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Shoplifting negatively affects businesses

JACKIE PAWLAK, Staff Writer

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As an act that is commonly seen in movies, teenagers shoplifting seems almost stereotypical. Not only are teens the offenders, but they also commonly witness it at their part-time jobs.
Shortly after Chad Pennington, a senior, started working at local framing shop, Ursel’s Web, he was witness to a large scale shoplift. “A late 70 year-old woman walks in, looking like a nun. She buys six grand worth of paintings. She hadn’t paid yet but we help her bring her stuff out to her car. She’s old and she’s a nun so we trust her. We go back inside, look back, and the car is gone.”
It is hard to know what to do during a case of shoplifting, especially as a teenager working their first job. It presents a moral conflict, especially when the shoplifter is someone you know.
Senior Tamika Browne had just completed her day of training at Bob’s and was left to work at the register when a man she recognized walked into the store. “I was just sitting there doing my work, but I guess he went into the back in the shoe department and he tried on shoes and put his old shoes in the shoe box and just walked out. I didn’t figure it out until someone I was working with came up to me and said that someone had just stolen some shoes.”
The store managers did not feel like it was that big of a deal since it was one pair of shoes, but she did add that it was a weird thing to have happen on her first day. Senior Jordan Legendre, who worked at Bob’s said, “The policy doesn’t allow employees to do anything about the shoplifters for our own safety.” She also said, “One time I was working when I found a shoe box with only the tags left inside, but there was nothing security could do about the stolen merchandise.”
Teens are also found on the other side of the issue, as the shoplifters themselves. Arlinda Drozdz-Sulejmani, a freshman, shared her story about being with a friend that shoplifted. “We were at the mall and we went into Lush. My friend had a box from Build-a-Bear. She was in the corner and I guess she slipped the thing into the Build-a-Bear box. I went to go check out mine and when we got out of the store I asked her where hers was and she showed me it in the box.” Arlinda added that she does not agree with shoplifting.
In situations like this it is hard to address a friend when they do something wrong. Many do not feel comfortable confronting a friend, but shoplifting is serious and carries heavy penalties.
Still, there are those that do not have a problem with shoplifting. An anonymous student shared how they would go to a retailer and be the distractor while the other friend would do the shoplifting. The student shared a story of how they would be followed by workers and security because they looked suspicious while the friend would walk out with a handful of items for the two of them.
When asked why someone would shoplift, not many students could give strong answers. An anonymous student suggested that maybe they could not afford the items that their friends had, so they may feel pressure to shoplift in order to fit in. Another student suggested that maybe students did not have a job so they could not afford things. “I’ve seen a kid stealing a 99 cent bandana and I’ve seen a kid stealing a $100 pair of Timberland boots. It’s whatever they want at the time, it’s like an impulse,” said school resource officer Anthony Gennaro.
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, “Shoplifting is often not a premeditated crime. 73 percent of adult and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters don’t plan to steal in advance.” They also claim that the number of shoplifting cases has increased since teens have had a harder time finding employment.
It is important for students to learn that it is wrong to steal from a store, and that it is harmful to the business by requiring them to spend more on store security and recoup lost profits.
Student shoplifting has also had an impact on the on-campus DECA store. “For every dollar that gets stolen, we have to sell an additional 2 products to make up the lost product,” said DECA teacher David Reynolds. “The end result is that students have to pay more for trips, which may mean that certain students cannot go.”
Shoplifting may seem fun and hardly a crime if the price of the stolen item is low, but after a while the numbers start to add up. It is reasonable to assume that some of these offenders are shoplifting out of necessity while others are doing it for the thrill. Either way, shoplifting is not something students should feel the need or desire to do.

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The student news site of Middletown High School
Shoplifting negatively affects businesses