Self-service Checkouts Are Turning Shoppers Into Thieves


They are already a major source of frustration.

But self-service checkouts may not just be sending stress levels soaring – they could also be turning honest shoppers into thieves.

A Leicester University report has revealed that a shop’s losses are more than double when self-service technology is used.

While some of the items may have found their way into shopping bags by mistake, others are likely to have been pilfered – and not just by hardened criminals.

Interviews with supermarket managers and staff suggest that normally honest people give into temptation when left to scan their own shopping.

The lack of human contact may lead some to believe it is a harmless crime, while others may rationalise their theft by telling themselves that a big store can afford it.

And some shoppers may simply be so frustrated with the technology that they feel justified in stealing.

Distraction is also an issue, particularly with the most hi-tech systems in which customers use their mobile phones to scan items as they walked around the aisles.

In some cases, 10 per cent of the items are not scanned due to customers forgetting to use the technology consistently.

And a separate audit of one million shopping trips found that losses including theft more than doubled with self-scanning.

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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Fiona Macrae