Shop­pers an­gry at ran­dom bag checks

McIvor Times - - NEWS - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

HEATH­COTE res­i­dents aren’t happy with the sud­den im­ple­men­ta­tion of ran­dom bag check­ing at the town’s IGA.

Af­ter a spate of thefts at the su­per­mar­ket the com­pany have upped their se­cu­rity mea­sures hop­ing to de­ter would-be thieves but peo­ple are frus­trated call­ing it ‘‘an in­va­sion of pri­vacy’’.

Tak­ing to the Heath­cote town crier Face­book page res­i­dents ex­pressed their anger mainly over never hav­ing their bag checked be­fore.

The post has since been deleted.

The chain of Cham­pi­ons IGA stores across Vic­to­ria have en­forced ran­dom bag check­ing in all nine of their supermarkets.

Op­er­a­tions man­ager Jim Jowett said the pol­icy should have al­ready been in place.

‘‘It’s al­most an un­writ­ten law in re­tail,’’ he said.

‘‘You can go in to any store and they are do­ing ran­dom bag checks.

‘‘We have had a prob­lem with theft in our stores. The se­cu­rity mea­sures in place are meant to act as more of a de­ter­rent.’’

‘‘Times are tough and peo­ple are tak­ing the easy route so we have had to go and re­in­force these poli­cies in all of our stores.’’

Mr Jowett said he apol­o­gises to any res­i­dents who have been em­bar­rassed when asked by a staff mem­ber to check their bags.

‘‘I have asked all my staff not to dis­crim­i­nate when check­ing bags,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t make any ac­cu­sa­tions to­wards any­one — it is com­pletely ran­dom.

‘‘If we have up­set any­one I am quite happy to dis­cuss pri­vately with them.’’

‘‘Some­times the per­son be­hind the cus­tomer get­ting their bags checked is the one do­ing the wrong thing.

‘‘We hope this can send a mes­sage to thieves that there are mea­sures in place and they will get caught.’’

The stores have also im­ple­mented se­cu­rity guards dressed in plain clothes.

‘‘They walk around the store and catch peo­ple shop lift­ing be­fore they get to the check outs,’’ Mr Jowett said.

‘‘We caught one in Heath­cote a few weeks ago through this method.’’

Al­though Mr Jowett said the se­cu­rity mea­sures may not be nice, it is some­thing they have to do.

‘‘Theft is a ma­jor cost to re­tail,’’ he said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately this is a sign of the times.’’ it

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