student asking question

What does he mean by "rent a cop guys"?

teacher

Native speaker’s answer

Rebecca

By "rent-a-cop guys", Jake means the security guards at malls, who aren't considered "real" cops. He's saying that since they're not real cops, they don't see or do what cops usually see or do. So, him stealing something means they got to be like cops. It's a belittling term to use since he's saying they're not <actually> cops. "Rent-a-something" is a fairly common term. It usually means that it's the cheap or fake version of the real thing. Ex: We need a rent-a-princess for Lilly's birthday party! Ex: Most of the audience seemed to be a rent-a-crowd.

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