Supermarkets in New South Wales have joined forces with police to crack down on shoplifting at self-service checkouts, but have made it clear they wish they could stop thefts with some kind of ‘checkout human’ instead.
A spokesperson for one of the leading supermarket retailers explained that teaming up with the police was one of the only options left to keep down theft numbers.
“As it turns out, a substantial number of the shoplifting thefts we suffer come from self-service checkouts. There has been a normalisation of it, it’s almost as if people find it easier both logistically and morally to steal from a machine than they would with a human standing there.
“Teaming up with the police to bring in tougher punishments for it is our only option. Trust me, we wish there were some kind of ‘checkout human’ that existed that we could employ to physically stand at each checkout and put through purchases and engage with the customer and look at them with human eyes. But unfortunately that kind of advanced technology just doesn’t exist yet.”
A spokesperson for NSW Police agreed that their involvement was not ideal.
“In a perfect world, our time and resources would not have to be spent making sure that people didn’t sneakily steal an avocado by scanning it through as an onion, and we wouldn’t have to dedicate people to check out CCTV and loiter around to make sure that the profit margin for huge conglomerates isn’t impacted by theft.
But we do it because these supermarkets have no other choice. It wouldn’t be fair to punish them just because they have been forced to fill every single job they possibly can with a machine. We couldn’t stand by and watch them be punished just because there is no such thing as a human checkout person that they could utilise to help.”