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ten year habit is hard to break

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ten year habit is hard to break

Postby Lucy4575 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:46 pm

First some minor details. 23 year old, white, female, married, work in retail, but enlisting into Marine Corps.
My first time shoplifting was when I was 13. My mom and dad were newly divorced, and my sister and I spend our summer with him. We went to walmart one day, and I saw my dad shoplift right in front of me. He put his old shoes in a box and started to wear the new shoes around. I was upset by this, so to show him what a bad influence he was, I stole some underwear, but didn't tell him until we got home. Instead of being punished, I was encouraged to continue if I could get away with it. It didn't take long before I was shoplifting 2-3 times a week. I mainly stole candy from a gas station down the street, and clothes, makeup, and purses from Walmart. I'd say I stole for about a month or month and a half before I got caught, along with my sister, and our friend. We had to attend a first offenders program and do 20 hours of community service. It was removed from our records at 18. Our friend didn't attend the class, so she had a record now.

I think it was a year or so later when I started shoplifting again. I mainly remember clothes from the mall, Hot Topic specifically. I would also steal video games and video game accessories from Best Buy, Sears, and you guessed it, Walmart. I started to try new ways to shoplift, so see which ones worked better then others. If I'm being honest, I stole because I didn't have the money for the things I took, or I just didn't want to pay for them. Another reason I continued was because I got encouragement from my friends. It wasn't that they were telling me to do it, it was more of them being impressed with what I could get for free, and they didn't tell me I should stop. I mainly stole during my 11th and 12th grade years, since my friend had a car and we all hung out multiple times a week.

Right after high school, I got married to my high school sweetheart, and he joining the Marine Corps. I didn't shoplift much when he was in boot camp and training, because I was working 40-50 hours at my job. When he got stationed in California, I flew out to live with him. There I stole DVDS and TV shows at walmart. We didn't have cable, so it was our entertainment. After a year of living there, I got a job at a department store. Don't worry, it's not walmart. I went the first few months without shoplifting there. I didn't want to get caught and lose my job or go to jail. Then, one day I saw that I was in an area that had no cameras. So I stole the closest item to me. A pair of scissors. I already had a pair at home, so I didn't need them, but for some reason I just felt like I should take them. After that it got a little difficult to resist. It didn't help that a lot of the other employees also stole, not big things, but items like food and I specifically remember a coworker stealing cat treats every other week. Around black Friday, we got a lot of electronics in, I saw this as a great time to push my limits. I stole 4 or 5 tablets, 4 digital cameras, and multiple memory SD cards. I sold all the tablets but two, all the cameras except one, and gave some of the memory cards away with the cameras I sold. It took about two or three weeks before someone said the items were missing from the inventory, and that they would have to start doing inventory after each shipment to insure nothing fishy was happening.

I slowed down my shoplifting, but then it got worse when I found out my two closest friend (which is ironic because I don't speak to either of them now and I hate their guts for different reasons) were both pregnant. One with a boy and one with a girl. I began stealing an outfit here, or a pack of bibs there. A few times I got big boxed items, opened them, shoved them full until they barely closed back with baby items just so I could "help" them. I caught baby fever too, and started hoarding some stuff for myself. I still have a 2 plastic bins in my garage filled with new boy and girl baby stuff, and don't plan on having kids for another 4-5 years. I hoard a lot of the stuff I shoplift. Most of the stuff I shoplift doesn't even get used, it gets put away and forgotten about.

The store I was working at closed down, and my husband and I moved to a different state for his career. I started working at the same store, just different state. It took a few months before I started shoplifting again. I told myself this time would be different, this time I would take control of myself and stop this stupidity. I had a bad day, so I stole a dvd. The department they put me in didn't have cameras around it, it was like a 4-5 aisle blind spot. I started shoplifting whenever I had a bad day, or when I wanted something but didn't want to pay for it. I felt like I was making up for all the crap that has happened to me at work. I get made fun of because I'm quite and don't socialize much with my coworkers, but I'm there to work, not make friends. Especially when most of my coworkers are 10+ years older then me and complain about every little things that happens.

Anyways, I decided that I wanted to join the Marine Corps, and my husband told me that I'm going to have to stop shoplifting if I want to join. I agreed, thinking it was going to be easy to just stop. I stopped for a few days, then I had a really bad day, and went crazy. The next few weeks, I just shoplifted anything I could fit in my bra and pants. At one point I actually taped some stuff to my legs to get away with it. I started shoplifting at the exchange. It's the main shop on military bases. I started with a shirt or two, then I started shoplifting purses. I stole one and thought, okay, I have this nice expensive purse, I have enough. After about two weeks, I started to think about the purses more and more. I couldn't stop thinking about them until I just went and stole another one. I thought the uncontrollable desire would go away when I stole another, but this time it came back immediately. I stole a purse at least once a week, sometimes two purses in one trip. I had successfully stolen 7 purses until I got caught. I did my usual routine which had proven good before, I grabbed one purse, walked out with it, but the desire wouldn't leave me alone. It didn't even go away for a second this time after taking the purse, so I went back in, grabbed another one, walked out, and a man asked me to come back inside, while he showed me a badge. I sat in a room in the back of the store completely numb. I couldn't believe I got caught, it felt like a bad dream, it didn't feel real, until a lady started asking for my information and I burst out into tears. Long story short, they took me to the military police station, I got pictured, finger printed, and released. I had to pay the store a $200 fine, and I'm still waiting to see if they make this a case or not. There's a chance they will drop it and it won't go on any time of record at all, or they could set it up and I have to go to court. I will find out if I get a letter in the mail. If I get no letter, then I'm in the clear, if I get a letter, then I won't be able to enlist into the marine corps, I won't be able to get a better job, I'll be stuck with $#%^ jobs from now on. I'll ruin my future.

I've stolen since I've gotten caught. It was at work, so I felt safe and comfortable doing it there. I went to a counselor about my problem. Tomorrow will be my third appointment. She's showing me there are connections between real life situations that I don't confront, and my addiction. She says that shoplifting is the result of an underlying problem, but that there are multiple reasons why I shoplift. I'm 23 years old now, I've had 10 years of shoplifting, of trail and error, of creating my identity around this addiction. I can't take it all on at once, I have to work through each trigger before I can truly stop shoplifting. I've gone a week without shoplifting. Not very promising, but we all have to start somewhere.

I'm quitting my job at the retail store, I have two weeks left. I think this will definitely help my problem, I hope so anyways. She told me to reach out to others like me, and to read other's stories. I just wanted to contribute in case anyone else can relate.
Lucy4575
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