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Caroline Giuliani: Why Do Rich People Shoplift?

Call it the Winona Ryder Syndrome. Former New York Mayor and presidential contender Rudy Giuliani’s daughter Caroline was arrested for shoplifting yesterday, which left the New York media in a frenzy and the rest of us scratching our heads: Why would a well-off Harvard student need to pilfer cosmetics she can clearly afford?  Caroline’s mother, Donna Hanover, was awarded almost $7 million when she and Giuliani divorced in 2002 and I think we can assume Caroline is receiving a sufficient living allowance while she attends college. Well, folks, experts will tell you it’s not about the money, it’s about filling a void. Here are some theories on shoplifting:

According to the National Shoplifting Report:

–For some shoplifters, it’s a “substitute for loss” because they believe they were unfairly deprived in some way (a divorce, serious illness, death of a loved one, etc.) This makes sense in Caroline’s case, given her parents went through a nasty public split with her father being accused of repeated infidelities and basically moving his mistress (now wife) into the Mayor’s mansion.

–For some, it’s a “relief mechanism,” much like an overeater or alcohol abuser might use food or booze to alleviate anxiety, frustration, boredom and depression.

–For some, it’s a “justified payback” for all they believe they give to others and how little they receive in return.

Reports suggest Caroline is estranged from her father so perhaps this is a cry for his attention?  Any pop psychologists out there care to give your theories?

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