Switching price tags isn’t really shoplifting, is it?

Suppose you are wandering through the local department store and see the perfect little black dress (LBD) in your size. Checking the price tag, however, reveals that it is nowhere near your price range. Still, you decide to try it on, along with a couple of other LBDs that are far more affordable.

Sadly, the cheaper versions are ill-fitting and unflattering to your figure. The more expensive version fits like a second skin and hugs all the right curves. You suddenly are inspired to swap price tags with a cheaper dress and save yourself some money. After all, you aren’t really stealing — just giving yourself a deep discount that probably covers most of the store’s exorbitant mark-up on its price, right?

Resist the temptation

While the temptation to save $60 or $80 on a dress might be strong, doing so can get you into all sorts of trouble. Just like shoplifting, switching price tags is a form of retail theft and stores take the problem very seriously.

In fact, most stores will press charges even when the accused perpetrators are teens and the amount of the alleged theft is small. At the least, your parents will be called if you are a minor, and most accused of retail theft are permanently banned from the store they visited — and usually from that entire chain of retail stores.

You could be unfairly accused

Clothing and other items in stores get mismarked all the time and in many different ways by retail workers themselves — and also by other shoppers. You can innocently discover the perfect LBD in your price range and still get arrested for switching a price tag that you never mishandled.

In cases such as that, remember your right to remain silent. Until you have been counseled by your criminal defense attorney, it’s wisest not to say another word.

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