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Caroline Giuliani: Why Do Rich People Shoplift?

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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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