The “big black hole” of self-service checkouts, where customers try the “banana trick,” turns employees into cops, says one expert

CHECKOUT has become a “big black hole” for retail store losses, turning employees into “pseudo” cops, according to one expert.

Adrian Beck, a professor emeritus at the University of Leicester’s School of Criminology, has worked with self-checkout machines for 12 years and has published numerous accounts of the inventory loss that stores suffer when using the kiosks.

An expert explained how employees are becoming

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An expert explained how employees are becoming “pseudo-policemen” due to the increase in self-checkout thefts (file photo)Credit: Alamy
Shoplifters are becoming increasingly sneaky, using tactics such as the

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Shoplifters are becoming increasingly sneaky, using tactics such as the “banana trick” (file photo)Photo credit: Getty

In an exclusive interview with The US Sun, Beck said he sees the problem as a “big black hole” for retailers.

Companies would be like, “How much are we losing from these systems, and they really didn’t know, you know, because it’s quite difficult to measure in a lot of ways.”

While retailers are attracted to the use of these machines due to the lower labor costs, businesses in other areas face losses.

According to Beck’s March 2022 report, respondents estimated that self-checkout machines accounted for up to 23 percent of their total unknown store losses, with malicious losses such as theft accounting for 48 percent.

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Shoplifters are getting smarter in their theft tactics.

The “banana trick” is common, whereby shoplifters take a more expensive item, like a T-bone steak that costs $13.99 a pound, and instead use a code for a cheaper item – like a $0.49 banana per pound.

This trick and others have complicated the job of store associates overseeing self-checkout areas.

“These people are now tasked with being sort of a pseudo-police force to keep tabs on these people who are doing the self-scanning,” Beck explained.

“So they’ve almost taken on a security role that’s partly about moving people through them quickly, but also they’re trying to keep people honest.”

Employees typically have to monitor multiple kiosks at once, making it harder to keep track of every shopper.

Beck argued that retailers had “gone too far” in downsizing their workforce.

He said: “It was a classic situation where they pulled all this labor force out of the supermarkets in particular and they went too far.”

“And I think so [retailers] made it an incredibly challenging space.”

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But Beck says stores are now “putting work back into trying to make those spaces more manageable and manage the losses.”

Beck also gave The US Sun four reasons people steal from self-checkouts.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6429247/self-checkout-theft-employees-as-cops-banana-trick/ The “big black hole” of self-service checkouts, where customers try the “banana trick,” turns employees into cops, says one expert

DevanCole

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