If the government is going to run a retail business — a monopoly, no less — then it is responsible to maintain a basic level of civilization on its premises

Until recently, when I thought of the LCBO’s “shoplifting problem,” I thought of the down-on-his-luck chap I once saw artlessly conceal a bottle of rye in his pantleg, which was tucked into his sock. The apparatus failed; the bottle clattered onto the floor for everyone to see. He paused, his eyes darted around, and then he picked up the bottle and ran — from no one.

The LCBO’s owners, which is to say Ontarians, now seem to be realizing the problem is rather bigger. Some recent incidents would be better described as part of “a grand theft problem” or an “armed robbery problem” — from the folks who smashed a car into a London outlet on New Year’s Day, raided the vodka aisle and fled, to reports of thieves bypassing the shelves altogether and heading unmolested into the stockrooms, helping themselves to thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of liquor while menacing staff with everything from syringes to human feces.

Police statistics obtained by the Toronto Star show there have been more than 9,000 reported shoplifting incidents since 2014 at Toronto LCBO outlets; as of June 26, we were on track for nearly 6,000 in 2018 alone. The corporation insists its loss rate is “below industry standard,” but in Toronto at least, this is becoming ever harder to believe. Of the 100 most-targeted addresses for shoplifting in the provincial capital, the Star found fully half are now provincially owned liquor stores.

Read full article here.

Chris Selley – National Post – January 18, 2019.

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