What does a thief look like? I am yet to see anyone with ‘thief’ or ‘shoplifter’ stamped on their forehead. It would make bag searching easier if they did as only their bags would be searched.
Last time I saw shop lifting in action (witnessed being caught when leaving a store) is was by a respectable looking mother pushing a pram with a child. The last sort of person I though would be shoplifting as it sets a poor example to the children (and maybe sets them up for a life of crime?).
Setting stereotypes for a thief/shoplifter is fraught with danger and would likely end up in someone being challenged on the grounds of some form of discrimination.
Yes, everyone has a right to privacy, however, if one thinks bag searches are an invasion of privacy, one chooses to dismiss this right if one accepts the condition of entry to the property/store and then continues to enter. One had the power to chose not to shop or enter a premise with such conditions…however, it may be difficult to find a shop/premise with out similar entry conditions.
Thief/shoplifting is a crime and is something that businesses should not be made to pay the cost…as in the end all consumers pay for it by increased prices to cover the losses due to shoplifting. If we as a whole took this approach, then it would be open slather for shoplifting resulting in anarchy.
Having travelled recently back from Europe, in Paris one has to show every bag and its contents to security personnel when entering one of the city’s tourist attractions and many retailers especially on Av. des Champs-Élysées. This has included the removal of all contents of a bag to ensure that there was nothing considered as contraband/threatening to others. One is also scanned with detectors (like those used at airports). This is far more extreme and intrusive than just politely showing someone the contents of ones bag to meet the condition of entry requirements ( and allowed for under law as outlined in a previous link).
I think we get to hung up on what is privacy and what is not. Opening a handbag/shopping bag/box doesn’t really impinge on ones privacy unless one carried things around in ones bag one thinks is private and must not be seem by others. If this is the case, I assume that one would zip/lock/seal ones bags to ensure that a passing peeping Tom doesn’t discretely look into the same bags. On the other hand, it may be best to leave these at home as they could be snatched by a criminal and potentially made public to all and sundry when the contents are thrown around.