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Shoppers who use ‘just walk away’ when checking out themselves won’t get in trouble

In recent years, there have been increasing reports of self-checkout theft at stores such as Walmart and Kroger.

It has become so widespread that a new slang has emerged with shop owners coming up with expressions like the “banana trick”.

Retail bosses have coined phrases to describe self-checkout theft as reports have become more widespread in recent yearsCredit: Getty

But dozens of Amazon stores have technology known as “Just Walk Out,” which means customers don’t have to scan for items, potentially reducing in-store theft.

Bosses have said the technology “eliminates the checkout” because customers don’t have to wait in line either.

In stores where Just Walk Out is installed, shoppers must check into the store through Amazon One.

Shoppers can use Amazon One to pay with their palms or enter a store.

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Alternatively, they can enter the store by scanning their debit card or app.

Customers pay for the items they take off the shelves.

High-resolution cameras can track the items shoppers take off the shelves.

They explained, “These devices are sensitive enough to accurately and reliably detect even the smallest products and to detect carried or returned products that cameras can’t see.”

Amazon claims that more than a dozen third-party retailers have used Just Walk Out technology to ensure a “frictionless” experience for shoppers.

Meanwhile, self-checkout users have resorted to tactics like the “banana trick” in a desperate attempt to save money.

It refers to shoppers scanning an expensive item with a code for a cheaper product.

Customers can sometimes forget to scan a grocery, which is known as a “pass around”.

While others have resorted to a “switcheroo,” which refers to customers peeling the sticker off a cheap product before putting it over the price tag of something more expensive.

Customers have resorted to the strategy in a desperate attempt to save money on their groceries.


But shoppers who are caught face jail time.

Chasity Shirley, 34, spent up to 10 years behind bars after swapping the barcodes of a toothbrush holder and a children’s carpet and slipover at a Walmart store in Kentucky, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

She was convicted on charges of “unlawful access to a computer”.

Under state law, typical shoplifting for items under $500 carries a fine of only $250 and a maximum of 90 days in prison.

But prosecutors and Walmart had alleged that when Shirley swapped barcodes at self-checkout, she had unauthorized access to the store’s computer system.

Unlawful access to a computer is a Class C offense punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

But the Court of Appeals argued that Shirley and other Walmart customers are allowed to use the self-checkout when in-store.

Last week, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Shirley should not receive a felony or such a lengthy sentence.

And the Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously declared the conviction “inherently unfair”.

Shirley can now receive a targeted verdict rejecting the conviction.

Dozens of shoppers have shared horror stories in which they were accused of stealing items when using the self-checkout.

Between January 2021 and March 2022, more than 60 customers were arrested at a Walmart store in Tucson after accidentally forgetting to scan some items.

Shadd Maruna, a crime professor at Queens University in Belfast, believes some shoppers find it easier to steal from machines than from people.

She told the Courier-Journal: “Most of us are ashamed to get caught by a fellow human trying to steal something.

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“By removing the human eyes and replacing them with technology, the process seems less embarrassing.”

Assistant professor of sociology at Drew University in New Jersey, Christopher Andrews, also believes shoppers find some justification in stealing because self-checkout machines remove jobs behind the register.



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