Shoplifting: The unseen drag on the economy today

Shoplifting sign

(Photo: Hailgumby/Flickr/CC BY-SA)

When it comes to shoplifting, some thieves may rationalize that it really doesn’t matter what they steal because department stores mark up their prices anyway. They may feel that it isn’t really hurting anyone, as they are not actually stealing from someone in particular. The truth is someone does have to pay for it somewhere along the process.

Do retailers gouge with huge markups?

Many store owners do mark up the prices anywhere between 25 and 50 percent, but this is mainly to cover additional operating expenses such as taxes, repairs and utilities, to name a few. So although stores may buy products at a retail rate, the profit they earn is very small, perhaps as low as 3 percent. It is the store owner who ends up paying for any loss, and there are typically no payday installment loans available to the self-employed during cash flow crunches.

Shoplifters try to justify their stealing

Some shoplifters may justify or reason with themselves by thinking the items they steal are petty items with little value. Here’s an example: Suppose that all a person stole was a single pack of gum. But what if several individuals stole a pack of gum each? Because of the lack of profit, the business would need to sell several additional packs to balance it out. This is detrimental to small businesses that are barely making it in today’s market and economy.

When people steal consumers pay

It is not only the merchant who will pay, but consumers will have to pay more to make up for what people steal. Think of how sad it is for those who only have a set amount of money to live on, such as those who are disabled or retired. Think of all the hard working individuals who are still living on short term loans for people with bad credit to make ends meet. There is also the risk that some stores may have to go out of business because they have lost so much money and can no longer operate due to shoplifting thieves. When this happens, people may have to travel farther to get needed medicines because the one they used to go to went out of business.

Shoplifting is a crime

Shoplifting is a crime, and the thief will pay if caught one way or another. Sometimes you may be caught by managers working within the store and only be given a warning, if lucky. However, most would want to teach the shoplifter a stern lesson and have harsher punishment rendered perhaps by calling the police and having them arrested, even if it was the first time. We live in a time where many small businesses are barely breaking even, so they will most likely not put up with it. They want to teach shoplifters that there are consequences to their actions, and those results can be severe.

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