U.S. retailers admit they lied about shoplifting, again

Originally published at: U.S. retailers admit they lied about shoplifting, again | Boing Boing


He is ready to become the person who sends the press releases.

Exactly. They’re already prone as a matter of culture and class to blame scary poor people rather than bungling MBAs for store closures. The prospect of someday getting hired by the latter only cements it.


Shrinkage has been turned into a multi million dollar side hustle for some major retailers.


Who come up with ideas like making working conditions as shitty as possible and undercompensating staff.


Here’s a novel thought, hire cashiers and ditch the security check at the exit.

“You entered the code for bananas. But these are organic bananas! Off to the gulag with you!”


Or opening multiple locations within walking distance of each-other (at least in affluent neighburhoods).


didn’t Walgreens claim that they were closing some locations due to high theft rates, but it turns out those stores were already scheduled for closing in an earlier quarterly report(s) due to underperformance or something. something/anything unrelated to shoplifting/theft. I wish I could find the reference for that again. It was great to throw at people declaring they were going to move (again) due to “thugs” and “democrat policies” and Defund the Police which caused Cops to have hurt feelings so they wouldn’t do their jobs.


Here’s something to get started with,


The article is quite fascinating both for what is omitted and what was included. It’s been frustrating to see the propaganda from this group about retail theft, taking high-profile looting mobs and trying to equate them to shoplifting, and trying to blame all that specifically for half of their losses. The looting is very clearly not the same as shoplifting - the looters use violence and the threat of violence against employees as a strategy. It was also pretty clearly bullshit that these flash-mob looters were somehow responsible for half of all retail loss - every time one happens, it seems to make national news, so they’re obviously incredibly rare.

According to NRF spokesperson Danielle Inman, the claim that organized crime accounted for nearly half of all inventory losses was based on two-year-old testimony from Ben Dugan, former president of the advocacy group Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail.

The NRF also removed references to the coalition’s research in its April report.

So what they’re admitting basically is that the report that made this claim actually took it from a human centipede of bullshit. It’s a “fact” that just came from someone else, who got it from someone else… until, presumably, we get to someone who just pulled the statistic out of their ass.

So what’s the actual number? It seems like no one knows because they haven’t done the research - they’re just making up numbers for propaganda purposes. The most reliable number they came up with seems to be that theft of all sorts (from boxes going missing from the backs of trucks, to shoplifting and looting mobs) amounts to only about a third of “shrink” - and this number hasn’t changed in seven years. The time period that includes this supposed epidemic of theft that requires new legislation to deal with it.


And private security firms looking to profit by peddling their wares.

Money and resources are limited…pay the peons less, then there’s more for the bunghole MBAs and the C-level dicks.


I think it depends on the situation.
Publicly trying to make a case against democrat policies and defund the police, it’s roving gangs and crime rings that are the culprits.
I’m guessing internal NRF meetings, those bloated assholes are blaming their own retail employees for stealing from them because of the shit wages being paid.


From my time in retail most shrinkage comes from counting inventory. When you sell thousands of products it is impossible to have a correct inventory because some of it will always be in two or more places.
I worked for one company that anytime there was downtime we were to count stock. So we would have a printout for a section of the store that by the time we got to the floor it was already incorrect. Some of it would be sold or be packed for shipping or moved somewhere else by the customer putting it in the wrong place. So even if you knew where it should be, it wouldn’t all be there. Then by the time you finish a page (after being interrupted by customers several times) you go put your count in the computer and low as behold several items would have a different quantities, usually less, but sometimes more if you find some in a place it shouldn’t be. It didn’t matter though, any difference in stock was written off/covered by insurance.
This was all because the owner didn’t want to pay staff while the store was closed to do proper inventory and couldn’t stand employees not being busy all the time.


Oh noes, they broke their racist dog whistle - where will the EVER find another one?!? (claps hands to face in astonishment)


Clearly those were two very very big ticket items. Like the cash safe, and aisles A through W.


Shrink is very complicated for all the reasons posted, but when I worked in one of the big box hardware stores with our LP it was surprising who was doing most of the theft. It was almost all white people here in this small southern town yet the public’s racial bias was that it must be minorities.

We had contractors sending homeless people in to steal stuff for them which wasn’t really an organized crime ring, but it was surprising anyway. We had homeless guys on camera outside delivering stuff to said contractors in obviously expensive 4x4, 4 door dually pickups,

We had this one elderly fellow that wore Hawaiian shirts and resembled Wilford Brimley who was traveling the country stealing nail guns. He was flying to a region, renting cars in his own name and driving around stealing the nail guns from one store, managing to return them to the next store without a receipt and then stealing guns at that store and doing it again at the next one.

There were bolos on him though they hadn’t cracked how he was doing it and still he managed to scrape by until one day in a garden center a mgr noticed the checkout lines were long and opened a register and told the nail gun bandit he’d check out his stuff.

The guy was putting nail guns in the bottom of buggies and carefully stacking bags of mulch counting on lax cashiers who were busy to just count the bags. Well, the bandit backed out and quietly walked off which struck the mgr as odd and he went after the bandit who started running to parking lot where the mgr got the licensee plate of the rental and that was how he was caught. He’d struck the store for over $100k in theft to that point.

I could go on and on about all the stories we saw in the years my LP and I worked together.

My fav was a my LP called me in to show me a theft in tools and said the cleverness of this thief was so simple he kind of admired it. Footage showed the thief unload a huge table saw box out of his truck in the parking lot, he went in the garden center and tried to get the cashier to refund his money waving a receipt and making a spectacle. The cashier couldn’t do that and referred him to go inside to the customer service desk. The guy is clearly shouting and angry, yet when he goes inside he becomes stoically calm, disappears up and aisle and emerges back on camera without the box on a cart.

He goes to the tools dept, gets another flat cart, loads up an identical saw box and goes back out to the garden center again adopting the persona of an outraged customer waving the receipt. When he can’t “return” the saw there, he exits, loads up the new saw box and leaves. It took a few hours for someone to notice the abandoned cart with a saw box that was empty and for the investigation to start.

Variations on this sort of scam are how a lot of large high dollar items are stolen

Our little store lost $250k a year in shrink, but that was all a write-off for a corporation and the store did millions in sales so the urgency to catch shoplifters was still very, very low.

I suspect the mobs of black people shown doing smash and grabs we see on tv are still incredibly rare occurrences, but to show them of course fuels the Right Wing agenda. For the most part it’s probably people you’d never expect that do the majority and that too is it’s own bias…


Haul the CEOs asses into a hearing on capital hill and let them try to talk themselves out of this mess



One of the most annoying things about this to me is that the retailers don’t actually owe the general public a reason for their business decisions. But they think providing this lie is better for their public image than being honest, even if they get caught out like this, because their lie feeds this false narrative a lot of people want to believe right now. And they’re very likely right. :rage:


yeah, what they don’t want to broadcast is “we’re closing this store, putting people out of a job, and making your life inconvenient because our profit margin isn’t big enough.”

they also know that seeing unhoused people makes shoppers uneasy. an increased police presence, a willingness to arrest and jail people who are deemed undesirable, security they don’t have to pay for - it’s all upside for them

if i were conspiracy minded enough, i’d suggest they’re the “organized gang” hiring folks to steal from their stores to provide cover for what they already want to do… but i don’t think most ceos are that clever


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