Woolworths shopper shocked by 'new' security crackdown at checkouts

'Seriously? Who do you think you are, my mum?'

Tensions between shoppers and the major supermarkets have been bubbling away with allegations of price gouging and an increase in surveillance leaving disgruntled customers feeling uncomfortably "watched" and "exploited".

And now one Melbourne resident has shared another supermarket security crackdown, claiming Woolworths is checking "inside mushroom bags" at the self-checkout. The bags differ from the usually transparent produce bags available and the contents of the opaque paper bags can only be seen when opened.

"Not sure if it's random, or if it's triggered by a certain weight," they said online. "Just letting people know, in case any of you were in the habit of slipping more expensive items in the bag, or even just processing more expensive mushroom variants as cheaper ones!"

Left image of a Woolworths store front with a large sign above the entrance. Right image of a Woolworths mushroom paper bag.
Staff are checking your mushroom bags at Woolworths. Source: Getty/Laura Koefoed

Shoppers 'irked' by similar supermarket self-service demands

After sharing the warning online, hundreds revealed similar demands from staff at the self-serve checkout. "I got told off for putting brussel sprouts in the mushroom bag once. Seriously? Who do you think you are, my mum? I just don’t want to use a plastic bag," one said. "The thing that irks me is that the attendant was much younger than me and felt like I was being sus, so decided to confront me."

"When I buy toilet paper at the self-checkout, the attendant often comes over and scans it for me? Must be a lot of people stealing TP?" another questioned.

Stories of increased scrutiny from supermarket staff are not new. In December, another customer shared how a Coles staff member allegedly "got her in trouble" for scanning her groceries "wrong" because she used the hand-held scanner instead of unloading them onto the conveyor belt.

Anti-theft measures a continuous source of frustration

Anti-theft measures have been increasing in Coles and Woolworths since 2023 in a bid to tackle an "increase in retail crime".

Measures include the use of AI and cameras at self-service checkouts, and gates to close people in stores if sensors think a shopper has stolen something.

According to the ongoing backlash online and a report from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the move has damaged the reputation of retailers who leave shoppers feeling "watched" with "no out".

Yahoo News Australia has reached out to Woolworths for comment regarding the mushroom bag claim.

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