Emmeline Taylor does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The number of self-check out terminals around the world is predicted to reachby and some stores have even become fully self service. But for some supermarket customers, the removal of store clerks has been a green light for dishonest behaviour. And they are costing the retail industry billions of pounds a year. Customers are now relatively autonomous in the picking, payment and packing of goods they wish to purchase, but trusting them to process an honest and correct transaction is not without problems.
A few years ago, I was working with retailers in Australia to reduce shoplifting, when one of the major supermarkets discovered that it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock. Puzzled by this development they looked into their inventories and found that in some cases individual customers were apparently purchasing 18kg of carrots in one go.
Otherwise honest shoppers were using the self-service checkout to transact more expensive items — typically avocados — and put them through as carrots. Self-service machines can be manipulated in many different ways. Other techniques include obscuring the barcode while mimicking the scanning motion, stacking items together so that only the bottom one is scanned, scanning items but not paying, or only partially paying, or entering the wrong quantity of loose items.
Those who are not apprehended or punished are likely to revise down their risk assessment and continue to commit offences, so creating a symbiotic spiral of escalating criminality.
Peanuts are cheaper than pine nuts, cooking tomatoes are cheaper than vine tomatoes, and of course, carrots are cheaper by weight than most other fruit and vegetables. Recognising this, many customers switch labels or deliberately input a different item on loose products. So overall, losses through customer theft might be cheaper than the cost of paying cashiers. There are also ideological motivations: a resentment towards the growing automation of jobs, and the domination of large supermarkets over small community businesses.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, self-service checkout is now considered one of the most irritating features of British modern life. Not all crime is rational or motivated by money. Some retail crimes are committed for more visceral reasons, such as armed robbers who get a kick out of the adrenalin, power and controleven when the rewards are minimal.
Recognising that transgression can be enjoyable provides some understanding as to why shoplifting is not solely the preserve of economically and socially disadvantaged groups stealing for subsistence. York Festival of Ideas — York, York. Festival of Ideas — HatfieldHertfordshire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.
Emmeline TaylorCity, University of London.
A green light for dishonest behaviour? The carrot trick A few years ago, I was working with retailers in Australia to reduce shoplifting, when one of the major supermarkets discovered that it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock.
Switching Peanuts are cheaper than pine nuts, cooking tomatoes are cheaper than vine tomatoes, and of course, carrots are cheaper by weight than most other fruit and vegetables. Pleasure-seeking shoplifting Not all crime is rational or motivated by money.It all started with a bag of potatoes.
The Australian man didn't plan on stealing them when he put them in his basket during his weekly grocery shop, but had a sudden urge not to scan them when he got to the self-checkout lane. Two years later, he estimates he regularly pays for two-thirds of his groceries when using self-checkout machines.
The year-old university student has opened up about why he steals, in light of Australian supermarket Coles revealing about one-third of all shoplifters caught in their Canberra stores were at self-checkouts. He spoke about Coles and Woolworths putting suppliers under pressure and underpaying penalty rates to low-paid workers. The Canberran student said he would never steal directly from a supermarket aisle and would not take more than his "moral compass" could handle.
He called himself Robin Hood because "I'm stealing from the rich and giving to the poor". Canberra's self-confessed supermarket thief is an example of people "neutralising their moral concerns" by taking from companies they believe have acted unethically, which was a common self-rationalisation for stealing, according to criminologist Adrian Beck. Professor Beck's research found self-service checkouts could be "normalising" theft in supermarkets.
And he's likely not alone in this perspective, if ANU criminologist Emmeline Taylor's research is anything to go by. She reviewed surveys around the world and found up to one-third of customers regularly steal when using a DIY checkout to pay for their groceries.
Police did not have data on self-checkout theft, but Coles said of the people caught shoplifting at stores across the Australian Capital Territory ACT since January had done so at self-checkouts. A Coles spokesperson said the self-checkouts were a convenient choice for customers but the company was working with police across Australia to catch more thieves. A Woolworths spokesperson said it would "continue to explore all options [for customer payments] and assess their suitability", but the supermarket had faith in Canberra customers doing the right thing.
Woolworths would not provide figures of self-checkout thefts in the ACT. ACT Policing stressed that shoplifting would not be tolerated and urged customers to notify staff or security if they see someone acting suspiciously. Confessions of a self-checkout supermarket thief. Clare Sibthorpe and Catie LowOct 12 Fairfax Media.
The DIY machines are clearly a convenient option for many, especially light-fingered customers. Research shows up to one-third of supermarket customers regularly steal when using a DIY checkout to pay for their groceries.Self-checkout is on the rise, despite recent reports saying that at least two major grocery chains have abandoned their self-service strategies. It's true that Albertson's and Big Y have ditched their kiosks, but they're in the minority.
Although theft could be a deterrent for embracing self-service solutions, most retailers realize that the cost savings still outweigh the losses. And there are a few ways — some cheap and easy, others a bit more expensive — for retailers to help prevent those losses. They include:. It may seem like an oxymoron to hire employees to run self-checkout, but the solution was never designed to run without humans.
For example, a typical configuration is four or six kiosks next to one another with one employee monitoring the area.
How To Stop Those Self-Checkout Thieves
Just having a warm body standing near the self-checkouts isn't enough; the employee must know what types of theft occur at the self-checkout. One common way customers steal is by pretending to scan an item; another is when they don't even bother with the scanning ruse and directly move the item from the cart to the bag.
However, each machine has a "skip bagging" feature that thieves use to their advantage, Alford said. Price switching and entering the wrong PLU codes are also common. Price switching occurs when shoppers simply scan a cheaper item but then put a more expensive item in the cart.
3 ways to stop theft at the self-checkout
Entering multiple PLU codes of the same product should be another red flag to retailers. For example, most shoppers don't buy six bundles of bananas, but thieves will use those PLU codes and then take more expensive items, Alford said. Not only do employees need to be trained to spot these behaviors, they also need to know how to approach a possible thief.
For example, employees might be scared to confront a customer in an accusatory tone, and it's not even necessary, Alford said. It needs to beep. All the training in the world isn't going to prevent theft nearly as well as some of the new technologies now available.
The program, launched three years ago by StopLift, has been watching thousands of check-out lanes across the U. Its founder Malay Kundu said theft occurs at the self-checkout far more frequently than in traditional lanes, whether it's on purpose or from customers forgetting about items.
Kundu's video platform not only serves as proof to convict thieves, it also serves as a training tool. Managers can actually sit down with their employees and show them when customers have stolen from them. The deployment of self-checkout solutions should hit aboutunits byaccording to London-based Retail Banking Research.
That's four times as many as the 92, it reported in Kundu believes that number will keep growing as the technologies to help curb theft improve. In fact, his company will soon roll out a platform that alerts employees in real time when stealing occurs. Cover Photo: Flickr. Read more about self-checkout. How retailers can add the human touch to digital transformation. How next generation cloud platforms help retail thrive. How AI is changing the face of modern web design for retailers.
How to enhance customer service with a consultative approach. Diebold Nixdorf retail expert: It's time to give customers their time back. Best Buy furloughing over 50, workers. Colorado expands vehicle license renewal kiosks. Amazon hiring on once again to handle pandemic's online shopping surge. Amazon sellers get green light to send any kind of item to Amazon warehouses. Motivating Consumers with Personalized Experiences.
Driving Customer Engagement with Digital Signage. Digital signage drives retail sales.Americans are busy, busy, busy. As consumers, they hate standing and waiting in lines at checkout. The want their goods and they want them NOW. On the other hand, businesses would like to cut down on labor costs and redirect the savings to other areas of the business.
The addition of self-checkout as a payment option for consumers. However, with the adoption of unmanned self-checkout of goods, shoplifting has nearly doubled in grocery stores. The degree of theft and the types of techniques used to steal have changed too. However, when it comes to self-checkout, shoplifters are getting creative. This method of theft leverages the ignorance of the machine.
This technique involves hiding items in the bottom of the cart. This method involves a little more work before getting to the self-checkout device. These techniques to dupe a self-checkout machine sound cute and innocent. In fact, most people who steal from stores this way often justify their actions:.
No matter the justification, stealing is stealing. Stores will not just sit back and absorb the loss forever. As companies continue to lose money in self check-out sections, other aspects of the business will begin to suffer if the stores do not compensate for the loss. Whether it is internal theft and shrinkage, mystery shopper services or physical and electronic surveillance, we can provide fast, professional and affordable investigative services.
Call or contact us to speak with one of our investigative professionals today. Skip to content Americans are busy, busy, busy. Banana Trick This method of theft leverages the ignorance of the machine. The Cover-Up This technique involves hiding items in the bottom of the cart. Switcheroo This method involves a little more work before getting to the self-checkout device.
Justified to Steal These techniques to dupe a self-checkout machine sound cute and innocent. In fact, most people who steal from stores this way often justify their actions: Why should I feel bad about taking a couple of items when the grocery store is cutting back on employees, eliminating jobs?
Tagged banana trickgrocery store theftpass aroundswitcheroo.According to a recent survey, 20 percent of shoppers who use self-checkout stations admit to stealing items. The actual percentage is probably higher than that. The Atlantic reports on the ways these sneaks cheat supermarket robo-checkers.
Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. The Gimdow turns your dumb door into a smart lock In the age of smart homes, everybody wants to own the house that does everything for itself. Unfortunately, the reality is that creating a smart house usually takes a lot of work.
Been noodling around with a podcast idea for…what, years now? There is no time like right now to work out all the logistics of turning your marinating idea into an actual real, profitable podcast. It could actually be a profitable enterprise. According […]. Almost all of us enjoy the idea of having some live plants in our homes. Unfortunately, some of us who would like to think we have a green thumb really only have hands of death when it comes to our unsuspecting flora friends.
And the number 1 killer of innocent house plants?
Theft at the self-checkout
Unfortunately, the self-checkout is being abused by people who think they can get away with stealing, by not scanning all the items before they place them in the bag. People are getting arrested all the time for shoplifting. Although a store has a lot of time to press charges for shoplifting against someone caught stealing, Walmart does it right away. They press charges when the arrest is made. Some people who were caught stealing thought they would get a slap on the wrist.
They were arrested and went to jail for shoplifting even though it was their first offense. Most people, especially first-time offenders, are then sentenced to probation and have to pay fines. However, you can go to jail up to a year for petty theft.
Petty theft charges also show up on background check. While these are misdemeanor charges, they stay on your record for life in most states. Some misdemeanors do go away depending on the state. A misdemeanor, such as shoplifting for petty theft, can ruin your life if you want to get a job in retail and other businesses.
Another Walmart shoplifter told police he had dementia and forgets things. There are also new Walmart self-checkout cameras that provide a lot of surveillance for the loss prevention officers. They know all the theft techniques when it comes to scan and go shoplifting.
Their jobs are to prevent theft, and they catch people all the time. Recently, a shoplifter loaded her shopping cart with a generator she tried to steal by walking out through the Garden Center.
Secrets of the Self-Checkout Thief
Once outside, she asked a store employee to help her load it into her vehicle. When the employee became suspicious and asked her for the receipt, she quickly drove off. Surveillance video captured her license plate, and she was found at home. Some people who stole from Walmart thought they got away with it long after. The video records from the surveillance cameras are digitized and never deleted.
An employee found items missing from her department during an inventory check and asked a loss prevention officer to review the footage.
They found two people taking items from the department, walking to another area of the store, and concealing the merchandise into their pockets. Surveillance video captured their license plate, and they were arrested a couple of weeks after the theft. Stealing from a Walmart self-checkout or store is never a good idea because you will most likely be caught. People have stolen from Walmart because they needed a grill, or because they wanted candy.
To see some of the recent Walmart arrests, go here. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty. Signup for the free Sebastian Daily newsletter for your chance to win free dinners and merchandise! Copyright SebastianDaily. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. All Rights Reserved. About Andy Hodges. Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland. When he was age 9, his parents moved to Jupiter, Florida.
InAndy made a career change to computer programming and worked for several technology companies two are Fortune in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in Shoplifting Techniques Labels: Shoplifting Techniques. Some common techniques in the ancient art of retail theivery.
In the unlikely event of being caught, the thief can simply pass off the attempt at stealing as accidental. This method is also referred to as "left handing," a reference to the stolen item being held in the left hand while payment is made with the right. Baby stroller boxes This scam involves the use of baby stroller boxes, which tend to be quite large in size.r/TalesFromRetail, self checkouts are stealing peoples jobs!!!
A would-be shoplifter removes the stroller from the box and proceeds to conceal a large amount of merchandise inside. The would-be shoplifter then reseals the box and takes it to a checkout aisle, where he pays the purchase price for the stroller.
If the scam is successful the would-be shoplifter walks out of the retailer with concealed merchandise still inside the stroller box. Bagging, Simple The '''Simple Bagging''' Tactic is when a would be shoplifter bags the item in a bag that they have brought into the store ex.
This generally done while no one is watching. Bag switching Bag switching methods are generally attempted by a group of two shoplifters. Typically the first shoplifter will have a large bag and gather a large amount of merchandise quickly to get the attention of a Loss Prevention Investigator.
Once the first shoplifter knows that he is being followed he will conceal the merchandise into the bag. Often the Loss Prevention Investigator will miss the switch and arrest the first shoplifter. Subsequently, the first shoplifter may claim false arrest and receive a gift card from the retailer.
Barcode counterfeiting In barcode counterfeiting the shoplifter will bring in pre-made barcodes from low value items. They are then applied over the barcodes on higher value items. This allows the shoplifter to go through the check out process, make a payment, have any secruity tags deactivated by the clerk and walk out without any suspicious behavior. The shoplifter might be working with the check out clerk to ensure the incorrect prices are not noticed. These boxes are lined with metal or some other substance to prevent security tags from setting off the security gates at the exit.
Typically professional shoplifters of large girth most commonly attempt this scam. The use of booster boxes is most prevalent at clothing retailers due to the fact that clothing merchandise can be easily molded to fit inside the box.
Some professional shoplifters have been known in the past to attempt to use booster boxes to conceal electronics and DVDs. Coupon returns One of the more common scams involves returning items that were paid for partially with coupons.
Some stores, including Target, refund the entire item amount, including the amount discounted by coupons. Shoplifters involved in this scam often shop at multiple stores, and have family members return items so that no suspicion is aroused.
After at least a few hours the same person re-enters the store he bought the software at and complains to customer service that the installation disc is defective. Most computer store policies allow same-item exchange for opened computer software, so person is given a different copy of the same software. The scammer now has two licenses after only paying for one.
Double cart Two shoplifters are usually involved with this scam. They fill two carts with goods and approach the checkout.
They load the checkout with the high value goods first. The cashier scans the items and removes the security tags. One of the shoplifters bags the items and places them back into the now empty first trolley. As the second trolley is being scanned the first shoplifter leaves with the first trolley while the second shoplifter stays at the checkout.
The remaining goods are scanned and the cashier awaits payment. The second shoplifter puts on an act of a forgotten wallet. This gives the first shoplifter time to load the goods into a vehicle. The second shoplifter then makes an excuse to go and get her wallet, and leaves the remaining goods at the checkout.