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San Francisco Safeway removes self-checkout due to theft

People walk in front of a Safeway in San Francisco.
The Safeway, located in the Mission District, removed its self-checkout section due to theft issues. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A San Francisco Safeway in the Mission District has removed its self-checkout section due to theft issues, according to workers.

The self-checkout section was removed from the Safeway at 2300 16th St. roughly two weeks ago, according to multiple workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak with the media.

A Safeway cashier said the self-checkout registers were removed because customers would often go through the checkout without scanning all their items. The cashier couldn't give a specific number on how many times a day shoppers were stealing goods but said the store could tell how much was being stolen by comparing inventory reports to sales revenue.

"There were too many thefts," the cashier said.

READ MORE: Locked-Up Shelves ‘Irritating’ Workers and Shoppers at San Francisco Target, Walgreens and Safeway

Customers walk inside a grocery store.
The Safeway at 2300 16th St. removed its self-checkout section due to issues with theft. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A Safeway worker said they typically spotted about one theft every hour.

"I'd say I see about eight a day," the worker said.

A Safeway spokesperson confirmed that the self-checkout section was removed in January but did not specify further.

"Recent changes were made at the Safeway located in the Potrero Center given the increasing amount of theft," a spokesperson said. "Like other local businesses, we are working on ways to curtail escalating theft so we can ensure the well-being of our employees and foster a welcoming environment for our customers."

'15 Today'

Quatasha Harris lives on 24th Street and comes to the Safeway on 16th Street to get groceries and said she sees thefts frequently.

"Every time," Harris said, as she placed a carton of eggs into her shopping cart.

Daniel Sean Webster said he had been collecting signatures for a petition outside the store since 8 a.m. Monday. When The Standard spoke with him around 5 p.m., he said he had seen several people fleeing the store with goods it appeared they had not paid for.

"I'd say 15 today," Webster said.

A man stands in front of a grocery store.
Daniel Sean Webster said he saw 15 people steal from the Safeway at 2300 16th St. Monday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

He added that he feels some sympathy for people who are stealing food.

"It's sad," Webster said. "I think there needs to be some consideration for those just stealing to steal, and those stealing to eat."

This is not the first Safeway to lose its self-checkout section. The Safeway at 1335 Webster St. also removed its self-checkout area just months after rolling it out.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com