At Duane Reade’s store in the Port Authority bus depot, the shelf-stable product — only $3.99 a can — is now being stocked in plastic, anti-theft cases.
“I’ve never seen that before!” one cashier laughed while using a magnet to remove a can of Spam from its cage.
The cashier was among the employees, tourists and store regulars stunned that the iconic blue-and-yellow cans are now being kept under lock-and-key — some even poking fun at the sight as “a sort of Jeff Koons homage,” per one viral tweet.
As prices and crime skyrocket, New York City stores have taken to locking up staples like toothpaste and soap to prevent crooks from stealing and then hawking the products on the sidewalk or online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
The employee’s complaints were prescient: At around 7 p.m. on Thursday, a man in a black tank top and gray sweatpants had an employee unlock the glass case for a $38 electric razor, and then bolted with the appliance past a yellow-shirted security guard and out the door.
With inflation out of control — the consumer price index spiked 9.1 percent in June compared to a year ago, even as President Biden this week refused to acknowledge the nation is in a recession despite the economy contracting two quarters in a row — emboldened thieves have found a ready market for discounted stolen goods among recession-weary consumers.
The thoroughly revamped loss-prevention regime at the Port Authority Duane Reade has finally created something of beauty, a sort of Jeff Koons homage. pic.twitter.com/gtlpzY2l9G
— willy 🌜💧 (@willystaley) July 28, 2022