Though expensive technology products and jewelry have been under lock and key at stores for years, many retailers have started to lock up everything from laundry soap to deodorant in an effort to ward off shoplifters. But locking up products drives shoppers away, according to Joe Budano, CEO of anti-theft technology company Indyme. Such extreme anti-shoplifting efforts can cause store sales to drop 15% to 25%, he says.
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Consumers have taken to social media site TikTok to chronicle their frustrating shopping experiences with one user posting a video of a San Francisco CVS store with a variety of products locked behind glass barriers, including laundry detergent, toothpaste, pregnancy tests, and even snacks. The user lamented that the store's excessive shoplifting efforts were creating a "living hell" for honest shoppers rather than crooks.
Another CVS customer was baffled that he had to wait for a store associate to unlock a glass panel keeping him from grabbing a bag of Werther's caramel candies.
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Though customers are understandably frustrated with stores locking up everyday items, another TikTokker shared a video of his experience as a Walmart employee, shedding light on workers' own frustrations. Those include needing to track down a key to unlock a box of dryer sheets and a bottle of shaving cream.
Frustrated shoppers and store associates aside, we can't help but wonder whether the over-the-top approach to locking up products drives customers away to the degree that stores are losing more money than they would if the items were stolen.