A look from the box: ‘Now it’s the people who steal everyday things’ | cost of living crisis

yesjumpers are changing their behavior as family budgets are strained by skyrocketing prices for basic necessities, from milk and cooking oil to dog food. Jane Jones, who works at a supermarket in Flintshire, Wales, says cash-strapped customers are looking for ways to cut back.

“It’s completely different in the store. There are some people who don’t have to worry about money, but the average person spends less and people always complain about the prices at the checkout.

Some people know when [the store] issue reductions. They arrive at the store at 8pm and you can see crowds of people at the discount counter climbing over each other to get what’s cheap. When there’s something in the aisles that’s on sale, people buy what’s cheap that week and don’t have it the next.

We used to have shoplifters stealing high-value things to sell, which is not uncommon. Now they are people who steal everyday things, make their weekly purchases and try to leave without paying.

Baby milk has never been safely labeled, but now it is, so people can’t steal it. It was something that would never have happened before, but people are pretty desperate.

there is too much to do [missing] through self-service: People who don’t scan everything are more prevalent than they used to be.

There are definitely a number of things that never had safety labels before but now do.

Many things have been removed from the shelves. We put out cards for things like printer ink and you have to go get them from a secure area.

A lot of people say “when you hit £40 you can stop”, and then we look at their offers to see if they can buy more. You can see them prioritizing what they need to the front [of the conveyor belt].

There have always been people who shop like this, who only have a certain amount of money to spend. It’s not something new, but it’s definitely happening more with people who usually didn’t bother before and were carefree and only bought what they needed or wanted. Now people are very cautious about the cost.

The supermarket has value lines and [premium] Lines and people now tend to choose more valuable brands, something they seemed to have stopped doing a while ago.

We find a lot of stuff left at the bottom of the box – people think they shouldn’t have picked it up and changed their minds. It must be hard for them, but we don’t make them feel bad. We are in the same boat, we understand that we are not in high paying roles.

I try to shop smart. I spend a lot of time in the supermarket, so I look at the sales and buy fewer sweets, like the occasional bottle of wine. She doesn’t plan meals based on what she likes, but what she can afford, what’s on Bogof (buy one, get one free) or reduced.

Everything seems to have gone up a bit in price. Some things, like cat food, have gone up tremendously. When you’re walking around, maybe it’s 5 pence here and 10 pence there, but when you get to the checkout with 50 items in the cart, that’s a lot of money.”

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