Walmart Worker Shows How They Know When Customers Steal From Self-Checkouts

A Walmart employee has revealed online how staff know exactly when a customer is stealing at the self-checkout machines—a place many previously believed was a blind spot of sorts.

In the video, the employee who uses the online alias @thewalmartguy69, showed a scanner device staff are equipped with, writing: "POV: We know when you're stealing," on screen.

The device is by a popular retail track and trace company Zebra Technologies, which supplies many of the largest stores in the US with scanners and software, including Walmart and Costco.

Employees are able to connect the handheld device to the self-checkout machines, displaying which ones are in use and which are open. The device also gives away what has been scanned at each machine and how many of each item, making it easy for workers to spot those who have items in their hands or bags that haven't been scanned.

"We see everything," he wrote. In later videos, the worker also added that the scanner shows removed items and alerts for required help when a customer selects it on the machine.

The video can also be seen in full here.

Since their introduction, self-checkouts have been a seemingly easy target for shoplifters, and research by criminologist and University of Leicester Professor Adrian Beck even showed from gathered data from 13 major UK and US retailers, including Walmart, that a large retailer with half of its sales being made through self-checkouts should expect losses in the millions of dollars from it.

As reported by CBC, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention in the U.S. surveyed thousands of small-time shoplifters and found that many saw the self-checkout machines as easy pickings due to the lack of staff present.

Bob Moraca, former vice-president of loss prevention at the National Retail Federation in the U.S, told CBC that the common thinking is that: "Now I've got to bag my own stuff and I've got to check out myself ... and it's a little bit of a hassle, so, guess what, I get to take one or two things for free."

"You say, 'Oh, goodness me, did I make a mistake? I'm terribly sorry,'" he explained.

Though the Walmart employee claims that they "see everything," not everyone is sold, with many sharing anecdotes of staff not caring.

"I walked out with a guys don't know," wrote one user.

"I always take one small item as payment for being my own cashier. I don't work for free. Sorry," added another.

"There have been so many times when I've accidentally walked out of Walmart with something in my basket and nobody even asked," commented a user.

Newsweek has contacted Walmart and the TikTok user for comment.

Walmart trolley in store
Shoppers wait in line to pay for their purchases at a Walmart store in Los Angeles, California on November 24, 2009. A Walmart employee has revealed how they can tell when someone is shoplifting on the self-checkouts. Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Correction 8/18/21, 02:55 a.m. ET: This article has been corrected to reflect that Bob Moraca is a former National Retail Federation employee.