An individual who claims to be a former Walmart employee has disclosed a little-known approach purportedly employed to thwart shoplifters at self-checkouts. In August 2021, a viral video uncovered the existence of Walmart personnel utilizing devices to display scanned items at each checkout, enabling them to determine whether or not an item has been paid for.
Another Walmart worker has since elucidated the subtle method employed to discreetly deter shoplifters upon noticing unscanned items. Athenia Camacho, whose video has amassed over 3 million views, stated that Walmart’s TC devices allow the ability to halt a self-checkout at any moment and feign a technical issue if there is suspicion of theft.
An individual who used to work at Walmart has shared insider information, including tactics like freezing customers’ checkout screens.
Camacho went on to explain that by clicking a specific number on the device, Walmart employees can view a comprehensive list of all the items scanned during the checkout process. In the event of theft suspicion, they can then opt to “pause transaction” using the corresponding button located at the bottom of the screen. This action will either result in a black screen with white code or simply freeze the checkout process, preventing the customer from scanning any additional items.
The worker continued to reveal that once the transaction is paused, the customer is obliged to seek assistance, at which point the worker feigns a malfunction in the machine. They then press a button that opens the machine, while removing any items already bagged by the customer, and lead them to another checkout station. There, an actual cashier rings up the items, and the customer is none the wiser. It is unclear whether this method is a widespread practice or exclusive to Camacho’s Walmart location.
Camacho relayed to Newsweek that she was informed of this tactic by a Walmart loss prevention employee within two weeks of starting her job. The pause transaction button is located at the bottom of the TC device and is used when there is suspicion of theft. According to CBC, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention in the United States conducted a survey of several small-time shoplifters and discovered that many perceived self-checkout machines as an effortless target because of the limited staff presence.
Bob Moraca, the former Vice President of Loss Prevention at the National Retail Federation in the United States, explained the rationale behind this line of thought: “Now, I have to manage my own bagging and checkout process… and it’s a minor inconvenience, so naturally, I can take one or two items for free.”