Shoplifting and Self-Serve Checkouts: A Bad Combination?

As everyone knows, self-serve checkout stations at supermarkets continues to grow exponentially, even at retail store outlets that aren’t purely supermarkets like Stop & Shop, Star Markets or Shaw’s.  Personally, I don’t like them as I find them too impersonal, and their expansion will continue to cut jobs in that industry.  But the companies that own these store chains can cut a lot of labor costs – and that’s their goal, for good or ill.

On the “ill” side of things, though, this technology has brought about an increase in crime – specifically, shoplifting charges.   More than one study has determined that the increased use of self-service checkouts correlates with an increase in revenue losses.  One such wide-ranging study of retailers in the U.S., Britain and other European countries found that use of this technology produced an average revenue loss rate of 4 percent of gross sales.  Since the profit margin of most supermarket retailers hovers around 3 percent, that almost makes use of self-service checkouts counter-productive from an earning standpoint.

Perhaps blame it on human nature, but many people seem to think that they’re “justified” if they sneak an item past the scanner and try to walk out without paying for that item.  As a Wrentham  Massachusetts shoplifting defense attorney, I know that I have seen an uptick in the number of people being charged with Massachusetts shoplifting charges.  It’s really not worth it – not only on a purely legal and financial level, but on a conscience level, either.  I have found that most of the clients I represent who have been charged with shoplifting, did it for a psychological reason – not a financial one.  Many of these people feel that the world has ‘cheated’ them out of something or ‘taken something away’ from them – a job, career aspirations, happiness, better health – a variety of reasons.

Compounding the problem, many people don’t seem to think that being arrested for shoplifting is a ‘big deal.’  As a Massachusetts shoplifting defense lawyer, I can assure people – that this idea is not true.  A conviction of a Massachusetts shoplifting offense can seriously damage one’s career, family relationships, friendships, and overall mental health.  If you or someone you know is facing Massachusetts shoplifting charge, I strongly suggest that you seek out an attorney who has a lot of experience defending these cases.