How much does shoplifting actually hurt workers?

Submitted by sudo in Illegalism

I've heard the argument made before that you shouldn't shoplift, not because it's illegal or anything like that, but because it actually ends up hurting workers. Supposedly, for some stores that are deemed to have an unacceptably high level of shrink, that store is punished by having their workers' hours cut, or by having layoffs. I'd like to learn to what extent this is true.

Basically, I am trying to figure out which hurts workers less - shoplifting, or not shoplifting. Let's take the case of a working class person who doesn't live paycheck to paycheck - they have a reasonable amount of money saved up, and they make enough money to pay for all of their expenses, groceries included. If they shoplift their food, that would save them a substantial amount of money. That would mean they wouldn't have to work as much. Or, they could work the same amount, and put the extra money in their savings account, or their emergency fund, etc. Basically, being forced to pay for their groceries would hurt this person; not gravely, but not a negligible amount either. They would have to work more hours in order to cover the cost of their groceries.

On the other hand, if they shoplifted their groceries, they would have to work less. That is a significant benefit for this person. However, it has the potential to hurt other workers, if they contribute to a store's shrink, which in turn causes the store workers' hours to be cut. Many of these workers probably do live paycheck to paycheck, so they may not be able to handle their hours being cut. Potentially, by shoplifting, our hypothetical somewhat-well-off person would be causing more harm to other workers by shoplifting than they would be causing to themself if they were to pay for their groceries. But that's the catch - there's only a potential for harm in this scenario, versus a certainty for harm (a little bit of it) if they were to pay for their food. That's what I'm trying to determine here - how often do these sort of 'shrink sanctions' happen, and how severe are the layoffs/hour cuts?

So, if you have been affected by these shrink sanctions, or you know someone who was, what exactly happened to you, or the other workers in your store? Would you say it's okay for people to shoplift, even if they can otherwise afford to pay for their food?



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HighwayMan wrote

It really depends on the store. Some retailers have a profit share. If that is the case then the workser are directly affected by shrink. Small size stores, like mall shops, are affected with high levels of shrink. Corporate will cut hours to ensure the store is profitable.


Shadymystery1 wrote

Seems counterintuitive tho, less workers = less chances of getting caught


Throwdown321 wrote

bottom line, it does hurt them to a degree, but usually the company takes the brunt. However they lose more to internal theft, and products going to waste, if never gets sold.


sudo OP wrote

That's basically what I thought. Thanks.


Deadpoolbooster wrote

I may be wrong, but all the big chains have INSURANCE that covers any shrink they endure over the course of a year. We all couldnt lift enough to surpass that limit either. And even if we did it would effect board members and CEO types long before it trickled down to employees. It's a game really, they're betting they'll catch us and we're betting they won't.