When Tony Blair came to power in 1997, there were 129 shoplifters in prison; now there are 1,400.
This dark side of our consumer culture is hardly ever discussed. Prison is an easy way to deal with the symptom, but few want to look at the causes of empty lives and useless materialistic hopes; at the other side of a society constructed and run on the assumption that the more we buy, the happier and freer we become. Shoplifters expose the fraud of turbo-consumerism. They lift not just the goods but the lid on the system, exposing its intent to sell us stuff we don’t need by exploiting our anxieties and insecurities. They are what we could be if we don’t keep ourselves in check. They hold up a mirror to us, showing us the horror of what happens when shopping goes wrong; the ugly, dark and disownable side of the shopping myth.