Thursday, July 27, 2023

Kate Hawkesby: Supermarket thefts are hourly, according to the checkout operators

I was at the supermarket this week and I got to witness first-hand the theft that is taking place on the daily. In fact it’s more than a daily basis; it’s like hourly, according to the checkout operators.

My check out operator by the way, I’m convinced, was some kind of angel on earth. She wanted to help the thief. The guy, who to be fair looked dodgy and if I was in the business of profiling customers who may be stealing, I would have picked him all day long: hoodie, head bowed, scruffy, sifting through the aisles looking uncertain, and in his trolley just a couple of packets of meat.

Anyway he’s in front of me at the checkout and the operator puts through his small amount of groceries then looks at him and says, “Hey I just wanna let you know, you’ve been spotted by security, they know you’ve got stuff on you and I just want to give you the opportunity to hand it over to me now so you don’t get in any trouble.”

I’m thinking - wow this woman is brave, he looks angry, he shakes his head and denies he has stolen anything and says, ‘nah nah nah’. But she’s not letting up. “Hey I want to help, I’m happy to buy you milk and bread if you need it, I just don’t want you in trouble, if you want to give me what you’re hiding now, and you getting to just walk out no issues.”

He refuses, looks annoyed, proceeds to the door, where two security guys immediately stop him and ask him if he’s got anything he hasn’t paid for.

I ask the checkout woman what happens here, have they beefed up security, what are they doing now? She says, “Watch… nothing. We can’t stop them, we can’t search them. We can’t do anything.” He runs to his car and she says that’s the only thing they can do, take a car rego plate and give it to the cops.

What do you think happens then? You’re right, nothing. So they get away with it and they know they get away with it, which is why they keep doing it.

I asked her if this was still happening regularly, she said all the time, it’s constant. She said the new thing the supermarket is doing is attaching a monitor to the trolleys which registers if you stop for long periods of time in the aisle just loitering.

Once that trolley gets to the door, that monitor then triggers the brakes and stops the trolley dead. The idea being that if it’s been loaded up with stolen goods and someone’s trying to make a run for it, the trolley doesn’t budge.

I asked how successful that’s been. She said it works to stop the trolley but it doesn’t stop the people and they get angry. She said she’s seen colleagues have cans of baked beans and bottles of wine thrown at them, people just chucking stuff out of the trolley making a scene as they grab at whatever groceries they can and make a run for it. She said it’s so sad and the staff get abused a lot, but she keeps working in a supermarket because she cares about her customers and she wants to help.

Is she or is she not an angel on earth? She also gets up every day at 4.20am she told me, she listens to this show, so we know she’s smart. And it’s people like her that deserve every cent of our increasing grocery bills, people like her at the coal face and wanting to help.

Isn’t it a shame that more of our hefty grocery bills these days don’t go towards people like her, on the front line of a really ugly epidemic of brazen theft that they just should not have to put up with?

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.


MC said...

Crazy. Anybody stupid enough to do the right thing would face Police, Lawyers then Courts. All for doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that we all pay more because of the mark up to cover theft.
In USA, they don't stop or report on people stealing less than $1000 from malls. By design Anarchy coming.

Anonymous said...

What else can you expect from a morally corrupt society with no absolutes, a school system with no moral compass and adherence to an ideology that believes correcting children will damage their self esteem ?