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In the refrigerator she kept their food separate from her "good food"—when she bothered to keep food for them at all. Other kids would tease her about what she was wearing.By the age of 12, Samson was living at other people's houses—with the neighbors, a cousin, whoever would take her in. She thought about approaching the people who were taking care of her for wardrobe money but could never bring herself to ask for things.
To many people, kleptomania—the uncontrollable impulse to steal—is almost a joke. Grant usually sees patients in their late 30s and early 40s, almost all of whom have been stealing since they were teenagers.
"I can only speculate about Winona Ryder's personal issues," says Shulman, "but shoplifting is rarely about money." A celebrity is as capable as anyone else of feeling life hasn't treated her fairly, he explains.
The content of the distress may be different from that of an ordinary person—"If I were just a little prettier, I would have gotten that role" or "Why didn't I win the Oscar?
' Stealing offers—at least momentarily—relief, peace, and completion.
For a few minutes, they've made life fair again." This is true even among the rich and famous.
She loved giving care and encouragement to others, and she quickly became a favorite at the rehab center in Georgia where she got a job. Samson moved to California, got married, had children, and, working part-time, continued to win acclaim both as an occupational therapist and as a tireless volunteer for charities.
She describes her typical day: "I would drop my son off in the morning, then go to Starbucks and take a bag of coffee and perhaps a few other things and put them in my purse.Walk into Betsy Samson's* airy spanish-style home in Los Angeles, and the first thing you notice is its spareness.Crayon drawings line the walls, evidence of her two young children, but otherwise the place is minimalist—which is startling given how Samson has spent the past 15 years.Through exchanges with almost 3,000 shoplifters, he has found that "people who steal have this feeling of: I have been taken from.The question they're asking is, 'How can I make up for what I feel has been taken from me?This well-educated, upper-middle-class woman with a supportive husband and successful career is a compulsive shoplifter. According to Shoplifters Alternative, a national recovery organization, one out of 11 Americans is a shoplifter—a fact that the National Retail Federation claims cost U. businesses almost billion in lost retail sales last year.