Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

Bradley D. Young

Bradley D. Young is a 37 year old man who has a felony conviction in Ohio.

After serving his time and doing rehab for drug addiction, Young took up residence in his native home of Collier County, Florida.

Instead of trying to stay out of jail, Young made the choice to steal from WalMart using a rather ingenious method.

A store loss prevention officer watched Young scan merchandise with a Kool-Aid pack concealed in his hand so the items rang up 24 cents. Young rang up three Kool-Aid packets and some other small items totaling $24.44 for $994.13 worth of merchandise.

The loss prevention officer told deputies that she recognized Young from an incident in August where he attempted to walk out of the store with merchandise that was not paid for. Due to his previous attempt, she followed him around the store and watched him pretend to scan items that were in his shopping cart, including a backpack that contained merchandise that hadn’t been paid for, at the self-checkout registers.

Young even tried to return items he had not purchased:

She also told deputies she watched Young remove two items, a soda and a fan, from a shelf and then take them to customer service where he received a refund in the amount of $9.48 after he showed them a phone cell picture of a receipt.

Maybe, just maybe we could excuse this theft if Bradley was not able to get a job and was trying to steal something to eat. At least then he would be a sympathetic character. Alas, we don’t think you can eat batteries:

Young walked out of the store with a shopping cart full of unpaid items including a scooter valued at $248, a dual navigation system valued at $119.87 and $160 worth of batteries.

We are guessing he was going to sell the items.

Young was arrested by Collier County Deputies.

This story originates from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Sadly, at least to us, there are people that are defending Young by saying they know his family and he is basically a good guy. Somehow we don’t think that a “good guy” is a convicted felon and one who tries to steal nearly a thousand bucks worth of stuff from a store.

He may become a “good guy” in the future, but he is not one now.

We don’t think that people understand the math of this type of theft and will excuse shoplifting by saying a store like WalMart can afford to lose $1000 worth of merchandise.

Assume for a moment that the cost of the goods to WalMart in this case was 50% of the selling price. That’s generally low, but we are trying to make a point. So the company has to pay $500 for the items. However, because the store has to pay property taxes, wages, heat, electricity, trucking costs, etc, the actual profit margins at retail stores is about 3% of the retail price. We’re going to be overly generous and say that the profit margin is 10%.

Therefore, in order to recover the lost of just the cost of $500 worth of goods (not counting wages, taxes, electricity, etc.,) the store has to sell $5000 worth of goods just to get back to even.

If you use 3% profit margin, the store has to sell $16,666.67 worth of goods just to break even.

The losses incurred by stores because of the selfish acts of people have to be covered somehow, and they are covered by higher prices for everyone. That means that people like Young are not just taking money from a store, they are taking money from your pocket as well.

The use of a packet of Kool-Aid to scan items is clever. It makes it seem like the person is scanning something. The machine beeps and there is no reason for anyone around them to think something nefarious is happening. (Unless you are a sharp eyed LOP person.)

We won’t excuse Young’s actions but we have to wonder what his life would have been like if he had used all that cleverness in a legal manner.

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