Shoplifting from convenience stores and its relationship to financial inequalities – Midlothian Council

Name: Midlothian Council
Category: Any
Location: Midlothian
Project summary: We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled undergraduate or postgraduate student to undertake a field based dissertation in Midlothian. The dissertation will focus on various aspects of shoplifting from convenience stores and its relationship to financial inequalities. There will be an opportunity for the student to refine and shape the project.
Detailed summary: Shrinkage is the difference in the amount of inventory a business should have, compared to the amount it actually has. Shrinking indicates losses due to shoplifting, theft and error. While casual shoplifters may feel that taking a few small items from a retailer is a victimless crime, it can have a negative effect on other customers. Since businesses lose profit due to shrinkage, they may set prices higher than they would otherwise to compensate for the losses. Shoplifting can act as a tax on retailers that is ultimately passed on to paying consumers. Small businesses that raise prices may lose customers to larger competitors, which are often better equipped to absorb losses and keep their prices low. The student will work alongside two local Midlothian convenience stores, one in an area affected by socio-economic disadvantage and the other not, to identify what type of items are stolen. Of the shoplifters identified by the manager, but not reported to police there will be research into what type of items are stolen, the value of the goods, why, by whom and its relationship to financial inequalities. The dissertation will also consider whether or not reporting small value thefts is a disadvantage in that those stealing to fund a drug or alcohol addiction might subsequently not be getting referred for the necessary help. This project will involve working with the retail managers to profile the shoplifting habits in their premises, and to determine if there is a difference in the items stolen relative to the socio-economic status of its location. The project will use learning and research from elsewhere and innovative practices in other areas.
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