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'Thieves Using Plastic Bags Ban To Shoplift’

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Rupert Roberts

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

SUPER VALUE president Rupert Roberts yesterday defended the food store chain’s new packing policy, stating the rule was introduced to safeguard against theft which has increased since the government’s ban on single-use plastics.

A new Super Value notice informing customers that “groceries must be packed in bags before leaving the store” sparked outrage on social media yesterday. When contacted, Mr Roberts said the purpose of the new policy is to deter shoplifting.

“Groceries are not to go out loose in a shopping cart,” he told The Tribune.

“It’s because customers are shopping the way they always shop. They put the groceries in the shopping cart and they’re just walking outdoors with the carts as though the cashiers are not sitting there.

“It’s a new day (and) new system (so) thieves are taking advantage of it. They go in and shop and they come and try walk around the cash registers, trying to get behind the cash registers and trying to get out of the door.

“When the security grabs them and says ‘Where is your (receipt) tape?’ they got no tape. They just throw the cart of groceries at him and leave.”

Mr Roberts said incidents like this, which have occurred “frequently” recently, have contributed to the food store chain’s stock shortages increasing from one to six percent since the plastic ban took effect on January 1.

He said he believes thieves think “it’s their time now” and intentionally take advantage of the new system because of all the changes surrounding it.

“We’re having a lot of prosecutions,” he said. “It started increasing after the hurricane (last September) and then with the plastic ban it just went wild.

“...The police are coming in and taking our cashiers out in handcuffs for pushing for their friends and relatives. One in Cable Beach struck up the groceries and it came to one hundred and something and 25 cents and he gave the cashier 25 cents and he walked out with the groceries.

“The security had to chase him and nail him down in the parking lot and call the police and charge him with stealing.”

Mr Roberts insisted the new policy is not to force customers to pay for bags, but to prevent potential law breakers from trying to cheat the system.

Describing how the new policy will be enforced, he added: “Groceries can be packed in bags, buckets, laundry baskets, pillow cases (or) reusable bags. It’s just that we’re trying to stop them from going out loose.

“We’re trying to stop them from walking by the cash registers and walking around the cash registers. You see there’s no way of telling what’s paid for and what’s not paid for unless they’re in bags.”

When asked why Super Value doesn’t offer customers cardboard boxes to pack their purchased items in, Mr Roberts said while he does not have the exact figures, he knows for a fact that the stores would not be able to meet the demand.

“We have thousands of cardboard boxes, but (to accommodate customers) it would (have to) be in the millions and we don’t have them. We only have thousands of cardboard boxes to offer the customers.”

Still, Mr Roberts said the company has not received any more resistance from customers because of the plastic ban.

“They have accepted that we have a ban and they’re not going to pay 25 cents (for a plastic bag),” he said.

“…We’re only selling in 13 stores $14,000 of plastic bags a week at 25 cents, but if they were really buying plastic bags, it would be something probably close to $500,000 a month.”

Insisting the system would only work if people cooperated and brought their reusable bags with them when shopping, he added: “That’s the way we’re going to eventually have to encourage and force consumers to do it.

“It has to be done right or it’s going to be costly. We don’t want this increasing the cost of living four or five percent by theft increasing that much.

“We have to work with security (and) work with police in eliminating this theft and this attempted theft (because) it has to be stamped out.”

Comments

ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

For a few days they tried not to allow shopping cartsout of the food store. I shop at a particular store every day and the packing boy tried to stop me from rolling a 20 lb bag of dog food. I approached the manager and stood silently staring him down. He then told me to roll the cart.

Mind you sometimes I forget to bring a bag, or stop at the store unexpectedly. Bag or not, I stop at the security to produce my receipt.

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ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

I have heard that people ars stealing reusable bags from people's carts too.

For years tho, employees have been prosecuted for facilitating theft by relatives.

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joeblow 1 month, 1 week ago

If they had brown paper bags to put your groceries in this would not be a problem!

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bahamianson 1 month, 1 week ago

What does the law of the land say about this strategy from Mr. Roberts? Once a person pays for an item before leaving the store, whom does the item belong to? Has a contract not been finalized once you pay for an item? If so, is the item or items now yours? If the item or items are yours, do you need to show a receipt to anyone after the fact? Do police officers stop you in the middle of the day and ask you to show your receipt for the car you are driving? Is it legal for the security officers to demand to see your receipt ? Can a legal mind set the record straight? One should be allowed to walk out the store with an item without it being in a bag. Is it law that you cannot walk out of a store with an item without it being in a bag? Otherwise, Mr. Roberts needs to be creative in his security efforts and not take the easy road like the government and " just increase taxes".

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joeblow 1 month, 1 week ago

company's are entitled to ask for proof of purchase at the time you leave their premises. Its is not an ownership of product issue, but an legal safeguard against fraud or theft! That's why conductors on trains ( in the UK and Europe)ask to see your ticket after you have boarded!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

“It’s because customers are shopping the way they always shop. They put the groceries in the shopping cart and they’re just walking outdoors with the carts as though the cashiers are not sitting there."

The cashiers were allowing their family members and friends to simply bypass the checkout and payment process with their unbagged groceries in carts pushed out of the store to their waiting vehicles. Nothing but outright theft with the cashiers as a group agreeing to turn a blind to what has been happening. Rupert Roberts needs to fire/replace most of his very dishonest cashiers and hire trusted people dedicated to carefully monitoring the checkout and payment process. He then needs to lower the outrageous prices currently being charged on non-perishable staple food items because of his failure to implement better procedures to control theft.

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Islangal1 1 month, 1 week ago

Ok, this makes no sense to me. Each item has a bar code which is how they are scanned at the til. If the item is not scanned it goes off at the door, unless there's no security system at that door, which I do believe there is because I've had an item go off before. So how is it people are allowed to pushcart full of groceries out the store? And how in the world that much theft could've happened between the time the plastic bag ban was implemented to now?

"Mr Roberts said incidents like this, which have occurred “frequently” recently, have contributed to the food store chain’s stock shortages increasing from one to six percent since the plastic ban took effect on January 1."

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proudloudandfnm 1 month, 1 week ago

There are no scanners at the door in any food store in the Bahamas.

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jackbnimble 1 month, 1 week ago

It’s a monster of their own making. The government in being greedy and charging the tax for the bag and Roberts for not finding another alternative. He makes enough money to hire proper security/surveillance without forcing his customers to buy an expensive bag. I think people reserve the right to not purchase a bag and to force them to do so in top of purchasing expensive groceries is nonsense.

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Millennial242 1 month, 1 week ago

If I have paid for the item and have proof that I paid for it, it is my property. What I do with it henceforth is not subject to the dictation of the person that sold it to me. If I decide to walk out with it in my hand, that is my prerogative. Perhaps your security model is outdated and that is what needs to be changed. This policy goes against the common law between buyer and seller. Very often I forget to bring my bag. Or, if I am going in the store for one item (let's say a bar of chocolate or a drink), I often refuse a bag anyways.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

If this is the majority's attitude, then Mr Roberts will have to make a store exit that resembles the TSA at Fort Lauderdale and hire 5 more officers for each store. There will be xray conveyor belt scanners and an additional flatbed scanner that items are again added up with and a separate guard confirms the "new" receipt equals the original receipt and both match the date and time. This will of course take additional time for customers and will cost the store added expense which can be covered with a 2% increase in prices across the board. That way people can have the SACRED RIGHT to leave a store with just a loose item in their hand and their receipt.

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alfalfa 1 month, 1 week ago

Another crock of BS. Shopping at super value every week. Have my own bags. Sometimes security asks for my receipt. Other times not or no security. Forgot my bags once and they had no plastic or any kind of bags to sell. I notice there is an absence of packing boys since this new bag policy. Are they stealing too? Also notice an increase in prices as well. A pound of rib eye delmonico, for example is selling at 27$ per lb. The same steak of higher quality is 19$ at Fresh Markets. Beef is duty free. More smoke and mirrors to hide the real picture. Government is afraid to crack down on big businessess like Super Value.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

Stores have to charge more for non-price-controlled items to make up for losses on price-controlled items. If you can afford Delmonico steaks then you can help pay the cost of Ramen Noodles for all the single mothers and their brood. Under our socialist, pop-em out, system - that's how it works. Thank the churches and their empty pews.

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shonkai 1 month, 1 week ago

Customers are being robbed by the foodstores for years now, guess the tide is turning.

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BahamaPundit 1 month, 1 week ago

The consumer receives a terrible shopping experience IMO: dirty, broken infrastructure and crazy high prices. If I had a decent alternative, I'd never step into one again.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

Bahamians are just looking to be a damn nuisance ……. just bring your shopping bags to the foodstore ……… Why are we such a mean-spirited and dumbass set of people???????

This reflects the worst of our D-average education ………. Can't we see the good sense in getting rid of plastic bags etc????????? …….. Bahamians really need global exposure.

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BMW 1 month, 1 week ago

Sheeprunner12 you hit the nail on the head for damn sure. I was in line at a store the other day and this clown was complaining about the bag ban, that's just the way we are, we love to bitch and complain.

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themessenger 1 month, 1 week ago

Das we peeps, always looking for new ways to 'teif, 'teif Jesus off the cross given the chance, its a way of life here now, ain no turnin' back!!

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stillwaters 1 month, 1 week ago

Nation of damn thieves.... and some of you on this blog are actually making excuses for them.....

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

MR. ROBERTS ...IT AINT ....THE BAN ON THE PLASTIC BAGS CAUSING YOUR PROBLEM......

ITS THE ...GOVT.AND DERE....ASSOCIATES......NOT BANNING...POVERTY....RIPPED UP SOCIAL FABRIC...LACK OF EDUCATION....UNEMPLOYMENT...DESPERATION..ONE IN EIGHT BAHAMIANS DONT KNOW WHERE THE NEXT MEAL COMING FROM....LACK OF LAWS...CHRISTIAN BROUGHTUPSY.....AND RELATED ISSUES...and kleptomaniacs.

Bahamas is the documented sixth MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTRY .....IN THE WORLD..after countries like Switzerland, Norway, Ireland.......Bahamas has also the widening difference gap between rich and poor. Previous govts wasting money, govt applying regressive VAT fully knowing the consequences....and next govt adding more of VAT...even knowing even more of what is going to happen..

Partial solution for Mr. Roberts is to talk to his govt associated it aint gon get better....and immediately stop watching the wrong cameras in his stores his employees ...sexing in the cooler and doing the 'back shot' sexing.....and try looking... more at the cameras above each store cashier location..an not low blouses women cleaveges also...!!!!!!!!

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alfalfa 1 month, 1 week ago

No excuse for thieves. Nor dumbasses, now that all Bahamians have been categorized as such. I guess this must also include the bloggers who so categorize.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

Call a spade a spade ………. no need to catch feelings

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Mostly, Comrade Rupert and I are reading from somewhat similar script but we're two opposite peas in pod on his position taken this one. Firstly, wasn't it the government - not his stores shoppers - that mandates that shoppers were be left their own wits when it comes to - how best physically remove their food stuffs purchase out the Super Value store? Long before the plastic bag being outlawed - many a food stuff shopper, had done stopped on we own from using plastic, or any other type, bag pack we stuffs - opting we constitutional right wheeling shopping bugging out store to we vehicle be unpacked into trunk or back vehicle. What changed?

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

lol. It een funny but..

"They just throw the cart of groceries at him and leave."

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themessenger 1 month, 1 week ago

Sheep ma brudda you right on, why dese peeps catching feelings now? It ain like the 'teifin start yesterday, the rot set in from Pindling time and NO government from then had the balls to crack the whip and put manners on our people. As someone who born in the fifties you couldn't get away with none of the stupidness our people get away with now, throw ya teifin ass in jail in a heartbeat and cut ya ass before they do it! Our people today don't have no respect for themselves nevermind the police or the government.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

I've first became familiar with Comrade Rubert's rise in the grocery business, starting when he scored senior grocer management position with Sir Stafford - later to take over the Potion Control store in Palmdale from the three Darville brothers Julian, Tyrone and Buck, who had also owned and operated Deluxe Dry Cleaners (later become Oriental Cleaners). Even back then he was seen be somewhat taken to impulsive reactionary management style - but on this constitutional intrusion on impeding the right to free and unhindered movement a shopping buggy and its cargo of food stuffs - Comrade Rupert is throwing out the baby- along with mommy and the bath water. Yeah, no?

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BahamaRed 1 month, 1 week ago

I don't see Solomon's with this problem, there is one way in and one way out of the store. There is no way to roll a full cart of groceries out of Solomon's unless the security and cashier are both in on it. Seems to me Mr. Roberts needs to maybe readjust his stores layout, and stop attempting to bully hard working honest Bahamians.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Isn't it robbery enough charge 25 cents per plastic bag?
Wouldn't a no going passed front store's door policy of restricting the removal buggies - not defeat whole concept behind why the grocery stores invest in shopping buggies? What about for the convenience option their customers to wheel their just bought and paid for groceries inside the buggies - out store over to their damn vehicle?

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BahamaRed 1 month, 1 week ago

You can take the trolley out, you just have to pass the cashier and security first.

See Solomon's on the East-West highway set-up. Can't get groceries out there without paying, unless the cashier and security are assisting.

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