Would You Report a Shoplifter for Meat Theft?
If you were shopping in a grocery store and witnessed Meat Theft would you report it? What about theft of baby formula or other foods? I was in my local grocery store recently, looking in the meats section for an idea for dinner, and there were two young men next to me, chatting and shopping as well. I just happened to notice one of them pick up a very large pack of expensive premium hotdogs. (I only payed attention because I would never buy those because of their high price.) I kept shopping, but when I glanced back at the guys, neither of them were holding the pack of meat. They did not have a cart or basket and they definitely did not put it back because there was still a space where they had taken it from.
I know this particular independent store uses some Anti-theft tools. There are the obvious Checkpoint Pedestals at the front end. They have items in their small HBA section, like body washes and face creams, protected in Alpha Keepers. (Considering these days grocery stores are trying to be a one stop shop for their communities.) But I also know they have not gotten around to using any types of tools on the food items, like Checkpoint Labels, that are specially designed to stop Meat Theft. To me it is a little crazy to have no product protection on a pack of high dollar steaks or a leg of lamb, but it’s not my store. I did know, however, that if those two guys went out the front door, there would be no alarm to alert the employees, and I was not about to just let that happen.
Part of me did wonder why the guys were choosing to steal the pack of meats anyway. What if they were actually just hungry and didn’t have any money? What if there were children to feed? Of course, I am fully aware of the more likely answer to “why” they did it. Meat Theft, just like any other theft in any other business, is driven more by greed and impulse. If I really thought the two guys were stealing because they were hungry and had no money, I would have simply stopped them and offered to buy it for them myself, to keep them out of trouble. But anyone could tell that was not the case for these two. The most probable scenario is that they were invited to a cookout and had been told to bring something, so they picked up the biggest and most expensive pack they saw. The original plan may been to buy it, but a case of sticker shock caused them to go with plan B.
I personally know the manager of this particular grocery store, along with several of the cashiers, so I definitely went to the front and told them. As the two guys walked past, even the store staff could plainly see the poorly concealed package outline under the guy’s shirt. The manager walked up and stopped them and just held out his hand. They both dropped their heads and immediately handed it over, without even a single word. Meat Theft averted, and hopefully a lesson learned.
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