Are you vulnerable to sweethearting?

Are you vulnerable to sweethearting?

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You wouldn’t have guessed that ‘sweethearting’ is an official industry phrase used in the retail sector! Not a term of endearment or a piece of confectionery, but it actually refers to a form of employee theft. So what is it exactly and how can such fraud be reduced?

Sweethearting basically involves a shopper taking a range of items to the cashier, who then in turn only scans the low-value items, or just one item of a multiple purchase, in order for their acquaintance to receive higher-value goods at a discounted rate, or even for free.

It’s named sweethearting because it most often occurs between a cashier and his or her family members or friends, usually without pre-arrangement. It’s made possible by retailers opting for multi-line queuing systems, which allow customers to choose exactly who serves them.

Difficult to deter, especially as so many large retailers use closed-circuit cameras to detect such fraud. But one of the latest advances in loss prevention is video ‘behaviour recognition’ software that is able to detect employees in the act by inspecting the cashier’s handling of each item and transaction.

However, by simply implementing an effective single line queue management system, stock loss can be prevented without the need to spy on employees that may ultimately cause friction between staff and managers.

So, when a single line services every till position, the cashier choice is automatically random, so any attempt by a customer to give up their place in the queue to wait for a particular cashier to become available then appears more obvious.