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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