From: The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding []

Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:17 PM


Subject: News from The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding


Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter 

March 2013 -- Happy Spring!


   Serving People 
Since 1992!



Quotes of the Month: 


"Spring is the time of plans and projects." --Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)


"Although the desire of acquiring the good things of this world is the prevailing passion of the American people, certain momentary outbreaks occur when their souls seem suddenly to burst the bonds of matter by which they are restrained and soar impetuously toward heaven." --Alexis de Tocqueville


"What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a shamrock clover? A rash of good luck!"--Author unknown



Stats of the Month:


One in five Americans admit to urinating in a public pool; 70% say they jump in without showering. -- CNN poll


50% of Americans say the amount of taxes they pay is about right: 45% say they're too high; 68% say the tax system favors the rich. --2012 CNN/ORC


This year's recent 85th Oscars made history with the youngest actor nominated for an award (age 9) and the oldest (age 86).


$108--average hospital charge for a common antibiotic ointment. --Time, 2013


$1.50--average hospital charge for a single acetaminophen/Tylenol pill. You could buy 100 tablets for that amount. 

--Time, 2013



Person of the Month: 

Malala Yousufzai



When you're feeling down or afraid, keep in mind the story of Malala Yousufzai, 15, of Pakistan--the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban last October for advocating for girls' education there. 


She was discharged from a British hospital in mid-February where she had reconstructive surgery on her skull.


The attack on Malala was condemned across the world and made her a symbol of resistance to the militant group's crackdown on women's rights.


She was flown from Pakistan to Britain for specialist treatment after the October 9 assault.


The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the English city of Birmingham where Yousufzai was treated said she had made a good recovery and would continue her rehabilitation nearby at her family's temporary home.


Malala said she was feeling better and expected to get well very soon.


"The thing is my mission is the same, to help people, and I will do that," she said.


The hospital did not say whether there were any plans for her to return to Pakistan.



Book of the Month:


Recover to Live:

Kick Any Habit,

Manage Any Addiction 

by Christopher Kennedy Lawford (2012 BenBella)


For most of his early life, Chris Kennedy Lawford--a relative of the Kennedy political dynasty--battled life-threatening drug and alcohol addictions. Now in recovery for more than 36 years, he works to effect change and raise global awareness of addiction in nonprofit, private & government circles, serving as the goodwill ambassador for drug dependence treatment and care for the United Nations.


Recover to Live brings together all of the most effective self-care treatments for the seven most toxic compulsions affecting ever culture on the planet today--alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, gambling, hoarding, smoking, and sex and porn. 


In Recover to Live, more than 100 of the world's top experts interviewed by Lawford share their research and wisdom on how to determine if your bad habit is becoming a dependency through self-assessments and symptom lists and how to determine which treatments will work best for you. 



Film of the Month:


"Flight" (2012)

Starring Denzel Washington, Directed by 

Robert Zemeckis


Nominated for another best actor Oscar, Denzel Washington might have won had Daniel Day Lewis not been a "shoe-in" for his role as Abraham Lincoln. If you haven't already seen this film, rent it or watch it on pay-per-view. 


If you're expecting an action film about air crashes, that's just a small part of the film. This is a harrowing portrayal of alcohol and drug addiction and a stubborn airline pilot who skillfully lands a spiraling passenger plane despite being high and drunk. He then finds himself under investigation after blood tests and other clues reveal his problem.


This two and a half hour movie pulls few punches and is a great study both of addiction and the people and forces that enable that addiction to continue. Washington has the uncanny ability to be both a cad and someone you root for. This film examines the costs of denial, lying and telling the truth. 


The film is also is a wake-up call about the airline industry, and pilots in particular, who have drug and alcohol problems which has been in the news lately.


The Shulman Center on the move and in the news...  


March 2013--Mr. Shulman is writing an article on kleptomania and addictive-compulsive stealing to be included in a major book on addictive-compulsive behaviors to be published later this year.


March 21-24, 2013--Mr. Shulman will be in Washington, D.C. attending the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium and networking about his work.


March 27, 2013--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder to the Michigan Nurses Association. 


March 28, 2013--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive shopping & spending at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Farmington, MI.


April 10, 2013--Mr. Shulman has penned the "Foreword" for upcoming book Shoplifters: Are They Out of Control? by California forensic psychologist John C. Brady.


April 11-12, 2013--Mr. Shulman will be attending the Michigan Social Workers Annual Conference in Lansing, MI and will be networking about his work.


April 13, 2013--Mr. Shulman will co-present on relationship issues at the half-day mini-workshop "Living Recovery in an Addictive World" in Ferndale, MI.




WASHINGTON - Jesse L. Jackson Jr., the former Democratic representative from Illinois, pleaded guilty on February 21 to one felony fraud count in connection with his use of $750,000 in campaign money to pay for living expenses and buy items like stuffed animals, elk heads and fur capes.


As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended that Mr. Jackson receive a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison. The federal judge overseeing the case, Robert L. Wilkins, is scheduled to sentence Mr. Jackson on June 28.


"For years I lived off my campaign," Mr. Jackson, 47, said in response to questions from the judge about the plea. "I used money I shouldn't have used for personal purposes."


At one point during the hearing, the judge stopped his questioning of Mr. Jackson, who was crying, so that he could be given a tissue.


"Guilty, Your Honor - I misled the American people," Mr. Jackson said when asked whether he would accept the plea deal. Mr. Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, his mother and several brothers and sisters accompanied him to the hearing.


Mr. Jackson's wife, Sandi, also accompanied him, and later in the day she pleaded guilty to a charge that she filed false income tax statements during the time that Mr. Jackson was dipping into his campaign treasury. Prosecutors said they would seek to have her sentenced to 18 to 24 months.


Mr. Jackson's plea was yet another chapter in the downward spiral of his career. Elected to Congress in 1995 at the age of 30 from a district that includes part of the South Side of Chicago, Mr. Jackson was once one of the most prominent young black politicians in the country, working on issues related to health care and education for the poor.


But as the federal authorities investigated Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois over his efforts to sell the Senate seat that President Obama vacated in 2008, they uncovered evidence that one of Mr. Jackson's friends had offered to make a contribution to Mr. Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for the seat. Since then, Mr. Jackson, who has said he had no knowledge of the offer, has been dogged by questions about his ethics.


Last summer, Mr. Jackson took a medical leave from Congress and was later treated for bipolar disorder. After winning re-election in November, he resigned, citing his health and the federal investigation into his use of campaign money.


After the hearing, Mr. Jackson's lawyer, Reid H. Weingarten, said his client had "come to terms with his misconduct."


Mr. Weingarten said that Mr. Jackson had serious health issues that "directly related" to his conduct.


"That's not an excuse, it's just a fact," Mr. Weingarten said.


Court papers released by federal prosecutors on Wednesday provided new details about how Mr. Jackson and his wife used the $750,000 in campaign money to finance their lavish lifestyle.


From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Jackson bought $10,977.74 worth of televisions, DVD players and DVDs at Best Buy, according to the documents. In 2008, Mr. Jackson used the money for things like a $466.30 dinner at CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental in Washington and a $5,587.75 vacation at the Martha's Vineyard Holistic Retreat, the document said.


On at least two instances, Mr. Jackson and his wife used campaign money at Build-A-Bear Workshop, a store where patrons can create stuffed animals. From December 2007 through December 2008, the Jacksons spent $313.89 on "stuffed animals and accessories for stuffed animals" from Build-A-Bear, according to the documents.


One of the more exotic items they bought was an elk head from a taxidermist in Montana. According to the documents, Mr. Jackson arranged in March 2011 to have $7,000 paid to the taxidermist, with much of the money coming from a campaign account, and it was shipped a month later to Mr. Jackson's Congressional office.


A year later, Mr. Jackson's wife, knowing that the elk head had been bought with campaign money, had it moved from Washington to Chicago, and she asked a Congressional staff member to sell it, the documents say.


In August 2012, the staff member sold the elk head for $5,300 to an interior designer and had the money wired to one of Mr. Jackson's accounts. What the staff member did not know was that the interior designer was actually an undercover F.B.I. employee who was investigating the Jacksons, the documents say.





The Detroit Free Press ran an article on April 28, 2011: "When All Feel Cheated, Who'll Play Fair?" written by Brian Dickerson. The article begins: "


Social scientists who study dishonesty have observed that people who cheat often harbor a deep-seated conviction that they themselves have been cheated. Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has conducted research into the use of prescription drugs to boost intellectual performance, says 'cheating is easier to justify when you cast yourself as the victim of some kind of unfairness. Then it becomes a matter of evening the score,' he explained. 'You're not cheating; you're restoring fairness.'"


Similarly, Richard Hollinger, Professor of Criminology at University of Florida recently wrote: "Based upon numerous research studies, an economic downturn is precisely the time that loss prevention managers need to be most vigilant for dishonesty. These declining conditions foster an atmosphere in which even those employees still working can be easily tempted into dishonesty. The reason is based upon the social-psychological principles found in 'equity theory.' This theory posits that when inequitable situations arise, individuals take immediate action to restore equity in their lives. When retail sales associates feel unfairly treated and poorly compensated, they will take action to rectify the situation by working less productively, quitting or stealing from the workplace."


It may be hard for most company owners and managers to fathom how employees who steal think of themselves as the victims but, in my 15 years of specialized counseling with theft offenders, this is often how they think and feel. For most, their grievances weren't so much with their employers as with their families of origin, significant others, or early perpetrators or abusers and, in a passive-aggressive manner, they'd take their "revenge" at work. This displaced anger and stress happens regularly in life--how many times do we yell at our spouses or kids after a tough day on the job?


More and more, however, our feelings of unfairness, victimization and insecurity have global roots. I sounded the alarm about this in 2005 in my book "Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic" by noting these workplace trends: layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, decreases in salary/benefits, and dramatic increases in executive compensation. Nowadays, many employees don't even see theft as theft and, if they do, they simply feel: "they owe me!" 


What's really making people cynical now is the latest corporate bailout of the banks and investment firms. If this wasn't grand-scale theft and fraud, what is? And who was punished or held accountable? Nobody; if anything, the culprits continue to reap bonuses. Such widespread fraud poisons the psyche of the workforce. By comparison, the Enron era frauds at least resulted in hundreds of prosecutions and prison terms. 


The U.S. Senate Banking & Finance Committee, led by recently-elected "consumer watchdog" Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), recently held hearings (albeit belatedly) into the the 2008 financial meltdown. Frustrated that not one high ranking principal from any bank or financial institution has been prosecuted, Senator Warren was quoted as saying that "too big too fail seems to mean to big to got to trial." By contrast, Wells Fargo Bank recently fired two long-time employees after discovering that each had minor "shoplifting" charges on their records from decades ago when they were just youngsters.


Several years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that 75% of employees steal in their workplaces and that most do so repeatedly. A more recent study estimated that employee theft has increased 50% since the start of the recent recession. This is partly due to perceived financial need and survival but a lot of it is purely a deteriorating loss of faith in the essential fairness of the system. The Jack Hayes annual theft surveys report a "general decrease in honesty in general" as a key factor for shoplifting/employee theft. Yet another study from a decade ago reports that over half of employee theft is committed by company owners, managers, and supervisors--the higher-ups.


In related news, Time Magazine's recent 36-page cover story was entitled "Bitter Pill" and examined out-of-control health care costs in the U.S., noting incredibly padded fees for both simple medical items and procedures that rival the mark-ups revealed by Pentagon contractors a decade ago. Is is any wonder people are upset and feel the decks are stacked against them?


Why do people commit fraud? One reason is because there are poor controls and people don't think they're going to get caught. It's the same exact reason most people speed when they drive their car. It's the same exact psychology: they don't think they're going to get caught. So, that's one reason. However, most people won't steal just because there are poor controls-in other words, just because they don't think they're going to get caught. There usually has to be a trigger, stressor, or event that puts them over the edge; the economy and the pattern of unfair practices outlined here provide this spark.


It's also getting harder for company owners, managers, and supervisors to catch employees who will steal, lie or cheat in pre-employment screenings as well as post-hire as time is pressed and human resources and loss prevention measures are pinched. Studies suggest only 15% of applicants may have criminal records which turn up on background checks. And it's often the star employee who is led out in handcuffs!


Certainly some portion of employee theft may be attributable to plain greed as well as employees at all levels chasing an increasingly high lifestyle which puts pressure on them to "rob Peter to pay Paul"--Peter being their employers, Paul being the credit card companies to whom many become indebted.


So, what can a company or business owner or manager do in the face of this increasingly stressful and ethically-challenged world?


Jack Hayes, the founder former head of Jack Hayes International, a loss prevention research and consulting firm, outlines 7 easy steps to protect your business in his recent book Business Fraud: From Trust to Betrayal. These steps are in following areas:

  1. Risk Assessment/Identification of Improvement Needs
  2. Leadership Philosophy
  3. Recruiting Principles
  4. Management Awareness
  5. Fraud Vigilance Strategies
  6. Internal Controls
  7. Proactive Oversight/Monitoring  

Gary Zeune, an Ohio State University professor and corporate consultant, of, asserts: "There's no such thing as 100% prevention because you have humans involved in every business, every transaction, and every environment. But the most important strategy is 'unpredictability' (keeping oversight schedules and techniques fresh and not patterned). The second most important strategy-probably on a par with unpredictability-is called 'tone at the top.' It's that people will behave the way the top level people act. Seeing business owners use their business as their personal piggy bank-even if it's just a small amount-gives everybody else permission to do it, too. The third most important fraud deterrence strategy-and almost nobody understands this-is the compensation structure. What are people being paid to do? This is different than what they are being told to do. Don't just pay people to do a job, pay them or give them commissions based on results!". 


Zeune also suggests company owners publicize their salary/compensation so employees at least see transparency.


Some other management strategies include putting these words on the top of any job application: "By filling out this application, you are giving us permission to do both a criminal background check and a credit check or whether you are involved in any civil lawsuits." Zeune believes that about 80% of employees who see this on an application won't turn in their application. It's called "self-selection"-they just take themselves out of the running. This can eliminate a lot of problems from the get-go.


A couple other simple changes include having more than one person oversee finances, accounts payable and accounts receivable and having bank and financial statements sent to the boss's home rather than to the workplace where they can be intercepted or altered. Yet, Zeune frequently encounters resistance from companies-especially smaller businesses-who commonly state they don't have the money to invest in good shrink control systems. But he's not buying it. He says it's not about money, it's about fear: many company or business owners or managers would rather take the risk of a long-time employee stealing them blind than making changes that might hurt the employee's feelings or make him/her feel not fully trusted. 


Like the 12-Step group Serenity prayer asserts: We may not be able to control the culture of honesty in the world around us or what hidden attitudes our employees have adopted; we can, however, control the culture of our company by modeling honesty, integrity and treating people with dignity by "trusting and verifying" and doing our best to walk that fine line between micromanaging and carelessness.


"Honesty is its own reward" is an old saying and many of us were brought up believing this. Then something went awry. If honesty was so great, how come there were lies and secrets? The good guys didn't always finish first. At some point most of us learn not to be so naive about life. We learn things aren't always one or two dimensional. Rules, laws, commandments, and guidelines are meant to give us some direction and assistance. But giving up on honesty is a dangerous decision. Honesty promotes: trust, self-esteem, being given responsibilities, good relationships, admiration and respect, spiritual connectedness, serenity, and others being honest with you!


Read article below for another perspective on loss prevention:





Excerpted from an article in March 2013 Loss Prevention magazine, written by lululemon loss prevention heads Erik Newcomb and Rich Groner. 


lululemon athletica is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. We operate two brands, 226 stores, and forty-four showrooms in Canada, the U.S., Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. Through these retail outlets we aim to create components for people to live long, healthy, and fun lives, and by doing so, keep people active and stress-free. Our product focuses on technical fabrics and functional designs, and we work with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback.


As a culture, we are a group of people who seek to elevate the world from a place of mediocrity to greatness. We do this through conscious effort and clear purpose, understanding that people in the world reach a place of greatness through creating their ideal lives in living a life they love. Our aim is to provide tools for people to achieve that life. We also believe in the inherent goodness of people, and that great people attract other great people through the law of attraction. We celebrate gratitude. We believe in yoga.


Our loss prevention philosophy is founded in the roots of Yoga, in the Sanskrit word "Asteya" (pronounced ah-STAY-ya), which translates from Sanskrit to "non-stealing." While this concept can apply directly to merchandise in our stores, its broader and more powerful meaning deals with the way you relate to other people in your life. It is a daily practice. It is a way to being. It is a guiding alignment that all our decisions refer back to. But before getting into the details of how this works in a practical way, let's take a step back and look at how we got here.


Where We Started

The asset protection department within lululemon began in a form that mirrored some of the basic approaches that many loss prevention departments use-theft prevention and shrink reduction through a combination of inventory result analysis, audits, internal and external theft deterrents, and a heavy policy and procedures framework. This approach was originally established and deployed at the corporate level with limited field resources and headcount. At the time we lacked budget, we were not fully plugged into the business strategy and decision-making process, and people had a misunderstanding of what we did.


The intent and tone of our original program contained a list of what to do, how to do it, and what would happen to you if you did something you weren't supposed to do. But as we thought about this structure, the questions arose-what message does this send to the employee being trained? Are we trying to scare people? Does this message really speak to the majority of our people? To this newly hired employee, what is her initial impression of how the AP department feels about her? Are we assuming from the first day that she will steal if given the right opportunity? If so, what does that cost us...the AP department and the our relationship with her? Do we build rapport or create alienation?


In reflection, we had a message that was geared toward the dishonest actions of a very small minority of our people, yet was being broadcast to all of our people company wide. It was a message that wasn't always relevant. In our culture of entrepreneurial store managers, it was often ignored or quickly dismissed.


Our first attempts at creating a new loss prevention awareness program at lululemon were met with varying degrees of success. We tried to tie the new program more closely to our corporate culture by simply masking and reformatting our existing program and giving it a new name that literally included the word culture-the "Asset Protection Culture and Resource Guide." 


We also partnered with a third-party solution provider to handle all investigations and audits. Our new approach was still heavily based on audit, policy and procedure, and it failed. It was still a message that was directed at those who might steal and, because this message was sent to everyone through our training, it treated everyone as that potential thief. At the end of the day we saw the traditional loss prevention norms, both philosophical and practical, were having an oil-and-water relationship within our organization. As an already small department within the company, we risked being further perceived as irrelevant to key business partners if we didn't drastically adjust.


Our revised goal was to bridge the gap between what was the AP culture and what is the company culture. There needed to be shift, a complete disruption of what we held as "true facts" about how AP should work in a retail environment. We asked ourselves if we could create a message that spoke to all of our people. Instead of directing our AP training at the relatively small population that is likely to steal, what if we created a message that engaged all of our employees and came from a place of encouragement? What if we tapped into the inherent goodness that is already in our people and our corporate culture? More importantly, do we have the confidence to give up seeking more control over our stores and people through policy and procedure? And what if we looked to lower shrink through analyzing and elevating the behavior of our people?


Through this reexamination, we rejected the idea that the best way to lower shrink was through control; the idea that enforcement was key. We rejected the idea that we were inevitably surrounded by people stealing from us. Instead, we embraced the fact that we work with incredible people and love our business partners. We believe that people are inherently good, and we treat them as such.


There is tremendous power in the idea that you're in a relationship with people who live in honesty and are in the business of elevating the world around them. What all this comes down to is a focus on the behaviors that are driving individual action, both good and bad, rather than on the actions themselves. What if we can identify, coach, develop, and support situations that arise in the behavioral stage, rather than letting poor behavior progress to fruition and result in a potentially negative or dishonest action?


These questions and realizations were at the forefront of our minds as we developed the current AP strategy at lululemon. In order to drive this message, to bring our company culture and our ideas around behavior together, our AP department searched through the roots of our business and the roots of yoga. We found a message in which we could believe. We found "Asteya" and adopted is as our company philosophy and theme for a culture of honesty and integrity.


What Is Asteya?

Within the practice of yoga, there is the concept of the "Eight Limbs," or paths, to pursue a happy and balanced life. The Limbs give a framework for people to follow a tested structure for living a life you can love. One of those Limbs is known as the "Yamas," or the moral restraints. Asteya is one of the five Yamas; again the literal translation from the Sanskrit language is "non-stealing" or "non-coveting."


The connection from the concept of non-stealing to loss prevention seems simple and straight forward. We talk about Asteya because we don't want our people to steal, thus causing shrink. But this is only a narrow interpretation of the concept, and it goes much farther than simply "don't steal from the company." Asteya is a way of being. It is a daily practice, and we always want to elevate ourselves and those around us and show people how to powerfully impact their lives.


We teach our stores that Asteya is a concept to find alignment with, not prescriptive rules or regulations on your actions. You want to set the idea of Asteya as an intention and then recognize when you're out of character or out of integrity with that original intention and how it potentially impacts your behavior and decision making.


Thousands of years ago, the idea of non-stealing encompassed both tangible and non-tangible objects; all still things people have rights around. This concept could include someone's time, someone's joy, an idea that someone has, or something as simple as the space in a conversation for someone else to speak up. Asteya talks about refraining from taking something that was not freely given to us, and emphasizes manifesting material things through honest and respectful means (through the law of attraction). We learn through Asteya that everything we need in life is already within us. When we govern ourselves through the practice of Asteya, we will enhance our culture of honesty and integrity; thus naturally achieving our asset protection goals.


Examples of Non-stealing

Let's examine some possible applications of Asteya beyond non-stealing of money and merchandise.


Consider this example of respecting people's non-tangible objects. If you're working on a project with a coworker, and you later claim an idea from that project as your idea, when it was actually the other person's, we would say that your actions are out of integrity and alignment with Asteya. By "stealing" the credit the other person is due, you are failing to recognize what they have earned, and you are taking more than you have earned out of that relationship.


Another example may be illustrative of respecting what you have earned in your own life. Imagine that you're in a yoga class, and in front of you there is someone performing a difficult inverted posture, balancing on one arm, no sweat, and she looks calm and serene. You have been practicing this same pose for weeks, yet you know that you can't do that yourself, even after all of your effort. There are two ways you can react, internally, to what you're experiencing. First, many people would approach it with a sense of frustration or entitlement. As in, "I'm so jealous right now. It's not fair. I've been going to this class longer and have worked harder. That person just started and can already achieve that pose." What if, instead, you approach it through a lens of Asteya and gratitude? You say to yourself, "I haven't earned that pose yet. I need to accomplish X,Y, and Z in my own practice before I can properly achieve that pose, and when I do I will feel even more fulfilled because I have earned it on my own and through my effort." In this second approach, you recognize that the reward is not the pose itself, but the effort and dedication that it took to get there.


The concept is first outlined for our employees in their orientation period. Then, when our AP personnel visit stores, we emphasize this message in training sessions on the floor through small examples, or though experiments that help our people examine their actions and behaviors. By showing people how Asteya actively fits into the framework of their personal experience, we can encourage people to begin to use it as a guiding principle in their lives.


Once people are enrolled in what we're trying to achieve, and see the benefits it brings to their life, you can expand the depth of their knowledge and curiosity by challenging them to think critically about applications of concepts in the work setting, rather than asking them to repeat procedural dogma.


Working with the Inherent Goodness of People

We believe in the inherent goodness of people, and this guides our behavior toward people. So, let's look at two ways to alter undesirable behavior in others-(one) punishing undesired behavior versus (two) celebrating a behavior that pulls in an opposite direction of the undesired behavior.


With the first approach, you are creating a fear of an action and an associated punishment. And while this can correct behavior in an individual instant, does it have a long-term effect? Also, consider the cost to the department when AP is issuing the punishment or correction. The department is associated with that punishment, which can create an adversarial relationship between the store operators and field AP team.


Consider the second alternative approach. What if we can remove negative behavior...everything from missing signatures on bank bags to internal simply recognizing great behavior and encouraging more of it? What kind of atmosphere does that create?


We know that it's possible, and in addition to aligning with Asteya, we teach the "Attitude of Gratitude" to accomplish it.


The Attitude of Gratitude vs. Entitlement

In addition to our culture of Asetya, we examine at a behavioral level the impact of the positive emotion of gratitude versus the negative emotion of entitlement, and their respective impacts on the age-old industry challenge of stopping theft. Can reinforcing positive behavior replace "control" over employees or scare tactics? How can we talk to employees about theft in a way that excites them?


To stop theft through behavior you have to examine what is the core behavior inherent in the act of stealing and negate it. If you think about any sort of stealing-a kid stealing candy, a teenager stealing a DVD, an adult committing insurance fraud-all of these actions have entitlement at their core. In some way, each of these scenarios has a person who feels they deserve something they have not earned. Entitlement is at the core of theft behavior, and the acknowledgement of this is central to our training philosophy.


To reduce entitlement we can't simply go around and yell at people to stop being entitled; that only serves to put people in a defensive mindset and builds animosity. If you want to get rid of entitlement, you need to establish a culture that holds an opposite emotion as a core value. That's where gratitude comes in.


Gratitude is a celebration of what you have, not what you want. Gratitude is thankfulness for what is in your life and is a focus inward toward that which is present. Gratitude is abundance, wholeness. Gratitude is recognition of the fact that everything you currently have is exactly what you need to accomplish whatever it is you're after. Gratitude is the absence of expectation.


You can only hold on to one emotion at a time. If you set your intention toward gratitude, it will pull you away from entitlement. It is impossible to live in the entitled mindset if you truly have decided that gratitude is a core value for yourself.


A dedication to a grateful life doesn't mean you'll never find yourself in a place of entitlement, and it is important to realize this. You don't need to be afraid of entitlement; you simply need to be able to recognize when you are in that state. For example, is my anger with traffic because I feel entitled to having my own lane when everyone else has to get to work, too? The great thing about recognizing the state of entitlement is that through that recognition you pull yourself out from it. Part of the definition of entitlement is that you do not realize you're acting entitled. If you recognize it, you're out of it and can move back to your dedication to a grateful life.


Here's the great thing about focusing an asset protection department around training gratitude-related concepts-it's fun, it's inspirational. People genuinely enjoy setting aspirational personal goals and living a life that is full of gratitude. Need convincing? Imagine you're working in a store or office with thirty other people. What does that environment look like if everyone is living in entitlement? Do you want to be there? Now, what does that same place look like if everyone is committed to gratitude? What else is now possible that wasn't when everyone was living in entitlement?


We know entitlement and difficulties will naturally arise in people's lives. Knowing that, our goal is to create a culture of gratitude (which starts with the law of attraction and attracting inherently good people to the brand in the first place), so that when those negative feelings arise, we leverage the inherent goodness within our people and naturally offset the behavior before it turns into action. Think of a teeter-totter where entitlement is never strong enough to offset the gratitude, or a glass ceiling where as entitlement climbs, it bumps into the glass ceiling of gratitude and can no longer proceed, thus not transforming into negative or dishonest actions.


Behavior Is Proactive Theft Prevention

People who steal have to come up with an internal rationalization for why it is okay for them to steal. This rationalization is based in entitlement. Entitlement will show up as a behavior, or as an emotion in someone who is going to steal, long before they commit the crime. You can't flip on an entitled mindset, steal something, and then turn it off. It is an emotion that lives deep inside and seeps out in small, but noticeable ways.


If you talk with a manager who has had an employee steal from them, one would bet that manager will be able to pinpoint where the dishonest employee acted from a place of entitlement long before the theft was discovered. Was it frustration? Was it anger? Was it a sense of deserving that manifested itself into many noticeable behavioral traits in the workplace?


Teaching our store managers to look for entitled behavior is an incredible tool in reducing internal theft, but you can't do this because you want to prevent internal theft. To be effective, the training has to come from a place of authentic interest in gratitude and what it can accomplish for people. From this place people will happily adopt it as a life stance, and when someone is in that grateful stance of life, entitled behavior in others becomes unacceptable and immediately apparent.


When these behaviors become apparent, ideally we can identify, support, and fix things in a behavioral place before they turn into action that has repercussion to both the individual and the company. Let's say someone is consistently late to work. Many organizations might issue a written warning saying "don't be late again or else [blank]."


Within the context of Asteya and the attitude of gratitude, we ask the question, "What is the behavioral reason why this person is arriving late?" Somewhere in their own rationalization they are making the internal decision that it is okay to be late over and over again. Do they have a sense of entitlement that says, "It's only retail, so I can be late." Or maybe "I stayed late yesterday and worked overtime when I wasn't supposed to, so I'm going to come in late today." Maybe its the frustration of "I didn't get that promotion, so I'm going to show them and just come in when I feel like it."


In any of these scenarios, the employee has created a real rationalization in their mind that says it's okay to be late. At this behavioral point of inception, it is neither right nor wrong; it is real in the moment for that employee. Our goal is for managers to identify when someone is out of their normal character. To identify when the behavior is off, and then seek to understand why. Why do they think this way? What can we do to help, support, and develop this situation to a better outcome, rather than have it potentially turn into a negative situation?


The same can be applied to external theft (shoplifting). The challenge in which we enroll our managers includes how do we spread gratitude to all of our guests? How do we create such a fun kitchen-party type feel in each store where it creates such positive individual attention and personal connection to the brand that guests would never want to steal from lululemon in the first place? Can we create this sense of gratitude for the brand in the majority of the guests and our communities because of what it offers to them in their personal lives, which is far more reaching than simply the clothes we sell?


A Consistent Way of Being

In the end the only way this training will work is if it is consistent with what people are already inclined to believe, what they support in the lives of others, and something they are interested in learning more about. As trainers, we have to realize this, and act accordingly.


For us at lululemon, this whole process starts with what we call the "Law of Attraction." The law of attraction isn't a loss prevention concept, but a core belief of the company. It operates at every level of hiring, training, identifying business partners, and community involvement. With the law of attraction, we believe that great people attract other great people, and it is imperative that you actively pursue the goal of surrounding yourself with amazing people who inspire you to better yourself. Consider this-what does it look like if you don't hire someone because she fits a position or a list of qualifications, but hire someone with an inherent characteristic that inspires you to greatness? This chain of practice is core to our business and creates the environment that allows our culture to thrive.


The development of ethical behavior as a business model starts with this law of attraction and flows through all subsequent training and goal setting. It is a model of setting an intention in a positive direction and letting that intention guide all future actions. This allows the inherent goodness of our people to spill forth, and this is displayed every day through their thoughts and actions.


Asteya is a channel for this thought and action, reinforcement to an original intention. Asteya is a framework placed over the behavior our people already recognize as the proper course of action. Through the practice of Asteya, through its framework, we can naturally achieve our asset protection goals.





On December 1, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) board of trustees approved the final diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-V. Set to be released in the spring of 2013, the DSM-V includes some significant and impactful changes.


New Diagnoses

Binge Eating Disorder: Characterized by recurrent binge eating without "inappropriate compensatory behaviors and/or extreme dietary restraint" as common in bulimia nervosa.


Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: Describes children with severe outbursts or tantrums and a prolonged irritable mood. The diagnosis was included to capture children misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and ADHD.


Excoriation Disorder: Compulsive skin picking of various parts of the body with no apparent cause or underlying condition. The disorder often escalates into neurotic excoriation in which the urge to scratch or pick becomes unbearable.


Hoarding Disorder: Previously classified as a subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, hoarding now has its own independent diagnosis due to its unique symptoms and effects.



Autism Spectrum Disorder: Likely the largest overhaul of a single diagnosis, Autism Spectrum Disorder has been changed to include Asperger's Syndrome (now referred to as a form of high functioning autism). 


Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (characterized by normal development until age 3 or 4 and then the sudden onset of symptoms, including the loss of language, motor, and social skills).


Pervasive Developmental Disorder (a broad term pertaining to delays in basic functions). Further classification will be made for each individual diagnosed under the Autism Spectrum Disorder with regards to severity and the amount of support needed.



Anxiety Depressive-Syndrome, Attenuated Psychosis, Hypersexual Disorder (Sex Addiction), Parental Alienation Syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder were among the proposed and subsequently rejected diagnoses.


Other Notable Changes

Removal of multiaxial system: The overall structure of the DSM will be altered with the removal of the 5 axes system. The new DSM-V will instead present a simplified list of 20 chapters by grouping related disorders.


Honesty is its own reward.--Anonymous


Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2013 Events Calendar 


Ongoing ...


The Baton Rouge, Louisiana court system has a court-ordered, facilitated educational program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from Mr. Shulman's book Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery.


Mr. Shulman created a 1-hour employee theft online course with360 Training. Learn why people steal from their jobs, how to deter it, prevent it, and what to do when confronted with it. Enroll at:


Mr. Shulman created an online continuing education course on compulsive shopping and spending called Bought Out and $pent! based on his book and Power Point presentation. The course, CEs offered, through The American Psychotherapy Association. at:





Tom Lietaert of Sacred Odyssey and the Intimacy with Money programs offers individual money coaching as well as various group workshops on money. Check out Tom's two websites at: /



Gary Zeune of Columbus, Ohio has been a friend and colleague of mine for nearly two years. He has been a consultant and teacher on fraud discovery and prevention for nearly 30 years. He is interviewed in my book Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding. I recently saw Gary in action recently when he presented an all-day on fraud to metro-Detroit accountants. 



If you're a therapist and wish to be trained & certified in the assessment/treatment of compulsive theft, spending and/or hoarding, CONTACT THE SHULMAN CENTER NOW! See:



I recently was told about a website resource that lists strategies for cleaning and de-cluttering and sells various books and products that help with this; so, I'm passing it along... See:




Mr. Shulman's books

available for purchase now!




Something for Nothing: 

Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery (2003) 

See also:






Biting The Hand That Feeds 

Biting The Hand That Feeds:

The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions (2005) 

See also:





Bought Out and Spent 

Bought Out and $pent! 

Recovery from Compulsive $hopping/$pending (2008) 

See also:





CLES cover 

Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: 

Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding (2011) 

See also:




Contact The Shulman Center:


Terrence Daryl ShulmanJD, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, CPC  


The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding


P.O. Box 250008 

Franklin, Michigan 48025




Call (248) 358-8508 for a free consultation!



Our Web Sites:

The Shulman Center

Shoplifting Addictions

Kleptomaniacs Anonymous

Something For Nothing

Shopping Addictions 

Shopaholics Anonymous

Bought Out and Spent 

Employee Theft Solutions

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Hoarding Therapy

Hoarders Anonymous


Books by Terrence Shulman: 


Something for Nothing:Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery

Biting The Hand That Feeds:The Employee Theft Epidemic

Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending

Cluttered Lives Empty Souls: Compulsive StealingSpending and Hoarding


All book are available for $25.00 each (includes shipping and handling). 





Forward email

This email was sent to by |  

The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding | 29748 Farmbrook Villa Lane | Southfield | MI | 48034