The worst part about the Tumblr shoplifting community is that they try to hide behind a legitimate disorder...
And it’s a disorder that zero of them have. Hear that, Tumblr Shoplifting Community? Zero of you have Kleptomania. This sort of thing is nothing new — people have been trying to pretend they have Kleptomania in order to justify stealing for as long as the idea of Kleptomania has been around. Back then, it was a shitty way for affluent people to get out of admitting wrongdoing when they got caught stealing. Nothing’s changed in that regard, and people are now wearing their fake kleptomania like people do with other disorders, saying it makes them ‘quirky’ or whatever. They give themselves cute little names like kleptokitten.
But it’s not Kleptomania. Kleptomania doesn’t just mean “likes to steal shit”. Some people still don’t even think that Kleptomania is a real thing, but we’ll side with the folks who say that it is. Let’s take a look at part of an actual definition of Kleptomania, from this paper which has collected several of them from the 1800’s to the present millennium:
The essential feature of Kleptomania is the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value. (…) The objects are stolen despite the fact that they are of little use to the individual, who could have afforded to pay for them, and often gives away or discards them. Occasionally the individual may hoard the hidden objects…. Individuals with Kleptomania… are aware that the act is wrong and senseless.
There are two things in common with just about every definition of Kleptomania you’ll find:
1. The people committing the acts often steal anything they can, including items that have no real value to them, and rarely actually make use of their stolen items. The impulse never goes away, and can often strike anywhere.
2. The people committing the acts are often ashamed and try to hide their compulsion because they know that their theft is wrong. Kleptomania is often, for that reason, linked with extreme stress, depression, alcoholism and other mental disorders.
These little snowflakes clearly don’t fit into the first part of the definition. Picking and choosing the stores they steal from and taking a haul that they carefully selected beforehand isn’t kleptomania. An actual Kleptomaniac wouldn’t walk into Walmart and walk out with three of their favorite t-shirts and a bunch of their favorite foods. Their haul would look more like a candlestick, a pair of boxer shorts that aren’t actually their size, and two bananas. They have a compulsion to steal whatever they can get their hands on, and it very rarely is something they wanted going in. They wouldn’t go for the most expensive stuff they could find, and they wouldn’t have a
shopping shoplifting list.
They don’t fit the second part of the definition either, and you can see that by all of them having a ‘community’ in the first place. They have no shame, they wear their shoplifting as a badge of honor, and they gleefully tell each other about the ‘hauls’ they managed to accomplish that particular day, and chat about what they hope to grab next time out. Adding ‘oh, but this darn kleptomania!’ at the end doesn’t make any of it excusable.
Just come out and admit it, Tumblr Shoplifting Community. Admit that you’re thieves and lawbreakers. Admit that you’re folks who care more about obtaining goods without working for them than you care about the people who lose jobs because of you. Come out and admit all that, and be proud of it instead of trying to hide behind your fake disorders (and your pseudo-anarchy, but that’s a whole other post). If you don’t want to come out and admit that, then I’m willing to bet that you’re well aware that what you’re doing is wrong, now aren’t you?