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Subject: Are 20% of us shoplifters? rss

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True Blue Jon
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https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?
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Moray Johnson
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quozl wrote:
Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


No, it's simply a new way to shoplift that apparently makes it easy enough for people to take the opportunity when they see it.
 
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Jeff Brown
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quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


That's a good question.

There are a certain amount of people who wouldn't steal no matter how easy it is, and there are a certain amount of people who stealing is contingent on likeliness to get caught. I wonder if this just reveals more of the second group or if there are less people in the first group.
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Daniel Kearns
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I'm pretty straight laced and it never even occurred to me to do that.

I'm a fool!
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quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


I went to a talk once by a professor of psychology who was also a magician (a good one). Years earlier he'd helped create a documentary on TV that, by chance is seen. (I confirmed it was the same one when I bought his book and checked a detail I remembered from the show that he hadn't mentioned in his talk.)

There were lots of strands in the show. I'll mention a couple (on with two parts). But they started with the belief that they'd see mostly honest behaviour. But when they saw a lot more dishonest behaviour than they expected they had to see how far they needed to go to push back to honesty (note that this was decades ago, when the perception was higher, if not necessarily the reality).

So part 1a, they set up in a ship (more than one) and when people paid with a ten pound note they gave change as if from a twenty. And most people took it. Pushing consisted of them having shopkeeper prompting them with "did you give me a ten or a twenty" when offering change from a twenty. Part 1b they filled a cash machine with twenties in place of tens. People didn't just take it, they came back for more. (Actually when that really happens they find out and debit you anyway.)

Now part 2 they dreamed up a test. They wrote to people with a cheque for (as I recall) a couple of hundred quid as a rebate for your sofa. Most people know if they have ordered a sofa. And they did it for some groups of people. You'll be shocked to know that used car salesmen are less honest that clergymen.

But one group really did excel themselves in cashing the cheques. Until obviously something leaked. (Probably the commercial TV station bosses who didn't like the plan for corporate reasons.) Then pkN had been to roll the list of the cheque cashers on screen. But then, these people all of a sudden started sending cheques themselves. With claims that their secretaries had cashed the cheques by mistake. So the naming and shaming failed.

Those less honest than used car salesmen? Do you need me to tell you they were members of Parliament? And a long time before the expenses scandal basically showed the same again. (Not all MPs. Just most of them failed the ethics test by being, at the least, greedy. Many failed the ought to be criminal test and certainly the "you're taking the piss" test. A few failed the actually criminal and provably so test.)
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Christopher Dearlove
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jeff brown wrote:
quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


That's a good question.

There are a certain amount of people who wouldn't steal no matter how easy it is, and there are a certain amount of people who stealing is contingent on likeliness to get caught. I wonder if this just reveals more of the second group or if there are less people in the first group.


The other factor is value. Offer me a 99% chance of getting away with a theft of a ten pounds and I might not do it because I'm honest. But I also wouldn't do because those are lousy odds, at least to someone in my position. Make it ten million pounds and we'll never know.
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I'd seen that article. From now on, all I'm buying is bananas.

Steak bananas.
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wifwendell wrote:
I'd seen that article. From now on, all I'm buying is bananas.

Steak bananas.
Ethically, I'm torn about your thievery. On one hand, you are increasing/maintaining the demand for Steak and therefore enabling more killing, but on the other hand you are cutting into the profits of the industry and undermining it's viability and affordability.
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TheChin! wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
I'd seen that article. From now on, all I'm buying is bananas.

Steak bananas.
Ethically, I'm torn about your thievery. On one hand, you are increasing/maintaining the demand for Steak and therefore enabling more killing, but on the other hand you are cutting into the profits of the industry and undermining it's viability and affordability.


What about all those poor bananas the store orders because it is selling so many but then they just rot in the produce section, neglected for those sweet juicy steaks?
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True Blue Jon
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Dearlove wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


That's a good question.

There are a certain amount of people who wouldn't steal no matter how easy it is, and there are a certain amount of people who stealing is contingent on likeliness to get caught. I wonder if this just reveals more of the second group or if there are less people in the first group.


The other factor is value. Offer me a 99% chance of getting away with a theft of a ten pounds and I might not do it because I'm honest. But I also wouldn't do because those are lousy odds, at least to someone in my position. Make it ten million pounds and we'll never know.


What guess would you make of the percentage of people who would steal if there were no chance of getting caught?
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quozl wrote:
What about all those poor bananas the store orders because it is selling so many but then they just rot in the produce section, neglected for those sweet juicy steaks?
The produce ordering guy should be ordering based on stock, not on register totals. But, you may have a point. Recently the Whole Foods stores in our area switched to a new inventory system to reduce on hand back room stock, a "just in time" method I assume. It doesn't appear to be working very well as they are running out of stuff all the time. Because they don't trust their employees to order correctly they have created a bunch of bad blood with at least the customers in my house, me and my wife.

Having said that, overripe bananas marked down to move make great smoothies.
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Christopher Dearlove
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quozl wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?


That's a good question.

There are a certain amount of people who wouldn't steal no matter how easy it is, and there are a certain amount of people who stealing is contingent on likeliness to get caught. I wonder if this just reveals more of the second group or if there are less people in the first group.


The other factor is value. Offer me a 99% chance of getting away with a theft of a ten pounds and I might not do it because I'm honest. But I also wouldn't do because those are lousy odds, at least to someone in my position. Make it ten million pounds and we'll never know.


What guess would you make of the percentage of people who would steal if there were no chance of getting caught?


There's never no chance of getting caught. There may be a vanishingly small chance, and the obvious scenario is picking up dropped money. Technically that's theft. But if it's a pound coin, or even a five pound note, no one cares. (Some people will scrupulously drop it in the next charity tin they see.) But make it a sum that matters, let's say a bundle of a few hundred pounds, and the probability is no longer zero. Small, but not zero. If inclined towards being a rational thief, now estimate it.

But if people think it's a zero chance, I think it depends a lot on the scenario. Going back to the change "error" I described, people were less honest in a supermarket than in a small shop.
 
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Yeah, it seems we are more honest when the transaction is not impersonal. That's touched on a bit in the article.

What will it mean when everything is run by robots like Mac predicts? Will we all be constantly looking for ways to rip them off?
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I seriously question the validity of the study. If thievery was that severe grocery stores wouldn't use self checkout. I have certainly noticed that most grocery stores in "the bad part of town" don't usually have self checkout though.

In any case, most stores with self checkout have a cashier watching everyone. If they aren't busy with some other task they can see (on their computer in the front) exactly what code you are putting in when you weigh something on the scale. Also, meat isn't purchased by the pound anyway, at least not in any grocery store I've been in. You get an already weighed package which has the price/weight encoded in the UPC code and you just scan the UPC during checkout rather than weighing it.
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This is a great book



That I got with a five finger discount at Barnes & Noble.

Highly recommended.
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quozl wrote:
Yeah, it seems we are more honest when the transaction is not impersonal. That's touched on a bit in the article.

What will it mean when everything is run by robots like Mac predicts? Will we all be constantly looking for ways to rip them off?


Foxconn just announced they are laying off another 10,000 chinese workers to be laid off reducing workforce from ~60,000 to ~50,000. Of course, they were highly paid at something like $8,000 a year or so or less and as a result, I wouldn't expect any impact on jobs in the U.S.

---

On point, it's just a matter of time before they add A.I. vision to the self- checkout machines. Or go with Amazon's approach and go with RFID tags and charging customers when they take the item off the shelf (so no checkout at all). Tho I wonder who they'll handle people who pick up items and then leave them in another area when they change their minds.

 
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quozl wrote:
Yeah, it seems we are more honest when the transaction is not impersonal. That's touched on a bit in the article.

What will it mean when everything is run by robots like Mac predicts? Will we all be constantly looking for ways to rip them off?


I suggest we don't do that

https://youtu.be/_Mg7qKstnPk
 
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jonb wrote:
quozl wrote:
Yeah, it seems we are more honest when the transaction is not impersonal. That's touched on a bit in the article.

What will it mean when everything is run by robots like Mac predicts? Will we all be constantly looking for ways to rip them off?


I suggest we don't do that

https://youtu.be/_Mg7qKstnPk


Only 11 more years!
 
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quozl wrote:
I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Due to a slight misreading of your post, I now want to steal a self-checkout machine.
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kuhrusty wrote:
quozl wrote:
I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Due to a slight misreading of your post, I now want to steal a self-checkout machine.


Oh really? What does this post do for you?

I have never been tempted to give Quozl money but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.
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quozl wrote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealin...

I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Why? Are our moral standards changing or is it something else?

It's something else. I don't know exactly what, or how to characterize it, but it is something else.

I myself would not steal, or take advantage of this system, under any circumstances, even if the owner were the vilest & most money-grubbing pedophile on the planet. [I might prefer to go hungry than to shop at his store, if he were that bad, but that's a different issue]. However, I can understand why otherwise law-abiding non-shoplifters might feel differently.

I think these two excerpts from the article say it all:

"The authors further proposed that retailers bore some blame for the problem. In their zeal to cut labor costs, the study said, supermarkets could be seen as having created “a crime-generating environment” that promotes profit “above social responsibility.”

" “There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.” ".

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quozl wrote:

What will it mean when everything is run by robots like Mac predicts? Will we all be constantly looking for ways to rip them off?


Go ahead and try.

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quozl wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
quozl wrote:
I have never been tempted to steal at a self-checkout machine but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.

Due to a slight misreading of your post, I now want to steal a self-checkout machine.


Oh really? What does this post do for you?

I have never been tempted to give Quozl money but according to this study done back in 2015, 20% of us do.


I desperately need your email address so I can send you some money via Paypal! In the meantime, take this geek gold, please!
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I have concocted and executed many schemes to take advantage of self checkout and pay less.

Because...bored? Figure they're just pricing food higher because of theft anyway so want a fair price? Because you can't really get in much trouble assuming you're doing it right? Aren't clever enough to pull a bank heist?

*shrugs*

At one point I got so paranoid that they were watching me everytime I went in there because they had figured out I was ringing in the wrong donuts.

I haven't done that much in a while, probably cause I make way more money now and have also discovered trader joes.

(I'm not going to be here to reply for those of you itching to be indignant.)
 
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Are you robbing the supermarket or the bank branch?

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