Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One in Eleven Shoppers Steal?

This Yahoo! article claims that one out of every eleven shoppers leaves the store with at least one item they didn't purchase (based on data reported by Adweek).

Seriously? I find that very difficult to believe.

Perhaps they are simply dividing the number of stolen items by the number of shoppers during a given period, and perhaps the figures are skewed based on the fact that certain thieves steal repeatedly and in high volume.

Here is what researchers do know:

"Seventy percent of shoplifters tell us they didn't plan to shoplift," says Barbara Staib, spokesperson for the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention. We also know that three-quarters of shoplifters aren't troubled teens; they're adults--most with jobs. And 35 percent of losses will happen with the help of a corrupt employee.

It's depressing that such a large percentage of the losses are the direct result of employee involvement. I can definitely understand how the majority of shoplifting is simply the result of unpremeditated opportunity presenting itself. You realize you accidentally walked out with items in the bottom of the cart and decide not to go back in and pay; you consume a few free "samples," or you realize the package or tag is missing and simply slip an item onto your person or into your bag before you've really even thought about what you're doing.

Still, one in eleven shoppers? Considering that less than 1.5% of merchandise gets stolen, that's a ridiculously high percentage of shopper involvement.

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