SUPERMARKETS are cracking down on a sick trend costing them over $850,000 in theft and here are some key giveaways of what they’re looking for.
For example, a shopper might ring up an item such as a T-bone for $13.99 a pound but will instead use a code for a cheaper item like a banana for $0.49 a pound.
Other tricks include “the pass around” where an item might leave the conveyor belt without being scanned or “the switcheroo,” in which the peel of an inexpensive item will get placed over the barcode of another, pricier item.
The key is to make sure both items are about the same weight so the “unexpected item” alert isn’t triggered in the bagging area.”
According to anonymous online surveys, these small-time scams are quite common.
Voucher Codes Pro, a company that offers coupons to internet shoppers questioned 2,634 people and nearly 20 percent admitted to stealing items at the self-checkout kiosk.
Over half of the group said they gamed the system due to shoddy detection by store security.
A 2015 study at the University of Leicester audited 1million self-checkout transactions over a year and, out of $21million in sales, nearly $850,000 worth of goods left stores without being scanned or paid for.
The researchers claimed that the simplicity of the thefts might actually inspire shoppers who might not otherwise steal to do so.
Another conclusion found that some retailers were actually part of the problem, creating an environment that generated crime.
The act has sparked debate online with some claiming that stealing from machines is better than from human cashiers.
“Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self-checkout is a total moron,” wrote a commenter on Reddit.
“There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self-checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”
Barbara Staib, director of communications of the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, believes that people who steal from self-checkout stations are already predisposed to shoplifting.
“Most shoplifters are in fact otherwise law-abiding citizens. They would chase behind you to return the $20 bill you dropped because you’re a person and you would miss that $20,” she said.
However, when it comes to machine, Staib says it gives “the false impression of anonymity,” empowering people to shoplift.
Others, such as Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University, says that most supermarket thieves do it for the “thrill” of it.
“Shopping can be quite boring because it’s such a routine, and this is a way to make the routine more interesting,” she said.
“These can be risk-taking, stimulation-seeking people.”