Image by wili_hybrid via FlickrSeems like the past couple of years has seen the demise of the plastic bag,and the increase in the re-usable shopping totes. Retailers are heavily encouraging the use of these totes, while legislatures are contemplating (and implementing), no plastic bag legislation.
All well and good. But now comes reports that re-usable tote bags are causing an increase in shoplifting. One national grocery store chain has raised the concern with head office. With customers increasingly shopping the grocery aisles with their tote bags in hand, it's become easy to slip a few items in the tote and leave without paying. In other cases, shoplifters are filling their bags with high end items, paying only for a portion of their selections.
Retailers are especially vulnerable to the shoplifting tote bag when coupled with self checkout systems. Difficult to keep an eye on both the customers with tote bags and the self checkout lanes.
Loss Prevention Specialists note that re-usable tote bags lined with tinfoil are on the rise. Professional shoplifters use these bags to nab expensive items, while the tinfoil lining allows the merchandise to clear alarm systems.
So far the national chains are not asking customers to leave their tote bags at the front door. Instead they are focusing on staff training to keep an eye out for these re-usable tote bandits.