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Target’s Anti-Theft Policies Backfire, Spark Customer Outrage



Clear Facts

  • In a move to counteract shoplifting, Target has implemented item limits and reduced operation hours at their self-checkout machines, resulting in increased customer dissatisfaction.
  • The retail giant has also enhanced locked merchandise displays, which customers report as making the shopping experience punitive and inconvenient.
  • Social media user Steve Owens argues that Target’s anti-theft measures are inadvertently “robbing” customers of their time and money, causing them to take their business elsewhere.

Target has escalated its measures against shoplifting, or “shrinking,” but their actions seem to be having unintended repercussions. The renowned retailer is facing criticism from regular customers due to new policies restricting access to self-checkout machines, limiting item quantity, and augmenting locked merchandise displays.

In a bid to provide a “joyful and convenient shopping experience,” Target introduced Express Self-Checkout lanes for 10 items or fewer within its chain on March 14. Initially, customers largely welcomed the changes.

However, the sentiment quickly changed when Target announced it would be restricting self-checkout operation hours. “Store leaders are now able to set self-checkout hours that are right for their store,” a press release shared, causing uncertainty about the availability of the Express Self-Checkout option.

These measures, along with an increase in locked merchandise displays, are part of Target’s strategy to combat the surge in organized retail crime.

Many patrons argue that these changes, intended to enhance security, are turning the Target shopping experience into a tedious process.
On social media, one user posted an image of a checkout line with over 15 shoppers winding through multiple beauty aisles, with the caption, “This is the point where I leave the cart exactly where it is and walk out.” This individual detailed having to abandon their shopping at Target “more than a few times in the last few months.”

Others online concur, finding it increasingly common to discover wanted items locked behind glass barriers. “Stuff being locked at Target will make me walk right out,” expressed one dissatisfied shopper.

Another customer commented, “Went into a Target and everything was locked up but the bread pretty much. Screw that. Whatever I need I can get elsewhere…Seemed punitive.”

There is growing frustration over the locked displays, with one consumer questioning their effectiveness, as they don’t prevent thieves from asking employees to unlock items and then walking away with unpaid merchandise.

In a video, social media user Steve Owens placed the blame on Target, arguing the anti-theft measures are “robbing us blind” of our time and money. “People are not stealing because it’s fun. People are stealing because they have to,” he said.


Owens pointed out that the most expensive items, like home decor, are not kept behind locked displays. On a recent shopping trip, he spent $35 on essential items such as mouthwash, body wash, and toothpaste. He emphasized that people are “struggling” financially and those earning average wages have to “trade three hours of your life” for basic necessities. The harsh reality is that Target’s new measures are causing some shoppers to take their business elsewhere.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. Dan

    April 24, 2024 at 7:08 am

    Businesses are responding to reality. If customers cannot appreciate, yes, shop elsewhere. But this phenomena should be expected anywhere theft is increasing. To think and behave otherwise is unfair to businesses and displays disproportionate ego.

    • John

      April 24, 2024 at 6:51 pm

      I would prefer they close their doors.

  2. Robert

    April 24, 2024 at 6:55 pm

    Whoever the Owens guy is is simply a woke fool and the author is gutless for not pointing out the reality of organized shoplifting. Claiming people have to steal toiletries “because they have to” in order to survive is intentional ignorance. Giving credence to that theory is irresponsible journalism. If the municipalities had “other than Soros” DAs, it wouldn’t be an issue. “Try that in a small town.” Why would anyone but an LGBTQ+mnop social justice person shop there anyway? There are usually alternatives.

    • Patrick

      April 24, 2024 at 7:20 pm

      They are stealing because they have to? What a bunch of BS. Owens is an idiot and part of the larger problem and this article is so one-sided. Where is the hard evidence this new policy, making it more difficult to steal, is hurting anyone? CC News, shape up and be responsible, or no more clicks for you!

  3. Jo

    April 24, 2024 at 7:13 pm

    Idiotic, insane to make the consumer suffer when it is the state who is at fault for not contorlling crime, theft, and criminal activity!!! Laws worked fine for over 100 years. If Target wants to support organizations that are theft oriented, let them suffer the consequences of losing their customers.

  4. Joseph Kinge

    April 29, 2024 at 11:29 pm

    I like Target and will continue shopping there regardless of what it has to do to prevent theft.
    Especially since dumb DAs and moron judges just let offenders go anyway!!!!!

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