Letters to the Editor: Retailers are whining about theft. They should blame their own cost-cutting

Ralphs employees work the registers at a store in Los Angeles in 2013.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I get it. People can be dishonest. Our recent political climate doesn’t help by promoting lying and dishonesty. But when it comes to theft, the blame needs to be shared — retailers have become enablers. (“Grocery stores are pushing California to be tougher on crime. Here’s why,” Sept. 16)

In an effort to increase profits, they have cut down on employees at the registers and have relegated customers as the de facto cashiers. Some of these customers choose not to scan all of their items, and there’s no one there to stop or monitor them.

There may be an employee available to offer help to customers at perhaps eight check-out kiosks, but there are no employees available to check receipts against merchandise as the customers leave (Costco being the exception). Retailers save salaries, healthcare benefits, vacation and sick time, and then they are up in arms when there is theft.


All of these retailers have built losses from theft into their pricing, and no doubt have figured out that the cost savings from reducing their work force more than make up for their theft losses.

Debbie Zimmerman, Huntington Beach