Shoppers angry at random bag checks
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