Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Security cameras can “see” a lot more these days…


stoplift-sweethearting-retail-goodsSweethearting (v.) the act of a store employee giving a friend or family member free merchandise by pretending to scan items at the register or by ignoring items in shopping carts.

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book and a big problem for retailers. So big, in fact, that some estimates suggest that “sweethearting” and other types of employee theft account for almost half of all annual retail theft, or $19.5 billion out of $41.6 billion overall.

Massachusetts-based StopLift Inc. says the answer is just waiting to be liberated from all of the security camera tape that retailers typically don’t monitor until something goes really, really wrong.

We’ve all seen the video of outrageous things that can happen in grocery stores, convenience shops, and retail outlets, but the reality is that watching the security feeds from cameras mounted above every register is time-consuming — so most of that video information goes unused.

Downturn triggers “survival panic.” How are you reacting?


USA-HOLIDAYSALES/Shoplifting, drug use, depression, anxiety and even violence.

These could rise in frequency in the coming months, according to mental health experts, as the U.S. recession leaves consumers confronting a harsh new economic reality — and the prospect of living within diminished means. 

“People start seeing their economic situation change, and it stimulates a sort of survival panic,” said Gaetano Vaccaro, deputy clinical director of Moonview Sanctuary, which treats patients for emotional and behavioral disorders.