Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagSelf-checkout and shoplifting

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A hand in disposable latex glove scanning an orange at a grocery store self-checkout station. People wearing gloves to protect themselves from covid-19 pandemic.

Grocery Giant Sours on Self-Checkouts; Too Much Loss…

Wegmans checked out (for the present) when it couldn’t stem the losses — which they suffered for various reasons perhaps, not just thefts

Recently, we wrote about unsubstantiated accusations of shoplifting at retail self-checkouts — sometimes accompanied by attempted shakedowns. But bigger, more complex issues loom in the background: Self-checkout probably does make theft (along with false accusations of theft) — and various other reasons that unpaid-for items find their way into shopping bags — much easier. So one large retailer, Wegmans, has decided to just forget it for now: “SCAN users have told us they love the app and convenience it offers,” a Wegmans spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.” The grocery chain said the app would remain shut off until it can…

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Black male person in warm denim jacket uses smartphone to pay for purchase at self-checkout point in supermarket close view

Could the Self-Checkout Ruin Your Reputation?

As Big Retail’s war on shoplifting goes digital, honest customers risk getting nabbed for goofs — and then facing a shakedown

In 2018, it was noted at The Atlantic that shoplifting via self-serve checkouts was common. How does it work? Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is “the banana trick.” If a can of Illy espresso leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, that’s called “the pass around.” “The switcheroo” is more labor-intensive: Peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the bar code of something pricey. Just make sure both items are about the same weight, to avoid triggering that pesky “unexpected item” alert in the bagging area. Rene Chun, “The Banana…