Here’s how Walmart and Kroger customers justify stealing at self-checkouts

A SUPERMARKT expert has revealed how Walmart and Korger customers accused of self-checkout theft justify their actions.

According to a recent study, there has been a sharp rise in alleged “checkout thefts” at supermarkets in the US, finding that shoppers are four times more likely to steal from a self-service terminal than from a human cashier.

According to a recent study, there is an increase in shoppers who admit to having stolen from supermarkets


According to a recent study, there is an increase in shoppers who admit to having stolen from supermarketsPhoto credit: Getty

And while there have been many instances where buyers have claimed it wasn’t their fault, for others it was an open secret.

“Anyone who pays more than half their stuff at a self-checkout is a complete idiot,” wrote one brazen Reddit shopper, according to a 2018 article in The Atlantic.

While a survey of 2,634 shoppers found that nearly 20% admitted to theft at a self-checkout.

Experts like Christopher Andrews, an assistant professor of sociology at Drew University in New Jersey, believe shoppers feel justified because retailers are using the devices to cut jobs.

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He also suggested that consumers should convince themselves that they “earn an item or two for free” as they need to bag and check their own purchases.

The most common, as reported by Gap Solutions, are:

  • Swap barcodes on items.
  • Scan higher-priced fruits and vegetables than lower-cost varieties.
  • Do not scan item and place in bag already packed.

According to Courier Journal, Walmart and stores like Kroger have slowly expanded their self-checkout offerings as they seek savings from paid tellers.

Just last month, Walmart announced it would be adding more self-checkout lanes as part of an $85 million project.

Bosses said the changes would “create an updated experience for customers” and save them “time and money.”

However, attorney Carrie Jernigan has warned customers not to use the self-checkout, saying they could be forced to pay thousands.

She claimed store bosses would reach out to old customers when they review lost inventory – months after the item left the premises.

Jernigan categorized shoppers caught at self-checkout into three groups.

She said: “The first group of people to be charged with self-checkout shoplifting are (sic) people who go into stores with intent to steal.

“The second group of people who take up this charge, I will call accidental theft.

“These are the people I really think just forgot to scan an item.”

She continued, “Usually it was something that was on the bottom shelf of the car, or let’s say a DVD that slipped under the purse and when they go out, asset protection stops them.”

The warning came amid calls for self-checkout regulation after 62 people who visited the same Walmart supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, were arrested for theft between January 2021 and April 2022.

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Many of the defendants say they forgot to scan an item and were fined with a ticket.

A Walmart spokesman told KGUN9: “ When necessary, we reach out to law enforcement as part of our commitment to meeting our customers’ and employees’ expectations for a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.” Here’s how Walmart and Kroger customers justify stealing at self-checkouts


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