Essay on Shoplifting Effects on The Community
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Shoplifting is a major problem in today. The temptation of not paying for something, just hiding it away and saving your own money is a large factor for some people. The culprit just thinks he's getting a product for free and doesn't know what he's actually doing to himself and the community. Shoplifting effects everyone, yourself and the everyone in the local neighborhood.In this essay I'm going to explain some of the circumstances of stealing from local stores, or any store. After I've been caught stealing I found out how wrong it is and how it is a disadvantage to everyone.
The stores are tying to crack down on shoplifters by making the punishments as strict as possible. Shoplifting effects the community in a big way. The stores…show more content…
If you do shoplift you feel immense humiliation and distrust from friends and family, and your own conscious is hurt if it isn't then there is something wrong with your feelings not to feel bad about stealing from stores. Every time you steal from stores they are set back that much money and might even have to fire someone that could be one of your friends.People in the community lose respect for you.
If you do know someone that is in teen court or are friends with someone that is in teen court you will get your discipline from them, believe me I know. It helps out the community service areas if you have to do community service while the culprit is stuck doing numerous hours of work, without any pay, but it doesn't help you at all.Shoplifting can also affect you towards the community, because if you have shoplifting on your record it will be difficult to get a job, some don't want people who break the law working for them. Just shoplifting from that store will prevent you from getting a job there ever or any of that kind if it is a chain. Just the fact of breaking the law while shoplifting should be bad enough reason not to do it. Even if it does effect your community, and you should care about that. Shoplifting is a crime and has a major consequence compared to what you can get out of it. Even if peer pressure is a factor, or just the fact that you wanted the product and didn't have the money, stealing is wrong. It's self righteously wrong
Like many teenagers, I went through a brief shoplifting phase, pilfering a Maybelline Kissing Potion, a pack of Adams Sour Apple Gum and, as my final heist, a Toffifay candy bar. But I never would’ve considered stealing a book. Books, I believed, were sacred.
Apparently, not everyone shares this idea. With the recession, shoplifting is on the rise, according to booksellers. At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., the rate of theft has increased to approximately one book per hour. I asked Steve Bercu, BookPeople’s owner, what the most frequently stolen title was.
“The Bible,” he said, without pausing.
Apparently the thieves have not yet read the “Thou shalt not steal” part — or maybe they believe that Bibles don’t need to be paid for. “Some people think the word of God should be free,” Bercu said. As it turns out, Bibles are snatched even at the Parable Christian Store in Springfield, Ore., the manager told me, despite the fact that if a person asks for a Bible, they’ll be given a copy without charge.
But this holiday season, the Good Book is hardly the only title in danger of being filched. At independent bookstores, thieves are as likely to be taking orders from Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book” as from Exodus.
Fiction is the most commonly poached genre at St. Mark’s Bookshop in the East Village of Manhattan; the titles that continually disappear are moved to the X-Case, safely ensconced behind the counter. This library of temptation includes books by Martin Amis, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo and Jack Kerouac, among others. Sometimes the staff isn’t sure whether an author is still popular to swipe until they return their books to the main floor. “Amis went out and came right back,” Michael Russo, the manager, told me.
At BookPeople in Austin, titles displayed with staff recommendation cards are a darling among thieves. “It’s so bad lately that I feel like our staff recommendation cards should read: ‘BookPeople Bookseller recommends that you steal ________.’ Apparently the criminal element in Austin shares our literary tastes, or are very prone to suggestion,” Elizabeth Jordan, the head book buyer, wrote in an e-mail message.
As it turns out, the list of most-purloined fiction authors at many stores resembles the contents of the X-Case; it’s a list that is predominantly — and often exclusively — male. Why are thieves shunning the distaff?
“It’s mostly younger men stealing the books,” Zack Zook, the general manager of BookCourt in Brooklyn, suggested. “They think it’s an existential rite of passage to steal their homeboy.”
Neil Strandberg, the manager of operations at the Tattered Cover in Denver seconded this bit of reader profiling. “Our arrest record is very male,” he said.
There is a certain hip factor to stealing a book, said Mark Z. Danielewski, whose novel “House of Leaves” is commonly shoplifted at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., according to Allison Hill, the store’s president and chief operating officer. “In ‘The Savage Detectives,’ Roberto Bolaño writes about visiting various bookstores and stealing books,” Danielewski said. “I never stole a book, though. I always found there was a pleasure, weirdly enough, in saving for and paying for something.”
Some authors don’t share that pleasure, however. At Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colo., one writer was even busted stealing his own books. Christopher Ohman, who was a manager at the time, said: “I think he felt somewhat entitled to the copies. In some ways I can kind of understand that logic. I mean, it’s a commonly held misconception that authors get as many copies of their books as they want, and that’s not always the case.” (Ohman conceded that the author’s alcohol problem may also have had something to do with it.)
Although there’s no hard statistical evidence on most-stolen titles, The Telegraph of London reported last year that Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel “The Virgin Suicides” was said to be “the most shoplifted book of modern times.” Eugenides had heard this for many years. “I just assumed that the book appealed to the young and sticky-fingered to a certain extent,” he told me, with some amusement. Years ago, Eugenides was at a literary conference with Paul Auster, another top choice among literary thieves. “Paul and I argued about whose book was stolen more,” Eugenides said. “He claimed he was stolen a lot, I claimed I was stolen a lot. Back and forth. It was one of those deep intellectual conversations.”
Were there fisticuffs?
“No, no,” he said. “We had no way of adjudicating the argument. That was the problem.”
Auster, for his part, isn’t sure why his books are popular to steal. “It could be that my work appeals to the criminal element,” he told me. “When I was young many of my friends stole books from bookstores. They’d wear trench coats with lots of pockets, and they’d jam them in like Harpo Marx. Of course they didn’t understand that these stores were important resources.” He lamented the demise of Bookforum, formerly located near Columbia University. “I’m just so worried about bookstores in general right now. I don’t want any more of them to fold up.”
Books are not the only items disappearing from stores. Allison Hill of Vroman’s in Pasadena recalled the time someone tried to take a security camera. Ohman, the former manager at Boulder Book Store, remembered full-size framed art prints mysteriously vanishing from the bathroom walls. “There’s nothing in here that no one’s tried to steal,” said Bercu of Austin’s BookPeople. “Plants, chairs, lights — if you can touch it, someone will steal it, or attempt to.”
E-books open up a whole other arena for thievery. Neil De Young, the director of digital media at Hachette Book Group, the publisher of “Twilight,” said digital piracy is a “constant problem.” Many publishers and authors fear that piracy, and the general transition from print to digital media, will cause irreparable harm to the book industry, as it has in the music world. The writer Sherman Alexie, who has refused to make his fiction available in digital form, agrees. “The open source culture is coming for us,” he told me, “and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”
John Palfrey, a co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and the author of “Born Digital,” is more optimistic. “The way young people enjoy music is very different from the way they enjoy books, and I don’t think that we’ll see the same pattern of piracy emerge that we’ve seen in the music industry — at least not in the near future,” he said.
But this doesn’t mean that every reader is contributing to the bottom line. Only 40 percent of books that are read are paid for, and only 28 percent are purchased new, said Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry. The rest are shared, borrowed, given away — or stolen.
I asked Eugenides what book he would steal if he had no money. “If I was down to my last cent I could see stealing the Bible . . . or a Martin Amis book.”
Which one would he choose?
He laughed. “Amis,” he said.
More Articles in Books »A version of this article appeared in print on December 20, 2009, on page BR23 of the New York edition.