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Dollar Tree plans to lock up more items to prevent thefts

Aug 24, 2023Aug 24, 2023

By Mike Sullivan

August 25, 2023 / 6:16 PM / CBS Boston

BOSTON - Dollar Tree customers may want to get ready for assistance in aisle three. The company plans to increase the number of locked up items to prevent growing theft issues. This has already happened in stores like CVS and Target.

"It's an inconvenience. It takes longer if you want to go in and out," says Brian Keough, a Dollar Tree customer.

"It depends on how quickly I need it. If it's locked up, I will just leave and go onto the next place if I'm in a rush," adds fellow Dollar Tree Customer Karina Gonzalez.

Dollar Tree suffered poor earnings last quarter with the company saying "shrink" is to blame. Shrink is an industry term for stolen items and damages. The company is planning to overhaul their loss prevention by putting certain items behind the counter or ceasing to carry them at all.

"It dramatically raises the cost of doing business," said Boston University Economist Laurence Kotlikoff. "We are talking about this happening in cities, and cities are already reeling from people not going back to the office."

Kotlikoff blames the rash of theft on hard times, saying wages have not caught up to inflation.

"I have yet to hear [Federal Reserve Chair] Jerome Powell go out publicly and say, 'Look we are concerned that firms and companies have taken advantage of this inflation to raise their own prices, but have not raised the wages of workers even."

There is also a perception that thieves are not afraid of the consequences. WBZ asked the Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden if he agrees.

"I don't have any raw data for that, but anecdotally I feel people think that's true," says Hayden, "That situation is not much different than what we are addressing here at Mass and Cass. We can't just tolerate any and all behavior."

Customers say the lockup can be frustrating and will slow down the buying experience as they wait for someone to assist them. This could lead to further losses in revenue if people just walk away.

Resources to help families struggling with high costs:

MassHealth Match Program Assistance

Furnishing Hope

Cradles to Crayons

First published on August 25, 2023 / 6:16 PM

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