Sensor Machine Boo-boos, were you once a victim?

This is a complaint I’d like to address to all shop owners who are using sensor machines.

The sensors that I am referring are those metal poles situated in the entrance area of each shop. These sensors act as surveillance machines. They are used to detect if products are forcefully taken out of the shop. The passing or even slipping of the circular magnetic object installed in each item in the shop will cause the sensor machine to produce an alarming sound.

I don’t know if you shared the same experience with me. There were instances when the sensor machine alarmed when I am just about to enter the shop. Worst case is that the machine alarmed when I left the shop, without buying anything.  The next thing that happens is that the security personnel will force you to open your bag and inspect its every little space. Annoying and embarrassing, right? Though the security personnel are just doing their job, it’s humiliating for anyone to be placed in the situation when you are suspected for possibly committing a crime.

This is something I would like to address to all security personnel, managers and shop owners. I know your primary concern is to safeguard your store. But my simple request is to handle “alarming” situations in a more discrete and courteous way.

My first suggestion is to train security and sales personnel to politely approach customers who caused the alarming of these sensor machines. They can devise better words and approaches that would not make customers appear as suspected stealers.

In my experience, when the machine alarmed, the security personnel just called my attention and compelled me to open my bag. No words of courteous request and apology were heard thereafter.  What is further infuriating is that even though the shop is too small, I stayed for less than a minute, and the sales personnel have seen my every movement, they still asked me to open my purse that is less than a ruler in size!

Another suggestion for shop owners is to be responsible enough for the mistakes of their sensor machines. Please generate statistics on how many times did your sensor machines failed.  Count the number of incidents and report such to your service providers.  They could even produce a study on what other unknown factors would cause the sensitivity of the sensor machine.

A friend told me that signals generated by mobile phones could cause sensor machines to react, especially when there is an incoming or outgoing call. If a person also carries a book or any item that has a magnetic strip, it also causes the sensor machine to respond.

These concerns could not just be set aside. There has something to be done, both on the side of the shop owners and service providers of the sensor machines. The presence of mistakes always warrants the need for improvement!

Imposing a package counter? I don’t really know if this will work or customers will adhere to this old practice. Shop owners could instead request their customers to leave their bulky luggage before entering the shop. In that way, in case the sensor machine reacts, no inspection on bags would anymore take place. It would be very obvious that it’s the machine’s fault and customers will no longer be suspected of stealing.

How about an ordinance to penalize shop owners with malfunctioning sensor machines? Could this compel shop owners to monitor and highly maintain their sensor machines? Under this proposed ordinance, customers could complain to the local government incidents when malfunctioning of sensor machines occurred.  A proposed provision of the ordinance is to compel shop owners to pay damages to customers who were innocently victimized by their sensor machines. Penalty fees could also be imposed by the government or worst, temporary closure of the shop for continuous violation.

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