Wealthy Shoppers Sometimes Feel Entitled to Recreational Shoplifting


Aren’t rich folks entitled to a few law-breaking privileges?

According to the New York Post, many seem to think so — at least when it comes to retail. Employees report that some of their most flagrant shoplifting cases involve flush patrons, those who, by virtue of their spending power, might otherwise be considered ideal customers.

But adrenaline and entitlement make for a heady combination. The New York Post reports:

“Makeup mecca Sephora sees shoplifters sliding lipsticks and perfumes up sleeves — often items the thrill-seeking thieves don’t need or want, like foundation in the wrong shade or a mascara tester used by hundreds of people.”

A used mascara tester? For fuck’s sake, how bored and wealthy must you be to get your jollies stealing near-garbage? I’m a little insulted.

Often, however, the lifted products are desirable. And the thief’s reasoning is underpinned by their sense of good patronage. After all, if you’ve dropped $1000 on rompers, don’t you deserve some lingerie on the house? One Anthropologie insider tells the New York Post, “[Wealthy shoppers] would spend insane amounts and at the same time steal a few items because they felt they had spent so much money, they were entitled to freebies.”

You’ve likely come across stories of celebrities who were caught pilfering items. Just recently Kim Richards from “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” was arrested and charged for attempting to steal over 100 pieces of merchandise—totaling roughly $600—from Target. While in Venice Beach in 2011, Lindsay Lohan swiped a $2,500 necklace from a jewelry store. And perhaps most infamously, Winona Ryder stole $5,500 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office told Page Six that Richards made no effort to hide her loot: “They were in the shopping cart and she was not concealing them. She just rolled on out.” Ryder, on the other hand, did attempt to conceal the clothes and handbags she had taken, but had already made a few purchases at the store. The logic is murky—in Richards’ case it seems nonexistent—and the impetuses? The unique complexities of celebrity life must have their own toxic impacts.

Or perhaps it’s just exciting to be deviant, to test the extent of one’s privilege. A former Sephora employee describes this upscale variety of theft as a form of diversion: “It becomes a cat-and-mouse game: What are you going to see me take today?”

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via AP.

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