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Why have Tide pods become a shoplifting target across New York?

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  • Staff Report 

Reports indicate that Tide Pods are once again a popular target for shoplifters, who sell the items on the street or online. Evidence of this trend can be seen at a Delmar CVS drugstore in New York where Tide Pods and other detergent packets have been pulled off the shelves and placed behind the front checkout counter due to too many people swiping the small laundry soap packs.

Theft of consumer goods is a growing problem for retailers, and self-checkout lanes in stores everywhere are prime spots for people looking to steal items by skipping the scanners that ring them up. In response, BJ’s Wholesale Club in Colonie, New York, now has additional personnel wearing yellow vests identifying them as “Asset Protection” workers to assist shoppers in the self-checkout aisles.

Retailers are aware of the growing problem of shoplifting and its effects on their business. The National Retail Federation puts out an annual theft survey, and its 2022 report found that the average “shrink rate” in 2021 was 1.4 percent, representing a loss of $94.5 billion in retail sales, up from $90.8 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase in shoplifting, and the report found that masks worn to protect against disease transmission have in some cases helped thieves remain unidentified. Retailers responding to the survey also noted that organized theft rings are a growing problem.

Procter & Gamble, which makes Tide Pods, has raised prices on the product by an average of about 8 percent. The cost of a pack of 35 Tide Pods at CVS was $12.99 this week. The theft of Tide Pods and other items is a growing problem for retailers, and the situation remains a challenging one for stores looking to reduce shrinkage and losses.