Inside the mind of a shoplifter  

flagg134 37M
1430 posts
4/26/2006 7:44 pm

Last Read:
4/29/2014 10:34 am

Inside the mind of a shoplifter

I work for a regional grocery chain and my job frequently has me working with the security. So I see all sorts of dumb stuff people go through to save money or to make a quick dollar. I've seen people try to just walk out the door with an entire shopping cart filled with stuff. People stuff their pants and shirt with meats. Seen one guy fill up his pants till they looked like a parachute with cans of tuna jingle jangling and he tried to run away what a sight. *ROFLMAO*

I've watched it done brazenly in front of others. I've seen the professionals working together using diversion tactics. Some that try to scam a return or hustle others for sympathy. I've seen it done by people holding wads of cash and those looking for a quick fix. Done by kids as young as 12 to a man almost 80 years old. You really can't judge a book by its cover.

This post isn't about all of that though. I'd like to understand what goes through the mind of these people. What drives people who do this a feeling of satisfaction by getting over or maybe just the thrill of being in danger. Some are klepto's others are just inept fools looking to save a couple of dollars risking their jobs a big fine and sometimes jail to filch something they can afford. It just leaves me shaking my head.

Also most when caught try to act like they are the victim. That the store detective should just let them go because it was only so much and such. They seem to try to play off that stealing is somehow justified saying it doesn't hurt anyone. I guess in a way they can be considered as the reason security has a job. When others get caught they offer bribes of money and even sexual favors to get out of the situation. Why would they go through something like that if they feel they can't afford to be caught? With the consequences set so high what can drive people to try anyway other than a feeling of necessity.


gypsy1629 42F

4/26/2006 8:31 pm

To some it is a rush that they get...similar to those with drug and alcohol addictions...Some do so out of neccessity (they are broke)...Some do so as a dare by peers hoping to gain a higher status...Some do it just to see if they can get away with it...Some do it not caring of the consequences...they just get the compulsion and go for it, like a personal challenge...There are those who do so just to disobey authority and rules...Some see things as free for the taking...


header1979 38M
507 posts
4/26/2006 8:47 pm

Hey Patrick,

There is no answer. It is just part of life. Why did Jack Abramoff steal from his clients and partners? Why did Congressman Duke Cunningham take bribes? None of them were poor or broke. Greed? Thrills? Challenge? Who knows? Maybe all of the above. And to a large extent, I think they get caught up in a sense of invulnerability. They don't think they will get caught or if they do they will be able to talk their way out of it. But when you get right down to it, it is just sheer stupidity. Just my opinion.

themisskrissy 57F
2302 posts
4/26/2006 9:02 pm bro in law is a manager of a grocery store on the border
of the ritziest municipality (per capita, the highest disposable income in north america)..he is also across from the psyche hospital..

i wonder what is going thru the mind of the women in the fur coat and the rolls sitting outside.. poor thing!!

i can understand desperation... i can understand the patients from the nuthouse..

let me know if you figure it out...

Virtue Alone Ennobles

SolarPowered0 111M
8026 posts
4/26/2006 10:38 pm

Sometimes people steal stuff.

My kid was about 11 and he took one of those Rubic cubes from some store. They caught him and called the cops. He had the money to buy the thing but decided to just take it.

As we lived in a rather small town, we knew most of the police. They called and said they had him and could we come and pick him up. I asked if there was any problem with them keeping him until later that day and they said that was fine. We agreed they would hold him in "lockup" for the day.

I went to pick him up at 8 or so that night (he spent about 10 hours behind bars.) He was so freakin' scared I thought he must have shit his pants all day long. Long story short... that scared him enough he never took anything again. He never did a freakin' thing against the law. And now... he's a Deputy Sheriff here in a costal county in California, locking up kids that take shit from stores to scare them into being law abiding citizens. Funny how fear can mold the character of a kid.

Solar... (out of the clear blue of the Western Sky)

phoenix639 50F

4/26/2006 11:42 pm

Solar i applaud you for doing that. That was a wonderful future deterent...i hope.

When kids steal its often peer pressure & bravado, until caught. Adults often start doing it from need then it turns to habit when theybe got away with it.

Some love the buzz from doing wrong & trying to outwitt security & staff.

Many reasons behind why thieves choose to thieve. Often they say it doesnt matter as its not like its from someones home!!

When J was about 7 she badly wanted some pretty hair clips we had seen in a shop, i honestly didnt have enough money left to buy them so said when i have some more money we will come back.

We paid went home & then i saw these pretty clips on her bed....i discovered she so badly wanted them that she hid them in her sock when i wasnt looking. I made her write to the manager of the shop & explain that she had stolen them & she had to send the clips back too. I showed her the letter that i as enclosing with our names & address & explained that they may send the police around.

Yes her arse went. She was terrified when anyone knocked on the door.

She hasnt stolen since & when a friend of hers went on a thieving spree a couple of years later she came home in disgust. She still recalls having to send that letter 6 years later.

Hope its taught her a lesson.

curvymeli 40F

4/27/2006 11:17 am

Like Sheena and Lovespell I did a lot of shoplifting as a youngster, but I also stole a lot from my family and sometimes friends. I don't know why I did it; I just felt like I wanted some things and so I would take them. I didn't want to hurt anybody or anything but it felt like 'why can someone else have this and not me?'

The first time I got caught for stealing from a store I was like was always something small and stupid, more of a compulsion than anything.

I still have the first item I ever got away with stealing from a store (well, I know it was around in the last couple of years). I think I was around 7 and it was this little dog, made of rabbit fur, it was so soft I just needed to have it, and when I asked for it my mother kind of dismissed me that I wanted it and said no, that I didn't need it. I slipped it in my pocket after she had put it back.

Later I used to steal tons of pens from the drugstore, and lipglosses. I would leave the mall with the big inside pockets of my jean jacket loaded, and at home I would lock myself into my room and dump them and admire my loot.

I never stole clothes or jewelry or anything more expensive than, like, 10$.

I 'cured' myself of stealing from friends in college, bc I didn't want to be that person in the dorms. I still got the temptation but just wouldn't do it, bc I knew there was no hiding it, with roommates and people in my room all the time. And I stopped stealing from stores by actually buying all the shit I used to steal instead and when I realised how much money I was wasting I realised I didn't need any of that stuff that badly.

The guilt I have from taking from my family all the time hasn't gone away. Every time something goes missing I feel like they all suspect me, I feel guilty for the missing item even though I had nothing to do with it, and for years they actually blamed me for things getting taken.

One of my neices is starting to be the same way that I was; she goes around through everyone's stuff and if she wants something she just takes it, she doesn't know why, and at the store everything she finds on the floor she thinks is hers. She has even taken parts of things, like scarves from an outfit, that she claims to have found. I'm trying to help her to stop, to change the obsession by bringing everything she finds up to the front and doing a good deed that way, or by getting her to understand how it feels when something is taken from you (so things get taken from hewr when she steals). I don't want her to go through adolescence hurting so many others, and I certainly don't want her to be an adult and still feel guilty as I do.

flagg134 37M
1582 posts
4/27/2006 4:54 pm


To true I have seen all those reasons


I agree many people do it once then see how easy it is and become careless in their false state of invulnerability till they get caught some learn others don't.


I never get why the ones rolling in benz's and strolling in fur coats feel the need to steal. It appalls me that they get some sick rush out of it. I suppose when everything comes easy they like the challenge. ~sigh~

Solar + Phoenix

I'm glad what you did taught your children their lesson alot of times just the embarassment of being caught is enough to make them stop. Still though I have seen repeat offenders some just never learn their lesson. I do hope J has learned her lesson its truly sad to see people continue along without any pride.


I know the feeling about hating authority all to well also I can see the adrenaline rush caused by escaping. Thing is though do something enough times and you are just bound to get caught. As for why SD's follow you I know the most common thing they look at is someones eyes its usually a dead giveaway when someone is constantly looking about.

LS + Meli

LS I'm shocked!!!! Well not really I know there is more to you then the sweet woman facade you put up. Its good he is an ex I never get the people who have money stealing the rush is just not worth it.

Meli You shouldn't carry it around feeling guilty you have changed for the better. Just chalk it up to experience lesson learned and hopefully your experience will help you change your niece.

The problem I find is with people who get caught multiple times and still they continue to press their luck. With no rhyme or reason to continue no express need to steal or consequences to grave to continue.

Thx all for sharing as the views I get from actually being around shoplifters are usually lies to get out of the situation.


Hippink 36F  
4498 posts
4/28/2006 10:20 pm

I was the same as Sheeana, Lovespell & Curvy. I never got caught, though.

What stopped me was Karma. And being on the other end... working in retail when I got out of school. Being the one who was trying to prevent theft made me understand that it was a bad thing. Theft DOES have consequences. It raises the prices to compensate for the loss. Which makes it even harder for those in need to buy, forcing more theft... it's a viscious cycle.

But, like I said, what got me mostly was Karma. I was afraid to have any stolen items in my home. When I got engry with that retail employer, I started to steal a few things again... it was all stuff that I was giving as gifts though, so the Karma couldn't get me in my home. I still feel horrible guilt for it, though.
I don't work in retail anymore, so I won't be stealing anything... not even pens. I can get those cheap enough at the dollar store.
Hippie XXX

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