Supermarkets are being forced to install more and more security measures due to the increase in theft that are reaching pre-pandemic levels in some states of the United States, and in other countries such as the United Kingdom or Canada.
Apart from the super vigilant camera security systems, the staff specially trained to detect potential thieves, and self-checkout equipment that has facial recognition, there are now products that are trapped in small cages, so that they are not stolen so easily. This is the new level in theft stopping measures.
Supermarkets are applying this polemical measure to stop shoplifting
In the United States, chain retailers such as Walmart, Target, CVS or Walgreens, have generalized the practice of locking up everyday products such as perfumes, deodorant medications and laundry detergents, as a method to reduce theft. Rite Aid Corp. he is also considering “literally putting everything behind windows” to ensure the products are there when customers want to buy them. In some cases, retailers have put more security officers outside, to deter thefts.
Back in the UK, the thing is even worse: supermarkets are locking up groceries like steaks and cheese, and other products like coffee or the most expensive tea options are replaced with dummy jars: costumers have to grab one of these dummies and go to the cashier, pay for it, and ask for the actual one.
Theft crisis: Shoplifting is back to the pre-pandemic levels
Honest customers are the most affected by this crisis. Many of them are forced to wait in front of the glazed shelves, as if they were small enclosures for tiny canned criminals, and it takes forever for someone to come from the other side of the store to open the lock.
The need to wait for an employee to retrieve locked-up items can disrupt customers’ daily routines. This is especially true for those who need to balance work and personal responsibilities, and time is an significant asset. Whether it’s rushing to work or returning home to prepare meals, the additional time spent waiting for assistance can become a significant hindrance.
But what really wastes customers’ time is the new trend of locking up everyday products such as food: meat, coffee, high-end dairy products (such as mature cheeses) and even hygiene products are the categories most affected by supermarket thefts. On Reddit, some customers claim that they have had to wait up to 10 minutes for a store employee to show up in front of the shelf to open it. Some have also said that sometimes the product is not the desired one, then the employee has to return it and close it again. This caused anger in the staff and frustration for them and for the customers.