Earlier, I posted that the unemployed are heroes whose presence at home all day has decreased the number of burglaries since the recession began. But, as Time magazine reports, the recession has made some of us into petty thieves.
According to an annual survey released Tuesday, incidents of shoplifting rose by nearly 6% over the past year, representing nearly $115 billion in losses for businesses.[…] The researchers found that shoplifting — or what’s euphemistically known as product “shrinkage” — jumped by 5.9% in the past year at the more than 1,000 retail chains the group surveyed globally. In previous years, the increase only hovered around 1.5% annually.
The best part, though, is that these shoplifters are not your run-of-the-mill poor. In fact, they are the formerly wealthy who feel entitled to maintain their previous lifestyle.
And one of the more surprising findings: a growing number of new shoplifters are outwardly reputable, middle-class people who are walking off with French cheeses, quality meats, cosmetics, mobile phones, clothing and other goodies that they feel they need to maintain a quality of life they can no longer afford.
But wait, this doesn’t end well for the masses.
Anytime businesses have to absorb a cost, they pass it along to their clients in some form or another. Retailers make up the money lost to shoplifting by marking up the prices of their goods. According to the Center for Retail Research, this ended up costing each U.S. household $436 in the past year and each European household $250.