AWARENESS OF THE UNDERGROUND WORLD OF SHOPLIFTING AND THE COSTS TO CUSTOMERS AND RETAILERS IS NECESSARY
Scammers are a huge financial loss for grocery retailers across the country and unless there is an awareness most of it falls on a blind eye, at least at the consumer level.
The past 10 years Mrs. CBB and I have worked hard to save money at the grocery store and scammers make it difficult for frugal-minded shoppers to keep up with increased prices and loss of programs aimed to help shoppers save.
Is shoplifting an addiction?
I guess it can be if the scammer believes they can’t stop or doesn’t know how to. The thrill and the savings becomes a hobby rather than a need. I was not shocked to find a 2014 Shoplifters Anonymous Tumblr blog based out of Toronto which shares stories and tips from scammers on how to get free stuff. It’s hard not to read it all because humans are naughty by nature and want to know even if they don’t want to participate.
When coupons were the hottest thing going there were coupon men and women who became greedy and ruined it for everyone else. It may have been by overdoing coupons, taking too many, using them incorrectly, fraud or printing more than one that set the coolest saving system on fire.
Gone are the days where consumers would push around a shopping cart with a huge coupon binder loaded with section tabs and hockey card inserts. These days coupons have sizzled and our $1 coupon usage for 2017 thus far proves just how much coupons have become less of a big deal. We save more money by looking for in-store deals on reduced items than anything else these days.
There could be a scam alert for just about anything that costs money or requires some form of a transaction resulting in money being transferred. One of the biggest financial expenses next to renting or holding a mortgage is the grocery budget.
Since 2012 we have become grocery saving warriors where we’ve stripped the shopping experience bare to try and understand everything that happens from the time a store opens until it closes. We’ve witnessed and experienced extreme couponing, extreme flyer shopping without limits and many other ways to save money on a tight grocery budget.
We have only scratched the surface because every year something new comes up to explore.Technology scammers are simply cashing in on the weak system that needs to be improved if retailers want to crush or reduce theft. A good start is education.
Would you say anything if you saw someone walking out of the grocery store with a full shopping cart of food and other essentials? Most people would but others would think about every excuse as to why that person couldn’t possibly be stealing right under everyone’s noses. Consider customers who empathize with scammers and leave them be.
“It’s not my job” comes to mind but it is your hard-earned money you are spending.
Retail Loss Prevention
Loss prevention (LP) is still alive but not to the extent it used to be. Most retailers will have someone patrol the high-end luxury food areas. With beer being sold in select grocery stores LP is a must.
Retail loss prevention is a set of practices employed by retail companies to preserve profit. Profit preservation is any business activity specifically designed to reduce preventable losses. Deliberate human actions that cause loss to a retail company can be theft, fraud, vandalism, waste, abuse, or misconduct.- Wikipedia
Even security at grocery stores are reduced to in-store cameras that may be reviewed on an as-needed basis or for audit purposes on a weekly or daily basis. It’s just too costly for no-name brand stores to hire professionals unless they feel there is a need due to audit results.
Professional scammers may tell those looking to scam to avoid stores with television monitors or towers at the entry way. I was NOT shocked to find a Reddit thread from scammers teaching others how to shoplift at the grocery store. Then I realized that it wasn’t just a thread it was a Reddit following of over 40,000 users subscribed to Five Finger Discounts.
Some of their ideas are mind-blowing especially how relaxed the conversation seems.
Actually most grocery stores do have LP. They most often watch cheese, alcohol, chocolate, and similar other high value items so if you avoid these sections you’ll have more luck. Produce tends to not have cameras but of course it depends which store you’re going to. The easiest way to not get caught would probably be to “accidentally” leave an item in your cart or just walk out with your entire cart if you don’t plan on returning to the same store for a few months.- Reddit user ShopLiftThrowAway
From my experience Groceries store will most likely not have LPs. I have been “pushing out” my groceries weekly from my local store, averaging 150$ per week. They have cameras but I suspect it’s used only to spy on employees. Look for stores that don’t have towers on the entrance to start small. Because you might be afraid of the towers.
In my experience with stores with towers, they are usually on way out that is through the self checkout or cashier. I’d bring a shopping bag and stuff it full of item and place the cheap ones above, and then I’ll go to the cashier and pay for 1 or 2 of the cheap item. Walk out and be done with groceries.
Last week footage at a Barrie, Ontario Loblaws grocery store video footage shows two men stealing powdered baby formula. Was the formula for a hungry baby or was it used to cut drugs?
Either way there are community options to help a family secure baby formula if desperately needed. Would you turn them in or let them go? Most of us would lean on the empathy side but what if it was your loved one that overdosed and died because of drug dealers? Would that change your mind?
Last week I blogged about the self-checkout scammer which was such a popular post it led me to believe two things;
- People want to learn how to become a scammer for gain
- People want to become aware of what is really happening
Self checkout are usually monitored heavily because that’s what most lifter do, they lift things and pay for something cheap at the self checkout to look convincing.
Cashier usually don’t look in your cart especially your shopping bags. If they ask what’s in the bag, you could just say it’s from another store, but that is very unlikely. Reddit user IKnowNTG
The word ‘scammer‘ has been a huge issue the past decade because more and more people are looking for ways to cash in without doing the work. I call it the black market of the food industry and it’s bound to get worse before it gets better. I’m sure just about everyone has talked to a scammer on the telephone or even had one ring your door-bell. Those are only two of many ways scammers try to get what doesn’t belong to them.
With the popularity of last weeks post I wanted to open up the conversation with everyone about ways scammers are taking advantage of opportunity to rip off the grocery store. Although it’s not our job to apprehend scammers when we see or hear them in action there’s nothing stopping us from alerting an employee.
An earlier post that I wrote exploring whether you would turn in someone you saw stealing at the grocery store met with mixed concern from my readers. There was so much empathy for the scammer that it led me to believe that some of us are perfectly fine if we see someone stealing food.
They must be hungry right? Maybe, Maybe Not. Does this still make it right? No, not at all.
It doesn’t work that way I’m afraid and any time scammers rip off the grocery store, including stealing that financial loss rolls down-hill. By this I mean the employees get less benefits, stagnant income, no bonus or less bonus and worst of all consumers have to suck up the shortest end with increased prices. Yes, I get that increased food prices are not simply from grocery store scammers BUT their actions ADD to this recipe for disaster.
Grocery Store Scammers
Believe it or not but not all scammers are broke. They just crave the thrill of not getting caught and when and if they don’t they have a prize at the end of the gig. Others are legit broke and feel the need to supplement their pantry with items that they didn’t pay for so they have money for other necessities. Although using the Food Bank is a well-known source for food and supplies for those in need it gets abused as well.
Scammers even tally up their yearly savings by using tactics to get what they want out of a store for free.
I only pay for milk, cereal, potatoes, veg and occasionally fruit, so my daily spend is usually $1-2. Things I lift have a value of between $3 and $10. Just lifting one item a day is enough. Total value about $2,000 a year.
The best places to conceal in a supermarket are in blind spots next to pillars, or next to carts of products being shelved, or right next to shoppers if you aren’t in their field of vision, or in the checkout line (one supermarket I lifted from had extensive candy selections on each side of you. As you waited in the line you could slip anything under your belt). – Reddit User Marxistopportunist
Let’s talk about all the ways a customer who is ready to become a grocery store scammer might get the job done. Please don’t take these suggestions as advice on how to become a scammer. Far from it. If consumers and grocery stores are not aware of what is happening on the grocery store floor and beyond it becomes tough to arrest scammers who believe they deserve stuff for free or deeply discounted.
Although stealing/shoplifting both are an open translation many of the grocery store tactics below are considered stealing in one form or another.
- Damaging Product for reduced price
- Coupon Fraud by creating fake printable coupons.
- Cashier Distraction or Flirting
- Dress the “I have money” role to distract Secret Shoppers ex: Get dressed Up
- Adding Reduced Stickers from previously bought reduced product or stolen sticker rolls.
- Scanning Code of Practice fraud
- Return and Refund Scammers
- Wrong Product Code written on bulk product
- Lying to cashier about what a product is if it is unknown to him/her.
- Adding Product inside of product
- Walking Out without paying
- Bathroom Theft
- Eating Product without paying
- Shoplifting with Fake Receipt *Now you know why Costco checks all receipts upon exit)
- Fake Bar-code system is a system using technology
- No receipt returns using products bought at another store.
- Using kids as scammers
- Shelf Scammer who walks in takes a product from the shelf then tries to return it.
- Shopping Bag Scammers add to bags from out of store purchases in the shopping cart or in hand.
If we want to keep costs to a minimum it’s important at the retail level to do everything they can to stop scammers along with customer awareness. An informed customer will either learn how to help or join the crowd.
Discussion Question: What other ways have scammers taken on the grocery store and got away with it?
Share your comments below.
September Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.
Post your shop and you can be next.
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
Free Money Saving Tools 2017
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2017 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 646,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: 983,000 O.M.G
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
- Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 8 x PC Not from concentrate Apple Juice $10.00
- 2 x salted butter No Name $3.97 each
- 2 x Large eggs $1.97 each
- 1 x 4L Neilson Milk $4.27
- Radishes $1.99 bag
- Strawberries $3.99 2lbs organic
- Johnsonville Cheddar Sausage Patties Reg $5.99 on Sale for $3.49-50% $1.75
- 3 x Swerve Confectioners Sugar $11.24-50% $16.86
- 2 x seedless cucumber $0.99 each $1.98
- Wonder Bread $3.29-50%$1.65
- Saputo mini Bocconcini $6.49-50% $3.25
Total Out-of-pocket $55.63
All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265 – $18.51= $246.49 (overage from August)
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $699.44
- Total spent this week: $55.63
- Total spent so far this month: $208.69
- Total over/Under spend this shop: Over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: Under
- Total left to spend for the month: $37.80
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $283.51+September $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
A boring week at the grocery store but we picked up some great deals on the pork sausage patties and Swerve confectioners sugar. We are cutting it close this month however we aren’t worried because there is more than enough food to get us through. We need to do the same challenge as Mary and Larry me thinks. Maybe a blog post is in order Mary?
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal. Please see GGC rules.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!
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