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Chapters: Dublin bookshop’s novel threat to punish shoplifters goes viral

The iconic store put a sign up in the shop with the dire warning to thieves

Chapters in Dublin

Stock picture© Getty Images/iStockphoto

The dire warning

Sunday World

The Dublin bookshop Chapters' threat to make shoplifters read James Joyce's Ulysses, with repeat offenders handed down Finnegans Wake has left some book lovers aghast.

The iconic store that closed in January 2022 before re-opening two months later, put a sign up in the shop with the dire warning to thieves.

A photo of the sign, which reads 'Shoplifters will be made read Ulysses. If we catch you twice its Finnegans Wake' was shared to the Ireland subreddit - with some joking that the punishment did not fit the crime.

“Please, no. Not again. I did it once and I'm not doing it again!” one wrote, while another added, “that's worse than the actual punishment you'd get for being arrested”.

The dire warning

Another suggested a third offender should be made to read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Ulysses, the ground-breaking modernist novel by James Joyce, marked its 100-year anniversary last year.

First published on February 2, 1922, the poet TS Eliot declared the novel to be "the most important expression which the present age has found”.

However, both novels are often considered to be some of the most difficult novels in literature to actually read.

The English writer Virginia Woolf called Ulysses “an illiterate, underbred book” as she raged in her diaries about the pressure to finish it.

“I... have been amused, stimulated, charmed interested by the first 2 or 3 chapters--to the end of the Cemetery scene; & then puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”

Chapters' novel approach to shoplifters follows the example set by Boots shops in the UK which have also adopted a new strategy to deal with potential thieves.

The shop's speakers telling shoplifters that they're being monitored, and that police will be called if they don't return the items.

“This is Boots CCTV, this store is being monitored and recorded,” the clip, originally aired on Channel 4, said. “Any evidence of theft will be given to police. You are being monitored and recorded.”

Another clip for a potential shoplifter tells them “Be aware we are actively monitoring this store. Put the items back and leave the store. You are being recorded and the police will be contacted.”

''When the staff press a panic button in the store it comes straight through to here and the team is then able to listen to what is going on and make a dynamic risk assessment of the situation in the store and then make a broadcast depending on what they see and what they hear,” Fiona Blake, the company's Security and Incident manager told Channel 4 News.

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