While shopping in Florida, you may prefer to scan and bag your own items rather than have a cashier take care of it for you. With no one watching, you could feel tempted to cheat the system. Either that or you may accidentally bag an item without scanning it.

The Atlantic ran a story regarding stealing from self-checkout lanes. By knowing how this type of theft works, you have an easier time of staying on the right side of the law.

Reason for stealing

Simply put, the main reason people admit to stealing from self-checkout lanes is that it is easy to do so. Customers go home with items they did not pay for, and stores incur massive losses. Reduced shoplifting penalties add to the ease of stealing; a person may feel the risk of getting caught is worth it if the punishment is a minor one. A normally upstanding citizen may turn to the dark side after learning how easy it can be to game the system.

Retailer blame

Are retailers to blame for self-checkout theft? In their quest to reduce labor costs, retailers have unintentionally opened the door to theft by making it easy for customers to steal. For that reason, some retailers have either removed or reduced self-checkout terminals.

Additional justification

There is also a psychological element to self-checkout theft. Grocery shopping or taking a routine trip to Target may be the most exciting part of a person’s week. The brief adrenaline rush that comes with intentionally stealing can add the element of excitement missing from an individual’s life.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.