BY George C. Upper III, The Western JournalJune 2, 2023
4 months ago

Walgreens Causes a Stir by Unveiling 'Anti-Theft' Store with Radical New Security Measures

Until Piggly Wiggly opened the first self-service grocery store in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916, shoppers would provide a list of desired items to a clerk, who would gather the items from wherever they were located in the store.

Welcome back to the future.

A revamped Walgreens location in downtown Chicago reopened Tuesday with only two shoppable aisles of so-called "essentials" -- presumably inexpensive items not typically shoplifted.

If a customer wants anything not on display in one of those aisles, he can order it from a kiosk and pick up your order from the counter.

“Let us do the shopping” a sign next to one of the tablet-sized kiosks read (emphasis original).

The sign also encouraged shoppers to "relax while we shop for you," although where exactly in the two-aisle section of the store accessible to customers they were supposed to relax wasn't clear.

While the company attempted to sell the changes as aimed at "customer service," it seemed clear that loss mitigation was a more important factor in the redesign.

“This redesigned store will have the latest in e-commerce offerings to increase customer service, mitigate theft, and increase safety for our customers and employees,” the company said in an email to a local resident, according to CWBChicago, which labeled the location an "anti-theft" store.


Walgreens told the outlet Thursday that the company was "testing a new experience at this store with new concepts, technologies, and practices to enhance the experiences of our customers and team members."

The CWBChicago who decided to try out the new system was almost overcharged for the bottle of Coke he purchased when it rang it up as $2.89 instead of the $1.89 it was priced at.

It took two store employees to correct the problem, the outlet said.

Reactions to the new store online were not generally positive.

The company may want to think about opening similar stores in crime-ridden San Francisco, where a woman was arrested Thursday during a traffic stop after more than $1,000 worth products shoplifted from a local Walgreens location were found in her car, according to KRON.

The woman, 33-year-old Latisha Vandycke, was charged with "shoplifting and other theft-related charges," the outlet reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: George C. Upper III, The Western Journal



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