I love shopping – to be fair, I think most people love shopping – and if you read my blog, I’m gonna guess that you probably love shopping too. You know what I don’t like, though? When you get home and realise the dress you just paid £150 for has a tag still on it, which you cannot for the life of you risk trying to get off incase ink spills out. Or you spend 10 minutes chipping your nails trying to get past the stupid security tag on a DVD bought for you for Christmas and wonder why you even bothered seeing as you can just watch it on Netflix anyway. Or you buy an oh so insta worthy book to find that the label rips into tiny shreds and leaves you with a sticky mess. Tamper proof labels can be an absolute pain in the backside sometimes, but you know what? They’re pretty darn necessary.
I love trawling through Yahoo Answers (there are some absolutely hilarious ones out there!) and I came across this question where someone asks if it’s illegal to swap price tags (DUH! I’m surprised he had to ask, how stupid is he?!). I was pretty shocked that not only did he do this, but it sounded like he did it regularly! It reminded me of when I was told that you could use a red pen to mark down the prices in a certain store in my local town… apparently everyone did it, and I was shocked that they had the balls to do it and not be scared of getting caught.
For those of you who didn’t know me back when I was sixteen, I had a weekend job in a very large retail organisation in Bluewater Shopping Centre. This particular organisation sells pretty much everything – clothing, shoes, home wear, makeup, lingerie… you name it, they probably had it. Over the period of time that I worked there, I mainly worked across women’s clothing and shoes. You know what I learnt during my time here, at the innocent age of sixteen? People steal. A LOT of people steal.
I wasn’t stupid – I knew it went on, but I didn’t realise just to what amount. Every day we would be dealing with people trying to steal or fiddle numbers in one way or another. It is due to all of these experiences that although tamper proof labels are a bit of a nuisance as a customer, they are completely necessary to safeguard the businesses! Go and make a cuppa, and let me share some stories with you…
In the particular shop I worked in, the shoes were labelled by sticker, and not a tag you have to cut off. The sticker would normally be on the bottom of each shoe, or sometimes on the inside, on the innersole. When I worked on the shop floor, I would know everything had a sticker on – I needed that sticker so I could read the code to locate the product in the stock room if someone needed a bigger size. Therefore, if there wasn’t a sticker, I would normally swap it out with a shoe that was stickered correctly. I’m not sure if this was policy or something I just used to do to make my life that little bit easier. Anyway, there were numerous occasions of people trying to swap stickers. They’d put a sticker that said £20 on a pair of £45 shoes, but you would notice it wasn’t the right code, or when you rung it through the till the description wouldn’t match. I tried to be as on the ball as I could, but I’m sure people must have got away with it some of the time – else they wouldn’t bother, surely?
I’ve even once had someone try and argue that because a label had been scribbled over in biro, so you couldn’t make out the price or scan the bar code, I had to put it through the till as £10, as there was a sign near to the dress that said £10. I pointed out that all of the other dresses of the same style were correctly labelled, and also that the sign was only applicable to the rail of clothes directly beneath it (which was pretty darn obvious, she was just trying her luck). Ergh!
We also sold some jewellery in the store, and some of them had small labels that were stuck together. More often than not, I would notice these little labels on the floor – I’m sure people must have been peeling them off and pocketing the jewellery for themselves!
Some stores, especially smaller ones, might not even have barcodes on their labels – I’ve been in shops where it is just a price gun label stuck on the item, which can easily be picked off and swapped with a cheaper sticker. Having seen people try to steal from a large organisation like who I worked for makes me worry about how much stock smaller shops like this must lose on a daily basis. Take the Dunelm label pictured – you can easily pick off the £9.99 sticker, and you could put this on something else!
Data Label recently found that 49% of people find tamper proof labels a nuisance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably in that crowd, too, but hopefully I’ve shed some light on why these types of labels are actually a necessity to avoid theft and losses.
So, next time you think ‘oh for f*** sake’ when you see products with tamper proof labels, maybe just spare a thought for the reason WHY they have become so necessary. If it was your business, wouldn’t you want to protect it, too?
I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this – have you ever known someone to try and swap labels? Have you ever done this yourself?! Let me know in the comments below!
*This is a collaborative post. Please visit my disclaimer page for more information.