Dwarf Fortress’ graphical upgrade provides a new way into a wildly wonky game

Why it’s hard to buy deodorant in Manhattan



skymast 11d
Manhattan is getting the law enforcement it demanded.
bobbylarrybobby 11d
The article says prosecutors don't go after these thefts but I'd think the issue is with the cops and the number of arrests. After the BLM protests of 2020 (George Floyd) cops basically went hands off on these so called minor crimes, and so I'd imagine many of them don't even make it to prosecutors. We'd need a graph of incidents and arrests for years prior to 2020 (or months in early vs late 2020) to see the change.
Terretta 11d
I'd wondered if someone figured out how to turn deodorant into meth, since they started protecting it like Sudafed even after all the Sudafed was removed from the Sudafed boxes sold as Sudafed (phenylphrine is not pseudoephedrine and is not effective).

Sudafed, baby formula, deodorant, and razor blades, together could sound like a Jesse Pinkman shopping list before he found a high school chemistry teacher to help him.

At the same time, since nobody is making retail chains put lock boxes on the deodorant aisle, shrinkage best meets Occam's razor. Or would if it hadn't been shoplifted.

CPLX 11d
Without clicking is the answer “fulfilled by Amazon”?
hyperhopper 11d
Paywall, can't read anything past the summary of the problem
codefreeordie 11d
[deleted by user]
nhoughto 11d
Same in SF, I assumed it was because of the homelessness problem. Seems more likely than shoplifting gangs..
fragmede 11d
I've lived in the same city now (not NYC) for 10+ years, so I'm moderately connected with all sorts of people and not just a bubble of affluent tech people. So I'll be real, I know some sketchy people that probably do drugs or at least know where to find some. What I don't know, however, is any "fences". That is, someone that traffics in stolen goods. Or maybe I do, they don't exactly advertise their services. I've never been offered speakers that fell off the back of a truck, however. Maybe that's just me being naive.

Anyway, to get to my point; turns out I do know fences - basically anyone with an Amazon account, and I know a lot of fuckers with Prime. For the low investment of polyfill bags and other shipping materials, and this one weird trick called stealing, you too can make money online! Just take your stolen goods, send them to Amazon, and they'll take care of selling them for you. All you gotta do is some computer shit, and some packaging, and then send it off to Amazon. Because your supply costs are cheap, you can undercut your competitors (but not by too much) and rake in the profit. Amazon supposedly is cracking down on this but I have yet to see any meaningful evidence of any real enforcement.

The economist article avoids naming names, but what you're looking for to get started is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

somberi 11d
It just so happened my wife and I were in a CVS (a US pharmacy chain) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (think pooches inside Gucci bags), and I wanted to get a Deodorant.

We had to call the staff to unlock small pigeon hole after another just to see what was written on the labels.

As always it is not just one thing - the lady that came to help us was in a Hijab and was studying medicine and was helping her parents who immigrated from Turkey and own the operation rights of that store, on thanksgiving eve.

May be I am Old, but I did not mind the locked shelves after meeting her.

MichaelCollins 11d
> "The stores are insured bro, why do you care if people steal from them? It's not your problem maaan."

This is why I care. Criminals degrade society and we all suffer for their greed.

public_defender 11d
Expert in stolen goods here.

I was talking to a NYC colleague the other day about how there are trends in favor of not punishing people for certain criminal activity in the city. We were talking about driving with a suspended license, but I asked about shoplifting. She said, "Oh, no. That's on the opposite trend. Not only are they prosecuting it to the maximum, but they just changed the law to make it easier to hold people on bail for shoplifting." She made it clear that shoplifting was never a low priority for prosecution, but now it's a higher one.

I understand that the claim in this article is that aggregators/sellers/fences whatever should be surveilled and prosecuted (more), but just wanted to add this tale from the courthouse and emphasize that the street-level shoplifter will be the target of most policy interventions here, which is the least effective and least humane strategy.

axutio 11d
Most of the comments here are ignoring the difference between regular old shoplifting and the trend driving the increase discussed in the article, which they're referring to as "organized retail crime".

I think it's very fair to have differing attitudes/moral thresholds for an impoverished mother shoplifting a week's worth of baby formula versus "a couple in Alabama [which] pled guilty to shifting $300,000-worth of stolen baby formula on eBay".

My reading of the article suggests that the trend discussed is a result of the latter, which is more recent and problematic, and not the former. Comments here discussing the morality of crime or a desire for policy change are missing this distinction.

c_hackett 11d
As someone not from the US can anyone shed some light why deodorant and other personal care goods are so expensive in the US? The prices are so ludicrous compared to the UK that on my trip I had to take a photo as friends would have thought I was exaggerating when telling them!

Take for example Dove Men+Care antiperspirant. In the US what is a rather compact can 3.8oz/107g was on the shelf at $9.55 (plus sales tax). I've just checked a well known UK chemist (boots) and 150ml of the same brand is £1.70 and 250ml is £2.00 (both including sales tax). Not really sure why the US measure aerosols in g and the UK measures them in ml but the price difference alone is jaw dropping.

yalogin 11d
Piggybacking on this thread, is stealing a common thing across the whole of the US or is it restricted to some areas? I keep getting asked how people in n San Francisco are living with crime so rampant and they send a video of gangs stealing from a store/mall.
z9znz 11d
I'm so tired of the paywall shit here.

Don't post stuff that the rest of us cannot read. I don't want to search for the comment with the archive link to get past the paywall.

If it is paywalled, it should only be discussed behind a paywall. As long as HN is free, anything linked here should be free.

As for the topic, I cannot begin to guess why deoderants are apparently suddenly scarce items. My salt deoderant stick works very well and doesn't require a special license to buy, nor does it require assistance from someone to unlock a case.

meanmrmustard92 11d
Some speculated that prosecutors had gone soft on looting after the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. But it is hard to see any such trend in the data: generally states with more shoplifting prosecute more shoplifters

The claim is about the time-series comparison, and the rebuttal is about the cross section comparison. Is the journalist in question stupid, gaslighting, or both?

partiallypro 11d
This is such a big nationwide problem that Target actually mentioned it during their earnings report (this is stated in the article.) Some states/cities have made it near impossible to prosecute these people, so the risk/reward is very favorable to stealing and reselling. Some stores have even closed down in certain areas because of it. When we talk about "food deserts" in some cities, it could one day be we have massive deserts of no retailers at all, and it will largely be a government policy failure.

The videos of organized ransacking of stores are honestly insane. The stores are somewhat powerless because of liability, and the new laws that have raised the level in which the law even cares. I don't think the "broken window" policy is the end-all, it has some problems but allowing "small" theft rings does not generally put areas on a good trajectory. These goods are almost always getting 3rd party listed, be it Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc.

hellfish 11d
There's a simple solution to this: just leave, and take your taxable income with you. If a jurisdiction can't do a basic function of government, why the fuck would you want to perpetuate the administrative disease any further? Paying taxes to these jurisdictions is like enabling an abusive relationship
kylehotchkiss 11d
Target’s cameras have facial recognition. They can even identity people by gait. When these people return to the store, they can probably tell with some level of confidence they previously robbed a target. Why not stop them from entering? Or try to inconvenience them significantly?

Drop a bag of slime on them as they exit? Make the floor slippery as they try to run out? There are smart people working at target; they need to be less shy about protecting their store, which is an American treasure

throwaway0x7E6 11d
>On October 17th the Department of Homeland Security launched “Operation Boiling Point”, a co-ordinated federal and local effort to disrupt orc gangs.

lol, lmao

chriscjcj 11d
443 comments as I write this. I searched for the word "boost" and "Fentanyl" and was surprised that neither word had been mentioned.

There is another engine driving this phenomenon: addicts "boosting" to feed their addiction. Drug use is another crime that society seems uninterested in prosecuting or punishing as of late. Add illicitly manufactured Fentanyl (1) to that recipe and you have an absolute onslaught of retail theft.

In interview after interview with addicts, it's clear that boosting is one of the primary methods of funding drug use. (2) If we are not interested in curbing drug trafficking, sales, and abuse, we will continue to have a huge problem with retail theft. (And also an unconscionable death toll that is growing rapidly.)

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34603876/ (2) https://www.youtube.com/@SoftWhiteUnderbelly/videos

alkonaut 11d
A cheap deodorant (Dove/whatever) is like $2-3 in expensive parts of Europe. That's not worth stealing. What makes them $8 or $10 in manhattan? It's an expensive area and I guess there aren't many large stores to buy from but more smaller pharmacies, but that still doesn't explain why there is a 2-3x price difference for deodorants in particular.
bryanrasmussen 11d
So not getting in to read article - but

Given the amount of theft in America, and size of Amazon's American revenue and sales, can we figure out what percentage of Amazon's revenue is generated from fencing stolen goods?

on edit: IIRC AWS is 70%, Ad revenue is half of retail (30%), that means criminal revenue has to be less than 15% and I would think probably significantly less than half of that even. Maybe 2% at most?

on second edit: I wonder if every corporation has a percentage of its revenue that is criminal, like how processed food has a percentage of bug parts. You would think not, initially, but just voicing the idea makes it strangely attractive as a concept.