20 January 2007
Two pounds of sandyburger
Beating out analgesics, baby formula and razor blades, the item most shoplifted from American supermarkets is: meat.
And, most especially, high-priced meat:
Loss-prevention specialists note that a large number of meatlifting incidents, if not the majority, involve the pilfering of meats associated with luxury dining: rib-eyes, filet mignons, or lamb chops, among other treats. Stores have had particular problems with cuts bearing the Certified Angus Beef brand, which are often displayed near ostensibly less succulent offerings. With only enough money to purchase an ordinary chuck-eye roast, many otherwise ethical shoppers make a snap decision to lift the Angus instead. Store detectives speculate that these meatlifters feel entitled to have steak instead of hamburger on occasion, as a reward for their hard work; swiping an expensive bottle of dish soap doesn't provide the same sense of satisfaction.
Of course not. Dish soap doesn't go for ten dollars a pound.
I note that where I shop, the Angus products are not prepackaged, but are kept behind the butcher's counter; if you really don't want to pay ten bucks for the Angus T-bone, you're welcome to try to find a putatively-lesser steak on the shelf. (And it will probably cost you $9.49.) Which explains this:
Though the behind-the-counter approach for Angus beef would certainly reduce meatlifting, it would also cut down on impulse purchases. And the happy reality is that for every shopper who decides to risk jail for a rib-eye, several more simply decide to splurge and shell out the extra few bucks for a choicer steak.
The last filet mignon I bought (a little over a year ago) was an impulse purchase, and frankly, I think I can do without that particular impulse.
I wonder if this phenomenon diminishes in the summer as relative volumes of clothing diminish. In January, you're layered: you have lots of places into which you can tuck things. No such luck in July: you'll have to shove that London broil into your shorts. Of course, if you're good at it, the intelligence community (now transitioning to oxymoron status) would like to hear from you.
(Via In Theory.)