Should you feel bad about stealing from self check outs in Supermarkets?


Do you feel bad about stealing from Supermarkets when they direct you to the self check out counter?

I’ve never been in a position desperate enough to steal anything myself, but the manner in which the Supermarket duopoly in NZ are replacing workers with self check outs, on top of the duopoly prices supermarkets can charge on top of them also making you do their banking for them by paying with your eftpos and  the idea of actively abusing the self check out actually ends up making some ethical sense.

The Supermarket duopoly use their false competition to keep food prices high and their desire to cut back on workers always mean the are looking for any excuse to build more self service check outs than investing in people.

When confronted by such a self interested industry, stealing from them seems like a sensible response.

TDB Recommends



  1. We shouldn’t have stealing in any form but the commercial industry no matter which way you look is busy stealing from us consumers.

    One case was yesterday presented to my wife of 43yrs as she went to the Countdown dairy section and came back complaining that the price of butter had since last week shot up to almost $5 a pack from four dollars last week!!!!!!!!

    This is happening everywhere now as unchecked prices are spiking without ANY INDUSTRY WATCHDOG CONTROL AT ALL.


  2. Fortunately I still have enough not to steal, but who knows what the future will bring?

    I won’t be directed through SS unless I’m in a hurry and can’t wait.

    Self serve is awful in terms of ergonomics. I’m average height (165cm) and the checkouts are uncomfortable as they are made for kids or modeled on shorter people of around 140cms.

    Plus it’s unhygenic. The shear numbers of unwashed hands that touch that thing before you do…uwww.

    But mainly I really don’t want to encourage automation.

    It’s the same with the library but my passive stance against self serve kiosks is thwarted there because the librarians actually move over to the self serve and take the books through there for you. Apparently they say they have to get more people using them…lambs to the slaughter and handing the city council the knife.

  3. How dare they decide what to do with all our surplus food. Very few are taught to serve children first now adays. Its all me me me. All for me and none for you, thats neoliberals argument. Bet they didnt think this was the end result. Again, *math, small

  4. I never use self service checkouts as they take jobs away from people. If everyone did the same supermarkets would be forced to close them and employ more people

    • So of course you don’t use email because it takes jobs away from postal workers. In fact, considering that the blogosphere takes jobs away from people with paper routes, what are you even doing here?

      I doubt any of the well-meaning people trying to save checkout jobs has ever actually done one. My brother ended up with a terrible OOS injury after doing checkout for only a few months. Automating boring, unhealthy jobs is a GOOD thing!

      I once heard Grant Robertson describe the neo-luddite refusal to use self-checkouts as “finger in the dyke stuff”, which is bang on. The trope of blaming tech progress for job losses shifts the blame from those actually responsible; employers fire people, not machines. Employers can choose to redeploy workers displaced by automation in other parts of their business. If they don’t, it’s a copout to blame their downsizing decisions on the tech, and sad to see people on the left buying into it.

      Going deeper, the trope of blaming job losses for poverty is also neo-liberal buck-passing. There’s more than enough stuff to go round, as we can see from the mountains of edible food that ends up as landfill or stock feed because poorer people can’t afford the prices being charged by supermarkets, cafes, and bakeries. People are being pushed into poverty because of the failure of the social welfare system to make that surplus affordable, not because of a lack of unnecessary work to be done.

  5. nothing like a bit of “shrinkage” to make corporates pay attention!

    it won’t be too long before there are few paid jobs left in society–so who the hell are going to be the supermarkets and other capitalist enterprises customers?

    time to organise for a post paid work future, and it will be revolution or bust because the bosses are not going to hand over their booty (means of production) without a fight

  6. If people steal from the supermarkets, does this mean the supermarkets will increase their prices to absorb the cost of “shrinkage”?

    I use the check out b/c it’s quicker with a big shop. Our supermarket has these turnstyle gizmos so there’s no need for the check out operators to lift my ecobags at all.

    What concerns me is the decibels of that bloody beeper as they pass the item over the scanner but I guess it has to be that loud for the hearing impaired.

Comments are closed.