Tablet cameras installed at self-serve check-outs in Coles' Forest Hill store. Picture: Supplied.
Tablet cameras installed at self-serve check-outs in Coles' Forest Hill store. Picture: Supplied.

Woolies’ plan to crack down on self-serve thieves

WOOLWORTHS has launched a crackdown on thieves rorting its self-serve check-outs.

The supermarket giant has turned on weigh scales at the machines' bagging areas to catch out those deliberately or mistakenly snaring products they haven't paid for.

The change will avoid overcharging customers because of scanning mistakes.

Woolworths has turned on weigh scales at self-serve check-outs. Picture: Supplied
Woolworths has turned on weigh scales at self-serve check-outs. Picture: Supplied

The measure is being progressively rolled out at all stores.

It follows revelations last month that new camera technology to deter cheats was being trialled at both Woolies and Coles.

Woolworths spokesman Mike Scott said: "Self-serve check-outs are really popular and the vast majority of customers have no trouble scanning the right items.

"From time to time, we see customers scan the wrong items, so we've turned on weigh scales to help shoppers validate the right items are going through.

"We know customers like self-serve for its speed and ease and have extra team members on deck to help keep our customers moving as we implement this new measure."

 

Coles has the scales at assisted check-outs turned on at its stores.

The Australian Retailers Association estimates all forms of shoplifting across the retail sector costs $9.5 billion a year.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said supermarkets were "looking much closer" at discouraging theft, including by using new technology.

The Sunday Herald Sun has been told some self-serve checkout thieves are striking stores so often that staff recognise them.

Woolworths' checkout changes have caused some problems for law-abiding customers however, with annoying "unexpected item in the bagging area" alerts forcing them to get help from staff.

One exasperated customer wrote on Facebook: "You recently added weight checking to self serve checkout bagging areas. PLEASE get rid of it - it's inaccurate and drives people nuts!"

Another reported: "I was doing my weekly grocery shop earlier today and needed assistance around half a dozen times".

Woolworths noted all supermarkets had manned check-outs for customers who preferred to have items scanned and packed by staff.

Coles has installed cameras above self-serve checkout monitors in a handful of supermarkets across Melbourne. Shoppers can watch themselves packing their bags on a tablet-sized screen.

A Canstar Blue survey last year found 7 per cent of shoppers had deliberately stolen an item without scanning it, while 9 per cent had cheated by scanning an item as a cheaper alternative.

karen.collier@news.com.au

@KarenCollierHS



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