Frankie and Slim

Frankie and Slim
Happy New Year

Monday, July 16, 2012


Question Of The Week

What would you do if you saw someone shoplifting?

I have actually had two such experiences and did nothing.

The first was when I was in high school and saw one of my friends shoplifting.  I left the store and waited outside. I  told my friend what I saw and told her I would not be able to go shopping with her again.  I never did.  I asked her to return the items and she would not. Still I wondered every time I got a gift from her if she had paid for it or if she had stolen it. I could not bring myself to turn her in.

The second incidence was in a drug store.  A small child was screaming for a certain toy.  His mother repeatedly told him no.  Finally I noticed the child was quiet and looked up to see the mother and son exiting the store.  She had him by one hand and he had the other hand behind his back clutching the desired toy. It was my opinion that the mother would discover the toy and return it to the store.

(Shoplifting is an expensive problem that everybody pays the price for. It hurts you in several ways — prices keep going up as store owners try to recover some of their losses. A big department store can spend millions a year on security, but it may lose as much as $2,000 a day to shoplifters.)


  1. No doubt I would turn them in.
    We've had the small child incident happen and drove 9 miles back to the store and the child had to take the 50 cent toy in and admit what they had done.
    All the way back to the store we kept telling the child that we hoped they wouldn't be thrown in jail.
    But again, if I saw an adult steal something I would help the store apprehend them.
    If I saw a child swipe something I would walk up and say "Well isn't that a pretty little 'bobble' you have in your pocket."

  2. Cliff -- My five-year-old son stole a pack of gum and I made him take it back then pay for it. He was crying so hard the clerk felt sorry for him and told him he could keep the gum. That's when I went ballistic. "You're missing the point here! I'm trying to teach him a lesson." I'm pretty sure my son never stole anything else and his sister, watching the affair with wide eyes, probably didn't either. As far as the high school friend went...well, I just couldn't turn her in. You're one tough old codger aren't you?

  3. I was at a grocery store one night and was behind a man in the checkout line. He had a store sales flyer draped over the rack that separates the child seat from the bed of the shopping cart. There was a bottle of vanilla extract sitting in the child seat and the checkout person didn't notice. He sat one of the bags in the child seat, covering the vanilla and went on his way, pushing the cart out to the car. I was thinking, "Who would shoplift vanilla?" I almost said, "Hey - you forgot to get your vanilla rung up!" But just didn't. I should have though.

    My nephew was caught shoplifting a girlie magazine at a drugstore when he was 12 or 13. He had put it up his shirt. My sister thought he was with some friends in the neighborhood, but he was at this drugstore a few miles from home. The drugstore people held him there and called the police and my sister. My sister said the policeman gave my nephew a good hard talking to and told her that she needed to bring him to the jail for a tour. And that the drugstore was going to post a picture of him as a shoplifter. He was "scared straight" after that. The worst thing was he did that when me and my parents were visiting for his sister's graduation. Oh the drama in that house that night! She said she went in that drugstore a couple of weeks later to thank the manager for his kindness and noticed that my nephew's picture was not posted. I don't think that was the first time that he had shoplifted, but I'll bet it was the last.

  4. Lynn - that is hilarious about your nephew!

    I'd turn them in. Not the small child, but adults.

  5. In my modelling days I was drinking coffee in an expensive store and saw one of the top models waiting to buy chocolate. No-one was there to serve her and she finally helped herself and walked out. I realised my mouth was wide open with amazemant.
    Later when I had my own shop I had zero sympathy for shop lifters and I and my staff would watch known offenders like hawks. The ones we knew were the last people you would expect.

  6. I saw a guy putting cans if beer in is bag, I reported him to a member of staff. The staff in the shop are the ones that suffer in their salaries. That's unfair.

  7. Annie,

    I was in our local library once and saw a young fellow put a fairly large technical book down his pants and cover it up with his shirt.

    Sad to say, I did nothing.

    About department store shoplifting. I read an article recently and your figures are correct. They lose thousands of dollars a day but it is not customer shoplifting.

    Most of the serious stealing is done by employees.

  8. My husband and I were walking into the local grocery store one day and they had a beer display right at the front door. We saw a couple of guys walk in and grab a couple of cases and run out of the store. We notified the management immediately and the response was: "We can't do anything about it, it happens all the time." No wonder the prices keep going up. You would think they wouldn't put stuff like that at the front door.

  9. Back in 1995, I was an undercover security (not anymore). Believe me it is extremely hard on your nerves to catch someone shoplifting. These were two to three hundred dollars leather coats, I am talking about. My coworker was much younger than me and she did a great job in taking them to the police.

  10. That is a hard one - I hope I would tell, but I don't know. I would never ever go with them again. sandie

  11. About a year ago I alerted a clerk someone wasn't paying for part of their order they intentionally left in the cart below the clerk's sight. Guess I can't let it go anymore.
    When I can't pay, I go without. Some folks get a thrill from stealing n are addicted to it- or worse, feel entitled to anything they can get away with. "Thou shalt not steal" is a commandment n I take it seriously.

  12. Lynn -- I too would be in a quandary over someone stealing a bottle of vanilla. However was it pure vanilla or imitation? Pure vanilla is quite costly. Your poor nephew. I'm willing to bet his thieving days were over at that time.

    Riot Kitty -- I wonder exactly who you should turn a shoplifter in to. Would it be a clerk or should you ask for a manager?

    Pat -- Perhaps it would have been acceptable for the model to help herself if she had also left the money before she walked out. Do you think it ever occurred to her that she was stealing?

    LL Cool Joe -- Do you know what the staff did after you reported the theft?

    Nancy -- Good point about employee theft. My first job was at a department store in 1961. We all had to exit work through one door at closing time with two security people checking our handbags and packages as we left. I'm pretty sure that would not be legal today but I'll bet it would be a deterrent. I must say that I am shocked anyone would steal from a library. Just this year our library has loaned me books that have created over $2000 in savings for me from what it would have cost to buy them.

    Bonnie -- We actually had an incidence such as that occur in Tulsa a few years back at a local Albertson's. The clerk saw the young men grab the beer and chased them into the parking lot where the thugs turned and shot the clerk to death.

    Munir -- As a former security officer, what would you do if someone reported seeing a shoplifter? Would you have acted on that report or would you have had to see the activity yourself?

    Chatty Crone -- It all depends on the circumstances I guess. Seeing an acquaintance as opposed to watching a complete stranger steal would be hard to report either way.

    Snaggle Tooth -- What did they do when you alerted them? I always think the clerk would find it easier to let it go than to have to deal with the problem.

  13. It was pure vanilla extract. I guess that's why he was taking it - the expensiveness of it. People who take things must have a sickness - I would never enjoy it, knowing I hadn't paid for it.

  14. Lynn -- I have never taken anything that did not belong to me. I'm not sure if that is because I'm a good person or if it is because I can always picture the looks of disappointment on my parent's faces. That would be what I would see every time I started to use that vanilla.

  15. When I was a teenager and a friend of mind shoplifted, I didn't say anything. I even tried it a couple of times myself, foolishly, and was fortunate not to get caught. I soon decided that it wasn't worth the risk.
    Now that I have a clue, I like to think that I would inform on any shoplifting I witnessed. I suppose it might depend a bit on the situation.
    I once worked with a girl who chased a shoplifter for three blocks until her threw the stolen item at her. She's my hero!

  16. Sparkling Red -- Your friend might be your hero for chasing the shoplifter but I'll repeat my earlier response to Bonnie: "We actually had an incidence such as that occur in Tulsa a few years back at a local Albertson's. The clerk saw the young men grab the beer and chased them into the parking lot where the thugs turned and shot the clerk to death." Nothing that anyone can steal can be worth putting your life at risk.

  17. i can be such a chicken when it comes to confrontation. i mean, have you ever read my blog? I can barely break up with people I hate.


  18. Blunt Delivery -- When I was young like you I was very non-confrontational but as an older person I am becoming more and more overly confrontational. Hope I don't wind up in any "breaking news".