Shoplifting gets wild and goes viral
Shoplifting has always been a problem for retailers, but it may be getting even further out of hand. A video clip of multiple “customers” grabbing armloads of clothes from a Sears store in California has gone viral. Posted last week, the clip currently has been liked over 122,000 times, and retweeted over 34,000 times.
Online, there were varied opinions, of course. There were plenty of jokes about how desperate people must be to steal from Sears, which is pretty much broke itself.
this really just happened at Sears at Hilltop 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/YZ5i2zFcRQ
— Vick™ (@v1ck_mendoza) December 11, 2019
Astoundingly, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says that nearly 10 percent of Americans steal from stores. The latest survey from NRF says that retailers lost over $50 billion last year from shrinkage. With retail margins as thin as they are, that’s real money. According to a MarketWatch article, an average incident for a smaller retailer (500 or fewer stores) costs about $750, while larger retailers lose just over $300 on average.
According to NRF, fewer shoplifters are getting arrested and prosecuted than in 2015, even though big losses are causing retailers to raise prices to offset losses, and stealing hurts sales tax revenue as well. An NASP spokesperson told MarketWatch that the perception that “it’s no big deal” is the bane of their existence.
A cursory web search found stories in the news about shoplifters tossing their infant at security guards at a Target store as they ran away; shoppers being injured at a Ross department store as a getaway van plowed into a store aisle; police busting a fraudulent barcode shoplifting ring in Alabama; and teens pepper spraying security guards at a mall, while stealing. And, that’s just a small sample.
- NRF 2019 National Retail Security Survey – NRF
- The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention
- Video of Sears shoplifters running off with armloads of clothes goes viral – MarketWatch
- Springfield shoplifters wanted after tossing infant at security guard during getaway, police say – 6ABC
- San Bruno: Teens pepper-sprayed security guards while shoplifting, police say – The Mercury News
- 11 people injured after shoplifting van crashes into a Ross, landing in the clothing aisles – USA Today
- Murfreesboro police bust fraudulent barcode shoplifting ring – WKRN
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are new theft tactics, lenient retail policies, social media or other factors most to blame for exacerbated shoplifting problems? Should retailers focus more on the prevention of shoplifting via more security guards and high-tech solutions, or by working with the community and offenders to prevent recidivism?