Last week, major news outlets reported that Target expects to suffer an additional $500 million in losses due to a surge in "organized retail crime." There is one major problem with these headlines: they are objectively false. The reports were based on Target's earnings call for the first quarter, which took place on May 17. During the call, Target did not say that losses from "organized retail crime" would increase by $500 million in 2023. Rather, Target estimated that its total inventory "shrink" in 2023 would increase by $500 million this year. Here is a direct quote from Target Chief Financial Officer Michael Fiddelke:
Oh, and meanwhile, $billions in white collar crime, Congressional member crime, SCOTUS corruption, busing frightened illegals to Martha's vineyard, 'losing' billions of dollars in cash in Iraq and Afghanistan, and various other noxious, rich people crimes, like those of the former President of the United States, go basically ignored and are allowed to linger into perpetuity, essentially giving the middle finger to every average American. Yeah, let's create even more laws that are meaningless or largely unenforceable, except for the poorest, dumbest, most desperate chumps.
Target and Walmart/Walgreen are Full Of It! They both moved out of south side Chicago neighborhoods after establishing a presence in previously "underserved areas."
They stayed a few years, got everyone's business, drove out neighborhood competitors and then without a word to city government, local government, the neighborhood officials or anyone, issued a press release announcing they'd close within a week, so long it's been fun and then they got the '"F" right out of Dodge.
All this after making millions on their vaunted "neighborhood partnership" or some such BS.
Nothing replaced them as yet, so we once again have a food desert now worse than before. I have car can travel but a whole lot of local folks who had been able to walk to the store for long enough to get used to it, no longer can.
Hell, having a Walmart a few blocks away helped me decide upon my present location much in the same way having a local Target in walking distance helped me decide upon my previous home.
I depend on those Walgreen MF's for my meds but I don't go there for anything else!
Thank you as always, Judd, for promoting corporate accountability with your reporting. It has a-direct and immediate impact on consumer’s lives.
This right here is why America needs rules and regulations! Corporations, rich white mentally ill rePUGliCONs can not and will not do what is right ! They do what ever the FUCK THEY WANT! And the things they think are punishing black and brown Americans are also deeply affecting poor stupid white ppl who listen to fox propaganda!
My info is old but I had a friend whose husband managed a big box store and their "shrink" was significant back in the early 2000s. Security issues at same store now prevent the hired security from handling theft. They have to call the police to get it handled and often the "shrinker" gets away. Our local FB crime page has phone videos of parking lots and citizens getting involved to try to "help."
I don't know if it is as bad as the groups mention here, but on a Friday night those videos are something to keep the area folks commenting away.
My guess is a lot of big players in other areas of white collar crime are likely causing more havoc in our country with bigger repercussions and no one is trying to stop them. I keep wondering about Jared's 2 billion take from the Saudis and how that was treated...
Remembering that the same falsehoods were attributed as excessive retail theft and pinched revenue in the "Bed, Bath, and Beyond" progression toward, and finally, slip on the peel into bankruptcy, Hence, if the numbers are related, there should have been a bump upward in Target's shoplifting "losses" as these criminal masterminds shifted targets (or Targets?).. The organized retail bandits remain a fiction of the police state to justify draconian law enforcement.
Ah, so it is better to push for harsher criminal penalties for theft and risk further harming the underserved communities you, in theory, support? Thanks, Target. Glad I'm taking notes.
Thank you Judd for researching the details of deceitful corporate behavior designed to enforce their advantages and cause more pain for the consumers. Without your work, they simply get away with lying and deceiving the public, and bringing more animosity to the middle and lower class shoppers. I wonder if Target is embarrassed by the inferior quality of their mathematical team, or that they appear to be lying to us.
Those damn billion $ companies with free speech rights! WTAF could go wrong? What I find utterly fascinating is how multinational corporations who get massive tax subsidies from We the People (think Walmart, Sacklers) then play the blame game against us in order to help the Prison Industrial Complex and Judicial Administrative’s punitivestates rights arguments to lock up more people (as if 2 million is just not enough.)
Even worse, the billionaire’s who rip people off after intentionally crashing the economy looting from the ruins get a slap on the wrist for shorting derivatives in the trillions.
Coincidentally I was planning to go to Target today. They recently closed the nearby "mini" Target, which apparently lacked a good market strategy for its location. It was never clear what the store was trying to be: a glossier version of 7-11 for the luxury condos and apartments adjacent to it? A scaled down version of bigger locations?
When Target first arrived in Northern Virginia, it had an identity. The go to place for stylish but budget conscious housewares and bedding. Then it added groceries. Then the clothing became ridiculously sized such that the sleeves on any top or jacket were so long that I either had to hem them at home, or just not buy anything long-sleeved. Then they brought in the sleazy CVS to take over their pharmacy. No thanks
I have no idea what the focus or identity of Target is any more. But I can mostly get the same stuff driving 2 more miles to Walmart at lower prices. Especially OTC drugs.
You no longer can find prices on items on the shelves as their non English reading associates know where anything belongs. Labels say one thing, the products above the labels are something else.
I have some decent pieces of small furniture from them, and towels sets (they've screwed that department up, too). None of the issues are due to roving bands of thieves. They're of their own making. Fancy TV commercials are no substitute for well run stores with an actual focus.
Apparently Target employs PR and upper level management that are either right wing Republicans or they are so clueless about shopper behavior that they actually falsely promote the fact that their stores are crime centers. If you want your business to thrive, why would you do that? Perhaps to cover up poor earning reports (blame the neighborhood thugs for your failures). Or perhaps because you want to scare away shoppers perceived to be a threat by racist managers. Either way, with the prevalence of online retailers, it seems a very stupid management move to promote false crime statistics and risk losing even more business.
"An analysis of seven years of arrest data by Southern Methodist University statistician Michael Braun found "Black people were arrested and charged with organized retail theft more than twice as often as their White peers." Someone will point to the above quote as evidence of innate criminality in populations of POC, when in actuality it is a prevalence driven by a differential in surveillance between demographics. This result is an offshoot of the data shared in Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow.
I worked at a retail store while I was in college. Some managers and associates were fixated on eagle-eyed surveillance of POC in the store, assured they would daily bilk it out of thousands in merchandise. One day, someone from mall security came back with BAGS of clothing from our store that was recovered from shoplifters. The perpetrators? A group of pretty, blonde girls from middle class families that didn't fit the description of "usual suspects." A security tag they failed to remove went off in another store, causing their capture. Although retailers tend to push a narrative of who and what causes shrinkage, as well as the desired draconian punishments they claim will counter it, much of the focus is driven by stereotypes and tropes.
Finally, retailers need to be concerned with shrinkage but so do shoppers. The shrinkage I'm referring to is shoppers' time. In times past, I entered a store, could find staff to assist and actual people worked the registers. Now, I'm an unpaid employee, hunting around for product, sometimes opening boxes that were left in aisles to restock shelves to get it and then ringing myself out. All while prices go up. People choose to shop online instead for a reason.
The stress in the corporate board rooms of every retail business that's NOT Amazon, must be quite high these days. It's interesting, however, than instead of going after the predatory practices of Amazon, and improving their own online presence, or advertising the advantages of in-person, brick and mortar store shopping, and policing their own work force coupled with more secure internal store policies, these retailers are inventing strawmen (and women) to blame. The reality that advocating for these increasing penalties is racist and classist can be seen in the behavior of store security people nationwide. If you want to get away with such theft, just look white, confident, dress well, and be smiling and clean cut. You can do almost anything you want and the security people will never give you a second look. They might even help you carry what you're stealing out the door, especially if you have a fake receipt. They're far too busy following their own implicit biases, I.E. following the people of color (or those who look like "stoners" around the store) to watch for actual thieves and shoplifters. It's the white, clean cut, suburban boys and girls they should be watching closely.
Remember, jails are owned by corporations that use inmates as free or extremely cheap ($2( ?) an hour or less.. Judd help me out here) labor hence why they want more inmates.
I work retail. Just today, my co worker looked over to see a woman sweeping perfume bottlers off a shelf into a shopping bag. She walked over and said "can I help ups", the teenager said "I didn't steal anything". Really?
My co worker called Loss Prevention as the teenagers walked up the escalator. As LP followed, they dropped the bag and left. The bag was filled with clothes and perfume.
Don't tell me people aren't stealing. They are. And they are bold and getting bolder because they know they are rarely stopped.
There are so many holes in this analysis I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with the clear premise being pushed… that we are not seeing any notable rise in external retail theft and hence we don’t need any changes to criminal laws and prosecution to help deal with it. Right. Sure. Those stores are closing because the owners hate Democrats, not because they cannot make a profit due to the increases in theft. Those stores had to lock up 60% of the products just to make a political point, not because criminals would just load up and walk out.
Judd has poorly farmed cherry-picked data and quotes to make his case. It is well done writing but more propaganda than actual objective analysis. For example, he cites reported crime statistics showing a decrease in property crime. In the largest state the size of many countries, California, new laws and radical DAs have resulted in zero arrests and prosecution fir 90% of retail theft. So yes, REPORTED crime stats are down.
And he gets loose with retail industry data on inventory shrink. He makes assumption to favor his position without qualifying other possible assumptions that might counter it. For example he assumes a similar ratio of causes for inventory shrink when causes other than external theft have potential decreased due to company investment in better internal inventory management and employee theft avoidance.
Lastly, he fails to point out that these retailers have stores in places where external theft has exploded and others where it has not. That is quite the trick…. Like arguing the overall number of acres burned in the country has decreased so there is no need to change any rules dealing with the increase in fires for certain states and cities. That trick works in reverse too… like Obama did adding more minor things to the list of hate crimes, and funded a big push for local law enforcement to increase their reporting of these things if they wanted some federal money. Presto! More hate crime is reported.
Real journalism requires intellectual honesty and full analysis. Otherwise it is just political propaganda pushing an agenda. This piece is pushing an agenda. Retail theft has exploded in many cities and states. The “defund police” social justice experiment has failed. Democrats are creating a dystopia where these high crime areas become retail deserts. It is time to get back to sanity for crime and punishment.