Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Stores Need To Do More To Stop Shoplifting

Today I was at a grocery store sitting in a chair by the pharmacy when I noticed a woman put a set of air fresheners back on an end shelf where they did not belong. This is a pet peeve of mine so in my head I am already disapproving of what this person just did.

Shortly after, someone who she was with joins her. The first woman points to the air fresheners and says something about them having a security alarm on them, and she proceeded to leave them on the shelf. That raised a red flag and immediately I was on high alert.

I saw the 2 walk back down the isle and stop by the air fresheners again. They were just out of view so I could not see exactly what they were doing, but after about 30 seconds they left.

Out of curiosity I walked down to where they were standing. Right when I got there, I saw the exact same kind of air fresheners, out of place again, only this time it was opened up with one of the air fresheners missing. Now technically I did not see it happen, but based on all the clues, it is pretty obvious who took it.

There was an employee stocking shelves nearby so I told her there was an opened package with something missing and I think someone just took it. She was just kind of like, “Yeah we see this kind of thing all the time.” I was like, “There are cameras here (pointing above). Can they check it?” And she was just kind of like “Yeah people watch the cameras”, but it was clear she was not going to do anything about it.

On my way out, I stopped by customer service to let them know what happened. I asked if I could talk with security to fill them in, but the customer service person basically said, even if someone did steal the air freshener, they are not going to do anything about it. She went on to say how the work and time involved would not be worth it for them.

This was pretty discouraging to hear. The customer service is basically saying people can just take whatever they want and walk out without paying and they won't do anything about it. What kind of message is this sending?

I understand her reasoning and how it would take time and work to pursue something like this and for a small item it might not be worth the trouble on an individual basis, but by allowing this kind of thing to happen, they are setting a bad precedent that will encourage more behavior like this.

When this person is able to steal an item and not have any consequence whatsoever, the message they are walking away with is that this is something they can do and nothing will happen to them. As word spreads about cases like this where shoplifters are not pursued by the stores, it can certainly encourage more of the same behavior.

There has to be more of an effort made to stop people from stealing, or at least pursue a case against them if they do steal. Yes, it might cost more in the short term, but in the long term it has to be better if it can reduce the likelihood of things being stolen from the store.

We have rules and laws for a reason. If they are not enforced, they are meaningless. Stores and security need to step up and put a stop to this kind of thing.

Update 3-14-23:

There was a question posted on Reddit recently asking people what they would do if they saw someone stealing food from a store. I checked out the responses and was appalled by how many people said they wouldn't do anything and that they would actually condone it.

Some people argued that if someone is stealing food, they probably need it. I would argue that if someone needs food, there are better options available besides stealing. Community resources such as food banks are specifically put in place to provide food for those who need it.

Others said that big corporations are already rich so it doesn't affect them. These corporations may have a lot of money but that does not mean it is ok to steal from them. That is like saying it is ok to steal from someone as long as they have more money than you.

Some people said it is not their job so why would they do anything about it. In my opinion there is a fundamental flaw in this way of thinking. Just because you don't work at security in a store does not mean you should ignore something like retail theft. I will elaborate on why. 

Even if it is not your job to stop retail theft, indirectly it is still affecting you. You won't notice it right away, but in the long run, it can have a big effect. 

The clearest example of this is in areas where shoplifting has gotten out of hand. What do stores do when people keep taking their stuff without paying? They close down the store and move to a better place where people don't steal. When many stores in a community close down and no one else wants to open up a new store, you can imagine what a negative effect this has on a community. 

We have rules and laws in society for a reason. They keep order and peace and make sure everything runs smoothly so we don't have chaos. When people stop following the rules and laws, that's when problems arise. That is when things go from peaceful to stressful. That is when a good living environment turns into a bad living environment. What kind of world do you want to live in?

Stealing from a store is just a small example of this, but it is the kind of thing that contributes to the breakdown of these rules and laws of society. If we want to maintain a good life, we all have to not only uphold these rules and laws ourselves, but we also have to hold each other accountable when they are broken. It doesn't matter if it is not your "job" to say something if you witness a theft. It is your duty as a member of society to do the right thing and make sure others do the same.