Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Art Lately: Shoplifting and Why It Sucks

Today at work I had to tell a customer we were no longer accepting returns from her. This was because she had, on at least 2 occasions, tried to return stuff that she didn't buy from us (I work at a used clothing store). She bought things, took the tags off and reattached them to some torn clothes that she got who knows where, and returned them. When I told her she couldn't return clothing to us anymore, she got rude obvi, acting like it wasn't her fault and that we were losing her business, but like, I was mad.

Shoplifting is fucked up and I'm gonna tell you why. And it's not because I'm a goodie two shoes (which I arguably am). It's pretty obvious why this particular situation was so scummy; I work for a small business. It's a franchise, which means we have a big corporate head that gives us guidelines to follow, but we are owned independently, so the money we make has nothing to do with HQ. Our store makes what it makes, and our wages, bonuses, and benefits come from the two (very kind, not that it matters for the sake of the argument) people that own our store. People steal from us a lot, actually, despite the fact that shit is already marked down 70% from whatever it cost new... and where do ya think that money comes from? We have to absorb the cost of theft, and that affects our profit, and therefore what the little guy (me) gets paid.

Secondly, this woman carries around designer handbags. She shops a lot. That aint a crime, but would it really hurt her pocketbook to actually pay for the items she "buys" from us? Instead she took advantage of me and my coworkers, who work part time, don't have health insurance, make less than $10 an hour, AND have to deal with customers like her. She straight up stole from us, and I take it personally. As far as her business goes, I don't really want someone like her shopping with us anyway. In the service industry you routinely get treated like you are less than human by people who make way more money than you, and shoplifting is just another symptom.

Now I don't wanna hear anything about why it's ok to shoplift because just one person won't effect me much. Yeah duh it won't, but if a ton of people think stealing is A-OK then it's gonna make a dent. I also don't wanna hear that it's ok when poor people do it. That is obviously a different situation, but we both know that most every shoplifter is not starving. Homeless people are actually a horribly misunderstood group in general, but like, that's an argument for another day (and one that I don't really know enough about).

If you justify shoplifting because you don't make much money and you deserve nice things, you're damn right, you do. But taking advantage of retail workers that also don't make much money is not actually going to solve anything, it's just selfish. You're not Robin Hood, and you're not defeating capitalism. If you think the CEO of Walmart is the one who's taking the hit from the 3 billion dollars they lose yearly from theft, you're wrong; the higher ups are the ones in control of who gets paid, and they are either gonna jack up their prices (the ones people like me are going to have to pay) or they're going to pay their employees less. Walmart employees got enough problems without having to suffer the repercussions of your sorry ass.

So, let's bring it back to me, since this post is in essence a cathartic rant: Not only do I have to deal with the effects lil miss sticky fingers left (see above), I also had to swallow the potential anxiety attack of telling her to leave in hopes she wouldn't start yelling at me in front of everyone. And when I got home I saw my new non-smudge mascara still smudged. Product recommendations would be great - I guarantee I'll won't steal them.

I've included some art I've don't lately so that tl;dr people still have something to get outta this post. I hope you all had a good Halloween! I was Velma.

Cut n Paste



  1. It's never okay to shoplift. It's ridiculous that anyone would try to justify it especially on marked down items. That's just way more affordable. HOW ANNOYING.

    My friend had this happen before and they took the thief's picture.. put it on the window saying don't let her enter/she steals. I wonder if you could say there's hidden cameras here that caught her coming out with different clothing.

  2. I am confused that anyone would ever try to justify shoplifting, but the way you're writing about it makes me think someone has. No- shoplifting is stealing. Stealing is wrong. I'm sorry you had to put up with crummy people at the shop.

    On a brighter note- I like the art and hope we see you as Velma :D

  3. Haha, me and my boyfriend were talking recently about some people we've seen posting on tumblr defending it as some kind of marxist statement, like they're sticking it to the man.

  4. I think I shoplifting something small when I was in middle/high school, couldn't tell you what, probably something like a candy bar a wet and wild nail polish, I just remembered being embarrassed and feeling bad about it. I think kids and teens are more prone to do it since the long chain effect of damage doesn't quite sink in. But adults still doing it? What the heck?! They should know better.

    It happens all the time, I was shocked how many small shops had security cameras, but apparently they need it since it is so easy to steal stuff. The worst was when people were stealing donation tins around town. WHAT THE HECK!? I guess they were thinking it wasn't hurting the business owners, but it was money that was going to non-profits.