By Maryam Iraj
For society, shoplifting is a crime but for few it’s a psychological problem. In the following video you will find a woman caught on camera, seemingly well-off, enters a high-end boutique, checks few dresses and steals a yellow-colour shirt in a very skillful manner. And, in this age of technology, it seems almost impossible to dodge the eye of the camera.
Watch the following video to judge it for yourself.
Compulsive shop-lifters go into a store, opportunity arises, and for some reason they rationalize the temptation to grab the thing. They convince themselves that it’s OK – for that moment. This is manipulative and maladaptive behavior – a way of coping with things that are going on in those people’s lives.
Dr Will Cupchik, a Canadian psychologist, spent years researching and studying : what he describes as “atypical theft culprits” – rich celebrities or those who are financially well-settled socialites. Seemingly, the last thing these people need, he says, is to steal.
While shoplifting, there is a lot to lose in terms of reputation and in fame, if one is celebrity. But the reason for shoplifting in not merely a sense of thrill or adventure. According to a research by Chupchik, shoplifting episode are experiences to compensate for the substantially meaningful loss in someone’s life. Compulsive shoplifter perceive their personal losses, especially of their loved ones, as unjust and unfair.
This reactionary behavior ranges from losing a TV show to losing a relationship. Spectrum of reasons behind such episodes is varied, and a lot of research has gone into this problem.
It’s a gap in ones personality which needs to be filled by collecting things – in the same way people commit to binge eating.
Strangely enough, their behaviour doesn’t make sense to shoplifters in many cases when caught,
According to Cupchik, psychologist, in many cases timing is critical. When caught, he asked people what was going on in their lives. An unpleasant occurring, as insignificant as missing a TV show a day earlier may also trigger this episode. Cupchik related the story of a top lawyer who stole a toothpaste tube from a chemist in the same building as his law firm.
Lawyer who stole the toothpaste tube told that he didn’t know why he did it. This was the day when his son was going through chemotherapy in a hospital. We are talking about intelligent people who literally never understood why they did what they did.
There is usually a symbolic meaningfulness to the act of theft. At one occasion, a lady who stole items which she subsequently donated to a charity organization. One of those items which she stole was a wrench.Upon questioning by a psychologist, the woman didn’t understand why she took the wrench but cried in extreme pain. She, later on, told that her husband was a mechanic who was suffering from the last stage of cancer.
According to another research, mostly public service professionals are involved in shoplifting, and when investigated under a closed-group study they can’t process the sense of loss.
It might be the least proud day of their lives but could have been painful as well. At times, we need to look beyond the obvious to search for reasons.
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