Stealing Beauty by Katherine Zoepf
"Surprisingly, middle-class people are demonstrably more likely to shoplift than the poor: People who have gone to college are more likely to shoplift than those who have not, and people who earn more than $70,000 per year are more likely to shoplift than those who earn less. Thus many shoplifters are, like Lauren--and Winona Ryder and, allegedly, Lindsay Lohan--from privileged backgrounds, stealing things that they could have easily afforded to buy. Health and beauty products like moisturizers and makeup consistently top annual lists of the most shoplifted items.
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Rapid transformation, ironically, is what many people seek through shoplifting, Shteir says. She recalls being very struck early in her shoplifting research by stories about drag queens stealing designer clothing. "They were essentially stealing their identity," she says. "But then I started to think that this was true from every group." When a shoplifter slips that perfect lipstick or scarf into her purse, she imagines that reinvention is possible, and for a moment, she is free from the dull reality of paying for things. Of course, that freedom is illusory--and comes at a high price."