The whole point of ‘surveys’ is to pull you up short and whisper, “Who’d a thowt it?” That and to get cheap and easy publicity for the products or services of the company that commissions them. For that reason, I’d don’t often allow such mass marketing opportunities as these pages (well a boy can dream) but every now and then I see one that makes me wonder: “Blimey! If that’s true…”
Like this one today — that 3.5 million (million!) people admit to shoplifting in the last five years. That’s a lot of people. More than seven times the population of Liverpool, so it can’t all be down to the scallies. (That’s me thrown in the PC slammer for sure.)
Apparently, 2 per cent said they did it by accident and returned the goods, while 6 per cent did the same thing but didn’t return the items. I can understand that. Mrs P is probably the most honest person I know, someone who couldn’t lie her way out of a paper bag (which is why I end up having to do it for her) and yet she is guilty of the latter.
She had been supermarket shopping and had hung a pack of toilet rolls on the hook at the back of the trolley. At the checkout, she got into conversation with the woman behind the counter and though she’d piled everything onto the conveyor belt, she forgot about the toilet roll. The checkout woman didn’t notice and neither didn’t Mrs P until she was leaving the store.
“Why didn’t you just take it back and pay for it?” I asked her. Because she would have been mortified in case they thought she had meant to pinch it but had been stung by an attack of conscience.
The survey explains a lot though. Suchas the fact that the most half-inched items are razor blades. When our local supermarket was run by Safeway I used to curse because whenever I went to the razor blade stand, they were always out of stock.
It took me ages to work out that I was supposed to take a slip of paper illustrating my blade of preference to customer services (on producing my receipt) to have those precious, diamond-edged wonders handed over to me.
I could understand it with the empty boxes of whiskey that you have to redeem, or the empty DVD cases, but razor blades? Now we know why.
I’ve wracked my brains about whether I’ve ever shoplifted, by accident or on purpose, and I don’t think I have. Blimey, when the kids were toddlers and I fed them sweets etc while trawling up and down the aisles, I’d keep the empty wrapper to hand over at the till. What a smug bastard, eh?
But before I get carried away with self-satisfaction, let’s head back up to the top of the story. 3.5 million people — how many did they survey to extrapolate that figure? And who was asking the questions? Ah… Group 4 Securicor. No vested interest there then.
And who made up their sample group? The ones they then dropped off at Strangeways Brewery rather than Strangeways Prison? No actually. Check their website story. A sample of 1,204 people aged 16 to 24.
About G4S Security Services (UK)
G4S Security Services (UK) employs nearly 17,000 people throughout the UK, working with a wide range of public sector and commercial clients requiring both ongoing innovation and absolute integrity. The organisation provides specialist security services to over 8,500 customers across a range of sectors; examples include retail, government, facilities management, financial, events and transport.
Always allow the ‘facts’ to generate a good story, eh?