sainsbury's barcode scanner

Fallowfield shoppers criticise Sainsbury’s recent security barriers

    • 25 Sainsbury’s stores in Manchester have input receipt barriers to prevent further increases in theft

    • Consumers online have shared a range of criticisms on Sainsbury’s new barriers

    • NQ spoke with Fallowfield residents on the matter, as well as Greater Manchester Poverty Action charity.

Fallowfield residents have criticised Sainsbury’s recent security barriers due to faults, inconvenience and issues of poverty.

According to crime data statistics, in March 2022, theft had increased to 1.5 million incidents, 21% of these were shoplifting.

Graham Whitham, CEO of the Greater Manchester Poverty Action charity, said: “This is another sign of the times. People are struggling to afford the basic needs to survive. Whilst no one condones people taking items without paying, it is important supermarkets have a wider role to play. There is importance in supporting people through things like paying their staff a Real Living Wage. Supermarkets need to recognise that this issue is a symptom of the cost-of-living crisis afflicting the UK.”

In total, 25 Sainsbury’s stores in Manchester now have receipt barriers, which has led to widespread controversy among consumers.

Fallowfield shoppers online commentary

Online comments highlight feelings of being trapped and inconvenienced. Additionally, shoppers address barrier faults such as tailgating and limiting exit access for non-buyers.

Twitter screenshot on consumer criticism
Twitter screenshot on consumer criticism

Sainsbury’s Response

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s Fallowfield, said: “the barriers are now permanent. We have got one of the highest loss rates of stock in Manchester. Our rates of missing stock has increased recently. This means that items that have not been scanned through the self-checkout till or by a colleague. So, within the next financial year we hope to see if these measures help reduce stock loss.”

Sainsbury’s Fallowfield receipt barriers – image: Kate Gaetto

Shoppers are encouraged to keep receipts as proof of purchase to exit the barriers. There are two barriers at the entrance of the large Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield.

Sainsbury’s Fallowfield rear exit – image: Kate Gaetto

Sainsbury’s Fallowfield frontal exit – image: Kate Gaetto

Fallowfield Shoppers speak with NQ

Joanna, a 47 year-old resident in Fallowfield, said: “It’s a bit over the top. I know it’s because of homelessness and the cost of living crisis within the student area. But, I’m quite shocked because I think it will just target those that are suffering financially.”

She said: “Homelessness is growing here. The other day I watched a man weighing up the prices of fish. Whilst seeing which one he could afford, nearly brought me to tears. People are really struggling.”

She said: “there is also a lot of tail gating with it. People can just slip through the barriers once someone else has scanned their receipt.”

Robyn Pring, a student living in Fallowfield, said: “I find it annoying shopping [in Sainsbury’s]. Sometimes if you’re in a rush and you forget to take your receipt it’s a setback. It can also take some time for it to be scanned. I’ve had faded ink on my receipt so I couldn’t pass through until the security guard let me. It also wastes a lot of paper.”

Sainsbury’s Fallowfield receipt bins at frontal exit – image: Kate Gaetto