The biggest shoplifters aren’t who you think they are. A study found that Americans with incomes over $70,000 were 30% more likely to shoplift than those making up to $20,000. Why? Because they feel they deserve it more.
Rachel Shteir covers this topic in her new book The Steal, which says that seeing the gratuitousness of celebrities makes people not feel as bad about taking a five finger discount. “Entitlement is certainly a factor. Rage is a factor,” she tells TIME. A lot of people feel that they are the victims in whatever way — whether it’s their life circumstances, or that they’re the victims of a larger economic plot — like Bernie Madoff. There’s this idea of avenging yourself on an impersonal entity, like a store. You see what others have — like on TMZ — and you think, ‘What difference does this make?’”
Whether you buy that explanation or not, the study’s findings are pretty clear. Instead of giving the stink eye to the gal in the jeans with patches, shopkeepers should be keeping closer watch on the ones with the little black dresses and cigarette holders.