Shoplifting - negative aspects of, such as consequences, costs and personal guilt.

Essay by selenoHigh School, 10th gradeA, May 2002

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A common practice among some teenagers these days is shoplifting. Some people get caught and others don't. But most people don't realize all the effects of their actions, all of which are negative to others and themselves. Some of these effects cause problems emotionally with parents and the person charged, with friends, and a lot of complications to the justice system. Shoplifting also affects people that the accused doesn't even know and causes a ripple affect for months after the crime is committed. Teenagers aren't the only people who practice in this act either; there are also adults and a select number of children who do as well.

The consequences of shoplifting are very difficult to deal with for parents and also the shoplifter. Parents become disappointed with their child due to the standards they believe that their son or daughter should meet. And sometimes the shoplifter is in reality a good person who had no intentions of hurting anyone, so this can cause parents great emotional shock at the discovery that their child can be considered a thief.

Parents are not the only ones who suffer emotionally. The person who commits the crime must also overcome a great deal of guilt and shame. Shame comes from the disappointment of parents and others who know about the crime, and many shoplifters feel guilty because after the fact they realize that they have betrayed their morals.

There is a lot of public embarrassment involved with shoplifting too. If an offender isn't given an alternate choice, he or she will have to go to court. The court process is public for anyone who wants to go, and rumors start getting spread about shoplifters, who may not want anyone to know. When the privacy of a shoplifter, ashamed of his/her crime, is violated, that person may have to deal with mockery at school and may even lose friends over the fact that some people may lose trust in the accused. This makes the process even more difficult for the offender because they may feel that there is no one they can turn to now, to help them deal with their punishment. And the loss of friends may also prevent a shoplifter from "spreading the word" about the real consequences of shoplifting, that other teens may not get off as easy as they thought.

A third negative affect of shoplifting is what storeowners, managers and the justice system must deal with. On average, for every one item stolen, 20 more of that same item must be sold to pay for it. This affects the store, because they must raise prices, which affects shoppers who frequent that location. These customers may then choose to shop somewhere else, which loses business for that store. Shoplifting also causes a great hassle for the justice system, if alternate measures are not available. There is lots of paperwork involved, and many hours resulting from an act that may have only taken 2 minutes. And programs for first-time offenders are instituted by volunteers, who must also put a lot of effort into filling out papers. Shoplifting has a ripple effect on many different people.

In short, the negative effects of shoplifting are many, and therefore anyone who considers stealing should think more wisely about how their crime will affect a very large amount of people. Shoplifting is also referred to as "petty theft", but this term seems incorrect, considering many people become involved. Stealing in any way, shape or form has no positive affects whatsoever, and should not be taken lightly by teenagers, or adults alike.