Self-service check-outs at supermarkets save time for customers and wages for the business but they also provide opportunities for the dishonest.
Expensive fruit and vegetables are keyed in as cheaper ones; the inexpensive bottle of wine is scanned, the dearer one put in the bag and the cheaper one scanned again.
These are just a couple of the tricks a supermarket owner told me his staff had caught customers trying.
One or two items is bad enough. Some opportunistic shoppers took advantage of an electronic glitch which opened a Hamilton Pak and Save supermarket with no staff and turned it into Pak and Steal:
“I actually believe a lot of these people just came in today innocently to shop,” says security guard Basil Way.
He’s been reviewing the footage of the confused shoppers.
“People have the opportunity to be honest, or be dishonest. Or just run for the hills,” he says.
Management says it’s highly embarrassed by what’s happened and says thanks to a quick police response – they didn’t lose too much.
The management says if any of the thieves come in and pay for what they took, the money will be donated to the Red Cross for Christchurch.
And it warns that it already knows who some of them are, because they’re regular customers.
What saddened me more was that some people who were asked what they’d have done had they found the shop unstaffed appeared to find nothing wrong in the thefts and said they’d have taken the groceries too.
That makes them not only dishonest but unashamed to admit it on national television.
Is it too much to hope they are a tiny minority or is honesty no longer the norm?