crime - or getting your own back ?
of the most potent and ridiculous Capitalist Doctrines
web-page was written before the 'Banking Crisis' of 2008.
It is now obvious that shoplifting is a tiny matter
compared with the shameless criminality of banks in lending
what they did not have and engaging in malpractices which
cost millions of people real money.
Anyone working in a bank or 'the financial services industry'
(the Mammon of Usury) has voluntarily implicated him/herself
in the greatest financial swindle of all time.
Supermarkets, themselves swindling their suppliers, as well
as small businesses,
are swindled least of all by petty shoplifters.
recent years the Criminal Justice System in the UK
(which I prefer to call the Imperium of England
and its Immediate Celtic Colonies)
has started to take the view that petty pilfering is a technical
- like not wearing a seat-belt, or speeding -
rather than a moral outrage.
Police now impose statutory fines on the spot
which must be paid within 28 days.
These fines are similar to those imposed for minor motoring
it remains true that
the world is run by the criminally insane, high on greed,
psychopaths who make millions work so that they can play
power games, make war on small nations,
manufacture better and better killing-machines,
run vast prison services and gulags,
and divest a teeming planet of its resources,
its flora and its fauna.
people are bankers, investors,
the Christian Churches (especially the Vatican) :
the rich who want to get richer.
are also Crime Ministers
and International Agonisations
including those involved in 'Aid'.
people define Civilisation,
they make sure that the poor breed ever more
to provide labour.
when the poor start to get richer,
they stamp on their replacement underclass.
want to urbanise us all,
drivelise the world, manufacture our minds
as well as all the rubbish they have sold us
as they tell us it's what we need in order to
hold our brainwashed heads up high.
of the World Dictatorship
of Consumer Capitalism
and reduces us all.
OF THE WORLD PILFERING
IS A CRIME
...which, if you are a poor person of a beautiful colour
living in the Southern states of the USA,
could get you put away in jail
for a very long time indeed.
Stealing small amounts of food to stave
off hunger is not a crime,
Italy's highest court of appeal has ruled.
Judges overturned a theft conviction against Roman Ostriakov
after he stole cheese and sausages worth €4.07 (£3
/ $4.50) from a supermarket.
Mr Ostriakov, a homeless man of Ukrainian background,
had taken the food
"in the face of the immediate and essential need
for nourishment", the Court of Cassation decided.
Therefore it was not a crime, it said.
A fellow customer informed the store's security in 2011,
when Mr Ostriakov attempted to leave a Genoa supermarket
with two pieces of cheese and a packet of sausages in
his pocket - but paid only for breadsticks.
In 2015, Mr Ostriakov was convicted
and sentenced to six months in gaol plus a €100 fine.
In 2005, the
cost of retail "shrinkage" in the U.K. was £4.3
billion: 1.33% of total turnover.
An estimated 38% of this - some £1.5 billion - was
due to theft by employees, some of them, of course, security
page was written a few years before an article appeared
in The Sunday Times (London), of 17th December
2006, averring that shoplifting had now become a serious
pursuit of the hypocritical rich, who claimed to be "resisting"
huge mark-ups, third-world sweat-shops, military dictatorships,
globalisation, and even Swiss smugness - while, of course,
getting something for nothing, which seems to become more
important the richer one becomes.
There are two
million people defrauded in the UK every year.
These are mostly scams perpetrated on ordinary gullible
There are very few prosecutions - because the police need
and, moreover, the victims are too embarrassed or ashamed
to 'make a fuss'
and possibly make a bad secret situation public and worse.
If you are seen to shoplift in France, or Spain, or Germany or
Italy, or any number of European countries, the shop-owner or
the security staff will, generally, either come up to you before
you leave the store and remind you to pay for the items you have
concealed about your person, or they will accost you as you leave
the store, bring you to an office, and, with very serious faces,
make you pay for the goods that you attempted to steal.
is sometimes a queue of other shoplifters at this busy
they will ask you to pay 10% more than their value - to cover
the costs of hiring security-staff, or as a little bonus to the
diligent shop-assistant. They sell their goods.
France, Italy etc. shoplifting is regarded as a technical
offence (like exceeding a speed-limit), committed by students,
the poor, the powerless and depressed - whereas in the more vindictive
anglophone countries it is regarded as a moral crime against
Insofar as there are local newspapers in France,
shoplifting and other trivial crimes are not gleefully reported.
This marks a striking difference from anglophone cultures
whose newspapers are based on the principle of lurid and squalid
Because of this, in anglophone countries the pilferer/thief will
be watched, and allowed to leave the store. Then they will apprehend
her or him dramatically, frog-march him or her back into the store
- and call the police.
Courtney Love's youthful theft of a Kiss tee-shirt from
a Woolworth's in Eugene, Oregon actually led to a period in reform
many stores there are dummy cameras to fool shoplifters. There
are also hidden cameras in different locations designed to entrap
shoplifters. This is, of course, illegal. Security firms are
hired on their (quantitative) reputation for catching shoplifters,
not (qualitatively) for preventing shoplifting (which is
incalculable). Entrapment helps to improve the statistics in a
CCTV cameras in big stores are connected to the internet so that
neo-fascist collaborators can sit at home snooping - and inform
This is Big Brother Next Door.
In Germany, many shops quite legally display signs announcing
that any shop-lifter must pay a Fangprämie
or fine for being caught - perhaps 50 euros- to the store if caught.
excellent idea has, typically, been perverted in the US, and,
more recently Britain. In the past few years, police have shown
increasing reluctance to get involved in minor shop theft, so
in Britain and America a new, and much more scary development
has taken place: "Retail Loss Prevention" by
In 2009, over
80,000 people were apprehended in England alone and accused of
shoplifting. Although many of these accusations were false and
without any evidence whatsoever, the firm "Loss Prevention"
extracted money from their victims as "compensation"
for large shops (such as Boots) and as "Administration Fees".
blackmailed by threats of civil action, though not a single civil
action was initiated against a single accused person. A civil
action is an expensive business, so "Loss Prevention"
frightens people further by telling them they will have to pay
the substantial court costs if found guilty.
But the BBC
followed one case where a woman had been falsely accused of stealing
lip gloss (!) from Boots. No evidence of theft could be produced
either by 'Loss Prevention' or Boots - whose statements conflicted
with each other as well as with the blackmailed victim. Had the
case gone to court (which in all likelihood it would not) it would
have been thrown out immediately, and the firm would have been
ordered to pay court costs. The victim might then have been in
a position to take "Loss Prevention" to court for wrongful
arrest and detention.
Prevention' has an impressive website which gives the
implies that it works with the police, entirely within the law,
is legally kosher, and suitably sanitised.
they, like many 'Security Firms' actually entrap the genuine shoplifter
and ensure that a crime that has been committed, so that they
can apply pressure. This may seem to be better than calling the
police, a most expensive service for which they pay nothing. But
whereas the police require evidence and procedure, 'Retail Loss
Prevention' agencies do not.
same attitude applies at a more basic level to motoring: there
are cameras and traps on British roads, but rarely any of the
elaborate 'slow-down' warnings that are so common in France. Radar
in Britain is used mainly to create offenders, whereas radar in
France triggers flashing lights to make the motorist slow down.
Traffic Wardens are instructed to entrap motorists who, for example,
park briefly in a 'Loading Bay', rather than to advise them to
park elsewhere. Thus I was once fined half of my weekly income,
a sum which a member of the lawnmowing classes would simply regard
as a fee.
Germany, the act of theft is legally committed only if you hide
an item. The Bavarian State Supreme Court pronounced on this:
A person carrying an item openly, leaving a store in which
he is not physically prevented from leaving [by
way of a barrier etc.], to look at display racks on the
footpath in front, does not commit a theft of said item, even
when turning his back towards the racks...
in the British Isles and USA the pilferer is marched to a store-room.
If a 'Retail Loss Prevention' firm is not plying its profitable
trade, he or she is kept there until the police arrive (which
may take a hour or two), he or she is then arrested, cautioned,
taken to a police-station, cautioned again, searched, put into
a cell to wait, then, after half an hour or an hour, interviewed
by detectives (!),fingerprinted, photographed and has a DNA swab
taken from his or her mouth.
Many forms are filled in.
A solicitor (attorney, advocate) may of course be requested by
the criminal. But if he or she, caught in flagrante, 'admits
guilt', this is hardly necessary.
process and procedure take an hour or two, the thief is given
back the property that was taken off him on arrival at the police-station,
and is given a piece of paper instructing him or her to attend
a Court hearing on a certain date. My own experience of this proceeding
(for example after being caught in a Virgin Megastore - what happened
to them, ruthless Mr Branson ?) is that the police are themselves
embarrassed by the pettiness of it all, and are quite jokey while
they do their dreary duty.
exceptional circumstances, the criminal is kept in the police
cell overnight and brought to Court the next day to be sentenced:
to pay a fine or go to prison.
this costs a great deal of money. The shop does not sell its goods.
The police waste their time - most of it on paperwork. The criminal
court wastes everyone's time.
The crime-statistics are boosted - and the prison population,
wonder that the United Kingdom has the highest per-capital prison
population in Europe: higher even than Burma/Myanmar or Singapore.
It has not yet reached the gargantuan level of the United States,
which is less a land of the free than a land of the locked-up
- with notorious examples of prisoners on Death Row for 23 years,
just for having the 'wrong' (i.e. beautiful) skin-colour.
many shopkeepers ended up
with almost-empty tills,
and went bankrupt,
not because of shoplifters
and undeserving poor, perhaps)
who were transported to Australia
for their crimes (at the very least),
because the rich and the titled
and the undeserving rich
were at liberty to refuse to pay their bills.
of shoplifting >
This strategy is not likely to succeed.
If shoplifting in a large store, always wheel around 180 just
before the exit,
just to check if anyone is following you.
Unless the shoplifter (or framed citizen) is simply handed a form
of blackmail by a Retail Loss Prevention 'operative', with Notice
to Pay hundreds of pounds in 'compensation, fees and costs' on
pain of civil summons to a County Court, the compulsive shoplifter
goes through this procedure every time he or she is seen to steal
- whether it is a tin of beans, a book, or a box of candles. The
financial wizard, on the other hand, who makes millions of dollars
or pounds disappear, is rewarded with a million-dollar bonus.
Public servants "fiddle" expenses The
British law on theft, therefore, is a cynical mockery of natural
justice - as is a great deal of criminal law which allows the
Big and/or Important Boys (such a members of the august and obscure
Privy Council) to get off 'Scot-free', while the small fry are
have seen a shoplifter taken away from Eason's, an ugly, aggressive
stationery chain-store with hidden cameras in Belfast,
for stealing a 2003 Diary which by the end of February 2003 had
been marked down to half-price and was almost unsaleable.
much for a 'just and equitable society'!
other shoplifting activity in Belfast click HERE
has recently been established that activities involving "getting
one over", "pulling a fast one" on a person to
whom you are made to feel inferior, or on a business, organisation
or government, produce the same minor euphoria as certain drugs
or alcohol, and can easily become addictive.
A survey conducted by discount vouchers peddlers VoucherCodesPro
has revealed that one in five people admit to stealing
items at supermarket self-service checkouts, adding up
to £1.6bn ($2.4bn) worth of items every year, so
frustrated are they with the ineptitude of their surrogate
machine slaves. This has, naturally, been picked up by
the press and featured in newspaper reports that pleasingly
contain such archaic terms as pilfering (say it with me,
folks: pilfering, isn't it nice?) but then again, we're
threatening to prosecute people for "vagrancy"
now, so why restrict our pre-industrial revolution nostalgia
to language? We might as well go full-on medieval and
chop these thieves' hands off. After all, £1.6bn
(almost €2bn) does add up to a lot of unexpected
items in a lot of bagging areas...
regarding all property as theft (from the planet), always withdrawing
(rather than withdrawn) I was a compulsive shoplifter. That is
to say: a white nigger.
I have been in prison for stealing groceries.
Prison opened my eyes like those of the Sleeping Beauty.
I learned that the British actually like (almost as much as the
punitive Americans) to have a large 'criminal' population to punish:
they live in a feudal culture of revenge and punishment. Anglo-Saxon
cultures inculcateinternal anger, which is vicious. Other
cultures tend to externalise their anger more - and are
despised by the Anglo-Saxon would-be world-rulers.
was a strange and not unkind kind of awakening.
life was shaped by shoplifted books which I could not possibly
from Njál's Saga to Maupassant and Zola, from Euripides
to Dostoyevski, Kafka, Steinbeck, O'Connor, Hesse, Hamsun,and
Grass, (whom I was reading while my contemporaries were tinkering
with engines and talking about girls); later on came Vesaas, Genet,
Atwood, Atkinson...and a whole host of writers, for we are living
in the Golden Age of the novel in English, which I am so well-equipped
Thus otherwise-unavailable worlds and world-views were revealed
to me in 1950s Belfast - and since.
I made use of the public libraries as much as I could (and still
do), but books (and more recently, CDs) seemed almost to be made
to be borrowed or stolen.
Shoplifters of the world - Steal silence! Steal peace!
You have nothing to lose but the pale shade of liberty.
books I then graduated to vinyl records, and, living 'below
the bread-line' after I left home, to food, household equipment
and the occasional small objet d'art.
|The London Review Bookshop reports a fondness by
shoplifters for philosophers.
Our most-stolen authors, in order, are Baudrillard,
Freud, Nietzsche, Graham Greene, Lacan, Camus, and whoever
puts together the Wisden Almanack.
We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth
of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere. We grabbed
all of the bags back, but he returned about half an hour
later to reclaim a half-bottle of whisky and his dream journal,
which had been at the bottom of one of the bags of stolen
books. As we showed him the door he told us: I hope
youll consider this in the iekian spirit,
as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.
the British Isles, shoplifters are regarded with the same smug
outrage that is visited on Roma.
In France and Italy it is assumed that many people will steal
from shops if they get the chance. In Italy it is a kind of national
sport, like driving through red traffic-lights or ogling pretty
scheduled flights to Italy leave large British airports, police
are drafted in to arrest Italians - who have stolen small items
from the very-inviting airport shops - who are then very surprised
to miss their flight, spend the night in a police cell, and receive
a hefty fine in court the next day. So, if there are groups of
Italians at an airport, be very careful - even if you are a blond
far as I know, Frank Zappa was not a regular shoplifter.
The Italians and the French, however, recognise that shoplifting
is the silliest and highest-risk of all 'crimes'. That it is,
in fact, a pseudo-crime.
I am not talking about those people who shoplift, often to order,
items worth hundreds or thousands of pounds/dollars/euros.
The chances of an unprofessional being caught are very great,
and the return is tiny.
Small-time shoplifting is either a 'crime of opportunity', and
thus is undetected, or it is a (largely-female) pseudo-crime of
compulsion, whose in-store detection boosts the police success-rates.
The police detection-rate of real crime is unbelievably low: less
is also a symptom of certain diseases of the brain, especially
Herpes simplex encephalitis. Although I suffer from some obscure
and minor kind of encephalitis (undiagnosed), my shoplifting probably
pre-dates it. In any case, I would not wish to justify shoplifting
on medical grounds, for the medicalisation of society has long
since exceeded the bounds of sanity. I would justify shoplifting
from all but small and specialist shops on the same grounds as
the punishers: supermarkets and chain-stores rip off their suppliers
(and ultimately the planet) causing the poor to get poorer,
themselves and their shareholders and Elected Representatives
and rulers to get ever richer.
The busiest time for anti-shoplifting goons is midday/lunchtime.
Neither the police (of course), nor the judiciary, nor the legal
profession have raised their voices to prevent the ridiculous
waste of money involved in prosecuting people (usually women)
who pilfer underwear, food, or marker-pens. If shops insist on
doing everything to make their goods tempting, they should do
their own dirty work. They happily make a profit of up to 1000%
on what they sell - partly, I suppose, to cover the huge costs
of CCTV cameras and the staff to operate and maintain them.
with its notorious voyeuristic culture is completely besotted
by Closed-circuit Television systems. Whole towns are under minute
supervision, and many open roads, too. The insane 'War against
Terror' is even more disquieting than you think.
poem by william carlos williams
While Anglophones love to have criminals to fear and punish, they
are amazingly indulgent towards big-time criminals such as Stock-market
insider-fraud, tax-evaders, and other 'white-collar' criminals
who defraud not only the state but pension funds as well. These
are high-status macho criminals. Shoplifting is a female crime
of low status - and, of course, the lower the status of the crime
the more severe the relative punishment. Fiddling expenses, on
the other hand, is almost never prosecuted. It is, more even than
'crimes against humanity', the most common crime of executive
Heads of State.
Had Jean Genet been British,
he would have been executed before he became one of Europe's greatest
and most uncomfortable writers. Genet observed that police depend
on criminals for their job-security and thus are bound into a
vicious circle. The same is true of the anti-shoplifting industry,
which now includes not only 'consultants' but counsellors - richly
feeding off and dependent upon petty criminals.
Only in Britain (and, of course, the United States) would the
compulsive and foolish Oscar Wilde have been so viciously treated.
Sitting like a
normal at a desk
ogling a screen
I know that what is normal
According to the Facts
About Shoplifting link
on the (semi-literate) Shoplifters
Alternative website, one out of every 11 people in the
United States is a shoplifter.
How denunciatory the other ten people would be is harder to establish.
Ethnic/cultural origin and family background would play a part.
Probably one or two would regard it as relatively harmless and
understandable (given the way goods are displayed in shops where
staff congregate talking around a till), while one or two would
regard it as more outrageous than sexual harassment, or religious
or racial intolerance.
tells us that now, at last, shoplifting is being looked at as
yet another Process Addiction over which some people could
be powerless. (A Process Addiction is a compulsive behaviour in
which a person becomes dependent on the whole behavioural process
for a result, rather than on a chemical. Gambling, sex, collecting
things and ambition are just four obvious, different and much-encouraged
examples of process addictions.)
An addictive 'rush' can be induced by specific risky behaviours
that can alter a person's emotional state through the release
of adrenaline. As with jay-walking (or bungee-jumping, rock-climbing
or bomb-defusing) the addictive effect of shoplifting is enhanced
by success - i.e. by not being apprehended. People continue to
do it even after they are caught and shamed and fined or sent
are many acceptable things
as dishonest as shoplifting:
being a judge or jihadist,
for example; dyeing one's hair
and shaving - and pretending to care.
categories of shoplifters: professional and non-professional.
A professional shoplifter steals to resell merchandise (usually
for a fraction of its retail value), perhaps in order to satisfy
other addictive behaviour such as drug-taking. Although there
are gangs of professionals who steal very expensive items, most
professionals are poor.
non-professional shoplifter is someone who obtains some emotional
satisfaction from the process of stealing successfully. This individual
is not stealing just for monetary or material gain but (also)
to medicate a feeling of injustice or an internal conflict.
for non-professional shoplifting include the attempt to overcome
unresolved issues toward an authority figure; a sense of social
injustice; a sense of entitlement to overpriced goods (or due
to the aggressive environment of the shop); the relief of stress
through the adrenaline rush associated with the process of stealing;
the abatement of emotional discomfort linked to feelings of depression,
anxiety, anger, grief, powerlessness or boredom.
Walmart (Asda in the BritIsles) is, of course,
the greatest robber baron in history.
The world's poorest are forced by supermarkets to subsidise, by
disease, starvation and labour,
the underpriced groceries and clothing of the rich.
In an article titled "Shoplifting Can Be Addictive"
by Shoplifters Alternative,
the authors claim to describe the process that occurs as the shoplifter
enters a store until he or she leaves. This alleged dynamic "involves
a concurrent continuum of tension and excitement as the shoplifter
contrives to conceal an item and eventually or quickly leave the
store with it. Tension builds as the shoplifter encounters potential
threats to the process and a sensation of excitement each time
a possible threat, such as a salesperson or hidden camera, is
overcome. The ultimate "high" occurs when the shoplifter's
tension turns into excitement as he or she successfully leaves
the store without being caught. This "high" temporarily
relieves the emotional dilemma, whether positive or negative,
that precipitated the theft process."
wacky analysis has been dreamed up by someone who has never shoplifted.
To some (especially poor) shoplifters he whole process is stressful.
Leaving a shop without being apprehended does not necessarily
produce much of a "high" - it can just as easily produce
a feeling of relief. To complicate the complex, a Shoplifters
found that 80% of shoplifters said that they didn't even think
about getting caught.
another piece of tergid jargon, they say that published reports
suggest that there are no specific demographics that delineate
the profile of the 'typical' shoplifter from others. However,
it has been found that adults steal more than teenagers (only
a small proportion of offenders caught are under 18), and that
one third of those caught find it difficult not to re-offend.
(In France I still steal food items from supermarkets, such as
cheeses or coffee under my armpits or in underpants. In Northern
Ireland I do the same in Asda-Walmart, just to keep my hand
in, for there the tag-alarms are often not manned, so printer-cartridges
can be stolen even without cutting off the security-tag!)
shoplifting to be distinct from kleptomania - because 'the stealing-behaviour'
of a kleptomaniac is impulsive rather than due to a compulsive
psychological/physiological need. Kleptomania is also not premeditative.
many store-owners refuse to realise is that crude fluorescent
lighting, harsh décor, screaming displays of goods
(not to mention tinnily-broadcast aggressive music and
advertising) encourage not only panic-attacks but shoplifting
the other hand, some
supermarkets (especially in France, where employment costs
are very high) now consider they can save more through
staff wastage than they lose by stock wastage.
Shoplifters tend, of course, to regard their (often infrequent)
activity as a victimless crime, no matter what background they
have. After the first occasion, many people quickly become addicted
to the little satisfaction of stealing something and getting away
with it. Some, indeed, may not plan to steal when they first go
into a mall or hypermarket or store, but they can't help it once
they're inside. This suggests that there is, after all, no difference
between addictive shoplifting and kleptomania.
websites remark that soon as a new anti-shoplifting measure is
introduced - whether directed against theft by staff (more than
50% of the loss-value of all store-theft) or by potential customers
- people find some way to beat it. Stores, needless to say, spend
millions of dollars trying to stop shoplifters: a bit like trying
to catch water in a sieve. The cost of prevention and of shrinkage
are passed on in the retail price.
the 'good old days' of the 1960s, before global warming
was even dreamt of (though the hideous overpopulation
of the planet was a concern for some), I could walk into
a record and hi-fi store with a large raffia bag and casually
put a big Bang & Olufsen tuner-amplifier into it and
walk out. With the same bag I subsequently stole many
LPs - classical, of course. My large raincoat, bag and
beard were simply ignored in favour of my 'polite' accent
and interest in Sibelius symphonies - even though I bought
nothing in the store!
I am, if anything, ever-anomalous. Today, I would have
to be much more subtle and savvy. But today, such items
can be obtained so cheaply that I prefer, in the lovely
twilight of my life, to buy them through eBay or shoplift
them without fear of prosecution through Torrent (P2P)
and other sites.
say that the most popular stores affected by shoplifters are grocery
Thefts from retail outlets occur mostly in urban main shopping
areas. The figures for the city of Sheffield (England) have remained
steady over several years at about 3,000 - which is, of course,
is an unquantifiable fraction of offences committed.
from the paid-for carton of apple-juice, this man is also carrying
2 x 250g packets of coffee in his armpits, two Rocamadour cheeses
in his underwear, and a flat sheep's cheese in each pocket.
picture below is criminal in Britain, because one of the photographs
involved in this picture was taken in a slaughterhouse. It is
criminal even to take photographs inside a meat-market. It is
a crime to piss against a wall.
It is a crime for a man to have sexual, especially non-penetrative,
fun with two or more other men.
Never mind that abattoirs are crimes against nature.
same viciousness is apparent in America, where it is also a crime
to take photographs in slaughterhouses.
It is interesting that anglophone Britain and America are two
of the most moralistic and militaristic Empires in history - and
Britain the most criminal empire in history - precisely
because of .their
moralistic hypocrisy riding upon an obsession with achievement
like Pelion on Ossa.
This (and their attitude to shoplifting) may have something to
do with the adversarial (rather than investigative) basis of their
a sense of satisfaction I had when I gave away my British Passport.
I have contributed nothing (for example through direct taxation)
to the malignant state, enriched by slavery, that invented capitalism
and its ingenious machines, and waged war against the world for
three hundred years with crimes against humanity and nature, including
speciecide all over the planet, genocide in Australia & Tasmania,
and attempted or partial genocide in India, Burma, Canada, Southern
Africa - and Highland Scotland.
am a pseudo-criminal in a criminal state - a state which actually
celebrates its most monstrous monarch, Henry VIII, the Saddam
Hussein of the 16th century. I have gone back to shops which caught
and successfully prosecuted me for trivial appropriation-of-goods
offences, and I have stolen ten times as much stuff to give away
to Charity Shops and the like. As with the 'War on Terror' and
the 'War on Drugs', the war on shoplifters cannot be won.