... but will Wal-Mart
Abandoning its zero-tolerance policy, Wal-Mart reportedly has told workers not to stop shoplifters for items under $25. Read more here.
really change anything in Florida?
Is the policy shift evidence that Wal-Mart has a heart? Not exactly. Wal-Mart's loss prevention director admits the change is a cost-saving measure. “If I have somebody being paid $12 an hour processing a $5 theft, I have just lost money,” said J.P. Suarez. “I have also lost the time to catch somebody stealing $100 or an organized group stealing $3,000.”
Florida has a statute called “Civil remedy for theft or exploitation” which allows people to file civil lawsuits seeking to recover losses from criminal activities. But it's a sword-and-shield kind of thing, as we lawyers say. It does provide protection for some people, but a lot of retail businesses have used it as a weapon.
Because the minimum damages are $200, the penalty can be 10 times the value of a stolen CD. The store got the item back when the kid was caught, but still was looking for the $200 in so-called damages. When they got the "civil demand letter," many parents paid, of course, to keep their child out of juvenile court.
It's ugly, but it's profitable. So will Wal-Mart stop this exploitation, too?
Cross-posted at the Florida Progressive Coalition.