Woolworths has installed large security cameras and screens on the top of self-serve checkouts in Sydney, following Coles’ lead in Melbourne last week.
Yahoo Finance understands the new Woolworths supermarket at Gregory Hills in south-western Sydney opened last week with the cameras already installed, along with monitors that show the shopper what they’re doing.
“We know the vast majority of our customers do the right thing at self-serve checkouts. We’re trialling security measures at Gregory Hills for those that don’t,” said a Woolworths spokesperson.
“The store has eight manned checkout lanes, and we’ve hired 40 customer service team members, for customers who prefer to interact with our team as they checkout.”
Yahoo Finance understands the cameras are aligned so that they can’t record customers entering PINs.
Rival supermarket chain Coles made headlines last week with a similar trial in a dozen stores in Melbourne. The Woolworths screens seem to be slightly smaller than Coles’ tablet computer-sized ones.
A Reddit user suspected the cameras, with their big screens, are a deterrent rather than an actual device that catches thieves red-handed.
“There is a thought that people see themselves on screen it can reduce theft,” said the commenter.
“Coles are more about prevention than apprehension. Having cameras at checkouts is the same as having cameras down the aisles and in the entrances of buildings.”
The tech deployment by both major supermarket chains have come after a Coles in northern Sydney earlier this year installed similar security devices on top of baby formula shelves.
The cameras were installed in order to enforce the per-customer limit on such products, which can sell out in seconds as entrepreneurial types snap them up and on-sell them to Chinese customers for profit.
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