Hope you have a Merry Christmas, America, because you've been extremely naughty at the mall this year. After surveying retailers in the U.S., the Global Retail Theft Barometer says that shoppers pinched $1.8 billion worth of merchandise during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, reports the AP. $1.8 billion! For context, $1.8 billion is a 6 percent increase from 2010 -- a total of approximately 62 million Tickle Me Elmos at retail. And this is a year when there aren't even any good toys to buy. When stores are offering big markdowns because people aren't spending as much. But that's exactly the point: while there will always be some built-in kleptomania to society, the sour economy drives some people to buy less and steal more. Or at least gives them a good excuse for doing so.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.