Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

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Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Nov 2012, 10:33pm

How do people respond to the sounding of a security alarm when goods are taken out of a shop without security tags being deactivated?

I ask because of two recent incidents.

The first was in B&Q a couple of weeks ago. As I approached a checkout (surrounded by all the other Diamond Club cardholders AKA over 60's on a Wednesday) a young couple pushed past, obviously in a rush. At first I thought it was just selfish bad manners but they didn't stop at the checkout and carried on running out of the shop. The alarm sounded as they went through the exit but nobody - including B&Q security staff - paid any attention.

Today, as I was leaving a local supermarket, my trolley set off the alarm. I about turned and it went off again on the way back in. Staff interest = nil. I eventually found a colleague - one of theirs not mine - prepared to sort out the tags.

My wife's reaction when I related it to her was that as I hadn't stolen anything, I should just have carried on, ignoring the alarm if nobody could be bothered to react. I didn't need telling that I hadn't stolen anything, but it's something I'd rather sort out immediately, rather than in the manager's office, at the nick or even in the dock of the Crown Court.

If they don't deter thieves and are just a nuisance to honest customers, what's the point of their installation? :?

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby meic » 4 Nov 2012, 10:42pm

I think that security just go on the reaction of the shopper and I would just go on the reaction of the security guy.
If when the alarm sounded, you made a run for it then I guess they would act. Otherwise it is considered a mistake and only monitored.

Thinking from the other side of the fence, if you are in a team of thieves it would be a good way of distracting the security guy when you want to do something naughty.
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby DaveP » 5 Nov 2012, 12:34am

At my local B&Q the alarm goes off regularly. Not surprisingly, no one seems to care.
I gather that lots of less expensive items must have some sort of tag fitted that management doesnt care about anymore.
On the other hand, I recently bought an electric shower. That had a conspicuous great tag tied to it which was noticed and removed even though I went through a self service till.

Big change, for a shop that not so long ago had a member of staff posted by the exit to inspect your receipt ( in the interest of avoiding fraudulent returns, they said when asked)

By contrast, last year I bought some light weight travellers trousers from Decathlon for our French trip. Wore them around a bit in this country no probs. Wore them in a French supermarket and triggered a really embarrassingly loud alarm before I'd even left the till. Checked all purchases - Ring! Emptied all pockets - Ring! Eventually we agreed to differ, but the check out supervisor managed to communicate the idea that there might be a tag in my clothing. I couldnt see how, as I had seen the tag removed at the time of purchase, but that evening I went over the things with a fine tooth comb and discovered a second tag built into a label. So that's a tag installed in a garment manufactured in Spain, was not detected or deactivated by the uk seller, and nearly got my collar felt in France.
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby Swallow » 5 Nov 2012, 7:57am

My wife recently bought me a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whiskey :D This is expensive and comes in a box. When I opened the box the bottle still had the security device attached. Now, I wasn't with my wife when she bought it so I don't if it triggered the alarm or not but she got it out of the store.
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby gbnz » 5 Nov 2012, 8:12am

My local Sainsburys had a regular wheelchair bound shoplifter. Goods stuffed under the blanket, alarm sounding on every departure. It wasn't until I witnessed the second departure of wheelchair and user from the store, that I realised said wheelchair user was thieving :shock:

Security Guard didn't show the slightest bit of interest and have to admit my reactions were too slow to point it out to staff (Though I gather they became wise to it)

Said Security Guard considered me a suspect and would routinely follow me around store, often hovering in the background as I deliberated between this toothpaste and that :!: . Of course as a cyclist I was a suspect character; arriving on a bike, calling into the store six days a week on passing, carrying a ortlieb pannier around the store, occasionally arriving with mud stains on the trousers :shock:

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby cycle cat » 5 Nov 2012, 8:52am

There is a large department store near me that hasn't got any security guards.
I know a girl who works there. People regularly steal large items by putting them in a trolley and wheeling them straight past the check outs.
Smaller items get put in babies buggies or straight into a bag or pocket.
The staff are expected to stop people but my friend refuses because there is a real risk of getting hurt.
She reports any suspicions to a manager and let's them deal with it.
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby honesty » 5 Nov 2012, 8:56am

My daughter has cochlear implants. She can set the alarms off on those scanners just by toddling through them. Generally though I don't think they believe a 2 year old is making off with stuff.

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby Mick F » 5 Nov 2012, 9:27am

We had the opposite problem once. Opposite as in the alarms were going off going into all the shops!

I'd bought an item from the local tool store and they'd not removed the security tag/button thingy. Next shop we went into, the alarm went off. Nobody - other than us batted an eyelid. Alarm went off as we exited. Quite amusing really.

This happened in and out of a few shops until I looked in the shopping bag and noticed the security tag. We went back to the tool shop and asked them to remove their tag. They shrugged their shoulders but did as we asked. Silence after that, but it got us wondering about shoplifting and security issues.
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby Redvee » 5 Nov 2012, 10:43am

There was a large untouched music megastore in Bristol that put security tags in the cases of DVDs loose so all a shoplifter had to do was open the case and drop the tag out, or somebody with a wicked mind could drop one into somebodies bag.

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby kwackers » 5 Nov 2012, 10:52am

Redvee wrote:There was a large untouched music megastore in Bristol that put security tags in the cases of DVDs loose so all a shoplifter had to do was open the case and drop the tag out, or somebody with a wicked mind could drop one into somebodies bag.

I did that to a friend of mine once, peeled the sticker of a DVD in HMV and then as they went through the exit flicked it through. This was in Liverpool and they had burly blokes on the door.
Their embarrassment at getting stopped was v.funny, didn't last long since the guard simply asked them to walk through again and of course it didn't go off the second time...
Childish I agree, but it still tickles me...

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby fimm » 5 Nov 2012, 1:46pm

I once bought a bottle of whisky in a supermarket and set off the alarm when I left. When I got home I discovered (of course) that I had a large security tag attached to my bottle... :( fortunately we were able to open the bottle and get the whisky out without too much hassle. When it was empty it went into the glass recycling with its tag still attached, iirc...
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby Mark1978 » 5 Nov 2012, 2:03pm

Similar last weekend, for some reason my daughters buggy (or something in it) was setting off the alarm in *every* shop we went into in Newcastle. Must have went into a dozen shops, not once were we challenged.

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby gentlegreen » 5 Nov 2012, 4:36pm

I relented and used a self-service checkout in my local Tesco - where I've been shopping for 28 years - they did the "over-25" thing, but the neck of the bottle of wine was obscured and I had myself forgotten it had a tag.
I marched out of the shop, set the alarm off and kept walking. I hate shopping far too much to be prepared to go back.

In my case I had the "fun" of breaking the tag off and getting to see how it worked.... :oops:

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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby Shootist » 5 Nov 2012, 11:18pm

The main reason for shops taking little or no notice is the case or R -v- Self. (Self being the name of the person involved, not me) This relates to the 'citizen's arrest' power.

Most shop staff are instructed never to arrest regardless of what happens, because of this case. The fact that this instruction is often ignored is an attempt at a get out cluase by the store. In any event, a shop assistant's wage is not worth a smack in the mouth followed by legal action against them. Mr Self gained substantial compensation for unlawful imprisonment following this case.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
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Re: Checkout security - supermarkets etc.

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Nov 2012, 7:23am

Powers of arrest without warrant were subtly but substantially changed by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Previously, the broad position was that nybody could arrest somebody who was committing or had committed an arrestable offence (and before that a felony.) Only the police had the additional powers to arrest "on reasonable suspicion" eg credible third party reports. It's also worth mentioning that any restriction of a person's liberty, eg keeping them waiting pending the arrival of the police can amount to an arrest. That situation now seems to be catered for by a new power:

24A Arrest without warrant: other persons

(1)A person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant—
(b)anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an indictable offence.
(3)But the power of summary arrest conferred by subsection (1) ... is exercisable only if—
(a)the person making the arrest has reasonable grounds for believing that for any of the reasons mentioned in subsection (4) it is necessary to arrest the person in question; and
(b)it appears to the person making the arrest that it is not reasonably practicable for a constable to make it instead.
(4)The reasons are to prevent the person in question—
(c)causing loss of or damage to property; or
(d)making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

I presume this was mainly introduced for the benefit of PCSO's but it does give some (legal) protection to anybody making what the media like to call a citizen's arrest. Agreed, there's no physical protection for anybody who "has a go."

Anyway, irrespective of the legal position, I still can't see why these gadgets are installed if a customer (like me) who voluntarily returns to sort out the problem, has to roam about the shop getting "a colleague" to take even the slightest interest. That's what prompted me to post.