Having some hangups about shoplifting

I’m having some major hangups about shoplifting, specifically how it affects employees and members of the proletariat. What do you think about shoplifting? Don’t waste my time answering if you’re not a socialist.

@polymerwitch
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Who are you shoplifting from? There is a difference between shoplifting from someone like Walmart who profits millions, mistreats their employees, and accounts for loss due to shoplifting in their accounting, and a your local bike worker owned bike co-op that is struggling to make it month to month.

What are you shoplifting? Is it bread because you are starving? Is it a just some junk because you want a thrill?

There are obviously a lot of things to consider when it comes to shoplifting. It must be taken in context and consider the larger societal forces that regularly allow capitalists to legally rob proles. If you are interested in a film that explores the nuances around this I highly recommend Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 film Bicycle Thieves.

@uhoh
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I’m thinking whether I should steal lighters from Dollar Tree to give to my friends, and maybe one for myself too. EDIT: I’ll check out Bicycle Thieves.

Metawish
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As a former retail employee, just know they cannot fire employees for theft outside of the actual worker doing the theft. We aren’t even able to do anything about the theft if we see it happen because that could be a liability if anything happened to the worker.

This is pretty standard across the board in all industries and sizes. But I think most people just aim for the big corps.

Metawish
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There was a huge thread on Tumblr about this very thing, if interested I could try to grab it and share

@southerntofu
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Please do :)

Metawish
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https://hater-of-terfs.tumblr.com/post/646678885083250688/im-glad-youre-speaking-up-about-how-the-idea

If it forces you to make an account I can try to screenshot and share it elsewhere…hopefully we can avoid that

I think that generally for most people shoplifting isn’t good, simply because it might sow distrust and such things, society operates well on people being generally honest to each other.

If you need something though - go for it, I don’t think it’s morally wrong then.

I know of a couple of privileged people who shoplift for example food that they could easily afford, wouldn’t even have to change their lifestyle or whatever.

That’s just lame, not revolutionary or anything, and I feel that it might be immoral, even if you are taking from big corp. It’s not just big corp involved, but many regular people as well. It’s not you taking money here that’s the problem, it’s other people seeing you, they don’t know what you are taking etc.

Idk, I am interested in this discussion :)

@uthredii
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On the one hand the idea of personal property isn’t exactly based in morality, personal property is what you can acquire/keep/defend (and what your ancestors could acquire/keep/defend).

On the other hand, people have worked to produce the things in shops and should arguably be compensated.

Is the world a better place if you have the goods that you would steal or if the shops has those goods? You might be able to spend the money you saved on helping people, whereas otherwise it would just go to shareholders. But maybe by shoplifting you are damaging a service that brings people value.

Who would actually be harmed? The workers or the owners? This will have a different answer from business to business.

It also depends on your situation. Maybe society owes everyone a basic standard of living. If you have no source of income and no means to buy anything then maybe it is justified to just take things from those that have more?

@southerntofu
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On the other hand, people have worked to produce the things in shops and should arguably be compensated.

Sure, which is why stealing from a smaller shop is unethical. On the other hand, stealing from a supermarket megacorporation whose products were assembled by quasi-slaves (who are not fairly compensated) sounds very ethical: in my view expropriating the thieves doesn’t make you a thief.

Also worth noting, theft is accounted for in every shop, and the shop WILL pay its bills to its providers. So whatever product you’re stealing from a supermarket will be paid to the producer, therefore stealing animal products is not vegan (i’ve heard people argue otherwise) because the animal exploiter will be paid. On the other hand, every more expensive/fair product you steal from the supermarket will take money from the pockets of the supermarket shareholders into the producers, which is laudable.

@uthredii
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theft is accounted for in every shop, and the shop WILL pay its bills to its providers.

If you choose to steal something you will increase the total cost due to theft for that shop. This cost is usually passed on to the consumer in the form of raised prices.

@southerntofu
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Well it’s not impossible but it’s not automatic either. All shops account for 2-20% of broken/lost/stolen/unsold goods in their accounting. As long as you stay under that number there should not be raised prices, although it’s not exactly something you control as a shoplifter :)

@southerntofu
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28M

Bosses are assholes, and shoplifting has nothing to do with it. A boss who places too much pressure on employees “because” of theft will do it even once theft is rooted out.

If you need/want to shoplift, please do it from corporations who can afford it, expropriate the supermarkets, not your local markets. Not that i exactly defend small entrepreneurship as ethical, but i don’t think stealing from your neighbors is the same as stealing from a soulless corporation fucking up the entire planet.

Please stay safe. Don’t take too much risks.

Ian
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When I was younger I’d shoplift prolifically. I don’t shoplift anymore, mostly because I don’t want to risk arrest for something as stupid and superfluous as shoplifting.

That said, while I’ve worked in retail, I’ve let people get away with shoplifting. If it’s too obvious though and they’re shoplifting so obviously and poorly that if I felt that if I’d let them get away with it’d cost me my job, I’d have to do something.

In my opinion shoplifting is a trivial thing to worry about. A lot of people depend on shoplifting or other theft in order to sustain themselves, which means it’s a symptom of the broader issue of poverty wages and unemployment. If in a discussion someone were to bring up shoplifting somehow I’d bend the argument there or simply the easy twist towards the argument about originary accumulation and how property itself rests on theft.

@maddox
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My French anarchist girlfriend used to steal Italian pesto even at times when I have purchased full baskets of food for her in Italy.

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