The New York Post reports that the Fairway supermarket in the Upper West Side is one such store, taking precautions with plastic tops on top of $6 cartons of Häagen-Dazs. On the freezer, they posted a sign that reads, "To help maintain the lowest possible cost, a protective lock has been placed on some units of ice cream."
"This lock will be removed at checkout by a store associate. We apologize for any inconvenience," it said about the plastic lock device.
In a video on Twitter, an employee at the store said the ice cream is a "high theft item." He added, "People come, take 10 and run out of the store."
One customer at the store said, "This is the age we live in now, unfortunately. This is the New York that we know.” He continued, “This has nothing to do with anything other than people coming in and ripping off places that are trying to make money.”
“Before you know it, all our groceries will be locked up and we’ll have to go through a security check just to buy food,” another shopper said.
An employee at another store, which locks its freezers with chains, said, "People used to come with garbage bags and fill up the garbage bags with ice cream. Clear out our freezers." The employee explained, “We had to put the locks on because people kept stealing our Red Bull and ice cream out the fridge."
Retail theft has been skyrocketing across the country. The report notes that there have been 13,738 reports of retail theft in New York City in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 8,750 quarterly in 2019. In NYC alone, thefts were up 45 percent with 63,000 incidents in 2022.
A viral video showed a thief using a blowtorch to break into a skincare cabinet at a Queens, NYC Walgreens before making off with $448 worth of products.
The National Retail Federation conducted a study that showed about 75 percent of Americans have to shop at stores where products are locked up. Some such as Walgreens in Chicago have redesigned their locations so that an employee has to take a customer's order and grab their items.
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