Rampant inflation has recently pressured American consumers and businesses alike. As the value of the dollar drops, many customers are growing frustrated with high prices and the low availability of some goods. This pressure has spilled over into some shoppers stealing items off the shelf, exacerbating the problem for law-abiding consumers.
“Most of our stores — it’s kind of like the perfect storm,” Tina Yamaki tells reporters. “Prices have gone up, and also, too, we [are] having a hard time finding employees to come in, so some stores are not fully staffed. The criminals — they know this. What it is, basically, it’s organized retail crime.”
Retailers have struggled to put products on the shelves in the face of global supply line shortages. These conditions keep some products out of stocks for weeks and have only contributed to further inflation across most consumer goods. This is especially true for grocery stores, where margins are slim and competition is fierce.
Some customers have noticed a chance to swoop in and make a quick buck on this situation by swiftly wiping out supplies of hard-to-find items when they arrive. Organized retail criminals will often work in teams to distract employees while another person shoplifts considerable quantities of small, high-price items.
Then, the criminals sell the items on secondhand sites like eBay and make a tidy profit. As Yamaki noted, it’s difficult for stores to prevent this kind of behavior when they’re understaffed.
Retailers struggling with shoplifting can take steps to prevent criminals from targeting them. One easy step is to lock small, expensive items behind glass or keep them behind the counter. Shop owners should keep items like detergent pods, razor blades, baby formula, and medications behind the counter to prevent shoplifters from stuffing them in their pockets.
Why are many American workers turning to criminal activity right now? The simplest answer is that inflation has made things harder for many Americans. While prices are skyrocketing, wages aren’t rising to match. Some people might feel as though they’re being treated unfairly by the market, so they try to get even by stealing from retailers they believe are gouging prices.
However, all they’re doing is hurting other customers. When criminals constantly steal from retailers, they simply cause the prices to surge even higher and make life harder for hard-working people. If you see someone stealing, say something to the store employees. There are better ways to get help than stealing from local stores.