Five Feathered Discount? Turkeys Get Swiped, not scanned


If you’ve been around long enough in retail, you’ve heard the term “five finger discount”.  It means that something was stolen – usually by shoplifting.     This week camera’s recorded a number of turkeys that managed to bypass bar code readers and did not get rung up. 

Many supermarkets and retailers have implemented StopLift Checkout Vision Systems, whose technology detects unpaid merchandise – including Thanksgiving turkeys – on the conveyor belt, in the shopping cart, or reusable bag at both the manned and self-checkout.  StopLift is a pioneer in detecting retail loss through “sweethearting”, when cashiers do not scan merchandise or charge the customer for it.  The customer is often a friend, family member or fellow employee working in tandem with the cashier. 

See these real StopLift videos of turkeys being sweethearted at supermarkets around the U.S.

That Thanksgiving turkey is the tip of the iceberg.  Cases of water, boxes of detergent and diapers have all been unscanned by cashiers.  Supermarkets and wholesale clubs, with their lower profit margins, are particularly vulnerable to sweethearting, which has accounted for an almost 35% profit loss industrywide. 

The U.S. National Retail Federation states that about $14 billion of retail shrink is due to sweethearting.  Supermarkets, with their lower profit margins, are particularly vulnerable to sweethearting.

Cashiers often overlook items in the shopping cart or fail to scan them – sometimes deliberately.  Reasons include sweethearting for friends as well as long lines of impatient shoppers, pressures on cashiers to work more quickly, and distracted cashiers or customers.  In self-checkout, customers either leave the turkey in the shopping cart or bring it around the scanner.

Less than 1% of store video is actually viewed, according to Malay Kundu, CEO of StopLift Checkout Vision Systems.  Thus, retailers have had no means of detecting theft.

StopLift’s computer vision technology visually determines what occurs during each and every transaction to immediately identify fraud at the checkout.  In the process of monitoring 100% of the security video, it flags the transaction as suspicious and quickly reports the incident, identifying the cashier and the date and time of the theft. 

The technology eliminates costly, time-consuming human review of video, drastically reduces and deters fraud at the checkout, and significantly improves profitability, Kundu said.  

Meanwhile, those stolen turkeys add up to higher prices for you!


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