Coles denies 'new policy' targeting self-serve thieves

Coles has clarified it's self-serve checkout policy after a shopper said a staff member insisted on scanning their bulky items.

Coles has denied staff at all stores have been directed to manually weigh expensive, "bulky" items after a shopper claimed they were unable to scan their meat products before an employee intervened.

It's been well documented that the nation's largest supermarkets have experienced a sharp uptick in theft in recent months, with both Coles and Woolworths unveiling a host of measures to combat criminal behaviour amid a cost-of-living crisis.

One shopper, posting to Reddit, claims they were scanning groceries at a Coles self-serve register on the weekend when an employee intervened and offered to weigh some of the items.

Coles has denied its staff are required to manually weigh meat products in a bid to stamp out theft. Source: Getty.
Coles has denied its staff are required to manually weigh meat products in a bid to stamp out theft. Source: Getty.

"I just went through Coles self-checkout and the Coles fella (sic) came up and said he has to scan the meat and “bulky items” for me now," the customer wrote. "New policy across all stores. I said: 'Is that because people have been stealing meat?' And he said it was. Anyone else had this yet?"

Coles weighs in on bulky items scanning claim

The post attracted over 1000 interactions, with many revealing experiences at their own local supermarket. Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, the supermarket giant said staff are not specifically required to weigh any items for customers, but stopped short of denying the practice altogether.

"Coles is always looking for ways to improve how we serve our customers and provide exceptional customer service," a spokesperson said.

"Our team members are always encouraged to help our customers where possible and by asking them if they would like a hand with scanning or lifting bulky or heavy items out of their trolley or basket, is just one of the many ways we can assist them when checking out."

Some shoppers opting to avoid self-serve checkouts

People online were quick to jump into the discussion.

"Yeah, my Coles has security tags on meat," a person said. "We’re gonna go full circle and just have checkouts again, aren’t we?" another said.

"Can't you just go to a non-self checkout register?" a shopper argued. "Or are there stores where that totally isn't an option now? I've started habitually avoiding the self-checkout when I can now. I would rather keep someone in a job than let AI falsely accuse me of stealing."

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