by Jasmine Brianna Ellison
Companies conduct demographic research to determine best course of action for business practices, advertising, and product development. This research includes identifying their customers by race, sex, age, income and more.
Large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, use this research for additional purposes, for example, product placement. They strategically decide which products to place in each store based on what residents in each location are likely to purchase.
Locations in predominantly white neighborhoods are likely to have larger stocks and high price point items available on site, whereas, locations in urban communities’ cage merchandise and tormenting locks lie on even small ticket items like remote controls in the electronic.
For example, aisles are littered with security cameras in Hartford, Conn. acting as innuendos intruding your shopping experience, whereas, Wallingford cameras lie inconspicuously in the crevices of the high ceilings. The customers of the Wallingford Wal-Mart shop in an unacknowledged modest environment without insinuations of thievery.
However, studies have proven majority retail financial loss comes from employee error and theft or internal fraud.
The Global Retail Theft Barometer, an extensive report on shrinkage (loss of inventory) cost, reported 18 out of 24 countries surveyed showed that shoplifting was what caused retail shrinkage the most.
Times reported Burt Flickinger, director of a retail consulting firm, estimated that for every dollar in sales, Wal-Mart loses roughly two pennies to shoplifters. Furthering, rivals like Costco or WinCo, lose less than a penny for each dollar in sales. In the United States, employee theft came in first at 45 percent rising just above shoplifting at 36 percent.
A typical organization loses 5% of its annual revenue to employee fraud. Applied to the estimated 2009 Gross World Product, this figure translates to a potential global fraud loss of more than $2.9 trillion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from the workplace and that most do so repeatedly.
These cameras that flood certain locations act as evidence that corporations don’t trust their customers or employees in urban communities. The line between demographic research and discrimination lies in the realm of ethics. Demographics are determined on the same factors as discrimination: race, age, or sex.
When this researched is used to influence movements, create wholesome brands, or promote optimistic message to society; it can be instrumental to creating positive change. However, corporations, like Wal-Mart, harness this research for their own financial success and go as far to create policies and procedures that isolate or favor certain parties based on color, gender or youth. This unjust and prejudicial treatment is the definition of discrimination.