Shoplifting is damn easy, and you've got to be damn sneaky about it. I'm not going to lie, I've done it a couple of times, and I've done it while talking to whatever friend(s) I was with and them be surprised as hell when I pull out candy or stuff I stole from the store and hand it to them. I'm stealthy and have the right amount of paranoia. I'm also a good actor, even won an award and recognition a couple years back and have had people tell me that I could probably make it somewhere if I tried to pursuit it.
You need to find blindspots and make sure you're completely out of view of people. Also make sure to spot out workers in advance and know what their jobs are. Younger unexperienced workers are less likely to call you out on it if they see you (but I've never been caught).
You also need to be aware of the shoplifting laws in your area. Here, it's only shoplifting once you walk out of the store with unpurchased items. I've never gotten followed, but if you're getting ready to walk out and see a guard or worker following you near the door, it's a good idea to not walk out and carefully put the items back where you found them without being seen or to go back and purchase the items and say you almost forgot to.
You need to know the laws, because they vary - some places it's considered lifting once you pass the cashier before walking out - other places consider it lifting just by concealing the item.
You need to know the store - how good is their security? Sometimes (although not worth risking without knowing) the cameras are actually fake, and many times they only have a couple and they're usually mostly just to supervise the workers and in any case that someone holds up the place or a murder suspect walks in or something big. Usually the places that have security watching cameras all day are big stores and chains like Walmart. Even then, they usually have either a bunch of small screens and can barely tell what's going on and they can't watch them all, or they have a screen that switches camera every like 30 seconds. A lot of times the workers will contact security and tell them of suspect shoplifters.
There might be a couple cameras in stores, but they're rarely in every isle. You just need to find a blind spot, which is easy as hell (depending the store). A lot of times, security costs too much so they don't bother.
Also, if the shoplifter only took like a dollar or two worth of things, they're less likely to call the cops on you because it costs too much (doesn't mean they won't call them, though - just less likely) and they know cops don't like wasting their time all the time for such a stupid little crime. Some stores will just make you sign something saying you'll never come back or pay a fine (if they have such authority) or something.
If, as a shoplifter, you see workers eyeing you or following you around a little bit, best thing to do is not risk it and come back another time. You also need to make sure to be friendly and not act nervous, anxious or in any way suspicious. A lot of stores actually do not allow workers to stop shoplifters (some places will even fire workers if they try) due to safety reasons and because if wrongfully accused and if they call the cops, there could potentially be a lawsuit. They need to prove you didn't walk in with the product, they need to see you pick it up, conceal it and walk out with it - and they'll sometimes bully you into a confession or prove it with video. Just because they have footage of you pocketing an item doesn't mean you didn't drop it in a blind spot. Often times the most a worker can do is remember who shoplifted and stalk them the next time to make sure they get too nervous to try anything.
You have to watch out for security disguised as regular shoppers - they do exist.
It's actually quite helpful to have money with you in case you're caught lifting, because you might get in a little less trouble.
Some people go in groups to shoplift and make it a huge teamwork effort (have one person block, one person distracts while other lifts, one place an item in a blind spot and gets someone else to steal it, etc. Some people will bring past receits with them and shoplift the same item and use the receit as a cover. There are a million techniques on shoplifting out there. On average, a shoplifter only gets caught once every 50 times. Also, once you're home, well, you're pretty much usually safe. If you get paranoid, just don't walk back in the store for a month or two and only use cash. Oh, and the seurity cameras are usually wiped clean after a month or few months and they're not going to review all of them for shoplifting - too much time and effort.
I do not encourage shoplifting as it can become extremely addictive and ruin your life. I do it sometimes, and I understand how addictive it can be and do not recommend it. Also, if you do get caught, it'll follow you the rest of your life in your criminal record.
My 50-year-old aunt was in a trouble-making faze when she was 16 and got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick, and now 40 years later she still gets refused jobs because of it. Ridiculous? Yes, especially for such a small crime so long ago. A person isn't always the same after so long. The humiliation of getting caught can also be quite dreadful.
Also, I can't morally shoplift from small businesses since they sometimes hardly make enough money to get by and it hurts them wayyyy more than big chains like walmart. Walmart (and other big chains) make millions upon millions every year, and they themselves are theives if you consider what they do. Knowing someone who works in my local walmart personally, I know they have intense security and I don't risk it, however if they didn't I'd prolly mostly only do it there.
I initally started when a store ripped me off and also wanted to write a story about a group of high school friends, one of which was a klepto who gets caught.