The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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.)

Posted at 3:12 PM to Dyssynergy

But if you use the heavy jacket in the summer, you might just get that low, slow heat required to make a juicy rack of ribs.

Posted by: Joel at 4:58 PM on 20 January 2007

It might go up in the summer, what with all the bar-b-queing.

Posted by: Veronica at 5:42 PM on 20 January 2007

Yeah, but you still have to get the stuff out of the store. I suppose you could hide the evidence under the hood of your car; if you wrap it carefully and place it next to the exhaust manifold, it might even be ready to eat by the time you get home.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:54 PM on 20 January 2007

I accept being a snob... I like brand names. Shame on me. But, I have to say that the beef tenderloin that I get at Sam's just can't be beat. I can eat a little amount and be so majorly satisfied. That's my story, and I am sticking by it.

Posted by: Dr. Jan at 9:41 PM on 20 January 2007

Mmm I love a good steak. Can't say I would go to the extreme of stealing one, but I do shop sales and we have good steak now and then. I'm torn as to which is my favorite cut, probably the filet, but we never get that one, rib eye would be my second, although we did get some really good New York Strips on sale at Safeway recently that were excellent.

I would note that practically the same day that the national news stations started on about the California orange crops freezing the price on O.J. has practically doubled.

Posted by: Heather at 1:25 AM on 21 January 2007

Which is amusing, since most of the oranges from which we get juice come from Florida; the California crop is sold mostly as fresh fruit. Not that your average panicky TV-watching consumer is going to be aware of this.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:51 AM on 21 January 2007

It is probably no coincidence that the amount of meat shoplifted is significantly higher than that of live lobsters.

Posted by: robohara at 12:10 PM on 23 January 2007