General Question

Cooldil17's avatar

How can I stop shoplifting?

Asked by Cooldil17 (485points) December 11th, 2009

I’ve worked many different retail jobs, and after gaining a huge amount of experience within the loss prevention department, I started searching online for more ways to stop people from shoplifting. But I found myself shoplifting after acquiring all of this information, I know what not to do, how to manipulate people, and I even have the infamous “hook” to remove sensors.

I’ve been told we have “secret cameras” at our store, and that the LP is always watching, however with the amount of merchandise I’ve gotten and from what I hear online, there are no secret cameras, its just a hoax in order to scare the associates into thinking they would get caught if they tried to do anything.

But my question is, I’ve gotten upwards of $3500 and the amount goes up everyday, and against what a lot of people have told me, I haven’t stopped, because whenever I go anywhere I feel compelled to get one thing, wether it be a pack of skittles or a new Express Jacket. How can I stop myself, without getting caught, because I do not want to have to get caught in order to stop! Please help me!

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51 Answers

Breefield's avatar

Quit your job, stop working retail. Remove yourself from the situation you’re trying to avoid. It’s like exiting out of Craigslist when you’re feeling horny.

deni's avatar

I suppose you could think about how negative the consequences of you being caught are. But since the likelihood of you getting caught rather than someone who doesn’t have as much experience is pretty low, that might not work because you have assured yourself that no one will ever catch you. I don’t know, it’s not worth the trouble you could find yourself in if you were to be seen some time.

peedub's avatar

1. Get caught
2. Find a support group. I’m sure there are some out there.
3. Practice a religion or develop an ideology that forbids it.

Also, I would immediately get rid of your stolen goods. Donate them or do something in an attempt to right you wrongs.

SirGoofy's avatar

First, get some professional counseling. Second, have your hands surgically removed.

SeventhSense's avatar

Listen to your gut and get to the source of why you feel so entitled.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

Well, it’s a good start that you want to stop shoplifting and get help
If you’re motivated enough to stop, just… constantly tell yourself everyday. Maybe just say in your head, or out loud “Don’t shoplift” or something….

PupnTaco's avatar

Forward this question to your manager.

deni's avatar

o! o! apply immanuel kant’s categorical imperative concept! you should not shoplift because if EVERYONE shoplifted, that would not be okay and problems would happen. huh huh?

jamcanfi74's avatar

Just quit doing it, Stop going to that store. If u must then quit your job. You will always think in the back of your mind “could I steal again and get away with it? Should I try it?” but you have to be stroinger than that voice.

JLeslie's avatar

If you can’t stop simply knowing it is wrong, against the law, can affect your future if you get caught, and breaks the golden rule, then get some therapy.

SeventhSense's avatar

Think of it as an addiction and sooner or later you will be stopped one way or the other. And from the looks of it it may be more than a misdemeanor but more like Grand Theft. Are you ready to do time?

pouncey's avatar

get a gun.

Cooldil17's avatar

@pouncey I don’t see how that could possibly help the situation?

kewlguy_exABuser's avatar

have you researched kleptomania online? it is a psychological disorder and can go back to childhood. this site might help answer some questions:
good luck to you!

shilolo's avatar

This is a well established psychiatric condition known as kleptomania. You need professional help.


Always think of the future and the consequences resulting from your criminal act. Once you’re caught and get a criminal record, you’ll be marked for life——you will have trouble getting jobs you want, have trouble travelling abroad, have possible conflicts in future personal relationships when the truth is revealed about your past. It’s just not worth it——one little thrill equals a lifetime of misery. Think about that the next time you feel like shoplifting.

peedub's avatar

Try to ask yourself why you are doing it. Chances are you don’t need or want the goods. There is some void you are trying to fill. One problem with your outlet is that it is illegal, without delving into moral issues.
You don’t want to go to jail. Seek help immediately.

Darwin's avatar

Quit working retail and go talk to a therapist about how best to stop. This site gives a good idea of what is going on with you. And this site lists some online support groups down near the bottom of the page. True kleptomania is a form of OCD and cognitive-behavior therapy and medications can help you stop.

wildpotato's avatar

@deni Well done – for one of the three formulations. But at any rate, Kant’s is only one ethical perspective. Perhaps there is nothing essentially immoral in shoplifting, and it’s just that you have been trained by society to think it’s wrong. It seems to me that the only true crime is getting caught.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Have something stolen from you. Then you may feel some empathy towards the people you are ripping off. Of course it is a bit stupid to ask people to steal from you, so maybe instead lock something really valuable of yours like a TV in a closet, and force yourself to keep it there until the habit is broken. If you ever do it again, you must sell that item on eBay for 10 cents.

eLenaLicious's avatar

Dude I need help too. Ever since my friend dragged me along to the mall one day to cut class, and she stole some undies from Victoria’s secret, I started to jack stuff here and there like it was nothing :(

rangerr's avatar

Just stop. Stop shoplifting, or go to jail.

kewlguy_exABuser's avatar

@eLenaLicious think of this: when you are caught in the mall stealing, they will handcuff you and parade you through the mall handcuffed! you know how embarrassing that will be?

FutureMemory's avatar

I once was arrested for shoplifting. I took $20 worth of merchandise, which earned me 1 day in jail, $500 in fines/fees and 1 year of probation. I also had to take two days off work: 1 to go to court, and 1 to serve the jail time.

I didn’t even get to keep the shaving blades I stole.

A few months later I applied for a part time job with the city, and lied on the application about previous convictions. I feared them finding out, so at the interview I spilled the beans. They allowed me to correct the application, but I felt a damn fool sitting there with them watching me do it.

Quit now before you get arrested.

Haleth's avatar

I’ve been caught shoplifting before, and my experience wasn’t too bad. I got caught for something really stupid, like $5 worth. The store clerk was really vindictive about it, but the cops were all right about it. They figured my friend and I were low risk or something, so they just gave us some paperwork for a court date.

The part that really fucking steamed me is that when we got caught, I had a job and my friend didn’t. This meant that she was able to get a court appointed lawyer and successfully plead not guilty. Maybe because she didn’t face any consequences, she kept not working and stealing. I had a $10/ hour retail job, which meant I supposedly earned enough for my own lawyer… Pshhh. I ended up just pleading guilty and paying a $200 fine, but I’m stuck with petit larceny on my record for five years. The maximum possible sentence for petit larceny, a misdemeanor, was a year in prison. In my state, the cutoff for a felony of grand larceny was $500, so hopefully you’ve been stealing less than $500 in merchandise at a time. I’ve mostly looked for jobs at small businesses that won’t do background checks, with some success, but it is a lot harder to look for a job.

In your case, because your job is specifically to prevent shoplifting in a store, having shoplifting on your record could really fuck you over. I can’t speak for all employers, but for many, giving you a job that where you could learn all the loopholes in their security would be a major issue. If loss prevention is your entire career up to this point, and you couldn’t find a job in your field, you might have to take an entry level job in another field or a job that’s beneath your qualifications. For most people, shoplifting has less potential consequences than a lot of other crimes, but because of your particular job, the risks really outweigh the rewards.

Most shoplifters I’ve known feel that it isn’t that bad to steal from a big faceless corporation, so just telling them that it’s wrong to steal doesn’t really do anything. I think hypocrisy is a much bigger moral failing. And it’s really hypocritical to have a job catching other thieves, while using knowledge you gained at that job to steal things yourself. That’s pretty slimy. So there’s a reason to feel guilty about what you’re doing, and some guilt might actually motivate you to quit.

lamedb's avatar

Tell your manager about all the loopholes you have been able to use to shoplift. Every time you find a new one, report it. You will help yourself by either getting caught or stopped by your own professional competence.

lamedb's avatar

@Cooldil17 wait. Exactly how high is your postion? I see in a related topic you say you are the manager- is that the same job you are in now?

thriftymaid's avatar

It should not be hard. You know it’s wrong so get control of yourself. I don’t buy into the whole “I can’t stop” thing. Yes you can. Maybe a conviction is what you need.

thriftymaid's avatar

@pouncey . While I don’t agree with your answer, wanted to say hi.

Cooldil17's avatar

@lamedb I cannot say which store but I will say I am a manager at my store.

Response moderated
lamedb's avatar

@Cooldil17 then I would say that you should put up every possible obstacle that you know you couldn’t get passed to shoplift. Sit down, and write down what you could do in your power to prevent it.

But, taking control of your impulses is an important skill; it has to be worked on and improved. If you don’t feel empowered enough to take the reigns, I think seeking psychological help is a great option.

Cooldil17's avatar

@lamedb I don’t think its that I don’t feel empowered enough its just that, the benefit of getting free clothes, whenever I do it I bring home everything, dump it all on my bed and say I would of spent $600 today, but I didn’t, I saved that money! Lol

I feel as if I should tell someone to set up an intervention for me at this point.

eLenaLicious's avatar

@kewlguy_exABuser well of course I know the consequences!!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cooldil17 I’ll bet that you wouldn’t have spent that money; you just now have things that you don’t really need. How about you donate twice the value of what you steal to charity? That way stealing will hurt you financially, and someone else benefits rather than yourself.

Cooldil17's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I think that is a lame idea, why would I give away my hard earned money?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cooldil17 Because you obviously don’t feel too guilty about stealing the hard earned money of others. It may teach you some empathy. If you’re ever going to stop, you need to suffer some sort of penalty.

“Why would I give away my hard earned money?” You seem to be a selfish person – you don’t care about ripping people off, but you won’t help people worse off than yourself.

SeventhSense's avatar

This guys a troll. Please.

Cooldil17's avatar

I give 15% of my check, I always give when I’m at church, and every year give a sum of 500 dollars to different charities, just because I don’t want to give double what I take doesn’t mean I’m selfish, it just means I’m self righteous.

Cooldil17's avatar

I just wanna put it out there that I love how everyone says, “You’ll get caught eventually” or things to that gist, when in reality, a lot of people NEVER get caught, I haven’t been caught and that’s what I’m asking, not what happens when I get caught, or who do I call when I’m at the police station, but what do I do now, now as in I’m still working, still doing it, not caught, and no one suspects me. WHAT DO I DO NOW?

SeventhSense's avatar

Wait. Let me post your picture on America’s most Wanted.

Stop wasting everyone’s time. OK you cried wolf. Ha ha you’re so powerful.
Remember. Someday you may actually need help.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cooldil17 Fair enough. GA for pointing out all the karma answers are a bit silly.

I don’t really care what your charity contributions are, and personally I would rather you didn’t give money to religious organisations, but that is not my business. All I am trying to say is that you need to change your circumstances so that shoplifting is no longer worth it. Either do this by making it harder to steal, or by penalising yourself in some way for doing it. It is a tricky issue, I have enough trouble breaking some of my habits that are not so harmful. At least you have made the important first step of recognising the problem and seeking help.

SeventhSense's avatar

Don’t feed the troll.

lamedb's avatar

So…what is your motivation? You have two conflicting statements.

Do you think that because nobody made sure to secure the cracks you slip through, that they may not have ever noticed them, that it gives you some sort of invincibilty? You may lack respect for the work place because everyone seems incompetent, maybe you think you know more than others, and that is a powerful feeling. Look over what makes you feel so good about stealing. I doubt it is so shallow as to be about money.

SeventhSense has a point- I think people here gave you some valid advice: quit your job, give your stuff away… At this rate, you will get caught, because you are finding every reason to keep stealing.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cooldil17 So what do you think, you are Robin Hood or something? I don’t give a crap that you give 15% to your church, you’re a thief, stealing from me indirectly.

Darwin's avatar


You stop.

UScitizen's avatar

We can’t help you here. You are a parasite to this society. Please get professional help, a shrink!

new402's avatar

Hi, I am not sure if you are still seeking an answer to your question.
I would like to say I totally understand your question having been in your position, well not exactly, I am not in retail or in manager’s position anywhere, but the only similarity is not being caught.
I want to stop without being caught and I think of it in this way.

All the time I spend in the act of stealing and all the time I spend in using my stolen possessions is much less than the time I spend thinking about these things and these thoughts steal all the space I have in my mind for any creative or productive thinking to occur. I only have this one life, and even within that life I just have few decades where I am physically and mentally at my best to make a difference in my life.

I dont care if I ever get caught or not, just by being dishonest and knowing in my heart that what I am doing is wrong and living a personality that is different from what I portray to the people I know is a punishment. It is a punishment because I am constantly thinking about doing it and after-effects of this act and it has reduced my ability to do other meaningful things which I would have been doing if I was not caught up with stealing things. I can also see that repeated acts like these have reduced my ability to feel so many different emotions that I used to feel before-happiness, compassion, sadness, love, forgiveness, friendship, and the list goes on.

So by stopping it I will not be doing any store a favor but myself a favor because I will be living a more natural life, I will be close to my inner self and that way I will be close to natural way of being happy, even if I remain poor and can not afford expensive things I will be happier because I will be doing other things that I used to dream of doing as a child, and thereby accomplishing what my my true goals in this one life are. I am sure no one wants to be remembered as a shoplifter. And even if by stopping I do not become someone great, I will atleast have some self respect for being able to stop myself from going on a dishonest path. Because it is not all the things that I may possess define me but my conscience and my actions do!

I dont know how long my life is and it is not in my hands to control its length but it is certainly in my hands to make it a quality life, a life where I have enjoyed all my emotions to the fullest, where I have attempted to achieve my dreams, so that when I am old, I will have memories of my youth and adult life that I can cherish and not regret! Above all my present will be much more peaceful and definitely happier.

hope this helps (me and anyone in my situation)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Learn about the consequences should you be caught, and spend some time with those that were punished for similar behavior. If that alone doesn’t put it into perspective, seek professional help.

Response moderated (Spam)
LlamaPie's avatar

Maybe find a support group? :3

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