Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Invoice scanners at Loblaw criticized by customers

In order to fight against theft in its stores, Loblaw is testing receipt scanners in four of its establishments.

Radio-Canada

Loblaw is testing scanners that prevent customers who have used self-checkout from leaving the store without scanning their bill under the scanner. However, customers consider this practice to be “intrusive” and that it sows “chaos”.

It's very intrusive. “It makes you feel like a thief,” said Paul Zemaitis, who recently spotted an optical reader in his Zehrs store – a chain owned by Loblaw – in Woodstock, in southwest Texas. x27;Ontario.

He says that when leaving the self-service area, he did not notice the device and so pushed the exit door, which triggered a loud alarm.

What's going on? I already paid, he told himself. An employee then helped him get his receipt verified so he could leave without setting off the alarm.

This is not a customer friendly method.

A quote by Paul Zemaitis, customer of Zehrs in Woodstock

Invoice scanners: not very effective in preventing theft, according to an expert.BROADCAST HERE FIRST.In the mosaic.

Invoice scanners: not very effective in preventing theft, according to an expert

Listen to the audio (Invoice scanners: not very effective in preventing theft, according to an expert. 14 minutes 23 seconds)

It's causing so much chaos, adds another customer.

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Some people, particularly elderly people, did not notice the checker, pushed the barrier and set off the alarm, remarks Jonathan Hayes, another customer.

There were alarms going off every two minutes, he laments, adding that this slowed down the exit of customers from the store.

The Grocery prices have increased by 22.5% since 2020, according to Statistics Canada.

Times are tough right now, says Jonathan Hayes. Forcing consumers to use a receipt scanner is sort of picking on someone who is already on the floor.

Several major retailers in Canada and the United States have strengthened security to combat theft, while some are adding self-checkouts in stores.

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The price of groceries has been increasing since 2020, according to Statistics Canada.

In the past year, the Retail Council of Canada has repeatedly reported that shoplifting is on the rise, partly due to inflation. Recent data from Statistics Canada shows that the number of shoplifting increased by 31% between 2021 and 2022.

Some studies also suggest that self-checkout theft is a growing problem as customers scan their items themselves, sometimes away from the watchful eye of staff.

A Loblaw spokeswoman attributes the major responsibility for shoplifting to organized crime. These groups, indicates Catherine Thomas by email, represent a serious problem which is only getting worse. However, it does not provide additional details or data to support its statement.

We are working hard to find a balance between need increased security and maintaining a welcoming and friendly experience for customers, she added.

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Loblaw, owner of several grocery chains, has been testing receipt checkers in some stores.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agri-food analysis laboratory at Dalhousie University, explains that there are groups who steal thousands of dollars worth of products and that, often, these thefts are very well organized and involve even some employees. That's the real problem, he says.

It's important to differentiate between theft out of desperation, driven by price raised food, and organized theft, according to him.

Will organized crime be deterred or discouraged by the mechanisms we see at the entrance and exit of stores? I'm not sure.

A quote from Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agri-food analysis laboratory at Dalhousie University

Customers already feel trapped enough by high prices, says Daniel Tsai, a Toronto-based consumer advocate and assistant professor at Queen's University's Smith School of Business. p>Open in full screen mode

Consumer advocate Daniel Tsai believes Loblaw is going too far. (File photo)

The fact that ordinary consumers feel like criminals, that's a step too far.

A quote from Daniel Tsai, consumer advocate and professor at Queen's University

Mr. Tsai, who is also a lawyer, says retailers cannot legally control receipts or prevent customers from leaving the store unless they have proof of wrongdoing .

If they stop you and you feel like you don't have the option to leave, and that there is no reason for them to detain you, it can be considered wrongful imprisonment, he explains.

Sylvain Charlebois also emphasizes that certain errors can infiltrate the process and this can have consequences on the reputation of a company.

There could be have a purely human error and, all of a sudden, we report in a very public way an error which could imply that the person stole, but in fact, it is a person who simply made a mistake . So that's why you often have to be careful.

Pointing the finger at certain people in a wrongful way is extremely dangerous in my opinion. reputational point of view.

CBC asked Loblaw what happens to customers who refuse to scan their receipt. The retailer did not respond.

With information from CBC

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