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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