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Shoplifting (also known as commercial burglary) is theft of merchandise for sale in a shop, or of money from the cash register of a retail establishment, by an ostensible patron. It is one of the most common crimes for police and courts.
Most shoplifters are amateurs; however, there are people and groups who make their living from shoplifting, and they tend to be more skilled. Some individuals shoplift in an effort to resist selling their labor, and/or to protest corporate power. These individuals targetâ€”often exclusivelyâ€”chain stores; Wal-Mart is an especially popular target for political shoplifters in America. Sainsbury's and Tesco are primary targets in the UK (see Evasion).
The costs of shoplifting are not always absorbed by the targeted company, but instead may result in price increases. However, losses from shoplifting, employee burglary and other causes of inventory loss contribute to a not very transparent problem description.
A common slang term for shoplifting in Australia and the United States is "five-finger discount." In the US, it is often referred to as "jacking" or "racking", the UK as "nicking" or "chaving" and in Ireland as "stroking". Professional shoplifters or organized shoplifting groups are often referred to as "boosters."