A Coles shopper who was stopped while leaving a store in Melbourne has sounded off about a little-known anti-theft measure that has been quietly rolled out in certain stores across the supermarket's network.
The man claimed online that he walked out of the Moonee Ponds supermarket pushing his toddler in a trolley, which was otherwise empty apart from some re-usable shopping bags that had nothing in them. As he exited, an alarm went off and the trolley wheels suddenly locked up.
Following an exchange with a cashier, who checked that nothing had been stolen, the employee "magically unlocked" the trolley wheels with a hand-held device. "I had no idea Coles has tech to lock up your trolley," the customer said.
Coles explains new tech
A Coles spokesperson clarified to Yahoo News that the technology used at this branch, which locks trolley wheels when sensors suspect a load of groceries hasn't been paid for, is one of many security measures implemented by the supermarket giant.
"Coles has a range of security measures in place to reduce theft from our stores including CCTV, electronic article surveillance (EAS) and in some stores, new smart gate technology that automatically opens as customers make payment for their products," the spokesperson said.
"Additionally, trolley lock technology has been in place at a number of our stores in recent years and this technology uses sensors to prevent trolleys leaving the store if someone hasn't first paid at a register," the spokesperson explained.
"Some of these security measures are trials at this stage, and we are keen to hear what our customers think of the new technology before it is rolled out further."
The spokesperson however did not elaborate on the locations or number of stores that utilise these security measures.
Coles, like its rivals Woolworths and Aldi, have a number of security measures that have been tested and rolled out over the years in a bid to combat shoplifting in their stores, which has spiked following cost-of-living surges in the country.
In 2019, Coles started fitting expensive meat cuts with EAS security tags to curb meat theft in its stores – a move also adopted by Woolworths. Coles confirmed it was using cameras at self-service checkouts, while Woolies has begun using AI surveillance at checkouts to ensure items are scanned correctly.
Coles also recently confirmed they employ plain-clothes "loss prevention officers" and use other anti-theft measures such as product protection and target hardening as they attempt to stop supermarket theft.
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