What would you do if you heard your cashier tell a customer “We don’t track shrink in produce.”

Here’s what was going on in my head when it happened to me a few days ago:

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I think my left eyelid started twitching, too.

It was an everyday Monday in May. I was just picking up a few things because I’d been out of town all week and my fridge looked like the zombie apocalypse happened.

I mentioned I dropped an avocado — gasp! — because the produce bags were broken. I chuckled that it was a really expensive item to shrink in produce.

“Oh, we don’t track shrink in produce.”


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She clarified that they don’t do inventory to track item-by-item what doesn’t get sold, but I honestly believe this checker also doesn’t know that produce tracks its shrink numbers. 


This kind of blew my mind.


Of course a good supermarket operator knows how many avocados (or peaches, or bags of salad) came in the door and how many weren't sold.

If these kids don’t think you’re actually accountable for shrink item-by-item, do you think they’re taking their jobs seriously? Shrink is one of the most important numbers in produce. It’s watched very, very carefully.

Do your cashiers know how you track shrink? Do your produce clerks? Do they think that cull box just magically disappears into the landfill or food bank or wherever unsaleable product goes, and it doesn’t affect the store the same way a box of crackers marked on a spreadsheet might?


It’s time for some education on the numbers of shrink and how they affect everyone’s job, if that’s the case.

Just go ahead and have a discussion, even if you think they already know. It’s like the birds and bees of produce retail, I guess. 

Everyone assumes someone else has covered it, but you’ve got to make sure or you’re going to have some awkward problems.

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