Please, Stop & Shop, stop treating me like a thief

By | September 10, 2017

Dear Stop & Shop,

I’ve been a customer at the Stop & Shop at 60 Everett Street in Allston, Massachusetts for twenty years. I’ve been “in your database” with a Stop & Shop Card for as long as your chain has used Stop & Shop cards. In the past five years, I’ve spent on average more than $3,000 per year in your stores.

I am a frequent user of your “Scan It!” smart-phone app, the Scan It! devices in your stores, and your self-checkout aisles. By using these, I save you money by reducing the number of employees you need on duty each shift.

In addition to all of the above, I rarely use coupons, since I frankly don’t have time to clip them.

In short, I am one of your best, most loyal, most profitable customers. And yet, on a regular basis, when I shop at your store, you accuse me of being a thief.

When I use a Scan It! app or device to do my shopping, I bag all of my own groceries as I scan them, so that when I finally get to the front of the line at the self-checkout aisle, all I need to do is scan my Stop & Shop card, pay, and leave.

Alas, on an all-too-frequent basis, I am informed by the register, “This transaction requires cashier assistance. Please stand by, help is on the way!” And then I stand there, waiting, often for several minutes, for someone to come along to do a “quick scan” of my groceries.

You know, to confirm that I haven’t stolen anything.

When someone finally shows up, more often than not they are flummoxed by the fact that I used the smart-phone app rather than a Scan It! device. So then they have to go find someone else to tell them what to do. Even when they know, it takes several minutes for them to jump through the extra hoops necessary to activate a Scan It! device for them to use.

Then they have to scan seven items from my groceries before the computer will let me check out.

This is stupid in so many ways, including:

  • You have detailed records of how long I have been a Stop & Shop customer. You know how much money I spend in your store. You know that I use Scan It! and self-checkout lanes on a regular basis. You know that despite all the times your computers have demanded a quick scan of my groceries at checkout, you have never found a single item that I hadn’t scanned. I am not a thief. I have never stolen groceries from you, and I never will. Your data tell you this. It is stupid to do these checks on customers who it’s clear from your data are not thieves.
  • I bought 44 items today, of which your quick scan protocol required seven to be scanned. So you had less than a 16% chance of finding an item I was trying to steal. And that’s assuming that either I would have stupidly put such an item in an easily accessible location in my grocery bags or that the employee doing the scan would have taken the time to dig through my carefully packed grocery bags to reach the items on bottom, which of course they’re not going to do, since they, like me, want to get it over with as quickly as possible (and if they do, I’m left with my carefully packed bags in disarray, my bread crushed, etc.).
  • I bought over $130 in groceries tonight. If I was going to use Scan It! and your self-scanners to steal from you, then why in heaven’s name would I have scanned over $130 worth of my groceries?

But really, I want to return to my first point. You have more than enough data about me in your computers — data that I have allowed you to collect precisely to enable you to provide me with a better shopping experience — to know that I am exceedingly unlikely to ever attempt to steal anything from your store. It simply should not be necessary for you to do quick scans on customers like me. Ever. Full stop. It’s a waste of your time, a waste of our time, and an unnecessary aggravation to your best customers.

Please make it stop.


Jonathan Kamens

P.S. While I’m writing to you, there’s something else I would like to ask you to look into. There is something very wrong with the computer that runs self-checkout aisle number 15 at the Allston Stop & Shop. I’ve used all the self-checkout aisles many times, and the computer in that particular aisle is many times slower than all the others. It is maddening to have to wait for many seconds between each scanned item. It is even more maddening, when using Scan It!, to have to wait for a minute or more while my Scan It! order scrolls by on the register, something which takes a few seconds on all the other registers. I hope you can do something about this.

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16 thoughts on “Please, Stop & Shop, stop treating me like a thief

  1. Adrienne Brown

    The audits are mostly random, also an employee told me that every 7 shops you will be audited. Almost every scan it order that only has a few items like 10 or less 8 out of 10 will be flagged because scan it is supposed to be for larger orders that way your not holding up the self checkout lanes * which are awful* it’s constantly screwing up and u can’t put bags in the bagging area!! So when you use scan it for only a few things the system flags you because it would only take a few minutes to use self checkout where as the larger orders are what holds up the lanes .. I also agree that when it’s flagged and they have to go through everything and scan items it’s not a welcoming feeling!! I think that if you have passed X amount of audits they should give you a break especially frequent shoppers!!! I get so angry because I just bagged all my groceries perfectly and correctly!!! Now they go digging through my things and now not only are my items all messed up my frozen items are now melting and soggy!! C’mon stop and shop reward your customers with some kind of $$ off when they pass every single audit !!

  2. Shaun Harrison

    This has happened to me one to many times, today was no exception.
    I had approximately 8 items in my bag, all scanned with their app, when the girl came and said it was a random audit , I thought random am ass. I proceeded to take all my items out of my bag, dumped them in the bagging area and told her to have a nice day.
    I went about 1000ft away to the market 32.
    I’m done!

    1. Anonymous

      Mar 2, 2022
      Tried the scanner for first time, White Plains, NY. (Just moved out here from San Jose, CA.) Was shocked when I reached the register and the bags weren’t checked. So I asked, well, how does S&S know I haven’t stolen something. The cashier said “that’s not my problem as long as I get a paycheck at the end of the day.” Having taken the time search for answers online, I now know. AUDITS! Humiliate the random customer. I don’t like being treated like a convenient actuarial fluke. Reading all these shout outs from harassed customers. I’m taking my $7,000 a year to Trader Joe’s, where I actually enjoy the friendly checkout experience.

    2. Trish

      The same thing happened to me this afternoon. I’ve been a loyal customer at Stop n Shop for over 12 years spending on average $150 a week sometime more. Average $90,000 over 12 years. In the past 2 month I began to use scan it so I could track my spending and keep on budget. I checked out with one bag and a case of Gatorade for my sons lacrosse team. My order was flagged and the manager came over and proceeded to rescan all of my items. ONE BAG , NO MEAT $91.00 and they think I’m a thief.

      De Cicco and sons is far more expensive but they do not target and shame loyal customer.
      SHAME ON YOU STOP N SHOP, you lost a loyal customer who spends an average of 8K a year in your store.

  3. S

    Another Stop & Shop Long Islander here. Not only do I shop for myself but I shop for my geriatric Mother. So now I am doing TWICE the shopping (on different occasions and different locations) meaning duh LOTS OF BUSINESS and yet a loyal customer (there is a closer supermarket but I make the effort to go to S&S) I get flagged E V E R Y time !! You know it will be worth it to pay the extra money at the closer supermarket. A price to pay for my dignity.
    PS No I don’t steal !

    1. PL

      I’m up to almost 50% of my visits being checked at stop and shop. As a matter of fact, just now, again. Never has an item been Unscanned by me yet. What I have gotten was “oh you may have missed this”. I’ve said that I’m certain I scanned it, only to find it on the receipt twice after they add it to my cart. Then I’m lucky enough to have to go to customer service counter and wait for my refund. I’ve been going for over 20 years, and spend at least $600 a month at the same store. Nice looking like a suspect with 15 people watching me……….

  4. Pingback: Stop & Shop still treating me like a thief, still not training their employees, still not maintaining their equipment – Something better to do

  5. J.D.

    I’m very grateful for this post as I’m new to the whole scanning at Stop and Shop deal. Also glad to see some of my Long Island brothers and sisters here, because now I not only know that I’m not the only one with this issue, I know that I’m not the only one the Island with this issue.

    I was audited for the first time the other day, after having used this method of check out for about the last month. I don’t use the phone for scanning, as it has battery drain issues and I need to call an Uber once I’m done in order to get home. I’m using the scan gun.

    The clerk at the self checkout was very nice about (always is nice and helpful) and explained what she was doing and seemed sort of sheepish about it when of course it’s not her fault, she’s just doing the job she was hired to do.

    That being said I can see this turning into a huge PITA if it continues or if it’s every time. Once in a while I don’t care. I’ve worked in retail and I get why they do it. The reason I started using this method of checkout is not only because it’s faster; I have back issues that necessitate the use of a cane and it’s so much more comfortable and convenient for me to be able to scan as a I go and get the heck out as quickly as possible. It hurts to stand, and I actually use my cart like a walker, so the ability to not have to stand in the self-checkout area in pain, leaning on things to support myself and having to worry that I’m holding others up is very important to me.

    So we shall see what happens next time. If I get flagged again when I go back (twice in a row) I’ll seek the manager.

  6. LHP

    Today was the 5th time in a row I was scanned at my local Stop and Shop. Nothing was found to be unscanned (i.e. stolen) by me. Last time, a big box of Cheerios at the top of my bag was cited as not scanned, but I know I did scan it. Conversely, I recently used the “scan multiple items” choice and when I got home and checked my receipt found several items that were scanned too many times, which means I paid for items I did not buy. There are a few factors to consider when finding unscanned items when they do these checks. Wonky scanners seems to prevail over the idea that I am trying to rip them off a few dollars. I spend a ton of money there and am tired of being treated like a petty thief and wasting time while a clerk rifles through my groceries.

  7. Batman

    yes, it is getting to be a pain in the butt. my wife and I, same account, four days apart with only 10 or 11 items. it took me 15 minutes to check out, but I was only in the store shopping for about 10. The person watching the “self checkout” had no idea what to do. I also found when I tried to just go to a regular check out, as soon as I scanned my card, the computer asked for a manager. My wife today, an item apparently didn’t scan and the person held it up for all to see and asked loud enough for all to hear “you didn’t scan this, did you mean to scan it? Do you want me to scan it for you?” Of course she wanted it and thought it had been, it was in the bag. Like the clerk just broke a major theft ring. It was for a $2 item, but the $10 item was scanned. Perhaps your scanner didn’t pick it up or couldn’t find the price for it. Either way, we shop there all the time, we use the scan gun all the time and this idiots idea of loss prevention is just going to get me to travel 5 minutes further down the road to Market Basket and pay less and not waste my time with an audit because you want to save money not having cashiers and put most of us through a self service check out.

  8. Tracie Williams

    Yes!! I agree 100% it’s ridiculous. I’ve been shopping with scan it for years. The audit is dumb for the simple fact that we know what it is. No one is trying that complicated a way to steal.
    I actually had an issue with my phone connecting to their internet and it kept disconnecting. The items I scanned wouldn’t stay in the cart. Funny that day I got an audit and apparently had a few items that were not scanned. Give me a break….. I spent about 200 dollars. I didn’t steal a bag of cheese and some lettuce. I was so mad. They were so rude to me. I could see if I was a new customer or I had taken hundreds of dollars in items. Neither was the case. A man actually stood in front of me while I waited on the bench. Like I was going to run out of the store and leave my 200 dollars i already paid in groceries. 🤔 Nope I waited to get my groceries back and they said here is everything you paid for, in a nasty way… meanwhile the two things were sitting on the conveyor belt. Wow you guys really dodge a bullet there huh?? Scary I almost got away with a dollar and a half accidentally. I felt like a criminal. Fortunately I know I’m not a criminal but they sure treated me like a scum bag. Not like some one who spends thousands of dollars at their store and had an actual issue ONE TIME…. grrr I wish other stores would adopt the scan it i would go there and boycott stop & shop lol but I would hate to stop getting my free 1 to 2 dollars every 20 years.

  9. Katie

    Yes! I now get audited every time I use the self scanning gun. Every time! Like please. Some days I have 10 items or less.

    Long Island NY

    1. Pl

      Same here. Eastern Long Island. Next time I’ll demand they scan all 50 items in my cart. Just to waste their time, as they waste my time while I am trying to get in and out faster, which means they can ring up more customers. It’s a very upside down business technique. Happens again, and I’m loading my wagon from top to bottom with frozen and refrigerated foods and walking out….

  10. Anonymous

    I feel like the times where i’ve been audited are when I scanned the wrong thing or wrong amount of things and had to delete it from the cart on the app/gun. Also feel like i’m audited when I speed shop. Some times I know exactly what I need and where they all are so it takes me far less time to get these say 15 items than the average person and I feel like their system flags that.

    I like the Scan It! app too but just don’t use the wallet feature to pay on the app.

    1. jik Post author

      Interesting. I also got the impression that I was getting flagged for auditing more often when I had removed something from my cart, so if you’ve experienced the same thing, then perhaps there’s something to it.

  11. Anonymous

    Very well written and I agree 100%

    Stop and Shop customer,
    Long Island, NY


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