Rite-Aid dares you to steal this candy bar

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/11/rite-aid-dares-you-to-steal-th.html


Theft makes people rage far out of proportion to the thing stolen.

Actually, I take that back. Petty theft does. Grand larceny makes us name universities after you.


You know, society has been locking people in cages since time immemorial, and it has yet to change human nature.
It has, however, done terrible damage to potentially productive individuals.

I think it’s time to start classifying the manifestation of “prisons” as a form of social illness.


On a purely pragmatic basis…

Does the per unit profit on a chocolate bar actually cover the cost of the RFID sticker?


Probably only just.


While they can probably be found cheaper still, a 36-pack of basic Hershey’s bars is $20.49 at Amazon or Sam’s Club, so 57 cents each. Typical price for bulk RFID tags is $.03 each (though again, there are cheaper).

Let’s say you sell the bars for $1 a piece. Assuming there is no labor cost for sticking the tags on or deactivating them, and also assuming the equipment to detect and deactivate the tags is absolutely free, the tagless candy bars will still bring you more profit unless shoplifters steal 4 out of every box of 36.


“The petty thief is imprisoned but the big thief becomes a feudal lord.”

Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu


Jeepers, it’s not like anyone is going to slide the paper wrapper off the candy bar, eh.


Easily. In bulk they are about $0.07 - $0.10 per. They keystone markup on candy is 100% with discounted rates at chain stores it can be as low as 50%. So, for a $1 bar, the cost to the store being $0.50 with an additional $0.10 per still yields a tidy little profit.


I’m not a science expert, but would Faraday bags like the new RFID-blocking purses be enough to defeat this deterrent? Or is the radio wave much stronger than the one at the register or bus/trolley kiosk?


Surely these aren’t new? I’ve been seeing these in Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada for quite some time now – though admittedly never on something as inexpensive as a candy bar.

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i don’t really get this, are these stickers uncommon in the US? Agreed, its a little excessive to put one on chocolate, but they’re very commonplace in Europe.

And yes, you can just wrap it in foil and it will not work


What I like to do when I buy things which I don’t need a receipt for is to just leave the money somewhere in the store and not bother with the checkout process. Do any stores post anywhere that going to the register is necessary? If they complain I just explain that I paid for it and leave. Money’s over there, bye!


I’m pleased to see I’m not the only person whose mind went there.


That is cheap enough that yeah it will eat into some of the candy bar profit but not all of it. Probably more money spent on the wages of the poor saps who have to put the stickers on all of them.


Oooh, hey, free money!


It seems a bit extreme for a candy bar, but if it happens enough that the manager’s job is on the line (It happens) I suppose it’s justified.

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This isn’t an RFID tag. It does not send a coded signal or anything like that. It’s a spiral antenna in two pieces, separated by a cheap diode-like element. Because it partially rectifies the radio signal that hits it, it produces a response signal at the harmonics, which can be detected. Deactivating is just a matter of running enough current to burn out the diode, or breaking it mechanically.


Great info!

The tech geek in me is embarrassed to have mischaracterized the technology.

The obsessive poster to the BBS in me is happy to welcome you to the bOINGbOING forums.



No need for a Faraday cage as the signal is so weak. Water and humans are largely water will do it or slip it into a jacket pocket and buy some milk simply hold the milk between the pocket and the scanner. Not that I’d advocate such a course of action!