Despite the fact that late-stage capitalism is an amoral hellhole driven by a borderline religious belief in the sanctity of brands, we would never, ever suggest that anyone should shoplift from big-box stores, or even imply that doing so is a victimless crime and morally fine.
But hypothetically, if we were to give any tidbit of advice to any would-be shoplifters (aside from the Golden Rule that you never, ever steal from mom-and-pop shops or individuals just trying to make a living), it would be this: Avoid shoplifting from Target.
While loss prevention technology has certainly ramped up over the past decade, the truth is that the vast majority of one-off shoplifters don't get caught. The majority of shoplifters who eventually get apprehended are "the clunky ones who get just good enough to evade detection for a while until they get too greedy and too braggy," as Target manager Dan Holliday explains.
By nature, working as a loss prevention officer (LP) is one of the most dangerous retail-related jobs a person can have. Every customer apprehension poses the potential risk of the situation turning violent, which is why the vast majority of stores implement "No Touch" policies for their LPs, whereby LPs are not allowed to get physical with, and sometimes even not allowed to pursue, suspects. Moreover, even if an LP suspects a person of shoplifting, stopping a customer without solid proof can open the store up to a lawsuit (especially if the customer is innocent).
But unlike Walmart and Best Buy, whose loss prevention officers (LPs) barely get paid enough to care––let alone risk their own safety––Target takes loss prevention very seriously. In fact, Target runs one of country's top-rated forensic laboratories, which specializes in solving "organized retail crimes committed at Target stores through video and image analysis, latent fingerprint and computer forensics."
Retail Stores Sales, Newport, USA - 23 Nov 2018 John Minchillo/AP/REX/Shuttersto
Scarier, though, is the methodical way in which Target goes about building cases against repeat shoplifters. In a 2016 Reddit post, a user named StiggyPop recounted his experience of being a drug-addict who made money by stealing and flipping Blu-Rays from Target. After four months, he was apprehended by a team of high-level LPs who knew everything about him, from where his apartment was located to the specific store he used as a fence (a middleman for stolen goods who acts as a "fence" between thieves and unknowing buyers).
Other Reddit users shared similar stories. As it turns out, alongside their forensic team and top-of-the-line, in-store facial recognition technology, Target is known for actually letting shoplifters get away with their bounty...up until they reach the monetary threshold for a felony shoplifting charge. This means that while a Walmart LP will stop a shoplifter regardless of whether they're stealing a $5 DVD or a $500 dollar TV, Target might allow a shoplifter to steal 100 $5 DVDs over time, all while building up a massive, fool-proof felony case against them. And here's the craziest part––they organize these efforts across stores and even state-lines. Essentially, if you steal at any Target, anywhere in the country, they're quite possibly building up a case against you.So if by chance you have the urge to shoplift, keep yourself safe and avoid Target at all costs. There are plenty of other big-box chains out there that don't deserve your business.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.