Retailers are Locking up More and More Items in Texas Stores
The shoplifting epidemic is on fire. Retailers are losing more money than ever before. Major CEOs are warning of even higher prices as a result.
The National Retail Foundation says theft losses are a big problem and getting bigger. David Johnston, vice president of asset protection and retail operations at NRF says, "our retailers are reporting an increase in all aspects of shoplifting, but we are starting to see more and more brazen, large quantity incidents of shoplifting, which indicate to us it's not just solely for personal use."
The industry says those larger "organized retail crime" operations are complicated to deal with. The NRF says retailers on average saw a 26.5% increase in ORC incidents in 2021, the last year complete figures were available.
National pharmacy chain Walgreens has even closed stores in San Francisco because of shoplifting. Other large chain stores are also being affected.
Not only are higher prices the result of all this theft, but there is also another side effect. Stores here in San Angelo and nationwide are locking more and more items behind plexiglass or behind security devices.
This is making shopping way more inconvenient and sparking a significant backlash among customers. Trying to get those locked-up items requires the help of increasingly scarce retail workers.
A TikTok video from Talya @partywithtal has gone viral. In the video, Talya calls out Walmart.
"Yea, so I'm at Walmart 'cause I get my mascara from there right? And they got the locks on the mascara",
she says flipping the camera to reveal a variety of $8.98 mascaras hanging on the shelves with locks on them. Here is the video.
We all know how hard it can be to find a real person working inside a Walmart store. Perhaps, some of the blame for higher shoplifting rates is stores' own fault for cutting back so much or resorting to self-checkouts, which have a higher theft rate than regular cashiers.
Also, many stores lock up fewer items in higher-income areas, even where the property crime rate is higher. In so doing, these retailers discriminate against lower-income neighborhoods creating an additional burden for shoppers there.
Industry experts say more and more frustrated shoppers like Tayla are walking out without making purchases, causing a decline in sales for retailers, already reeling from higher thefts.
It's no wonder to me that more and more people are shopping online. Shopping in stores is just increasingly more frustrating. I wonder when retailers made up their minds that the customer is no longer "always right."
Maybe, it's time to bring it back.