Within 20 days of the store’s opening, personnel had caught four people with sticky fingers.
They were all given the choice of either being reported to police and fined 1500 kronor ($220), or working a weekend shift at the store collecting shopping carts, while wearing a sign that says “I’m a THIEF, I shoplifted from DOLLARSTORE”.
“None of the shoplifters chose the sign,” DollarStore’s owner Peter Ahlberg told the local daily Dagbladet, adding that his goal is to draw attention to the growing problem of shoplifting in Sweden, and not simply to shame shoplifters.
His company alone, with about 20 stores in Sweden, loses millions of kronor to shoplifters each year.
“In our store in Boden they displayed 60 bras and 20 of them were stolen,” Ahlberg told the paper.
The store also reported similar losses for denim and batteries, but Ahlberg made sure to point out that the vast majority of customers are honest, saying that it’s only about one percent that are the troublemakers.
According to SEB, a major Swedish bank, shoplifting constitutes more than 1.4 percent of the revenue in Swedish stores, adding up to 6.4 billion kronor per year, Dagbladet reported.
Ahlberg also admitted that the number of unreported cases of shoplifting is huge, since it’s a very time consuming process that many choose to forego.
Annica Odelind with the local Sundsvall police told the paper that crimes should always be reported.
However, if a person chooses to make a deal with the store in order to avoid legal actions, that is up to the parties involved, she added.