot understand or explain. A more extreme example of a retailer being hurt by shoplifting is a small store that cannot afford to buy security equipment. A number of stolen items can very negatively affect their margins, and if the theft is large enough and the amounts of purchase is not enough, the store going bankrupt is a very real possibility. This can lead to the owners of the store loosing a very large amount of money.

If your business fails, it is equal to loosing your job, and in this economy that can be completely devastating. This maybe an extreme example, but if a shoplifter does not feel bad and the company is not facing great success, this can very easily happen. Lives can be changed very drastically for the worse if jobs are lost. Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.? 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught. NASP) Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed, according the NASP. Everyone goes shopping, which leads to every single person having the option to try to shoplift. Compared to other crimes it is simpler and in most cases easier than other crimes, that even if a criminal did want to commit, it takes much more effort and planning. Shoplifting is a bad habit to get into. It hurts many people and there is no way that the reward is worth the harm it causes. If you can’t afford something, you can’t have it. That is just how life works.

Leave the merchandise on the store shelf where it belongs if you have no intention of purchasing it legally. It isn’t worth the cost to you or any of the other people that this affects deeply. If you aren’t working, start working. If you don’t make enough money, look for legal ways to make more money. Don’t take what isn’t yours. You wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, so don’t expect others to feel any differently about it. If you can afford it and are just too selfish and unwilling to spend money, than that is ridiculous. Money is made to be spent, if you want a product and you have money, than spend it.

Let the system work, support American society and be proud to be a part of it. If you get caught shoplifting, it can ruin your life. I am extremely lucky to have been given a second chance, and I appreciate it a tremendous amount. Do not let materialism bring you down to that level. It is not worth hurting so many people just to get some product that you want. If it is really worth stealing, than it is worth buying. Do not steal things just for the sake of it because you really do not need or even really want the item but maybe you are bored and want something new.

There are more exciting things to do than get a new product from a store. Call a friend, go on an adventure, learn about something new, listen to music. There are plenty of fun things to do that require no money. Understand what you need and take care of that first. Pay for it legally. If you don’t need it but still want it, find a way to earn it. Be fair to all of those people who choose to do things the right way. In conclusion, Shoplifting is a very common crime that hurts many people. The individual is hurt, the retailer is hurt, the consumer is hurt, and the community is hurt.

I will never steal another item for as long as I live. I now understand the trouble it causes and it is just simply wrong and selfish to steal anything. If you think that it is worth stealing, it is worth buying. I will be proud to contribute to such a solid system that the United States has where the retailer and the consumer has a equal relationship. I am extremely sorry for all the trouble I have caused, and I promise that you will not regret the decision to give me another chance, nothing like this will ever happen again you have my word. Thanks again, I am truly sorry.

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