Woman warned her supermarket self-checkout ‘trick' is illegal

Sunday, 10/09/2023, 14:01 (GMT+7)

A woman in South Australia has sparked a debate about her 'trick' at supermarket self-checkouts that may be breaking the law.

With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, many individuals have had to adapt their approach to grocery shopping.

However, the woman has been warned that her checkout method, aimed at saving money, could potentially lead to legal trouble.

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The woman shared her situation with a friend in a letter to's Sisters In Law, a platform where individuals can submit their legal conundrums to sisters and lawyers Alison and Jillian Barrett and receive advice from them.

The woman explained that her friend regularly put higher-priced items such as avocados with cheaper items like brown onions when using self-service checkouts.

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Image Credits: Getty stock image

Her friend says that this is not stealing since she is still paying for something and believes that supermarkets factor the cost of self-checkout fraud into their prices because "everyone does it."

According to Alison and Jillian, legal experts residing in Australia, these deceptive tactics are causing significant financial losses to supermarkets annually and consequently leading to push up the prices of groceries 

The resident lawyers have claimed that her supermarket self-checkout ‘trick'  is breaking the law.

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Image Credits: Getty stock image

The lawyers replied to advise: "It doesn't matter how your friend tries to justify her behavior, her deceitful conduct in intentionally not paying full price is against the law."

 "Your friend's technique of using the self-service checkout to pass off more expensive items as cheaper ones cheats the system by underpaying. Her fraudulent behavior is just one of many tricks employed by self-service thieves to avoid payment." 

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Image Credits: Getty stock image

Numerous supermarket shopper also shared their opinion about her self-checkout 'trick'.

One person said: In Sweden, some smart guy discovered that the system will print a legal checkout label but charge you nothing if the weight is low enough. So, some put one tiny bit of candy, marshmallow, or similar in a bag, weigh it, print a label and it will be a legal self-checkout but you pay nothing.

A second wrote: Love the way people are saying don't use unskilled labor i.e. customers at self-service checkouts. Nothing to do with unskilled labor but more to do with not having a moral compass. There's a difference between a genuine mistake and purposely fiddling the system.

 A third commented: Good on the supermarkets have been ripping off customers and suppliers for decades they want to stop people getting even, then maybe they should set an honest example. They expect us to do their work for nothing, and we can be as incompetent as we choose to be.

Another said: Well if the don't want this to happen hire more cashiers. In the US Walmart doesn't hire cashiers to save money, at least thats what corporate has said. I refuse to use self-checkout. The cost of a cashier is figured into product cost.  

The layer also clarified that using a defense such as mistaking avocados for brown onions is unlikely to be effective. 

While your friend has the option to refuse a search, the grocery store has the authority to involve the police if they suspect any dishonest behavior. Instances of minor shoplifting are handled by the police instead of being taken to court.