About two years ago, I started making a few changes in my lifestyle. I was working long hours and my eating habits had deteriorated. I think anyone who’s ever worked in the LP field has been here. I decided it was time to give up the big chain stores and fast food and focus on eating healthier. So instead of running down to that mega store to buy boxed product loaded with preservatives and other junk, I started shopping at my local, hometown grocers and markets. I found the quality of food to be so much better and I love the idea of my money staying in the local community. With the background that I have, I did see how many of these smaller stores had little protections in place to prevent theft. Among the other myriad of challenges I satered to notice in these smaller grocers, shoplifting steaks seemed to be the biggest problem.
Grocers operate on a razor thin margin, and have a pleathora more issues than most big box retailers. Think about this… when’s the last time a television set expired? Every day is a battle against the expiration date of literally, everything in the store, in addition to shoplifters. One trend is quickly gaining steam across the nation is meat theft. Could you imagine buying your eggs and milk and seeing a shoplifter place a few steaks down her shirt? It happens. Every single day, and if you’re a small business, you could be losing thousands of dollars each week to this pervasive theft trend.
When I first got into the LP industry as an undercover agent, I can remember the speech given to countless shoplifting suspects by local law enforcement. “Maybe if you were stealing food for your family, instead of *insert non-essential electronic item*, I might let you off with a warning.” Does shoplifting steak fit into this category, now, or would the speech be, “If you were stealing bread and water and not this $25 cut of beef, I’d let you off.”? Where is the line drawn? I can understand a father and provider being backed so far into a corner that shoplifting a few groceries may seem like the best alternative to a bad situation, but why do most people get so offended when someone is caught shoplifting steaks, or other high priced cuts of meat?
I’ve never seen anyone get offended when I catch a shoplifter stealing a $400 handbag, and I’ve never once heard “Maybe if you only stole that $20 handbag, it’d be different.” So why the beef over meat theft? I have a few ideas that may point to why it invokes such a reaction, how it can be prevented and what your store can do to better protect its product and keep the prices low for the legitimate shoppers. You’ll have to read parts 2 and 3 to find out though.
For more information, contact us: Grocery Store Meat Theft, or call 1.770.426.0547