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Bruce Banner

Why Do European Supermarkets Want To Search Your Bags On The Way In?

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They must have a lot of shoplifting in France and Spain because it is standard procedure for the cashier to ask to look in your bag when you go through the checkout. Annoying, but one gets used to it and my wife always offers up her bags without being asked.

Some supermarkets now insist on looking through your bags on the way in, does anyone know what they are looking for? It can't be that we look particularly suspicious because my wife had to queue up to have her wheeled shopping trolley inspected on the way into a Spanish supermarket yesterday, she drew the line at them searching her handbag and they grudgingly accepted her refusal.

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No idea.

Several yearsa back, when I was quite unwell, friends of mine asked me to go to stay with them in their house in France. At the time I always carried a ruck-sack with me as I had it full of medicines.

At a supermarket a security chap barred me from entering unless I left my ruck-sack at the entrance with all other ruck-sacks. Bags were allowed in but not ruck-sacks. So I had to spend 10 minutes sorting through the inhalers I had in ruck-sack trying to stuff them into pockets along with my passport, wallet, etc, etc. Not enough pockets.

I hadn't thought about it for some time but seeing your post just reminded me of the anger I felt towards that sh*t of a security guard who clearly relished his job. I find myself thinking very negative thoughts about him now. Sh*t!

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They must have a lot of shoplifting in France and Spain because it is standard procedure for the cashier to ask to look in your bag when you go through the checkout. Annoying, but one gets used to it and my wife always offers up her bags without being asked.

Some supermarkets now insist on looking through your bags on the way in, does anyone know what they are looking for? It can't be that we look particularly suspicious because my wife had to queue up to have her wheeled shopping trolley inspected on the way into a Spanish supermarket yesterday, she drew the line at them searching her handbag and they grudgingly accepted her refusal.

You're not the first person to claim this happens, yet I never found this in Madrid (where you would have thought there would be plenty of criminals).

Is it a specific chain that does this? Or maybe it's a particular area where shoplifting is rife?

Meanwhile back in London there are plenty of security guards at supermarkets, yet the local fences in dodgy pubs, never seem to lack steaks, chocs and toiletries on offer at cut prices.

Thinking about it, I understand that in Spain you can't be charged for a criminal offence if you steal less than a certain amount, 200 euros? Which explains the number of pickpockets in big cities, and may explain this shoplifting?

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You're not the first person to claim this happens, yet I never found this in Madrid (where you would have thought there would be plenty of criminals).

Is it a specific chain that does this? Or maybe it's a particular area where shoplifting is rife?

Meanwhile back in London there are plenty of security guards at supermarkets, yet the local fences in dodgy pubs, never seem to lack steaks, chocs and toiletries on offer at cut prices.

Thinking about it, I understand that in Spain you can't be charged for a criminal offence if you steal less than a certain amount, 200 euros? Which explains the number of pickpockets in big cities, and may explain this shoplifting?

Yesterday it happened at a Carrefour but it happens at most supermarkets. Perhaps it's because my wife uses a wheeled shopping trolley. Carrefour branches in France sometimes put a security sticker on her empty trolley, quite what that achieves I don't know because they still want to look inside at the checkout.

Edit: Our local Mercadona doesn't allow you in with a personal shopping trolley, you have to leave it at the entrance where they provide locks and chains for customer use. That I understand, but searching the trolley and then letting you in with it, I don't.

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To justify the need for the job, I suspect. I'm also always a bit surprised by the level of surveillance in these crappy little supermarkets in France and Spain.

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To justify the need for the job, I suspect. I'm also always a bit surprised by the level of surveillance in these crappy little supermarkets in France and Spain.

Soon to be seen in the UK too ?? Except of course we will do it so much better.....full face recognition and body movement pattern threat assessment enabled cameras linked to DVLA, a criminal records database, etc. The full Orwellian treatment.

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You know how in the UK you can walk backwards through the checkout as a shortcut? In Spain they will literally chase you down to stop you doing this.

I have literally never been approached by police in any fashion in the UK. Never even breathalyzed. In Spain, I get stopped and searched multiple times a year by Guardia Civil and sometimes even with a shotgun being pointed somewhere in my vicinity.

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If you go into a supermarket in Spain carring bags/ rucksack etc. you will be more than likely asked told to put it in one of the free lockers they provide near the check out and collect it on your way out.

Presumably this is to stop people stuffing legs of jamon etc. in their bag whilst walking round.

The alternative is for the shoplifter to wear a baggy overcoat with deep pockets, but when the temperature is 40C outside, this might arouse suspicion

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Never happened to me- and having twice had my Belgian baccy lifted from my car I now always carry it round the Hypermarche in a rucksack.

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In case you're carrying in anything taht they sell so you can't claim that you brought in with you?

My gf is terrible for this, she will go shopping, through the tills with her (say Sainsburys) bags and then spy some cheap fruit and veg and go straight back in with her bags. I would always go back to the car, drop what I had bought, and return to avoid confusion but that's just me.

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In Hungary it's standard practice to:

1. Before you go in, if you have a bag with items you've bought from other shops, to show it to the security guard, who then puts a sticker saying 'checked' on it.

2. Always take a basket or trolley. I've been told you 'must' do this, and everybody seems to, though I didn't once or twice and nothing happened.

3. Always lift your bag up from the trolley at the checkout to show there's nothing hidden under it.

Occasionally security guards will stop you as you leave and check that your receipt and goods tally, though this has only happened to me twice in three years.

It's also very difficult to leave without buying anything - there's no easy way out unless you pass a till; I never actually tried leaving without buying something - if I didn't find what I wanted I just bought a chocolate bar or something to avoid any potential hassle since until recently I didn't speak the language confidently.

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Occasionally security guards will stop you as you leave and check that your receipt and goods tally, though this has only happened to me twice in three years.

Fortunately in the UK we can't be compelled to agree to this. I don't think we are a Nation of Shoplifters, either.

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They must have a lot of shoplifting in France and Spain because it is standard procedure for the cashier to ask to look in your bag when you go through the checkout. Annoying, but one gets used to it and my wife always offers up her bags without being asked.

Perhaps she has a thing for those smooth talking continentals

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Perhaps she has a thing for those smooth talking continentals

She finds it less annoying to offer first rather than have an officious fifteen year old checkout girl demand to inspect the contents her trolley.

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This all started after a wave of British expats smuggled goods such as spam and marmite into their local supermarkets all across southern France and Spain. They can't run the risk of such things appearing on their shelves.

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I was at my local Lidl last week when an east european gypsy ran out with a bag full of stash and the alarms started ringing. The checkout guy, a young wiry looking Arab looked around then went back to work. I asked if he was going to do something about the shop lifter. "yeah right" he replied "you remember my colleague who got stabbed in the neck last year? (I do, the store was closed for a strike after that)... He was chasing down a shop lifter". They always rifle through my bags though, so I guess if you don't look to dangerous they'll make a show of security.

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