scorecardStore worker of 20 years was fired for not paying for grocery bags at the self-checkout
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Store worker of 20 years was fired for not paying for grocery bags at the self-checkout

Alexandra Bacon   

Store worker of 20 years was fired for not paying for grocery bags at the self-checkout
Retail1 min read
  • An employee of a UK grocery chain was fired for not paying for grocery bags at checkout.
  • He reportedly took multiple bags which each cost less than $1.

An employee of the UK grocery chain Sainsbury's, who had worked there for nearly 20 years, was fired after he didn't pay for plastic grocery bags at self-checkout, the BBC reported.

The employee reportedly purchased £30 ($37) of food, pillows, and bedding from the store after working the night shift.

When he went to pay at the self-checkout, he clicked "zero bags used" despite having used multiple bags. His employer saw the footage on CCTV and took this as grounds for his dismissal.

Sainsbury's charges between 30 pence ($0.37) and 65 pence ($0.80) for its plastic grocery bags after a law came into effect in the UK requiring customers to pay for these bags.

The case was brought to an employment tribunal where the employee said he was tired and made an unintentional mistake, per the BBC. But the judge ruled that Sainsbury's was within its right to fire him, finding that he "committed theft."

Retailers have been rethinking their approach to self-checkouts in recent years. The chains have realized they still need employees to help check receipts, combat theft, and assist with purchases.

Some US retailers have found that self-checkout lanes open them up to issues like theft. Walmart has removed self-checkout in some of its stores recently, as employees and customers complained of theft.

Costco has also been clamping down by asking customers to show their membership cards at the self-checkout and have staff assist with scanning items. Target has put in place 10-item limits for self-checkout at many of its stores and says it's also helping to speed up the shopping experience.

One UK supermarket chain, Booths, did away with them completely last year after customers found them too slow and impersonal, and some workers say they prefer it.




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