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Zapped by Waitrose … with five re-scans and a red flag


I am a regular shopper at my local Waitrose, where I am registered for the Quick Check service which allows shoppers to scan and pack items as they go round the store and pay at a designated till.

I find this quicker and more convenient- than having to queue at a regular till, despite the prospect of an occasional random re-scan by staff.

However, recently I have suffered the embarrassment of five successive re-scans – in one case involving a very large trolley full of shopping.

Having had no random re-scans for at least a year, I felt humiliated and cross. My husband and I typically spend £100 a week.

Now I feel anxious about shopping there. I have asked the staff why this keeps happening and all they will say is that it is “head office policy”. AC, London EC1

Inevitably, human error and unfamiliarity- with using the hand-held Quick Check zapper can trigger genuine mistakes. But clearly it places considerable trust in shoppers to scan all the items and must be a temptation for prospective shoplifters – which makes this a highly sensitive issue.

Our understanding is that if a random scan (triggered in roughly one shop in every 200) reveals a noticeable discrepancy between the total triggered by the shopper’s self-scan and the subsequent one carried out by staff, a “red flag” is raised on your registered card, which means you will be subjected to further re-scans to find out if an error was a one-off or deliberate behaviour on your part.

What’s not clear is at what stage the supermarket would formally accuse you of shoplifting and take further steps.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “We’re very sorry this customer feels disappointed with our system, which is usually very popular with our shoppers. When they sign up for the Quick Check customers agree to random re-scans, although we do our best to ensure these aren’t too inconvenient. If the two totals don’t match, our system will generate additional re-scans.”

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Waitrose head office did offer to look into your specific case but you declined. Our advice (assuming you wish to continue to shop at Waitrose) is to stick to relatively small transactions and make sure you scan accurately, or use a conventional till checkout.

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