We have seen the future, and it sucks.

The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery

4th February 2018

Read it.

eneath the bland veneer of supermarket automation lurks an ugly truth: There’s a lot of shoplifting going on in the self-scanning checkout lane. But don’t call it shoplifting. The guys in loss prevention prefer “external shrinkage.”

Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is “the banana trick.” If a can of Illy espresso leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, that’s called “the pass around.” “The switcheroo” is more labor-intensive: Peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the bar code of something pricey. Just make sure both items are about the same weight, to avoid triggering that pesky “unexpected item” alert in the bagging area.

One Response to “The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery”

  1. RealRick Says:

    An old girlfriend used to work as a cashier in a grocery store. One of the other ladies had particularly sharp fingernails and when they got hungry, they’d send sharp nails to check the aisles for cookies that were “open”. She’d find whatever they sent her for – say, Oreos – and puncture the wrapper as she picked it up.

    As for anti-theft, one of the training videos Walmart uses shows a cashier stealing small amounts of money. Because that area is heavily covered with cameras, the store was able to wait for weeks until he had stolen enough money to make it a felony when they had him arrested, just so they could scare the other employees.

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