A TikTok shared by user @kirrily__ has caused quite a stir on the platform (and beyond) after she shared footage of shelves at a Sydney Woolworths store (Wetherill Park) that appear to have been fitted with small cameras. In the video, she wrote, “Public service announcement. Woolies now has little cameras to prevent 5 finger discounts,” and the comments section has since been alight with opinions from other Aussies both criticising and seeking to explain the discovery.
So, what’s the situation?
Woolies cameras on TikTok: What are people saying?
The TikTok, which captures footage of the bread and breakfast aisles, shows a number of small black devices fitted along the length of the shelves, which led @kirrily__ to the assumption they had been introduced as a measure of preventing theft in store.
Many in the comments section of the video appear to feel similarly.
One user complained, “So they can spend millions probably installing and purchasing these cameras and putting them in stores but yet can’t lower prices yep makes sense”.
Another shared a similar view, “Ah so all those profits when into control systems instead of fair pricing. Nice.”
Others took to the comments section to share that they either didn’t care about the cameras or to explain their supposed purpose.
“I work at woolies and have read the pilot, it takes pictures at certain points every day and looks at which shelves are empty and alerts the team,” shared one user.
“The cameras don’t affect me at all. I’m still buying what I buy, paying for it and walking away. They don’t change anything,” said another.
If you cast your minds back to June 2023, it was actually announced by Woolworths that some 500 tiny cameras would be installed in the Wetherill Park location as part of a trial. According to the supermarket giant, this is intended to help monitor stock levels.
As was reported by 9 News, the cameras were set to be installed close to price tags and had been designed to capture photos of the shelves across from them every half an hour.
At the time of the announcement, a Woolworths spokesperson shared the following statement:
“Customers of our Wetherill Park store may notice a number of new mini cameras in each aisle and on every shelf.
“We’ve recently begun a trial of new camera technology at the store to assist our teams by reducing manual processes and with replenishment tasks, such as real-time inventory management and restocking prioritisation.
“This is expected to improve product availability throughout the day for all our customers, not just at regular intervals.
“We’ll listen to feedback from our Wetherill Park customers and team members over the coming months before assessing our next steps.”
It was also reported by 9 News that any customers captured in these photographs would be “silhouetted out” and that signage would be installed to inform customers of the trial.
Lifehacker Australia has reached out to Woolworths for comment.
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