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Lesley Stern

Lesley Stern

Posted: August 6, 2009 12:08 PM

How To Live On $0 A Day: Shoplifting Hints


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Shoplifting isn't for everyone. If you're young and not white, it's probably risky, as you're already under suspicion. But if you're white, not talking to yourself, semi-respectable looking and over 40 (especially a female), nobody will be paying attention to you anyway. The world is your goodie bag.


As someone who has accidentally shoplifted several hats simply because she forgot to take them off before leaving the store, my first bit of advice is, to put whatever it is you're shoplifting on your head. Nobody will notice. Even with the price tag hanging out and the anti-theft alarm blaring (especially if you're a woman over 40).

Like any endeavor (and misdemeanor), you want to maximize your earnings. So be thoughtful in your shoplifting choices. Instead of shoplifting the generic brand of ibuprofen, always go for the most expensive brand name possible. Or say you need some aromatheraputic essential oils to help you with your depression. Instead of shoplifting the $3.49 citrus oil, go for the $34 ylang ylang. They both elevate your mood, but the ylang-ylang also elevates your theoretical earnings. In other words, shoplifting is no time to think about being frugal.

Choose your target. Don't shoplift from the mom and pop stores. They haven't ruined your life. Stick to companies listed on the DJIA. I find that righteous rage is essential to a successful shoplifting outing.

Try to avoid anything with the big plastic anti-theft tags attached as they're impossible to remove without tearing the garment. If you get home and realize that the garment you stole has an unsightly tag on it, do not try to remove it. Get that old Bedazzler out and decorate it. People will think it's a fashion statement and may even ask where you got it. I've gotten so many compliments on my bedazzled anti-theft devices, I've considered starting a business.

Keep it casual. It's always best to shoplift right under their noses. Try to act a little spacey and distracted. Better yet, be spacey and distracted. Pay absolutely no attention to what you're doing. Focus only on the products. If something catches your eye, pick it up. Since you're so distracted, it wouldn't be the least surprising if you absently put the Pixie lip plump gloss #48 into your purse or jacket pocket. Who could blame you? Certainly not the security guard who's flirting with a cashier.

The "duh maneuver" is one of my favorite shoplifting techniques. If you're actually buying a few things, put the most expensive, largest item, under your arm or in your hand in plain sight. Proceed through check out as if you don't know it's there. Nine out of ten times, the cashier won't notice. In one instance, I got away with a 15lb. bag of cat litter under my arm. And while that crystal cat litter can really add up, I still regret not going for the Toshiba 39" flat screen. Maybe next time.

Shoplifting is illegal. You could get caught. But even getting busted has its advantages. You get a nice frisking and if you're found guilty, free room and board.