I always shoplifted from a very young age. I got an allowance, but it was never enough for all the comic books, airplane and tank models, and candy i wanted, so i supplemented it. I grew up in a more or less middle class household, what you call "genteel academic poverty"- when i was a kid, my dad was a junior level college professor, and my mom was a newspaper reporter, but there was never much money around. i never saw my parents work 9 to 5- i thought what adults did for money was type and occasionally yell "Can't you goddam kids keep it down a little?" My mom would say in later more affluent years after i moved out that we were never that poor- i would ask her "How do i know what Spam tastes like then?"