EAS Tags Can Make Or Break Your Loss Prevention Program
I would say a funny thing happened to us last week, although we didn’t find it very funny at the time. My daughter, her boyfriend and I were shopping at one of the larger retailers. We had purchased a few items and started to leave the store. As we left we set off their security system and it began beeping. So we patiently went back up to the cashier with our items, where she began looking through everything, to make sure they didn’t have EAS tags on our merchandise. After carefully reviewing our items and the receipt she wasn’t able to identify anything that might have set off the alarms. So we started to leave again, and the same thing happened, talk about embarrassing. So we returned once more, not knowing what the problem was, and went through the same process as before. After the third try the store employees started to become suspicious, thinking maybe one of us had property concealed on our person. So they called loss prevention who came to speak to us; which really added to my humiliation. I knew none of us had stolen anything so I was a little frustrated at this point, but being in law enforcement and loss prevention, I am familiar with the process. After telling him again what we had purchased and reviewing our items, he suggested that we take the items out separately so we could rule out our recent purchase. I knew where this was going; he wanted to check each of us to see who was setting off the alarms. We complied of course; we didn’t have anything to hide. So the loss prevention employee took our merchandise out and it did not set off the alarm, which made us all a little more uncomfortable. We all were asked to walk through one at a time to determine who was the problem, and as my daughter’s boyfriend walked through, the alarms went off. This resulted in a private more direct interview, and a consensual search, to see if we my daughter’s boyfriend had any stolen items. Of course he didn’t steal anything, but now we were just perplexed over the situation. The only thing he had on his person was a belt, a wallet and a watch. So we went down and passed each object through to see if they were setting off the alarms. Sure enough the wallet my daughter had bought him for his birthday, a week prior, was setting off the alarms. She had purchased it at a different store, but they must have failed to deactivate the EAS tag when she bought it. Needless to say an hour later, after having everyone look at us like we were thieves, we were able to leave the store with what was left of our dignity.
Electronic article surveillance is a great tool to stop shoplifting, if it is utilized correctly. This technology can be built into various types of devices in order to provide security for all types and sizes of merchandise. EAS tags are affixed to the merchandise at the store level and provide an audible alarm when someone attempts to remove the device or attempts to leave the store with the item. Stores are equipped with EAS antennas located at the exits, which sound an alarm when the item is not deactivated. When a transaction is made the EAS tags are deactivated or removed from the item to avoid mishaps like ours. Electronic article surveillance is a necessity in the loss prevention world and provides a front line defense to stop shoplifting. Granted it is important to ensure your loss prevention employees are well trained and knowledgeable of this technology so you can ensure your customers are receiving a positive experience, while protecting your merchandise.
A loss prevention program needs to be a well-rounded system that protects your interests on multiple levels. Employees and loss prevention personnel cannot be your only line of defense, but instead are there to supplement other less expensive options. Electronic article surveillance can ensure that people are not concealing property by alerting staff to breaches in security. This allows for less coverage on the floor, which results in lower costs, and increased profit margins. EAS tags will help you stop shoplifting by providing a low cost, re-useable alternative, that is easy to use and yet difficult to bypass. I think my experience proves that.
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