Today’s San Francisco Chronicle was good reading. The article I liked most was about shoplifting in Holiday season and it being a crime of “opportunity.” And why don’t we design our spaces around that? Corporate stores are the ones that do because they have resources. Hard core retail does as always and make up the losses back in higher markups. The problem is American society has taken a recent change not noticed until enough history is accumulated. The Generation Y are here. When I got my first retail store to manage about the year 2000, FBI tried to teach me the proper loss prevention was every single American coming in the door is a thief. This was not a rule to work by percentages and that is where we disagreed. They literally meant 100 of 100 people walking in the door were intended on stealing if they could. I disagreed but they NEVER backed down on their opinion. That was another generation. Were they right or wrong? Who cares? Today they are absolutely right. Generation Thief is here and intends to stay. Nike has released a retro Air Jordan and violence has flared up all over. Will this get better next year? I think worse and worse. The generation have-not is here and those who have really like it this way. I wrote once before and ask again why not redesign all sales floors? Why not assume every shopper is a thief (though wrong) since Generation Y is shopping and robbing? Why is it so hard in the case of where I work to line up glass displays as in a traditional retail store and keep valuables behind the counter and junk on the floor? Why is it so hard? Someone told me most retailers steal from their own stores in guise of secret shoppers testing the store and so on. And some use this as a means of revenue with proper book keeping. The idea makes sense in high fashion stores. One single item can be worth a fortune for an over-the-counter junk. Whatever the reason, violence is an indispensable part of the new retail trends of our era and has to be prevented. Even if open floors bring more sales in general, the likeliness of increased violence by encouraging theft as part of marketing should be a factor in designing better interiors. Since the business puts profit before safety, it is duty of authorities to ensure retail stores are designed to discourage theft, violence and what else many follow on a regular basis. Sad as it is, we have to take into account some retailers may want a sales floor that encourages stealing. 100 million Generation Y will descend upon and live in America eventually. Whether or not, that is 100 million dedicated thieves is a big argument but enough will be to justify workspaces designed with safety against unusual dangers in mind. There will be hundreds of millions of shoplifting attempts every year now and prevention is necessary. America will turn into a huge ghetto over a few years if something is not done.
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