Richard Swerdlow witnesses what many others call a common occurrence – retail rip-offs.
It was a quick run to pick up a few things, to one of those national chain drugstores found in every neighborhood in San Francisco. As I browsed shaving cream, a man in the cosmetics aisle began shoving items into a backpack. Body wash, skin creams, shampoos, entire shelves quickly emptied.
I stared as he filled his bag. “Are you going to pay for that, Sir?" shouted a store clerk, as the man sauntered out, to alarms blaring. I asked the clerk if that happened often.
"Every day," he said.
Every day must be right, because everyone I know has a story of seeing a flagrant five-finger discount in this drugstore. Last month, a video of a guy riding a bicycle into one of these drugstores, filling a trash bag with goods and peddling out without bothering to pay, went viral. With a shoplifting rate four times the national average, this drugstore chain is closing stores in San Francisco.