Down down, public opinion of Coles is crashing down, as it makes clarifications on its announcement that staff in various stores will be equipped with body cams later this year.
When the announcement was made earlier this week, Coles stated that the addition of personal body cams to staff uniforms was a measure to combat theft of products.
Turns out that when you’re a company who made over $1 billion in profit last year, (mostly off the back of hiking up prices during a cost of living crisis, BTW!) the nation doesn’t take too kindly to you having a whinge about people utilising their five-finger discounts.
So, in a highly unsubtle move to damage control, Coles has come out to publicly clarify that the body cams are NOT to catch shoplifters, but to protect their workers from abuse… as well as stock losses – but that’s just a random side benefit, we swear guys!
Which is so weird because like, if you wanted to prevent staff from being abused, you should probably pay them the $25 million in missing wages you owe. But no, the stock loss means that’s unaffordable so we just have to give workers more responsibility, of course.
To Coles’ credit, protection of staff is a good cause. The body cam method has been trialed by Woolworths over the last year to some success. The body cams aren’t recording 100 per cent of the time, and are only switched on by the workers in moments they feel unsafe.
Additionally, the body cams are only to be first implemented in 30 stores around Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.
But even this sound reasoning didn’t stop Coles from doubling down, stating that the measures are just to stop the minority of people who shoplift. Make up your mind Coles, yikes.
Secretary for the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association, Josh Peak, says the body cam measures are hardly the best way to stop shoplifting anyway.
Josh also pointed out that the body cams could create additional problems, saying to the ABC: “We don’t want any suggestion that workers are some kind of mobile security camera. That’s where we can absolutely see this actually causing violence and abuse.”
You sure can’t feed a family for under $10 there anymore, but you might be able to snap a family portrait. There we go Coles, use that spin method all you want – just don’t snitch on me hiding a box of Favourites under my sweatpants.