Self-service tills? They’ll do nicely

GOODS worth more than ₤3bn are being stolen by British shoppers annually from self-service tills, which equates to around £5 per person monthly.

Around one in four people admits to stealing at least one item without paying, with toiletries, fruit and vegetables and dairy products the most common targets.

And, shockingly, a study shows that theft from unmanned checkouts has more than doubled in the past four years.

Supermarkets appear to be the hardest hit, with the big boys, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morissons and Waitrose, introducing self-scan check-outs in the last decade.

Tesco was the first chain to adopt the technology, running a pilot scheme in 2003, which led to the national introduction in key stores within six years.

Executives hoped it would be an easier way for customers to pay for goods, while reducing the need and expense of staff to man the tills.

However the study’s findings suggest that self-checkouts are costing businesses more money because of a huge hike in shoplifting.

Online confessions show customers have been making the most of the new-found freedom by giving themselves discounts, or passing items through for free.

One woman admits she pays less for Pink Lady apples, regularly, by selecting “Braeburn” when scanning the item through.

And a man said he once asked a member of staff at Tesco to remove the tag for a bottle of vodka, and then placed it in his carrier-bag without scanning it.

A 25-year-old man said he exploits the “carrier-bag” system, in which shoppers are supposed to pay 5p a bag.

He bags up his shopping as usual, but, when the automated till asks the question of how many he has used, he simply selects 0.

This sneaky trick hasn’t gone unnoticed in some stores, however.  Sainsbury’s Local, on Kensington Church Street in London, introduced a “proof-of-purchase” policy for those wanting carrier-bags.

Despite the affluence of the well-heeled area, staff said customers flouted the rules, so the company was forced to introduce special measures.

The plastic carriers were removed from the self-serve machines and a sign erected, reading: “Please ask an attendant for a bag and provide receipt once paid. Thank you.”

The study, which polled 2,000 people, found toiletries, fruit-and-veg, as well as dairy products, were the most common items taken. And almost half of those who admitted stealing, did so regularly.

However the findings do not necessarily mean there has been a collapse in British morals, said experts. Up to 62% of those who admitted taking an item said it was because of a technical difficulty with the machine.

And one-third claimed they had forgotten to pay and realised, only after getting home.



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Posted by on Jan 12 2018. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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