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Salvation Army photo reveals sad reality of cost of living crisis

The charity shop's decision comes as retailers all over the country report skyrocketing levels of shoplifting.

Aussies are arguing over whether it's ever appropriate to steal, after a Salvation Army store resorted to pinning security tags to garments.

After a photo taken at an Adelaide branch appeared online showing the added measure, it appears people are bitterly divided over whether those suffering financial hardship are justified in shoplifting, or if it's "just never okay".

The image generated an onslaught of debate on social media this week after the photo was uploaded, with people hypothesising over the various reasons management might have made the decision.

Anti-theft measures in charity stores

Security tags are added to clothes as an anti-theft measure, though in this instance it's unclear if it's a result of increased shoplifting, as reported by almost every major retailer in the country recently, or just as a general deterrent to thieves

Security tags on clothes at a Salvation Army branch.
A Salvation Army branch in Adelaide has added security tags to their clothes. Source: Reddit.

When questioned about the move by Yahoo Australia, the Salvation Army declined to comment.

Elsewhere, Aussies had varied views about the tags. Some pointed to the fact that "anyone that hard up [for money that] they need to steal from the Salvos probably actually needs it".

"Can you imagine being dirt poor, needing a new shirt for your kid, going into a Salvo's and seeing a $29 price tag? These places are out of reach for the real 'povos' out there," a person wrote.

Some Aussies say it's 'never okay' to steal

Many argued against that rhetoric, however, saying "it's never okay to steal" regardless of anyone's financial situation. "People that steal from Salvos don't need to, they want to," another said.

"Make no mistake, I know there are truly poor people out there that can't rub two pennies together, but the good ones find the services they need and ask for help, the bad ones steal from places that they figure will have no/lesser consequences — like op-shops."

A second agreed, saying "I hate that train of thought 'if they steal it they probably need it'." They argued that isn't how society works. "If people need clothes, or food, there's places they can ask. It is never okay to steal."

Several people cited the fact that "at least half of the Salvo's stores are franchises now, rather than actual charity shops" and were critical of what was described as "exorbitant" prices for donated clothes.

"They're basically second-hand stores these days, rather than charity shops. It's just that they still have volunteers working there," one person wrote.

"These days you may as well go to Big W and buy a brand new item compared to what the so called charity that is the Salvos is charging. $13 for a second hand shirt? Ridiculous. They have sold out and gotten greedy," another angry user said.

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