Most adults believe that shoplifters steal because they have financial issues or are greedy, but studies show that shoplifting is rarely about genuinely needing the item that is stolen.
It is instead often a way of coping with stressful life circumstances. This is similar to overeating, drinking, or gambling. Shoplifting is a “reward” individuals use to give themselves a “lift.” Whether it is a tube of chap stick or a high tech camera, getting something for nothing represents more to the shoplifter than the value of the merchandise. For some, stealing can temporarily relieve anxiety if they were unfairly deprived in some way. For others, it can represent justified payback for all they give to others. While most adults usually understand right from wrong, shoplifting can occur when their life becomes stressful or even if they feel unworthy, depressed, or not accepted.