The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

The Dark Side Of Grocery Store Shoplifting

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Grocery Store Shoplifting


From self-check out shoplifting, retail shoplifting to grocery store shoplifting it’s a big business that costs Canadians big bucks because it’s coming out of your pockets.

That’s right you pay the price as a consumer because when the store loses so does the paying customers.

Today I want to specifically focus on grocery store shoplifting during operating hours because it happens far more than you think.

You might ask yourself why on earth would anyone want to shoplift at the grocery store?

Many reasons which I will discuss below but the main reason is money.

Often it’s just not one person who is involved with grocery store shoplifting it can be an organized family event so there is much to be aware of but if you’re just there to shop you may never see a thing.

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, everyone has seen opened packages just laying around shelves, on the floor or tossed in a bunker and the product missing. Where do you think that product went? Out the door or into someone’s belly that’s where.

You might have heard that the best place to be a shoplifter is the grocery store because if you get caught shoplifting at least you have an excuse that makes more sense than someone stealing a car.

Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean you will be let off the hook that easy.

Being hungry is no laughing matter although in Canada there are so many resources available to those who are hungry that often grocery store shoplifting goes beyond personal consumption.

What does that mean?

It means that there is a big market in buying stolen products whether it’s electronics, furniture, clothing and yes, even food.

Although I believe that grocery store shoplifting happens more for resale I do believe that it happens because someone wants something that they can’t get somewhere else.

You may be able to get free food at the food bank but you might not get the products you want.

Every person is different and every theft has a meaning but only the thief really knows that reason. On the streets good food means big bucks especially when the seller obtained it for nothing.

There is never an excuse to shoplift but the reality is that it happens all around the world.

For some though, theft is more about the thrill than it is about the need.

“If someone is hungry and they only have five bucks, they’ll come to you and say, ‘What can I get for this?’ They don’t steal because they’re hungry. They steal because they want money.” – Munther Zeid, owner and manager of Winnipeg’s Food Fare chain – Source

You have the right to remain silent!- Remember that if you are caught shoplifting.

Can you get in trouble for shoplifting even if it is your first offense shoplifting?

YES and the last thing you want are theft charges under your name especially when you are looking for employment.

Breaking the law can follow you for a LONG time and even if you think you got off you may have more problems to sweep up down the path.

Even if you get a shoplifting fine from the judge you may still have it on your police record and to food theft is not something that should ever happen especially with so many organizations offering free food to those in need.

Common punishments for being found guilty of shoplifting include court fines and fees, potential jail time, damage to your reputation and career, and restrictions on travel. Source

Small theft charges can be classified as theft under $5000 and anything from a small fine to a big fine depending on how many times you’ve been caught stealing.

It may be the last straw before the judge throws you in jail because you have a long list of things you’ve done on your police record. No one can give you a definite answer, not even your lawyer but what is certain is that it’s not right.

How does the law distinguish between theft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000?

The difference is the way in which the crown prosecutor handles the charge. In the case of theft under $5,000, the crown prosecutor can decide to handle the charge as either a Source or as an Indictable Offence.

Of the two, indictable offences are the more serious and the court procedures are more complicated. If a person is convicted of an indictable offence, the penalties can be more severe.

What are the penalties if my daughter were convicted of theft as a summary offence?

A person convicted of theft under $5,000 as a summary offence can be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for up to six months or both.

These are maximum penalties, however, and the penalties for a first offender would likely be much less severe. As well, other options are available to your daughter as a Young Offender.

You can read more at Canadian Legal FAQ’s -Shoplifting

Grocery Store Shoplifting methods

With the rise in self-scanners at many big retailers the rise in grocery store shoplifting via the do-it-yourself checkout method is big.

Whether it be typing in the wrong product code or simply forgetting to ring something in when the self-checkout staff member isn’t looking is very common.

It’s a busy area and those who are grocery store shoplifting will take advantage of that. Imagine your city has a big parade and almost all the police officers are in the parade with few left on the streets for that couple of hours.

That is the time burglars will swoop in and do their thing. The same goes at any grocery store, when no one is around or there are limited staff if the shop is busy or it’s late at night these thefts will happen often.

Professional shoplifters have been doing it for years and they know how to get what they want without the eyes above and below catching them.

These are the very people who are a part of product price increases because when they steal they are stealing from everyone, even you the consumer because you end up paying in the end.

The Food Retailers Association of Quebec estimates that $600 million worth of food is stolen from stores in Quebec each year. – Source

  • Unwrap packages and put into another bag ex: Steaks, Fish
  • Add items under cart and forget to ring in
  • Walk out with entire cart full of groceries
  • Distraction theft – where the thief uses charm to get out of the store without being suspected of grocery store shoplifting
  • Open boxes and insert other items before closing box back up again
  • Removing price tags or swapping tags
  • Eating or drinking product in the grocery store
  • Using kids to steal or baby carriers
  • Slipping items in jackets, purses on or their body
  • Doubling up on clothing or adding sunglasses, gloves, hats or scarves they never came into the grocery store with
  • Employee theft

Don’t Stereo-type and treat all thieves equally

I’m sure there are many other methods I’m not thought of above but you get the point and it’s not just the poor who are doing this. People who get caught grocery store shoplifting come from all social classes and groups.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming the troublemakers are only the ones who fit the stereotype. If you focus only on the tough-looking suspects you’ll miss the one’s who learned to fit in. – Retail Council of Canada

Sometimes it happens for other reasons that are beyond the scope of the thrill or resale where doctors need to get involved in the process but often even if charges are dropped the person is banned from the store or given a suspension for a year.

Grocery Store Shoplifting Prevention

These days grocery stores are taking theft very seriously especially retailers that offer more than just food like Costco and Wal-Mart where you can buy everything and anything.

First and foremost prevention starts with educating staff on what to look for when it comes to customers who are shopping to steal.

Watch customers’ eyes as the enter the store. Normal customers look for sale items, flyers and carts, while thieves look for staff. – Retail Council of Canada

Walking out of Wal-Mart the other day I noticed what seems to be grocery cart strips outside the store. So, if you were to rush out with your cart like a maniac trying to steal your cart would go flying or tip side-ways if you hit the strip hard.

I could be wrong but it sure as heck seemed like a reasonable explanation for what I saw on the ground.

You can’t even enter or exit Costco without greeting a staff member and producing your Costco membership card and then your receipt upon leaving the building.

Your entire shopping cart is looked over and checked against your receipt. This is theft prevention by the store because grocery store shoplifting in bulk is an even bigger business than the small stuff at the local supermarket.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that certain products are not in packages because you only get the item once it is paid for. Other items might be kept in a display case only or on shelves behind the counter especially medicine.

The pharmacy is a big area for grocery store shoplifting because drugs sell on the streets whether it’s headache pills or even cough medicines. You might even notice that at certain time of the evening the pharmacy section is locked up but the store is still open.

This is to prevent theft later in the evening.

  • Extra staff
  • Extra eyes via surveillance
  • Security guards
  • Door checkers
  • Alarms
  • Product tags
  • Security fencing
  • Outdoor cameras

Grocery store shoplifting is part of the pricing problem in Canada which means that the more that gets stolen the higher we will see prices increase.

Everything is part of the problem but we are all part of the solution which means teaching our kids from a young age that stealing is a big no and that it’s never Ok. That might not deter them into adult-hood but giving them a head-start is better than saying nothing at all.

Discussion: Why do you think people steal from grocery stores? What other ways are stores working to prevent theft? What other methods have you seen or heard of that thieves use when shoplifting from grocery stores?

October 2018 Grocery Game Challenge


Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!

Last Shop from September5 Pointers To Find The Best Prices At The Grocery Store

2018 Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/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 or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,600,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet -$0
  • Checkout51– $1.50

Our Grocery Shop This Week

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 4 x Milk 4L $17.08

Total Out-of-Pocket $17.08

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300.00
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $17.08
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $305 Saved
  • 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: $318.29
  • Total spent this week: $17.08
  • Total spent so far this month: $194.00
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $106.00
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $257.76 +August $342.74 + September $255.69+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

After last weeks huge haul from Zehrs we didn’t need anything this week. We may run out to grab some bananas but I will add it to next weeks shop. Happy shopping everyone!


Free Money Saving Tools 2018

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.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working 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 2018

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

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.

2018 Coupons and Coupon App

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.

Related: Find all the latest coupon apps in Canada right here>> Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons

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!! You can also sign up for PineCone Canada and $3 completing surveys and checking out products before they hit the shelves!

Walmart Grocery is seriously the best! Order fresh groceries and more online, and Walmart will load your car for you… free! How easy is that? Here’s $10 to try it. You can thank me later

Order your online groceries from Walmart Canada and enjoy this $10 from Me To You for first time shoppers!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden portals 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.

Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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 2018 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 prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • 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 that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile 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. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • 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.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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! 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 2018!


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