Millennials are combining their sense of entitlement, hatred of capitalism, and use of social media as they shoplift and brag about it.
The shoplifters encourage others to do the same. “I kind of lift with a Robin Hood philosophy,” Barbie, the pseudonym of one of the shoplifters, told Good. She sometimes keeps the items for herself, which isn’t a faithful execution of the Robin Hood philosophy.
They try to excuse their behavior with standards because they “only lift from stores that are multi-million dollar companies” and “would never steal from a person or a small local store.” There’s also “Thou shalt not rip off mom-and-pop shops.”
Barbie communicates an entitlement culture.
“I essentially believe: take from the rich, give to the poor, and fuck capitalism. I’m a democratic socialist and think capitalism is a plague to America,” she writes. “Yes, I am a greedy materialistic person. But it’s okay because I’m self-aware!”
She is able to excuse her behavior in her own mind because she abides by these lift standards. Millennials don’t make the rules, however, even if they “think capitalism is a plague to America.”
A user on Lifterslife lifts because of poverty and an inability to go without.
“I lift because I’m poor. I’m at that age where I feel bad when I ask my parents for money that they can’t really spare. ‘But why don’t you just go without?’ you ask. Because in today’s society dressing like you’re poor and a bum will get you nowhere,” the user said, communicating another sense of entitlement.
“Being a teen girl is hard—you have to be skinny, attractive, put together, well dressed, etc. Society teaches girls through media and the beauty industry that they need to be perfect,” user PrincessKlepto said to justify her lifting. “I’m sick of handing my money over to corporations that profit on this bullshit … so if i have to put up with this kind of stuff, i’m certainly not going to pay for it.”
Good noted that those on Liftblr “feel empowered by a sense of social justice,” reposting Bernie Sanders memes and anti-racism posts. In the lifter’s eyes, “shoplifting can be an act of civil disobedience.” If one gets caught, they can say: “This is not petty theft. This is non-violent resistance to a violent and oppressive economic system in which we are trapped.”
One can be a Bernie Sanders supporter and disavow racism without having to shoplift. One can even disagree with capitalism. Only 42 percent of millennials support capitalism, according to a Spring Harvard IOP poll, but even fewer support socialism, at 33 percent. It’s unlikely that 33 percent of millennials are shoplifting.
Regardless of who is doing the shoplifting or what their reasons are, this lifting is a trend from those who engage in it setting a bad example and a bad name for the rest.