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Coles Is Upping The Ante On Self Service Stealing

Coles are trialling new monitoring systems at their self service checkouts to combat theft

Oh dear. There goes the old "put everything through as carrots "scam.

Interestingly. I read an article in a US magazine around 20 years ago that that some US retailers were trialling RFID technology so that shoppers would not even need to take their items out of the trolley.

The RFID scanner would automatically pick up every item in the trolley and calculate the total amount payable.

I have never heard anything more regarding whatever happened to the technology.



The industry has been talking about RFID for years.

RFID won’t do much for fruit and veg (I hope). Those stupid little plastic stickers are bad enough.

The more fruit and veg you have, the less desirable it is to use self-service.

Perhaps the camera should be pointing at the scales and then the checkout can detect the fruit and veg automatically. That’s win-win i.e. less effort and faster for the customer and less theft for Coles.

LOL. Sign of the times. I was thinking 7", maybe 10". Oh, you mean that kind of tablet? Come to think of it, I don’t know what the article really means. Never mind.


One of the irritating things about self service checkout theft is that people think it’s a victimless crime, or that the only victim is a faceless mega-wealthy corporation. We all pay for this theft in the prices of the products we buy.

A few months ago when I got back to my car in the supermarket car park I found I had not paid for an item that had got hidden between bags in my trolley. I went back and paid for it. I don’t think that should be applauded any more than my wife should applaud me for doing the washing up.


The self service checkouts were installed as a cost saving measure, just like the ATMs were by banks. If they say anything to the contrary, they’re just blowing smoke!

I think that the irony of the situation is being overlooked. With the new security measures being installed the total cost of the self-service checkout process, including security measures, must be getting close to exceeding the cost of the old process of having staff processing the goods. If on the other hand, Coles and Woolworths are still ahead on costs, then why are they complaining?

Mayhaps it is time to move back to having staff working the checkouts??? I think that the customers would be happier.


I don’t think that that is entirely fair. There was a time when it was near impossible for someone who was in the workforce to get to a bank. ATMs extended the services offered by banks by making it possible to withdraw (and deposit) money 24 x 7, at minimal cost in effort for the customer. This was a massive convenience for the customer.

Likewise the introduction of electronic payment and internet banking and online payment could all be painted purely as a “cost saving measure”, whereas in reality for many customers it is a significant convenience, and even more so for customers who may be infirm or otherwise not readily able to go out. (However governments like this too because fewer cash payments mean greater financial surveillance.)

Who wants to go out and queue in a post office to pay a bill, even if it is giving someone a job?


You are right that once working they were convenient.

I believe that the banks worked out a cost reduction methodology, the ATMs, and then they found the justification by which they could market it to customers.

The banks could have just extended their hours and the customers would have been just as happy, if not happier.


Although the vastly smaller size of an ATM as compared with a branch meant that ATMs could be installed in places where there were no branches.

But perhaps we should get back to Coles.


Another article regarding development of anti-theft solutions for self-service checkouts.

Apart from theiving considerations, there definitely needs to be an attendant at the self-service checkouts at all times, if only to combat the company’s own stupidity.

A couple of days ago when I bought a tray of marked-down lamb cutlets at our local Coles, the checkout had an error message I have never seen before and the assistant had to do a lot of fiddling to complete the entry.

I assume it was because someone had somehow managed to discount the pack by 30% from $25.20 to $20.00. Go figure.

Today at the same store I got the usual stupidity error message “You have 4 own bags”.



They didn’t cover the whole of the original barcode. The reader will get confused when there are two visible barcodes (even if there is part thereof). The replacement barcode should have covered the whole of the original barcode, or they should have placed a sticker over the original barcode and placed the new reduced one elsewhere.


That is not a problem at Coles.

It only happens when the full line of the old barcode is visible as happens when they place the new sticker parallel to the old sticker but leave the top or bottom of the old sticker visible in which case it scans at the old price.

This appears to be a case of the terminal doing the maths as opposed to the barcode labeller.

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OT since it is Woolies, but this seems counter-intuitive for theft controls.

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