How Shoplifting Made Me Rich: 3 Lessons You Can Legally Steal

Andrew Folts
8 min readAug 2, 2019

After spending my high school years swiping cheap tees and over-distressed jeans, I realized I was stealing more than just clothes. Here’s how I got rich.

I became a shoplifter by accident at the ripe old age of seven.

It was hardly an Ocean’s Eleven operation. While my mom was browsing for clothes, I wandered off and became fascinated with one of the clips from an empty clothes hanger. I pocketed the thing and forgot all about it until we got to the car: “Look at this cool clippy thing I found!”

Mom wasn’t impressed. She frog-marched me straight back into the store.

Had I been forced to hand it to a clerk, I think I would have died of embarrassment right on the spot (I was super-shy at the time)— but my howls of terror must have conveyed the proper amount of suffering, so my mom settled for watching me put the clip back where I found it.

In retrospect, I like to think the empty hanger was left by some former shoplifter, like a ghost that would haunt the next passerby. And although it would be more than ten years before I stole anything again, I couldn’t shake the feeling of that experience. I wanted more, and I was going to get it.

Elementary Conformity



Andrew Folts

Author of 365 Comics. Writer, illustrator, and barefoot runner slinging minimalist hacks for creative rebels.