Major UK supermarkets spark confusion with bag searches for self-service users
Shoppers have been left scratching their heads as major supermarkets begin searching bags after they’d already paid at a self-service checkout.
After one Brit shared their experience of having their bag searched on NextDoor, others said they had experienced the exact same thing.
A spark in theft due to the cost of living crisis appears to be pushing supermarkets to crack down on anyone trying to sneak an extra item or two in their bag.
The social media user said they had their bags looked at the last three times they had shopped at the supermarket chain.
Their post said: “I’ve used self-scan since it started and have had my bags checked maybe twice in all that time until this week.
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“The last three shops I’ve done at Sainsbury’s in Surbiton Basin have been checked, including a close inspection of my bag and sun hat.
“I know this is random – well, I assume it is random – but is shoplifting on the rise at Sainsbury’s and other shops?
“Their staff are helpful, products are good, my nearest shop too so this isn’t a rant. I just wondered if there is a problem?”
Other shoppers said they had similar experiences.
One source told the Telegraph that staff who monitor the self service checkouts had been instructed to “scrutinise a bigger number of customers going through them”.
They said: “There were fears some shoppers might miss an item or two when scanning.
“They were introduced in the first place because often these stores have low staff levels, and shoplifters felt they could just walk through the self-scan area and out the store without even buying anything.”
The cost of living crisis has led to a rise in thefts across the country as Brits suffer from increasingly tight budgets.
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Research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that retail theft has increased by an average of 27percent since last year across ten of the largest cities in the UK.
Meanwhile the Co-op has seen crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour jump 35 percent year-on-year, with more than 175,000 incidents recorded in the first six months of this year – almost 1,000 incidents every day.
A Freedom of Information request by the supermarket chain found that police failed to respond to 71 percent of reported serious retail crimes.
Sainsbury’s have introduced gates at some of their self-service tills in stores, requiring customers to scan their receipts in order to leave. Customers want to leave without buying anything at these shops will need to ask a security guard.
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Earlier this year, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told The Mirror that the barriers were just “one of a range of security measures” it has across its UK stores.
They added the barriers were not “new” to its stores, and confirmed that “a small number” of stores have the barriers at their self service checkout areas – but would not confirm the number of stores with them.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “This is just one of a range of security measures. It is used in a small number of our stores at our self-service checkout areas.”
Aldi has also begun to search shopper’s bags in a bid to reduce shoplifting, although added that it wasn’t a “national policy”, but down to each store.
The retailer said this is only happening in a small number of stores and was being used as a temporary measure.
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