New Woolworths checkout cameras watching over customers

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A startling new feature spotted at a Woolworths store in Sydney has been designed to reduce self-checkout scanning errors, a representative says.

An overhead camera was spotted at the top of the self-serve checkout in a western Sydney store looking over the scales and bagging area.

The camera records shoppers' movements and plays back footage on the screen if an item isn't scanned properly or placed in the bagging area.

A photo of the camera spotted overhead the self-serve checkouts at a Woolworths in Sydney.
The cameras were spotted on top of the self-serve checkout lanes. Source: Supplied

Woolworths say the cameras are being trialled in select stores in NSW in an effort to reduce mis-scans and improve checkout speed in the supermarket.

"If a mis-scan occurs, a short video highlights the affected product and customers then have the opportunity to re-scan it," a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

"While most customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts, we’re all busy and mistakes can easily happen.

"This technology, which is used internationally, should make the self-serve scanning process more accurate for our customers.

"We’ll listen closely to both customer and team feedback on the trial over the coming months."

Woolworths assures customers privacy is important, saying faces are blurred and keypads blacked out.

The cameras play back footage if an item isn't scanned properly.
A Woolworths spokesperson said the technology is already being used internationally. Source: Woolworths/ Supplied

The checkout cameras Woolworths trialled in 2020

Security cameras at self-serve checkouts are not new to Woolworths. The supermarket giant first started trialling security features at their self-serve checkouts in 2020, which filmed the customer at eye-level.

Woolworths said customers were not being recorded in those images, saying it's “a live reflection” and only seen by the customer while they scan their items.

“We know the vast majority of our customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts. This is a new security measure we're trialling for those that don’t,” a Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia at the time.

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