Selling a suspicious number of bananas? Or pinto beans?
So-called “sweethearting” – theft by either entering the wrong PLU, skipping scanning, or scanning the wrong item – is nothing new for retailers, but as self-checkout and self-service checkouts gain ground, it’s important to keep an eye on sales of your most common, low-cost Price Look Up codes.
An article from The Independent in the United Kingdom is making the rounds on social media, making it seem like this is a widespread problem.
One guy stole $600 worth of groceries, in more than 20 trips, by keying in the PLU for loose onions instead of items like avocados and other more expensive produce.
Avocados are a frequent target of these thieves, according to this article, who use the PLU for inexpensive carrots.
Here, in the U.S., the retailers I’ve talked to about it say it most often happens with something like bananas or even pinto beans. Most of them, though, say it isn’t widespread enough to evaluate the self-checkout strategy.
Here are some of the least expensive PLUs in a typical produce department, just so you can keep an eye on sales:
Bananas – 4011
Pinto Beans – 3172
Potatoes – 4072
Onions – 4092, 4082, 4663, 4093, 4161, 4166
Cucumbers – 4062
Sweet Corn – 4590, 4077, 4078
Mangoes, particularly small yellow and red – 4312, 4051
Help me add to the list. What else is a common produce PLU sweetheart?