by November 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm 2,625 5 Comments

From Mike Kohn. Got some news for Mike? Find him on Twitter @mike_kohn or drop him a line at [email protected].

By now, you’ve probably noticed the fun new addition to our local 17th Street Safeway — the receipt check that is required before you can exit the store. While we all had a sneaking suspicion what the root cause was, it took an inquiry from the ANC to get to the bottom it. As Washington City Paper reveals, this is an attempt to curb shoplifting from the store. According to Safeway spokesman Craig Muckle, this is something that’s being instituted in stores that have the bag fee (so, basically, around DC and in Baltimore City), mirroring similar attempts to prevent theft by Walmart and Costco.

Apparently, Safeway has noticed an uptick in people using bags to carry their items in a supposed attempt to avoid the bag tax and then casually sneak past the cashiers without paying. So it’s not that they care what you have in your bags, they just care that you paid, period.

If the comments from City Paper and the Dupont Forum on Yahoo! Groups are any indication, Safeway’s bag check has not been a particularly popular introduction. And that’s putting it lightly. People have pointed out that people were allowed to carry personal shopping bags before the bag tax was introduced, and are questioning what effect this will have. This comment was my personal favorite:

“… I don’t mind the check, but at my S/W, it causes a clustermess as people have to wait in line to exit the store while others are trying to get past said line to get in and grab a cart. Like salmon swimming upstream AND downstream through a very narrow river separated only by a median of cheap baked goods.”

So what say you, Borderstan? Impressed that Safeway is going out on a limb to prevent theft from its stores? Irritated that the new procedure is holding you up from doing better things? Indifferent to the introduction altogether? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.


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