Seattle store owners are complaining that the mandated use of reusable bags is causing a sharp spike in shoplifting, among other problems:
Mike Duke, who operates the Lake City Grocery Outlet with his wife, said that since the plastic-bag ban started last July, he’s lost at least $5,000 in produce and between $3,000 and $4,000 in frozen food.
“We’ve never lost that much before,” said Duke, who found those numbers through inventories of stolen and damaged goods.
The Dukes opened the Lake City grocery store in June 2011, and Mike Duke said in the year before the plastic-bag ban losses in frozen food and produce were a small fraction of what he’s seeing now. As he explained to seattlepi.com and also the North Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the shoplifters’ patterns are difficult to detect.
They enter the store with reusable bags and can more easily conceal items they steal. The reusable bags require staff to watch much more closely, and even though the store has a loss-prevention officer and more than a dozen security cameras, it’s tough to tell what a customer has paid for and what they may already have brought with them.
(Thanks to Heather, my wife.)
UPDATE: Jeremy Neufeld writes: “Further, some economists suggest that such bans are responsible for increased incidence of disease and death.”