I had the most bizarre experience in my local Asda store the other day when I popped in to get a sandwich and a couple of other things on my way home from work. As seems to be the norm with many supermarkets these days the sandwich and snack section with two self-scan checkouts is in a corner of its own, so to save going through two separate checkouts I went to get the sandwich first with the intention of getting my milk and a loaf from the main part of the store and just going through one checkout with the three items, however….
As I was deciding which sandwich to have a young woman standing almost next to me was loading her Asda basket with quite a large selection of them and it struck me that maybe she was having some friends or family round for the evening, but I wasn’t prepared for what she did next. Expecting her to go to the nearby self-scan checkout I was quite surprised to see her go the other way and head rapidly towards the exit doors. It seemed I’d just witnessed a shoplifter in the act but not being sure if that really was the case, and also out of curiosity, I followed her and sure enough she went straight out of the store with the basket full of sandwiches. I immediately mentioned it to the security guy at the desk by the door, describing what the young woman looked like and what she was wearing, but even though he scanned the whole car park with the surveillance cameras there was no sign of her, she had completely vanished so there was nothing he could do.
Finally getting my own sandwich I went to the far side of the store to pick up a carton of milk and a loaf then made my way to the main self-scan checkouts but as I got there I noticed the same young woman already there, though this time she had a couple of carrier bags over her arm. Having seen her get away with stealing the sandwiches only a few minutes before I didn’t like the thought of her getting away with anything else so I quickly dumped my own three items on the nearby customer services desk, told the assistant on duty “I’ll be back for those in a minute!” and ran through the store to alert the security guy by the door. As I was talking to him the young woman came walking towards the exit so I pointed her out, he stopped her as she went through the foyer and I left him to do his job.
Back at the customer services desk the assistant asked me why I’d disappeared so suddenly and when I explained she said “Well I’ll say one thing, you can certainly run fast!” Retrieving my three items I finally went through the checkout though as I got to the exit, far from seeing that the young woman had been detained as I expected, the security guy was sitting back at his desk on his own. It seemed that he had checked her bags and whatever Asda items she had in there had been paid for and she had the receipt, so he had no reason to hold her.
Thinking about things afterwards, and how quickly the young woman had disappeared with the sandwiches then gone back in the store, I can only assume that either she had a car parked close to the exit doors or she was with someone else in a car, enabling her to get rid of the sandwiches before she could be picked up on the surveillance cameras – it all seemed very strange.
There have been a couple of occasions in the past where I’ve seen someone detained by security at the door – I remember one guy had a couple of bottles of whisky which he hadn’t paid for – but this is the first time I’ve ever actually witnessed someone stealing something. The whole situation was so bizarre I could hardly believe it had happened, but I’ve replayed it in my head several times since then and yes, it did happen. Normally my shopping trips to Asda are very mundane and ordinary but this one certainly wasn’t!