Woolworths No Longer Bothering to Stop Shoplifters
Last edited 01/12/2016 - 21:33
I am really starting to wonder whether those of us looking out for genuine discounts, but still paying for our groceries, are actually the mugs given what I have discovered about Woolworths' apparent attitude to 'five finger discounts' for anyone that wants one.
Tuesday early evening I was grabbing a few groceries at WW Hurstville when I spotted a shoplifter shoving various items down their pants and up their shirt. Having worked in retail previously and nabbed a few shoplifters stealing from my previous employer, I followed them around for long enough to get a video of them doing it on my phone and while trying to notify a staff member. The shelf packer advised me to report it to the service desk, which I did.
The only person at the service desk was serving customers so I excused myself and asked if they could please call a loss control officer as I had witnessed a possible shoplifter (at that point, the person hadn't left the store, so perhaps they just preferred to carry high value items to the checkout in their underwear).
It was the store attendant's response that really shocked me. He told me that there are no loss control staff in the store and not to worry about it and that there was no-one interested in preventing theft from the store. This really annoyed me because the cost of theft just gets passed on in higher prices for the rest of us, honest customers, so I asked to speak to the store manager.
The store manager empathised with my concern about higher prices, but told me that loss control officers only visit the store a few times a year because 'head office' didn't want to have to pay extra wages. He agreed that shoplifting is rife in the store and that he sees people shoplifting most days. However, apparently staff are discouraged from approaching shoplifters in case they are threatened or injured. Also, most of the video cameras and other obvious anti-theft devices are primarily about creating an impression of security and discouraging honest customers from doing the wrong thing rather than stopping those that are claiming 100% discounts on everything that they buy.
It really annoys me that rather than addressing a social problem (theft), a large company like Woolworths is condoning and effectively encouraging it just because it has the market power to raise its prices to the rest of us.
What do others think? Is it reasonable for me to be disappointed in WW? Should large companies like WW have a role to play in supporting a safe and honest society? Or is it reasonable for them to encourage shoplifting because it hurts the small retailers more and discourages competition, thus allowing the big retailers to make more profits over the longer term.
My other thought is if Woolies openly acknowledges that it doesn't care about theft, why are we all bothering to pay?