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Shoplifting is when an individual takes goods from an open retail establishment without paying for it. Shoplifting, most of the time, involves the concealment of the store item ( Hiding the item in their clothes, bags, strollers, etc.). Shoplifting is not the same thing as burglary or robbery, each of these are different, Burglary is the act of breaking into a closed store or home, and Robbery is the act of stealing an item in an aggressive and threatening behavior. Shoplifting is classified under Larceny. Shoplifting is illegal and you will be sentenced depending on the severity of the charges. In Virginia, under $199 is a misdemeanor, but over $200 is a felony. Shoplifting affects more than just the offender, but also the stores since it adds to the store’s security expenses, it will cost the consumers more for the goods, it gives the police more work to do, and it affects kids and families. There are 27 million shoplifters( 1 out of 11 people) in the US today and about 10 million get arrested because of it. 75% of shoplifters are adults and 25% are children. Most adults admitted to have started shoplifting when they were teens. I went to three different stores and interviewed the managers and the keyholders about how shoplifting affects their store, the employees, and themselves.
The first person I interviewed was the manager at the Nike store, Dale. I asked her if she’s had someone try to steal something and she said that every day there’s at least one person that tries to steal from them at the store, this was surprising to hear considering that stores like Walmart catch 2-3 shoplifters every week. After that she was asked how this would affect the employees and she said nothing would happen to the employees, but if they were the ones caught they would most likely be fired, this was understandable since employees can’t be blamed for what was stolen, but many stores do fire some employees because of shoplifting. I then asked how this affects her as the manager and she said that she finds it to be her fault and then I asked how this affects the store and she responded by saying that the store loses a lot of money making them have to spend more money on security, which adds to how stores here in America lose 25 million dollars every day due to shoplifting. I asked how they would stop this from happening in the future she replied by saying, “ With premium customer service” which I didn’t really understand what that meant, but she then said with more regular check-ups on customers. My second interview was with the manager/keyholder of PacSun, an urban streetwear store, Eva. I asked her all the same questions as I did with the first person I interviewed. I first asked how often shoplifting happens and she said that in every shift she would find at least 2-3 alarm tags thrown on the floor scattered around the store, which meant that whoever took the merchandise ripped it off. I then asked how this would affect her as the manager and she said that she really didn’t know since it’s all separated by the position you are in. After that, I asked how this would affect the employees at the store and she said that this wouldn’t affect the employee unless they were the ones who stole something. I asked how this would affect the store and she said that the store would lose a lot of money and it makes the company look bad, which is understandable since this could affect the stores business. I finally asked how they would stop this from happening and she said that they would check up on the customers, have bag checks after their purchase, more ink and alarm tags, and more security cameras.
The last people I interviewed were the manager and the head of security at Target and they didn’t really answer most of my questions because it might affect Targets business and that was understandable. I asked how often does shoplifting occur and they said that they couldn’t answer that so then I asked how this would affect the employees and the manager said that they would most likely be fired, which was strange since they didn’t really have any other consequences for the employees. I then asked how this affects the store and they just chose not to answer the question so I asked how this would affect the manager of the store of the store and they said that it wouldn’t really affect the manager, but it would affect the head of that department since Target separates everything into departments. I asked how they would stop this from happening and they said that I would just take personnelle, but then I asked if there was anything else they would use, but they just told me that it was private business and they ended the interview. This didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted it to go, but I still got some information out of it. At the end, I read through all the answers and I noticed how most of them have similar answers. The last question about security had the most common answer with more regular check-ups and more alarms, but I started doing research and these two methods aren’t really that effective. The least effective method is using visible cameras followed by ink tags and alarm tags. The most effective security methods are hidden cameras and observation booths. There are more devices that are also very effective in the market out right now including this new sensor on all Apple phones that can detect when someone is trying to steal something by using a small motion detector in the device, which looks for certain movements and reads the person’s heart rate. Another device made were entry sensors which can see through the aluminum bags some people might use to hide the stolen goods in.
Shoplifting costs stores millions of dollars every day and more than 13 billion dollars of goods are stolen from retailers each year. Shoplifting doesn’t just make the store pay for the stolen items, but they also have to spend more money on security. This could also hurt the company’s business because if people find out about the problem they would all react in a negative way. Shoplifting also affects the consumers and the community. Because of the shoplifting, the consumers would have to pay higher prices making them want to stop shopping there causing the community to lose a store. This doesn’t just affect the community in a shopping matter, but also in transportation because the people would have to travel long distances to buy the same products for a cheaper price point making them waste gas and the car would also take more use making it weaker over time. If a community has a high shoplifting percentage this might make some retailers move out of the area, affecting the people of the community because they just lost a store in their area forcing them to look for another store that has what they need. Shoplifting also costs the community’s time having to find a solution to the issue, and parents would have to enforce stricter rules for their children. Shoplifting affects the individual that stole the goods negatively as well. Most of the time the individual will feel embarrassed and make them lose self-esteem by making them lose self-worth in their own eyes. Embarrassment would come from their own family making them feel like they’ve failed them and trust issues would also come into play. Depression could also play a role in all this if the individual takes it in too badly. If the individual is still going to school then they might be too embarrassed to even show up to school. There are also those individuals who don’t take the problem seriously and that the community frowns upon because of their way of acting. These individuals are the ones that might dare the system to catch them or even flaunt about being arrested.
One of the biggest issues is how the children might be affected by all of this. In today’s music, Hip-Hop/Rap is without a doubt the biggest genre of music out and many of these artists aren’t exactly good role models talking about crimes as if they were nothing. As someone that really takes time to listen to what the artists are saying, it’s pretty obvious that this could sway the kid’s point of view on things a certain way. Many of them are talking about serious crimes like murder, drug abuse, and gang affiliation, but you might ask yourself what does this have to do with shoplifting? Well, the kids might be influenced by the music to do these things thinking it’s alright, and this could lead to the kids growing up and committing more serious crimes. Shoplifting is a serious issue in the community that needs to be solved. There are going to be people who will try to steal things and get away with it, but with the more technology coming out this can be stopped. As you can see this has a really bad effect on the community, consumers, retailers, and most importantly the kids. Hopefully, these problems can be resolved in the near future.
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