Aldi staff left with 'awful feeling' over rule that could see buyers turned away

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A member of staff prepares to scan goods taken from a customer
A member of staff prepares to scan goods taken from a customer's shopping basket at an Aldi (file image) (Image: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

An Aldi employee has said it is an "awful feeling" to have to ask customers to have their bags searched at the tills.

The supermarket has introduced the rule at some of its stores and, while it is "not a national policy" and not new, the retailer stresses it helps prevent shoplifting. The offence has become more common across the industry over the course of the cost of living crisis.

In a post on an Aldi Facebook Group, one worker said: "New policy at Aldi, all empty shopping bags must be on the belt plus all shopping." They also noted that the policy "came in force" last week. Another Aldi worker commented sharing that it was an "awful feeling" having to ask customers.

Checks are carried out by security guards at some branches to ensure none of the shop's items, which haven't been paid for, are in bags. Those who do not comply with the bag checks will be refused the sale, an employee told The Grocer Magazine this week. Shoppers walking out of the store could also be stopped by security if they are suspected of theft.

The member of staff said: "We are asking that they allow us to look in the bags to see if they are empty. We have been asking to look in the bags to make sure none of our items are in there."

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Food costs have increased significantly since Russia invaded Ukraine with food inflation reaching its peak in March at 19.4 per cent. The price of some supermarket staples including meat, vegetables and cheese has doubled in the last year, according to new analysis.

Soaring food prices have contributed to the biggest squeeze on living standards in the UK since records began in the 1950s, and many accused the supermarket chains of profiteering from the crisis by upping prices more than needed.

Other things chains have done to prevent theft include, limiting items on shelves, adding more security tags to products, having customers scan receipts to leave the store, and displaying empty products.

An Aldi spokesperson said the bag check policy has been introduced into "some stores" as a short-term measure - but reiterated that the checks are only ever carried out with the consent of shoppers. The checks are also only done on the bags the customer is using to pack their shopping and not their handbags or personal bags.

Bradley Jolly

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