MANNERS & MORALS: The Shoplifters


Supermarket operators in Bellingham, Wash. (pop. 38,500) finally quit suffering in silence and broadcast a trade secret that had been kept pretty well by grim grocers across the country: since recession, the customers have been stealing supermarkets blind.

Bellingham's supermarketmen have been taking it longer than most because their city's lumber and fishing industries slipped early. Pilferage soon shot up over 1% of gross sales, took half of food retailing's narrow profit. The desperate grocers screwed up collective courage, got police to start arresting guilty customers and releasing their names...

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