Outrage over security tags on high quality cut meats at Coles.
Outrage over security tags on high quality cut meats at Coles.

Coles’ extreme way to stop meat theft

A COLES shopper has divided social media after sharing a post of pre-packaged meat with a security tag attached to it.

The man from Griffith in regional New South Wales, posted a picture of Australian Lamb Cutlets valued at $30 to the Facebook group Markdown Addicts Australia.

He circled the "lock" symbol in the top left hand-side of the image with the caption: "Not a mark down but the things retailers have to do to stop theft and protect profit."

The post has already clocked nearly 500 comments from stunned shoppers.

"Well if wasn't so expensive it wouldn't be a target," one Facebook member of the group said.

"I'm not really surprised at $30 for 12 bites of meat … its bloody ridiculous …" added another.

"At $30.00 it's the retailer who is the real thief," a third commented.

"Shouldn't be so expensive."

"No wonder they put alarms on them at $30 pkt. They are almost same as a packet of ciggies."

The tags are designed to set off an alarm if they are removed from the store and while many are outraged by the move, others have defended the supermarket giant.

"Seriously though, I wouldn't be advertising that my product has an anti theft warning. Let the thief be caught and dealt with!" one user said.

"It's ridiculously expensive but there is NO excuse for stealing! There are heaps of charities running grocery shops. Some people are too lazy to look for bargains / markdowns and don't know how to budget," another said.


The post has clocked nearly 500 comments.
The post has clocked nearly 500 comments.


Some shoppers agreed meat was very expensive.
Some shoppers agreed meat was very expensive.

"It wouldn't be so expensive if we had rain all across the country and the farmers had grass and water for their stock. Guess you haven't been in the outback to see how the animals are struggling to live," a Facebook user said in response to those against the tags.

A former Coles employee said she had lost count of how many empty steak and lamb packets she found stashed where people had opened them.

She said people would "put the meat in fresh produce bags to avoid the security tags on the meat".

"It's crazy," she added.

Another user also shared his experience, saying, "Lost count of amount of times I had meat stolen from my meat department even when the meat was a lot cheaper".

However, not everyone believes the tags are to prevent stealing.

"That is a load of sh*t," one person commented. "They are weaning people off meat. Because it's the number one contribution to global warming. It's f***ing up our ozone layer, or has everyone forgotten that we have one."

"It's definitely because of theft meat is the highest theft item at a supermarket," another responded.


Others said they found it sad retailers had to resort to security tags.
Others said they found it sad retailers had to resort to security tags.

A Coles spokesperson told news.com.au while the large majority of its customers do the right thing, "it's not fair that a small number of people get away with doing the wrong thing".

"Like a number of retailers, we work with police to reduce shoplifting. There are also trained covert security officers in our stores nationally and they're catching hundreds of thieves every week and reporting them to police."

The spokesperson said Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags are one of a range of security measures it has to reduce theft from its stores.

A Woolworths spokesperson said it too has a range of security measures in place to help prevent theft and keep stock available on shelves - including the security tagging of high value products.

"Our store teams work hard to ensure stock is available on our shelves for our customers when they need it," the spokesperson told news.com.au

According to the Australia and New Zealand Retail Crime Survey, shoplifting is on the rise and now accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the total losses.

The survey's lead researcher from the University of London, Emmeline Taylor, said the spike of petty retail theft was more commonly viewed as a "victimless crime" because of the perception the large retailers build expected losses into their profit margin.


Coles said the aim of the tags is to reduce thefts.
Coles said the aim of the tags is to reduce thefts.

"But it couldn't be further from the truth," she said. "We calculate that $3.37 billion is enough to employ 85,000 supermarket check-out staff for a year."

Each year, theft costs the industry more than $7.5 billion, according to figures from the Australian Retailers Association.

In NSW, theft constituted 70 per cent of all retail crime as stated in the New Wales Government Justice Department report.

"Retail theft has been fuelled by consumer demands for low-cost goods coupled with a reduction in staff on the retail selling floor," the report reads.