While most of us are out buying holiday presents some people are getting their gifts with a five-finger discount. Ad Week is reporting that one in every 11 people walks out the door with at least one item they didn’t pay for. With shoplifting up six percent this year, retailers stand to lose a whopping $119 billion of merchandise to shoplifters in 2011. And it’s not just kids with sticky fingers—75 percent of shoplifters are adults, most of whom have jobs. We know people are hunting for holiday deals, but this amount of theft is both surprising and sad.
Ad Week spoke with loss prevention experts on why shoplifting is the highest it’s been in five years. "Most shoplifters simply succumb to temptation, “Johnny Custer, director of field operations for Merchant Analytic Solutions, told Ad Week. “But add a sense of desperation because of the economy and holiday pressures, and you have the recipe for theft soup." Barbara Staib, a spokesperson for the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, told Ad Week, "Seventy percent of shoplifters tell us they didn't plan to shoplift."
Exactly what are people stealing? Ad Week has compiled the top 10 most shoplifted items of 2011 and they’re truly bizarre.
1. Filet mignon
So many people are tucking choice cuts of meats under their jackets that supermarkets are now considered the stores with the most theft.
Those with an unquenchable thirst for booze just help themselves to a free bottle of expensive liquor.
3. Electric tools
Apparently the the most common items men nab are electric toothbrushes and power tools. At least they’re fighting cavities.
4. iPhone 4
Electronics like smartphones and video games are high risk items, and one research group claims 100,000 laptops are stolen annually from big box stores.
5. Gillette Mach 4
Anyone who uses non-disposable razors knows they’re pretty expensive, so in tough financial times people don’t want to pay for them anymore.
The men’s deodorant and body wash we love to hate are often stolen in mass quantities and resold at flea markets and corner stores. Dial is popular amongst thieves too.
7. Polo Ralph Lauren
Clothing theft is up 31 percent since 2009. It’s hard to look good in a bad economy, so some score fresh threads the illegal way.
8. Let’s Rock Elmo
The Sesame Street toy topped the Toys’R’Us "Hot Toys" list this year, so parents are stealing this must-have toy for their kids if they can’t afford it.
9. Chanel No. 5
Who wouldn’t love a bottle of this popular woman’s fragrance? Expensive perfumes make up nearly four percent of loss in stores that carry them.
As Ad Week points out, some shoppers wear flip-flops into a store, try on a pair of sneakers, and walk out wearing them. Sneaker heads will do whatever it takes to score the kicks on their wish list.