A look at the crazy underground world of shoplifting fanatics on Tumblr

In the wake of shoplifting accusations against “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Kim Richards, the New York Post looked at the phenomenon of wealthy people stealing for fun or out of a sense of entitlement, rather than any real need.

“It becomes a cat-and-mouse game: What are you going to see me take today?” a former Sephora employee told the Post.

But celebrities and rich Manhattan mums aren’t the only privileged people who get a thrill from shoplifting.

If you look on Tumblr, you’ll find that plenty of bored young people are creating blogs like Shoplifting Guide and lifting loser to talk about their swiping skills — and it’s not hard to imagine some of the bourgeois boosters described by the Post checking out Tumblr for tips.

On these Tumblr blogs, users keep a running count of how much they claim to have stolen so far this year. They’re not in it for the expensive clothes or Sephora eye shadow palettes, but because they love the thrill — just like the women described by the Post.

The blogs also contain tips about how to lift from mall stores, and which chains to flat out avoid (one user mentioned Kohl’s). Another contributor suggested staying away from beauty department store Ulta for those “new to shoplifting.” And then they explain why — writing hundreds of words about the science and skill of lifting from various locations.

The Post found that wealthy customers are known to shoplift while also dropping big bucks on legitimate purchases. “At Anthropologie, some upper-middle-class women buy $US400 kaftans and $US500 clogs — and then ‘accessorize’ for free,” The Post reports.

Those women might not have been clued into the Tumblr community, where plenty of bloggers counsel their fans not to “get greedy” and steal from places where they’d like to shop again in the future.

“If, for some reason you slip up and get busted, you will not be able to go back into that store again,” the post reads. “You will then have to travel across town to do any legitimate shopping.”

Jezebel covered the phenomenon of pro-shoplifting Tumblr blogs about a year ago. Since then, it appears many shoplifting blogs have started using euphemisms like “liftshopping” and “thrifting” so that they won’t get caught and have their blogs deleted.

As Jezebel pointed out, a popular tactic for shoplifting bloggers is to issue a disclaimer that their blogs are just fictional or for role playing. In a since-shuttered blog that was active last year, Shoplifters Anonymous, a subhead at the top of the site read, “Anything you read might be fiction.”

But some law-abiding Tumblr users have had enough of this community ostensibly giving Tumblr a bad name, whether their fun is fictional or not. If you search the “shoplifting” tag on Tumblr, you’ll find plenty of users have compiled lists of the most popular blogs. This isn’t to help potential shoplifters, they say, but to urge other users to report the ones who are promoting theft.

“Tumblr’s policies prohibit the posting of content that violates our Terms of Service and
Community Guidelines,” a Tumblr spokesperson told Tech Insider. “However, posts depicting potentially illegal activity may not, in and of themselves, violate our policies.”

But some people have figured out even more ways around the rules.

The blog lifting loser doesn’t use the term “shoplifting” at all, and its owner’s bio reads “1000? saved since 2015,” presumably instead of saying “$US1000 lifted in 2015.” Still others insist their blogs are for “shoplifting roleplay” and not actual shoplifting.

Many shoplifting bloggers have cheeky pseudonyms, like Con(tour) Artist, who says she’s taken $US5200 of goods in 2015. Con(tour) Artist has a helpful list of tips for users who live at home with their parents and don’t want their stolen booty to raise their parents’ suspicion.

http://con-tour-artist.tumblr.com/post/125806825186/lifters-living-at-home

Con(tour) Artist claims she’s also adept at lifting textbooks from her college store and hopes to resell them at the beginning of the school year.

http://con-tour-artist.tumblr.com/post/125453155151/textbooks

There are also several shoplifting bloggers who boast that they have been “lifting” since they were toddlers.

http://purepurloin.tumblr.com/post/120081612985/may-i-ask-how-long-have-you-been-lifting-cause

One blogger claimed to have learned the Ralph Lauren code phrase for a shoplifter — “gum on the floor” — and dutifully shared it with the other Tumblr shoplifting enthusiasts, who then reblogged it.

http://liftingduo.tumblr.com/post/125779489056/signal-boooooost-my-fellow-lifters

The community uses shared lingo — “LP” means loss prevention — and they love to reblog inside jokes about their proclivities.

http://shark-lifter.tumblr.com/post/125505457548/thatsasteal-i-feel-like-lp-would-be-a-good

As for The New York Post’s findings, a Sephora employee said a useful tactic in preventing shoplifting was to kindly “shame” the lifter with “dazzling customer service.”

“If I saw you take a lipstick and drop it into your purse,” a Sephora employee told The Post, “I would walk up to you about two minutes after you did that and say, ‘I saw you looking at that lipstick earlier, let me find a really great lip liner to go with that lipstick.'”

If only that kind of trick worked on the internet. 

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