As you walk out of a supermarket, you may have noticed a number of scanners erected by the exit door and wondered how they work.
Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) scanners are usually placed at the exit to help supermarkets nab shoplifters who attempt to sneak out expensive goods without paying.
The scanners - also referred to as antennas - are designed to detect the frequency of EAS tags and labels which are often attached to a number of products.
Notably, the EAS tags are different from barcodes that are scanned by tellers when products are being checked out at the counter.
Some of the supermarket products with EAS tags include clothes, cooking oil, liquor, and chocolate among others.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Saturday, May 27, former Supermarket employee based in Nairobi County, Sylvia Muenik, explained that most supermarkets place the tags on pricey products that were occasionally targeted by shoplifters.
She also noted that the tags come in different sizes and shapes. The main types of tags include hard, soft and invisible tags
Hard tags are made of plastic or metal and are the most commonly used type. Soft tags, on the other hand, are mostly made of soft plastics with bar codes on the back. They are stuck on products with glue.
Notably, some Kenyans usually attach soft tags on the back of their phones with the myth that they help improve network connection.
Invisible tags, on the other hand, are placed on products in hidden sections that the customers can rarely see. These tags are mostly used in chocolates.
How It Works
"Basically, when someone walks out of the supermarket with the tags still on, the alarm will go off as the sensor and tags communicate through frequency.
"When the alarm goes off, security officers can then apprehend the shoplifter for questioning," Muenik stated.
The system also works on high frequency making it possible for the sensor to communicate with the tag that may have been placed inside a bag or a pocket of a shoplifter.
Therefore, on most occasions, supermarket attendants will have the tags removed at the counter. For the hard tags, the attended usually have a special metal to open up the tags which are then reused on other products.
Soft tasks on the other hand can be peeled off the product or deactivated using a scanner placed on the counter.
Invisible products are usually wiped off the products wiped using a piece of clothing.
Now you know why supermarket attendants wipe out some of the products such as chocolates on a piece of clothing before it's given.