Monitoring My Wife’s Cell Phone While Shopping
One technique that has been abandoned is inserting tags inside boxes of cosmetics and health and beauty aids. “We got away from that during the Tylenol scare, when the public became leery of any package that seemed to have been tampered with,” says Cooke.
Don Morrison, manager of the Oxon Hill store in Maryland, has a Checkpoint system that mirrors the success fo Smith’s Sensorgate. Morrison says he draws his greatest satisfaction from thwarting professional thieves. He says, “The heavy hitters—the guys who load up $200 worth of meat in a cart, take it up front near the produce and then duck out the front door—have all but disappeared. They know they’ll set off the alarm at the entrance gates. I see hardly any abandoned carts up front in produce—a sure sign of heavy hitters. I used to find them all the time.”
Sometimes a shopper sets off the alarm as he enters. “That happens,” says Smith, “when someone is carrying a tagged item he previously bought in one of our stores. We ask if there is anything on his person that he may have bought previously and, if so, we ask to hold it for him at the courtesy booth. Sometimes it may be an ID card that sets off the alarm. In any event, friendly, courteous questioning, rather than accusing, is always the rule and almost always solves problems with phantom alarms.”
Cooke confirms that false alarms are virtually no problem. Giant has had to settle only four shoplifting-related claims from any cause since the installation of the EAS systems and the amounts involved were “nothing of any size.” One help is the addition that Giant and other retailers pushed for: Virginia law now gives merchants the right to stop and question shoppers who set off anti-shoplifting alarms. Giant is lobbying for similar legislation in Maryland and the District of Columbia. What’s Ahead for EAS
Cooke and Sanderson both see explosive growth of EAs systems in the next few years. Says Cooke, “Those early days when Checkpoint gave us 50 phantom alarms a week are long gone. The days when positioning an in-store computer too close to a Sensorgate set off phantom alarms are also gone. The systems have been constantly refined and now enjoy a great deal of reliability.” Surveillance systems that can help to spy on your wife’s cell phone.
Which system is better? “Both Sensorgate and Checkpoint systems are excellent. But we don’t know about Knogo, the third manufacturer, since they have only one installation under test with Safeway in San Francisco,” says Cooke.
“But,” he says, “at the moment we are leaning toward Sensorgate. We like its ability to protect metalic and foil packages. And we like the tag’s size. It’s easier to attach to small packages and overall it is less obtrusive on the package. Either way, these systems will find increasing use, because they have proved they pay for themselves in a remarkably short time in most stores.”