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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Have You No Shame? Shoplifting

Yet another installment of Have You No Shame? My previous posts were all about fraud against the government advertised in public. But this one is about ripping off a real person, a small business owner. See Rabbi Fink at Dov Bear regarding sheitel theft.

For years I've heard about people making returns of used items and how many frum clothing retailers will no longer accept returns because women would buy clothing, wear it once, and then bring it back. Now a report about sheitel theft of multi-thousand dollar wigs.

I guess we have moved from ripping off anonymous taxpayers, to petty theft, to full fledged grand larceny. I guess none of the thieves are brazen enough *yet* to mug a women for her wig. Strange world we live in.

29 comments:

tesyaa said...

When I saw the post at DovBear (you don't have a link) I could believe it, because about a month ago I actually saw a post on our local Jewish message board from a shaitel seller desperately looking for the woman who bought an expensive shaitel with a bad check. I'm convinced that the mega-expensive shaitel is a sign of today's affluence and/or easy credit society. 21 years ago when I got married my friends and I were all very happy with out of the box wigs that averaged $250 and lasted a couple of years. And I am sure that the $50 mail-order wigs that are available today would be acceptable in any workplace. It's our Jewish neighbors who we need to impress that we wear the custom wigs for. I am as guilty as anyone else, though I take extra good care of my wigs and make them last a little longer than most people. If I didn't work in a corporate environment I am sure I would have very little use for a wig. When I see an Israeli woman at a wedding in a lovely scarf I am always impressed with the real beauty I see in her face instead of the fake hair beauty the rest of us are wearing.

See, I closed my blog but I am still opinionated :)

Orthonomics said...

Thanks for pointing out that I missed the link. Glad you are still here in cyberspace. :)

mlevin said...

Why did you close your blog?

tesyaa said...

mlevin, mostly personal reasons and lack of time

tovarena said...

tesyaa, having worn both custom and (relatively) inexpensive out of the box shaitels, there are major differences that having nothing to do with impressing the neighbors. Yes, it's nice to look good, but for me, comfort is what keeps me going back to custom sheitels.
I happen to have a particularly large head. The first out of the box that my parents bought for me before I got married was specifically purchased with an extra large cap. But even so, for the first two months of marriage until my custom came in, I wore it every day and would come home crying and couldn't get it off my head quickly enough.

Fortunately, I was able to make the custom last me for nine and a half years, so I don't even particularly feel bad about the purchase. And the custom we replaced it with this past summer was half the price of the original - 10 years later.

OTOH, sheitel theft?? Oy! I have to agree with the author of the article that stealing an item for use as a mitzva just completely misses the point.

aaron from L.A. said...

One way to stop theft might be to write "V'yesh nohagim lo lignov"(some have the custom of not stealing)...nobody seems to pay attention to the torah's prohibition any more.But make it a minhag or a chumra,and things might change.

ProfK said...

tovarena,
There's another alternative for you. Buy the boxed shaitle and then take it to a shaitle macher to have the netting adjusted--it can be done for relatively little money, certainly for far less than a custom shaitle costs.

Zach Kessin said...

I would recomend to some of the merchants not letting merchandice walk out of the store without a 100% deposit. And for the people who do bounce checks or the like CALL THE COPS. 90 days in jail might do some of these people a lot of good.

yagayaga said...

reminds me of my husbands story about this guy in yeshiva putting his milk in the common fridge marked with his name, and it would always get stolen. one day he got smart and wrote "chalav stam" on his milk container, that day it didnt get stolen.
all they need to do is say "contains Indian hair" on the tag, problem solved.

Mystery Woman said...

Yagayaga...do you realize how incredibly sad that is?

Anonymous said...

Just another sign that the Orthodox world is geeting increasingly desperate for money.


Will Orthodoxy decline rdramatically as jewish day school go bankrupt due to financial reasons?

yagayaga said...

of course I do.

Ariella said...

Bounced checks are not only a problem with sheitels. I was told by a silver seller that someone bounced a check on him twice. What amazed him was not just the check bouncing (I think the money was, eventually, reimbursed) but that the same person has the audacity to ask him to do advertising business with him.

Tesya, I agree with you 100%. BTW why did you close your blog? I've been trying to go on and only get the message that it is only open to invited readers.

tesyaa said...

Hi Ariella, I just stopped blogging last week because of lack of time - it was becoming too much of a job. But it was fun for awhile. I'm not planning to start blogging again, but if I do I'll open it up to everyone.

anon1 said...

How many husbands would object to their wife's wearing a Paula Young wig or a tichel? I don't get the sense that the expensive sheitel industry has much at all to do with pleasing one's husband.

Anonymous said...

"having worn both custom and (relatively) inexpensive out of the box shaitels, there are major differences that having nothing to do with impressing the neighbors. Yes, it's nice to look good, but for me, comfort is what keeps me going back to custom sheitels.
I happen to have a particularly large head."


I agree with you and find it annoying when people make stupid comments like we buy custom sheitels for the neighbors (eye roll). I am married for 22 years and I got married with an expensive, custom measured for my large head sheitel that was marvelous. My mother then bought me another one, even more expensive, which is very comfortable. Comfort is all-important. It includes physical comfort and feeling good about how you look. If you can be comfortable in a synthetic $50 wig, great. If I can maintain a very expensive wig for over a decade and enjoy its fit and look, good for me.
How long does a $50 wig last? I am told 4-6 months. Let's say, two $50 wigs a year, that's $1000 for ten years. Well then, perhaps a wig made of quality European hair that is comfortable and looks good and lasts for a decade is a better buy.

Ariella said...

I also have a large head but have always made do with non-custom wigs. Some do come with larger cap sizes. You can get a custom sized cap on a non-custom wig, for far less than a real custom wig. But if you are talking about a real custom wig, the costs generally START at $2000. On your math of cost, you forget that most owners of customs sheitels, generally bring it in for professional wash and sets 4-6 times a year at $30-$60 a pop. That means that the maintenance cost is not zero but $120-$360 a year. It is possible to wash one's own sheitel, but usually those who make a larger investment in the sheitel do get professional services. In any case, most women don't keep their wigs for a full decade -- even if the more expensive ones. And I've seen more than one woman trying to unload a sheitel she shelled out $1200 or more for and decided she didn't like after a couple of wearings.
The difference for Paula Young type wigs -- my mother buys some -- is that they have less hair (synthetic) and have less depth to the color, so they do look and feel less natural. But synthetic wigs do hold curl better than human hair that has been styled with a curling iron.

Anonymous said...

"On your math of cost, you forget that most owners of customs sheitels, generally bring it in for professional wash and sets 4-6 times a year at $30-$60 a pop."

Nope. No way do I bring in my custom sheitel or any of my sheitels that often. Once a year, maybe. The more you wash and blowdry a sheitel the more worn out it gets, so I avoid it. Probably the same reason my wigs last as long as they do. And it costs $35-40 when I've done it.

As for how long to keep a sheitel, it's a silly question to ask how long someone has a sheitel when you don't know how often they wear it. Do they wear it daily, all day? Do they wear it only on Shabbos and special occasions? Makes a huge difference, of course!

The question "how old is your sheitel" is meaningful only if "how often do you wear it" is asked too.

Anonymous said...

I just retired (after 30 years) as an electrician. If I told you how many bounced checks, non-paid accounts and outright refusals to pay for my services I had encountered in Boro Park & Flatbush you'd throw up. I am referring to my "frum"customers. The non-Jews usually paid on time & w/o any BS. I realize this doesn't have much to do with shaitels but the idea of not paying is still painful. PS I paid for my wife's wigs before we left the store. Hashem yirachem.

JR said...

SL - What to'eles (purpose) sanctioned by halacha allows you to post this lashon hara and allow lashon hara comments?

Lashon hara is defined as derogatory and true. Even if what is posted is true, there are halachic guidelines as to when and how you can repeat the information. Did you look up the halacha before posting? What about the comments? You are responsible for lashon hara on your blog if you don't censor comments.

Orthonomics said...

JR-I take your feedback very seriously, but there is a large problem within non-profits, as well as frum businesses, with theft. Internal controls tend to be weak within shuls. We tend to extend trust to people within the kehilla because they are frum. I have a client that has extended me power that I would recommend against (I told the client so because I feel it right to warn the client that the practice they want to engage in is bad policy. I believe I am trustable, but if they were to give someone else this power, bad things could happen).

Business owners should have information available to them so they can protect themselves. If a sheitel macher is reading this, they might reconsider a faulty practice and tighten up internal controls to protect themselves, the vendors they have to pay, and their clients who would never, in a million years, think of engaging in such a practice, but end up paying the price when good people close shop.

I don't think the Gemorrah discusses making a beracha on a lulav because it is hypothetical.

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JR said...

Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, the Rov of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, NJ. wrote this:

"Yesterday, a young man who works in construction asked me the following question.

"He works for a Jewish contractor however; he is the only Jewish worker in the crew. The other men are Latino. The young man explained to me that every morning the crew meets and they are given their assignment for the day. In general the contractor gives them eight hours worth of work. They are expected to be at the site at 8:00 a.m. and are expected to stay on task until 4:00 p.m. when the work day ends. They are paid by the hour.

"Yesterday, he told me that they were able to finish their work at 2:00 p.m. The older Latino workers packed up and were going to leave. Before leaving for the day, they looked at the younger Jewish worker and told him, “Don’t tell Morris (the boss) that we left early. If he asks where we were at 3:15 pm when he usually comes by to check, just say we were on a break.”

"The young man came to me yesterday and asked, “Am I obligated to tell Morris that we left early? After all, how can I take a pay check at the end of the week for working eight hours today when in reality I only worked six hours today? Isn’t that geneiva(stealing)?”

"As I looked at this young Jewish man who works hard for his money day in and day out, I was filled with a sense of pride. Here is a young Jewish man who works honestly and wants only to be paid for the hours he worked and not for the hours he has not worked!"

So instead of swapping 'bad Jews' stories, how about 'good Jews" stories?