Australia Today

There's Still Nothing More Australian Than Scanning Everything as Carrots, Apparently

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Remember when Coles and Woolworths rolled out automated checkouts across the country and you, because you're all paid up and proud, looked at those machine in terms of all the human employees they'd replaced and resolved to steal enough shit to nullify any financial savings ever seen by Coles and/or Woolies? Remember that?!

Well apparently all you Robin Hoods out there are doing a bang up job, because theft is costing Australian retailers $9.3 billion each year. And a lot of that is at self checkouts.


A survey by Canstar Blue of 2,200 shoppers has found that nine percent of people scan expensive things as cheap things, while a further seven percent don't even bother with the scanning part. They're just pocketing stuff.

Weirdly, fruit and veg —read avos—were are the most commonly grifted items, forming 24 percent of all thievery. That's followed by packeted food, which comes in at 16 percent, followed by nappies and general baby junk at 12 percent, with deli meat coming in last at 10 percent.

Also: unsurprisingly and obviously, it's legends between the ages of 18-29 who are the worst offenders.

Canstar Blue editor Simon Downes told that supermarket management likely finds these stats a bit of a downer, as they've put serious money into CCTV and training their 17-year-old staff to be intimidating. He suspected they “would have liked to see a reduction over the last couple of years given we know they’re taking it seriously and they’re exploring new ways to try to reduce the theft.”

While neither Coles or Woolworths admit to how much money they're losing through checkouts, reporter Frank Chung at did some napkin arithmetic to come up with a rough estimate of losses.

Assuming that three percent of all costs were due to theft (which is the retailer's rule of thumb), and roughly half of Woolworths’ $36.4 billion and Coles’ $29.7 billion annual food sales go through self-checkouts, Frank deduced that the two companies were probably losing $546 million and $445 million, respectively.

But you already knew that, didn't you?