Have you ever watched someone steal right in front of you? It’s disturbing, isn’t it? During my lifetime, I have had several people shoplift directly in my view, and worst of all, I couldn’t say anything to the store because they were my ride home. So I just stood there, saying things like, “What are you doing?” whilst they gave lame excuses along the lines of, “Hey, that bag that I just half-emptied into my pocket? Well, the store has to sell that cheaper now. I just SAVED someone else money.”
They didn’t understand. All my life, being raised by business owners, I recalled all the lectures about how stealing raised the price of retail items because the less the store makes, the less they can pay their employees and the more they have to charge customers. But my “ride” never saw the logic in that, and I was forced to make new friends on several occasions.
Which is why I was equally unimpressed when a friend told me about the new shoplifting policy of a major national chain. She worked at a large department store in Iowa at a store that has been the anchor of nearly every mall in America. It starts with a J and ends with a Y. She personally witnessed 4 young men come into the store and shoplift hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothes. But when she tried to stop them, the boss told her “no”. This happened over and over again.
You see, their policy had changed, due to several lawsuits involving shoplifters getting hurt or innocent people being accused, so now Barb just had to stand idly by, call the Loss Prevention officer on the phone and gape in awe when that woman said,
“Well, we can’t do anything because they haven’t stolen $10,000 worth of merchandise yet.”
“Seriously? They can walk out of You-Know-Where with $9,999 worth of stuff and NOTHING will happen to them?” I was incredulous…but not stupid. “Too bad I don’t live there anymore, I’d be right down to clean you out!” She knew I was kidding, but come on!
I thought about my parents, who must be whirling like dervishes in their graves and about my oldest brother, who must be livid over these kinds of panty-waisted laws. I don’t know why or by whom these kinds of laws were passed. Perhaps someone had been tackled on that unforgiving mall floor, dragged inside and accused of shoplifting when, in fact, they were perfectly innocent. Perhaps they sued. But still, this kind of lackadaisical policy is just one of the many reasons why said store is now in real danger of going out of business.
I know I don’t make policy for states or national chains, but I have decided to take a small stand against any form of shoplifting. From now on, I will tell a store manager what’s happening whenever I see a person