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October 25, 2013

Growing Number of Shoplifters Reflects Tough Economic Times

 

'No money at Christmas time, or anytime, when they need shoes'

Thanksgiving is not yet here. But the signs of Christmas shopping are showing up everywhere.  Even when it comes to increased shoplifting.


The three teenage girls stuffed stolen blouses, slacks, caps and other items down their pants – on the sales floor of a large, suburban, retail store,  and then casually headed for the door.


They didn’t get far.


shoplifting photo.jpgMy friend, a seasoned “loss prevention” specialist, was waiting at the door.


Most retail stores make half their annual profits now through Xmas time. 


They also suffer huge losses from theft by employees and shoplifters.


This store loses up to $300,000 from theft each Xmas shopping season.


(Research shows approximately ninety percent of the US population will commit the crime of shoplifting at some point in their lives

Adolescents account for one-half of all shoplifting cases, though- value wise- this population steals one-third of what adults steal.

Perhaps surprisingly, the second most frequent shoplifters are senior citizens.

Each family in the United States pays an extra three hundred dollars for goods and services to subsidize losses from shoplifting.)


We sat in my loss prevention friend's small office near the checkouts, as she watched a large bank of video screens scanning locations throughout the store.


"Oh, you learn to spot them.  They take new shoes into the dressing rooms. Put them on. And leave the old ones behind. Same thing with jeans, blouses.They wear heavy coats on warm days, carry large purses.  Spend too much time glancing around for store personnel or at monitors."


Shoplifting isn't just for poor folks. 


"You might think this job (loss prevention) hardened me toward  teenagers, seniors, poor people. But it ain't'so," she continued.


“I’ve seen it all. And seen them all. Pinched the powerful – retired chair of a county government, another downtown Pooh-Bah with plenty of cash in his pocket, two sons of a police officer."


Three cop cars were parked next to the store. The girls cuffed in the back of one.


Don’t jump at criticizing those kids or seniors,” my friend said. “Some are from homes with drugs, domestic violence ... others very limited fixed incomes .. no money at Christmas time....or anytime, when they need clothes or shoes. So they end up here on a busy Saturday afternoon....”


Right along with the Winona Ryders.

 

October 23, 2013

KANSAS CITY MOVES: Welcome Back To Bimmerville

 

bmw-m3-remaps-uk.jpg

Note:  The author recently returned to hometown Kansas City to live, after 35 years in Michigan, California, Washington, DC, Hong Kong and other locations.

KANSAS CITY MOVES:

Welcome Back To Bimmerville


    A Kansas City colleague and I drove out to a Sunday brunch with education consultants, at a restaurant across the state line in suburban, ubber upscale Johnson County, Kansas.

     I had not been in that part of metro K.C. in 35 years.

     What caught my eye was not so much the explosive growth of affluent homes, shopping areas, and restaurants -- although impressive.

     But the cars.

     More BMW 700s, Audi A-7s, Lexus LX 570s, and Infiniti M56s than you'd find on Germany's Autobahn or Beijing's 6th Ring Road.

    If you drove those cars anywhere in little Battle Creek, Michigan – where I lived much of the past 3 decades -  you'd be considered, by some, a bit uppity, get stared at, robbed at gunpoint, or asked for a charitable contribution.

     At a minimum, you’d park that car where you could watch it out the bedroom window, or at the vacant end of the Meijer supermarket lot.

     Not cheek by jowl in a Johnson County restaurant parking lot.

     One of many little personal adjustments.

     All good.

     Welcome Back To Bimmerville.