Why shoplift deodorant?

I walked into my local Aldi store a few weeks ago and happened on an odd incident: A couple of store employees had a man stopped at the front of the store and were directing him to unload merchandise he had apparently shoplifted. From what they were saying, they had seen this man on the store’s closed circuit TV.

Everything he did – opening his coat, pulling his shirt out from his waistband, emptying his pockets, etc. – caused containers of underarm deodorant to fall to the floor. There must have been at least 50 containers.

Why shoplift deodorant? I could sort of understand someone needing some and not having any money stealing one or two, but this was dozens of containers.

For those not familiar with Aldi, it’s a chain of stores specializing in low-cost goods. Almost everything they sell is private label, so the deodorant wasn’t Secret or Ban or some other more pricy brand. I should have looked to see what it cost, but I’d be surprised if it was more than $1.

Aldi sells mostly grocery items, with some personal grooming, clothing and houseware items.

Assuming mental illness wasn’t a factor, I’d say easy to steal, easy to sell at flea markets etc.

Even cheap deodorant is about $3.

Could be intended inhalant abuse (huffing the propellant in the cans)

My local grocery has removed poppyseed from the spice racks and placed it behind the counter where the tobacco is. Apparently poppyseed is a common theft item (so they told me). Who knew?

Some people just like to steal. Remember Wynona Rider getting busted for shoplifting a decade ago and she had like a couple grand in her purse? She could have paid. She didn’t want to. I remember stealing lighters and gum a couple times as a 12-13 year old. It was just a cheap thrill. I got over it real fast, but some people didn’t.

That said, the sheer amount of deodorant the OP saw getting stolen demands a story. Maybe he was homeless, and all the other homeless guys in the shelter had really bad BO, so he decided to fix it in his own misguided way?

Whipped cream gives all the other aerosols a bad name. Whipped Cream is charged with NO2 (Nitrous Oxide, Laughing Gas), because is dissolves into the cream. Many (most) other things use propane/butane and/or other hydrocarbons. Then, there are other things that, while I don’t know what they use for pressure, it never leaves the bottle, it just squeeze a bag of product up toward the nozzle. Of course, having said that many people don’t know all this, or maybe just want to get high on propane.

People may be using them in an attempt to make opium. Whether they can actually pull it off or not, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s possible that enough people in the area are doing it and the owner is losing a few bottles a day.

Deodorant and other personal care items aren’t covered by food stamps. There’s a market for stolen, and therefore very cheap, personal care items among food stamp recipients with little cash.

That almost sounds like some sort of compulsion unless they intended to sell it in bulk or something. I have a guy I’m still friends with who went through a weird stealing phase in high school. He would steal odd stuff like fingerboards and oddly enough wallets. When he finally got caught and arrested, he had stolen a pen. :rolleyes: It was just a phase and he is quite the upstanding citizen now and does a lot of charity and philanthropic work.

I can’t say for sure but is hard to predict who will shoplift and what they will take. It isn’t always things you would suspect. I worked in the only supermarket in town in high school and sometimes worked as a shoplifter buster. People didn’t usually take deodorant but they would use it and put it back on the shelf oddly enough. Batteries were always popular items to steal. Cigarettes would have been but those were kept in locked cabinets so those were mostly taken through employee theft. People usually go for small items that are easy to conceal. Deodorant fits that bill but we even had older ladies in long skirts that tried to steal steaks and hams by literally hiding them between their legs in sewn in pockets (I am not sure I would want any part of the resulting meal).

As an aside, shoplifters aren’t who you would usually suspect. Teenagers do it for kicks but they are small-time. The big offenders are older ladies that have honed their craft over the decades. It is only a small minority but some of them will rob you blind if you let them.

Some of the most popular items to steal these days are things like Tide laundry detergent and maple syrup. They are practically a currency of their own and have easy street value.

Do they still sell aerosol deodorant? I only see the solid form available.

Must be some stupid shoplifters. Why don’t they just order online? Bulk poppy seeds, $1.63/lb

If it worked that well, I’m sure the feds would outlaw it.

Yes, but it’s fairly uncommon now, and only a few brands (like Right Guard) still sell it.

I worked in market research on an anti-perspirant / deodorant brand for several years i the early '90s; even then, aerosols (and roll-ons) were dying off.

However, body sprays (like Axe) have become popular, and many of those are aerosols.

I guess I wasn’t specific enough – this was the solid-stick type of deodorant. To be honest, I forgot they still sell deodorant in aerosol cans – I haven’t bought it that way for decades.

I think this have been what was going on. The deodorant is physically small enough that he could hide dozens of containers on his person, unlike stuff like laundry detergent. And it was relatively unbreakable and unspillable, which could have been considerations too.

But he could have stolen bars of soap or tubes of toothpaste and he didn’t. So it’s still kind of odd.

I’m a tightwad, and I’m not very picky about brands, so I buy my deodorant at Dollar Tree – “Everything’s $1!” The last time I got Arm & Hammer stick, which I’m not crazy about. The time before it was Ban roll-on.

[QUOTE=Anny Middon;20101577. . . I haven’t bought it that way for decades.[/QUOTE]

me and some of the others around here have been meaning to talk to you about that. . .


We aren’t talking about a niche discounter, though. I buy my (hypoallergenic) stuff online, but I’ll check shelf prices next time I’m at the store. I’d be interested in the OP getting a price on the boosted stuff.

Things have gotten so bad, now they’re huffing roll-on.

Because they like stealing stuff. Duh. And a lot of them are probably teenagers, who’d arouse suspicion from Mom and Dad if they ordered it.

(You can get high on nutmeg too, IIRC. So I’m guessing some of them probably lift that as well.)

You need money and a credit card to do that. When I first heard about the poppy seed -> opium thing, I was in high school. Granted, buying stuff online wasn’t a thing then, but regardless, I didn’t have a credit card so that ruled out at least half of the equation.
Also, I’m curious as to who’s stealing them? If it’s kids (and I’m guessing it is), I’d wager that they’re at the store with their parents and it’s easier to pocket a container of them than to explain to mom why they need them and/or they’re their on their own and don’t want to draw attention to themselves.

Just because you can buy something online doesn’t mean people won’t steal it. Vanilla beans get shoplifted because of their price. Typically about $7 for 1-3 of them. However, last time I got them from Amazon, I paid $30 for 50+ (so 60¢ each instead of $3 each).

Razor blades get stolen, I see baby formula locked up (but I haven’t compared prices on that in 10+ years). But the point remains, shoplifters aren’t stealing because they can’t find a better deal elsewhere, they’re shoplifting because they can’t or don’t want to pay.

At my store, once in a while I’ll catch people spending $50+ dollars, then pocket a 30 cent piece of candy when they don’t think anyone is looking (one guy claimed it was his ‘tip’ for shopping there :mad:).