The Philosophy of Shoplifting?

We get a fair amount of shoplifting in my bookstore.  Some of it is expected (One Direction books).   Some of it is weird.

Magazines tend to disappear.  Books on sex are pocketed, usually by teenagers who you don’t even need an alarm for because they’re glowing bright red.

The people who shoplift the most often, though, is… little old ladies.  Usually really innocuous looking, except for the pile of books they’re trying to sneak through the far exit.  And it’s always “Gee, I just forgot to pay for these.  For the fourth time this hour.  Forget my own head, next.”

What I love is the righteous indignation that many of them display, like the fact that they try to steal more in merchandise than they weigh is no good reason for security to be keeping an eye on them.  “Are you following me?  Why is security staring at me?”  Yes.  Because you try to shoplift from us at least weekly.  Duh.

After a while, it makes me want to glue down anything pocket sized.  Although people have tried to leave with an entire shelf’s worth of books before, so hey, maybe just glue it all down.

Small children are actually really bad – they will just fill the entire leg of their pants with whatever will fit in there.   And when you point out that their pants are making siren noises, they just take it all out, wait for you to leave, and then start all over again.

The McThuggets mostly pretend to be tough, and talk (in the children’s section) at the top of their lungs about threatening other students, and how tough they are, while busily inserting as many swear words as possible.  Shoplifting wouldn’t work for them because no one would see them being criminal, unless they got caught, at which point they’d be in big trouble with their mom.

You know what our most shoplifted section is?  Guess.  Not teen.  Not little gifts.

Philosophy.  Yep, that’s right, more people steal books from the philosophy section than anywhere else.  Maybe they feel that the knowledge belongs to everyone (someone tried to justify taking a Bible with that reasoning).  Ok, maybe the knowledge belongs to everyone, but the paper, ink, and cover have to be paid for.  Feel free to walk away with the ideas.

Someone explain this to me.  Who are the culprits, and is there some kind of black-market philosophy ring out there?

Psst.  Wanna buy some… Aristotle?



Filed under Bookstore

4 responses to “The Philosophy of Shoplifting?

  1. Thanks, you made me laugh. 🙂

  2. Interesting. Maybe you should re-think why people shoplift. It’s not usually because they are greedy or don’t have the money – it’s because they don’t believe in the transaction. They don’t think they should have to fork over $19.95 for ink and paper, and ideas should certainly be free. It’s not nice – so I understand why you speak of them so badly – but it might be intentional. They’re saying “screw you and your overpriced books” fueled by the ideas they’re finding in their stolen philosophy books.

  3. Pingback: It’s growing (and versatile)! | midnight coffee monster

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