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Over the last few months, Safeway has tried to combat shoplifting at several D.C. stores by stopping customers to check their receipts at the door. But it hadn’t explained exactly why, until Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B inquired why that was happening at the store on 17th and Corcoran Street. Here’s what spokesman Craig Muckle had to say:

This is a new program that we initiated earlier this year as a test at our SW Safeway and is intended to be implemented in jurisdictions where a bag fee is in place (right now, Washington and Baltimore City are currently where such a fee exists). Since the fee was established last year, we have noticed customers using traditional bags, along with less traditional pieces such as backpacks, to not only transport items from the store, but to carry items throughout the store. We thought that this was a better solution than the usual in-store security guards. This type of process has been used by WalMart and Costco.

Well, it’s the rare government policy that doesn’t have unintended consequences, I suppose.

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