IT WAS a rough year for the country’s largest retailer as Walmart faced several controversies throughout 2022.
Several customers have complained about excessive fees and self-checkout glitches throughout the year.
The retailer has also reported huge financial losses from theft, which many attribute to the self-checkout.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced earlier this month that shoppers could face higher prices and more store closures due to shoplifting.
It comes after the big chain reportedly experienced 160 store closures in 27 states over the past six years.
“Theft is a problem. It’s higher than it has been in the past,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC’s Squawk Box.
In certain locations, he blamed the lax approach of local prosecutors and law enforcement officials to thefts.
“If this isn’t corrected over time, prices will go higher and/or stores will close,” McMillon said.
Still, he said maintaining good relationships with local law enforcement will be an important part of the solution.
To combat shoplifting, McMillon said Walmart has implemented new security measures in locations where it’s a serious problem.
For example, some Southern California stores are now keeping products such as shampoo, cosmetics and underwear under lock and key, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Though McMillon didn’t provide specific statistics and Walmart didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, it’s not the only major retail chain struggling with shoplifting.
Last month, Target announced that thefts at its stores have increased by about 50 percent since last year, Yahoo! finances reported.
In places like Dickson City, Pa. — just north of Scranton — police see shoplifting cases on a daily basis, Chief William Bilinski told WNEP.
The proliferation of self-checkout systems at big stores like Walmart has increased the temptation to simply not pay for items, the boss said, a practice known as “ringing.”
“The self-checkout is where most theft occurs,” an anonymous Walmart employee from Spokane, Wash., told Insider.
Several buyers contacted by the outlet said the same thing.
This is largely due to the lack of supervision.
“There will be more opportunities for the dishonest people to be dishonest,” Matt Kelley, a loss prevention expert at security firm LiveView Technologies, told Insider.
The new self-checkout systems also lead to many accidental thefts, where customers accidentally bag an item without calling them.
“It’s really city by city, place by place,” he said.
It’s also important to note that stores like Walmart make it easy to accidentally steal, as their aisles have all sorts of items for sale and you’re encouraged to use the self-service checkouts.
It’s common for people to box up an item without realizing they haven’t paid for it, so it’s important to keep an eye on what you’re buying.
If you’re accused of shoplifting, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on potential witnesses.
These people can help verify and vouch for you, whether they are customers, security guards or employers in the store, which could help your case if something goes wrong.
If you are eventually accused of shoplifting by shoplifting, speaking to an attorney can save you a great deal of time and energy and advise you on how to proceed.
Walmart also faced a fine after being penalized for overcharging customers through price scanner errors.
The problem affected 70 stores in North Carolina.
The inspections started in February and were only carried out in November.
The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stated that if any of those stores had a more than 2 percent error rate for excessive charges, it would be subject to another inspection.
If the machines report overloading again on subsequent inspection, the shop would be fined and re-inspected every 60 days until the problem is fixed and the error rate is less than 2%.
Reduced amounts are also recorded during the controls, but do not harm the companies.
Fines paid ranged from $1,110 to $5,000.
The 70 businesses affected included 28 Dollar Generals, 18 Family Dollars, 14 Walmart locations, 2 Circle K’s, a Staples, Target, Advance Auto, Lowes Food, Sam’s Mart, Tractor Supply, The Fresh Market, and a Minuteman Food Mart.
While most of the fined stores have passed inspection, some have yet to be verified.
In April this year, the ministry reported that a total of 42 stores were fined for overcharging errors within the first quarter.
Earlier this month, a handful of TikTok users on the social media platform complained that Walmart failed to recognize a summer sale that had reportedly dropped item prices to three cents.
Shoppers were reportedly upset because the items were still on the floor when they were reduced to three cents, but the store wouldn’t allow them to complete their purchases, according to the Daily Dot.
Some of the TikTokers who complained about the sale – which included discounted prices including underwear, swimsuits, summer wear, bras and a vanity mirror – were @hideeblue7, @tishsfreebies and @chelsssfarmer.
And TikToker @bargainshopwithteeyaj finally found $69 chairs for just three cents each after using the in-app scanner tool.
TikTok user @tishsfreebies was successful with her purchases and urged others to “run and score” the deals.
However, she did note that there was one “mad, angry worker” who “started yelling at her for no reason.”
In the case of TikToker @chelsssfarmer, she warned “anyone running to Walmart to get the three-cent items” because the items she found were tagged and could not be purchased.
She explained in one of her videos: “[The employee] basically saying, “I think the home office store was accidentally cleaned out, like all summer seasonal items – like shorts and all that – and that’s why they’re ringing all three cents.”
“And I think they got it and that’s why you can’t buy any of the three cent items.
“They will all be recalled.”
Meanwhile, TikToker @hideeblue7 announced she was arrested after trying to buy an entire shopping cart full of three-cent items.
She shared video of her shopping cart filled with various items of clothing before a Walmart employee showed up to call for help and police arrived.
According to the video, the TikTok user failed to follow the police officer’s instructions and was eventually arrested for trespassing.
TikTok user @latinchic66 also had some trouble with a Walmart store after trying to purchase items at an extremely low price.
She claims one of the store managers “snatched away” her shopping cart.
In general, when shopping for items marked for release at Walmart, make it a habit to check the exact price yourself.
This is because the prices of these items are often listed incorrectly.
You can verify this yourself by downloading the Walmart app and using the scanner over barcodes on products in the store.
The US Sun has reached out to Walmart for comment.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6919110/walmart-scandal-self-checkout-overcharging-theft-fines/ Walmart’s biggest controversies of 2022, from overcharging customers to self-checkout theft