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Double blow for supermarkets

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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SEVERAL SUPERMARKETS have revealed that they are being hurt by a double whammy – bounced cheques and stolen shopping carts.Both are increasingly costing supermarkets dearly, but these expenses cannot be passed on to consumers.   David Neilands, managing director of Super Centre Limited, conceded that his chain loses at least 30 trolleys in about six months, particularly at the Warrens branch.“It is something that we try to police,” said Neilands.As for losses from bounced cheques, though Neilands could not give any definitive word, he said the company was trying to counter this by putting different measures in place.“We are asking for a lot more ID, particularly with credit cards,” said Neilands, noting that this was also for the protection of customers as people could use others’ cards.A spokesperson for Carlton Supermarket in Black Rock said they were hit by both of these occurrences. “Bounced cheques are a problem. It is growing, especially in these harsh economic times,” she said.She also revealed that trolleys cost them between BDS$300 and BDS$500 each, and they were losing quite a few.“We try as much as possible to guard our trolleys,” she said, but declined to say how many they lose.One retailer that has solved the bounced cheque problem by not accepting any personal cheques, Pricesmart, conceded that they had not been able to stop the carts from disappearing.“I see our trolleys in Warrens, Eden Lodge, even as far as Oistins,” one Pricesmart manager told SATURDAY SUN on condition of anonymity.A cart could cost about US$300 plus, the manager added.“At night we ensure that all the carts are locked in the bay, but during the day it is very hard to control,” the manager added.“We sell goods at minimum profit,” the manager said, “so the company would definitely feel the burn if it constantly has to replace shopping carts.”Phillip Gooding, general manager of Lionel C. Hill Supermarket, said he had seen a “dramatic increase” in bounced cheques.“Once upon a time, it would be two to three cheques a month, now it is two to three a week,” he said.“We stopped taking cheques for that same reason,” said a manager at Young’s Supermarket on Baxters Road. Only Government agencies and “big recognised companies” are allowed to pay with cheques.The management of Jordan’s Supermarket indicated that bounced cheques were formerly a “big problem,” but now more customers were using debit cards instead of cheques. (SP/FM)