AKA “Shrinkage”

OK,the topic is shrinkage, but not the George Costanza kind. Self checkout shrinkage.

Target has estimated that shrinkage (a stupid euphemism for theft) will cost them $1 billion in 2023, up $500 million from 2022. Most other big boxes are are seeing more theft from self checkout, too. Theft is estimated to cost the US $95 billion a year. And it’s growing thanks to self checkout.

Our local Wegmans is on a third version of self checkout even as it reports it results in more theft.

So the stores get to save money by having fewer checkout clerks, I have to do more work checking out, AND pay higher prices to cover the theft by dishonest shoppers.

I’m pretty ticked off by this.

And I don’t have many options.

Trader Joe’s is the only grocery I’ve seen without self checkout, so far (and it doesn’t carry everything I want). And Costco has managed to avoid an uptick in theft through membership and big packaging for small, expensive items (although it’s tough to do all our shopping for 2 at Costco).

They say honesty pays. Apparently it pays and pays and pays.

OK, I’m a curmudgeon. What’s your point?


Every Costco I’ve shopped at has had two people at the exit checking receipts against items in the cart.


That is to make sure you received everything you paid for. :joy:



It is not just self check out.

The problem is the cost of legal expenses. If someone steal something and is apprehended there are lawyers involved. Anywhere between $250 and even $350 per hour and it can easily be several hours of work. Companies give away $50 instead of retaining a lawyer.

Also this is not a loss for any of the companies. Oh no, this is a good excuse to have you carrying the cost of the shrinkage plus a small premium as a profit because there is theft. The box stores have larger markets that are moated.

BTW allow a thieves the $10 items and then charging you for it is much better than allowing lawyers $250 per hour(s) and then charging you for it. Also leaves corporations a chance to pad the “losses”.

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There are some differences by store location, but WalMart stores I have visited put a variety of items in locked cabinets. As an example, one store will put various shaving items in locked cabinets, another will have belts and men’s underwear in locked cabinets. Other items - propane & butane canisters, some camping gear, calculators & some stationary items. Of course, at all WalMart locations they have most of the electronics in a caged area, with display models attached or wired to the store fixtures.

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The local Meijer here used to have self-scan lanes for large purchases, rather than the dozen or so items in the express lanes. They took the large purchase self-scan lanes out due to the high shrink.

RS would never invest in security fixtures. It was easier to dump on the store manager. I know of one manager, who had zero help in the store, who was fired for “allowing” excessive shrink. The store was in a strip center on one of the main drags out of town. During the afternoon rush hour, the store would be mobbed. The moment someone asked for something that required she go in the back room to retrieve an item, stuff would start flying out the front door.

I am not surprised that the thinner-than-ever staffing I am seeing around is resulting in higher shrink.



It is more a societal thing that honest people can not fathom. The dishonest know they wont be stopped ever for taking any of it. The dishonest people are putting things on line to sell it or just consuming it.

Having worked in retail, I can fathom it just fine. The bottom line is, unfortunately, most people will pinch something, if you give them the opportunity. I had no help in my store one day, when a couple guys wanted to see a radar detector. I got the detector out of the display case so they could see it, then tried to help another customer at the back of the store. Three minutes later, the guys, and the radar detector, were gone. That was in the mid 80s.

RS had some neat, triangular pens. I liked them because they were easy to hold, and did not roll away. One day, a guy, bold as brass, took a pen off the counter and put it in his pocket. I told him that, if he wanted one, I would sell him one. Can’t remember if he paid for one, but I did a brisk business selling those pens.

I have told the stories before, about the bolder crooks, who would take an item off the shelf, bring it up to the counter and demand a cash refund, as if they had bought it and lost the receipt.

And don’t even try to make a racial thing out of the shoplifting. I lost more to shoplifting and bad check writers that were lower income, often middle aged, whites, than any minority.



Prosecutors prosecute thieves, not private attorneys. Prosecutors ( or commonwealth attorneys in Commonwealths) are salaried state employees.


This is apparently a big thing at HomeDepotLowes nowadays, so much so that they require submission of ID when returning stuff without a receipt. They keep track of returns and as soon as someone has too many high value returns without a receipt, they can’t do it anymore. I have my receipt for 90+% of my returns, so it isn’t usually a problem. But a few weeks ago, I had to provide ID because I had the wrong receipt with me!

Thieves claim innocence and attorneys from the defendant have to do some work.

Thieves also now sue for damages and they win. It was profiling. It was harassment. It was wrong. It was physical.

Then there are plenty of store clerks who assume all sorts of things. The box stores have to defend themselves there as well. “Can I see a receipt”, will bring on a lawsuit. Except when everyone has to produce a receipt, aka Costco.

You are making up your facts. Defendants hire their attorneys unless they are indigent in which case the state pays for their defense. Suits for wrongful arrest are rarely successful. I was a prosecutor for over 6 years, and in private practice about 32 years. I usually let you make up your facts, but you you are you are making them up like Trump this time.


I saw a scenario at Home Depot that set my alarm off. A guy trying to return a faucet without a receipt. One of those expensive “oil rubbed bronze” faucets, no box, no instructions, no drain pop-up, only the the parts that Home Depot would mount on it’s faucet display.

I was at Penny’s a few years ago, looking over the shirts on a display next to the door. A guy walked in the door, and, I think, grabbed a shirt off the display, and walked straight to the cashier island. As fast as he grabbed it, he certainly didn’t check the size. I stood there for a moment, wondering if I should mosey over to the cashier island to see if the guy was trying to refund it. I didn’t. I couldn’t swear 100% that I saw him take the shirt off the display as he walked in.

I was in that same Penny’s a couple weeks ago. The store is so thinly staffed now that you could walk off with half the store, without anyone noticing.

Both perps were middle aged white guys, not the mob of young blacks that the media always chatters about.


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Now you have been utterly offensive. So I am going to lay it down with you. You can take it and be angry. I do not care. Because you are offensive.

You are completely out of touch.

Shoplifting False Arrest - How Retailers Reduce Liability for Bad Stops?.


Your cite does not change the fact that you were making up facts. Prosecutors are paid by the state, not the stores. Defendants or the state pay for the defense. One class action suit does not change the fact that wrongful arrest claims are rare, and rarely successful. I am sorry I hurt your feelings, but you should have admit that you were making up your facts.


Seems the “JCs” have taken extortion “to the next level”. Back in the day, it was small time, like Cumberland Farms’ extortion racket it ran on it’s own employees.


So two things

You think a prosecutor is not talking to a Walmart lawyer? Of course Walmart has to pay a lawyer on their legal team.

You think guilty shoplifters do not sue as innocent? You think the state’s prosecutor is going to defend Walmart in those cases?

You are really out of touch.

No, prosecutors do not talk to store attorneys in the vast majority of shoplifting cases. The store cops make the arrests and personally meet with the prosecutors before trial. You are continuing to make up facts to support your previous made up facts. Stop .


You are so wrong. Your experiences were how long ago?

Even if the prosecutor does not meet or talk with a Walmart lawyer the store manager must deal with the Walmart legal team. You are not seeing it from Walmart’s perspective.

You have avoided the question of guilty and not guilty and alleged shoplifters suing regardless. That is the big one. Prosecutors have less to do with that. Regardless of outcomes Walmart and the other box stores are sued left and right. Which goes back to why Walmart “internally” will follow up with store managers on the initial incident.

You are out of touch. Moreover you are myopic.

I would expect them to plead innocent, at least in some cases. But I don’t expect them to sue as innocent until the initial charge is decided innocent or guilty. If found guilty, they are hardly in a great position to sue Walmart. If found innocent, then they have some basis for the suit.