Campus supermarket rewards snitching

A coffee token as a reward for informing staff should reduce the number of thefts.

One of the temporary posters in the supermarket. Beeld: Marko de Haan

The Woudestein campus supermarket introduced a new anti-theft policy this week. Shoppers who notice a theft and inform staff of this will be rewarded with a coffee token.

The walls of the shop are covered with posters with two eyes staring at you and bearing different texts. One such text calls on shoppers to inform on thieves, while another tells you that you have to pay for your products.

The posters are all part of an experiment. The management of the supermarket is allowing RSM students to try out a number of theories to reduce theft. “Research shows that your behaviour changes when you feel you’re being watched. That’s why there are eyes on the posters,” explains director Erwin Binneveld. Whether this also helps to prevent theft is unclear after only a few days of running the experiment. The test will run for two weeks.

One in five has stolen

A recent survey carried out by students of Behavioural Economics showed that pinching takes place regularly in the Spar. One in five students admitted to having pinched something in the past. In the supermarket that is not so difficult, because all the checkouts are self-service.

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  • Seriously, “snitching” and “pinching”?? Such a bias-spun article is ridiculous. It’s called stealing, not pinching. It’s a crime. And it should be your social responsibility to confront the thief and, if the thief does not change his behavior, inform SPAR management. Or would Erasmus Magazine rather condone the stealing behavior and make it sound less offensive by calling it pinching? Behavior that not only hurts SPAR, but all honest shoppers that the “pinchers” are indirectly stealing from!

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