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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Average Shoplifter

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9.)

The people of today are not perfect, but neither were they in the 1950s, in spite of how some might remember. William Manchester, in his masterful, historical work entitled THE GLORY AND THE DREAM, wrote of a 1957 study undertaken in a typical Illinois community. Shoplifting had increased dramatically in the 1950s, despite the dramatic economic upturn of the decade. To understand why, the police department researched their records to discover who the typical shoplifter was.

They expected to discover it would be a person of poverty, perhaps from a bad background. Instead, the standard shoplifter was a housewife, married to an upwardly mobile junior executive making $8000 a year (almost $60,000 in today’s dollars.) She was active in her church and PTA, a member of a bridge club. She had $50 (almost $400 in today’s money) to spend—per week.

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