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New Milton Aldi shopper Duncan Brett hits out after staff demand to search his shopping bag

A SHOPPER has slammed new rules at a supermarket which sees customers’ shopping bags searched, saying it “treats everyone like they are a shoplifter”.

Duncan Brett was stunned when told by an assistant on a till that he had to let her inspect his bags to see if they were empty.

He said: “I had done the decent thing and taken my bags-for-life with me to cut down on plastic use. I saw a sign by the till saying that bags had to be put on the conveyor belt to be inspected but I just opened mine and said ‘Look they are empty’.

New Milton Aldi on Starling Road
New Milton Aldi on Starling Road

“But the young assistant said I had to pass them to her for her to inspect, saying it was company policy.

“She said she would get in trouble if I did not let her look in them, so I told her to call the manager.”

Mr Brett said a man arrived identifying himself as a manager. When he queried the order to let staff inspect his bags, he said he was told: “It is company policy aimed at loss prevention.”

He said: “I work in the prison service and know about bag searches. As far as I am concerned they should only be inspected by a security guard who has first asked your permission, and only if there is suspicion that someone has stolen something.

“I told the manager I thought the policy was illegal and frankly disgusting. But he just walked away and ignored me.”

Mr Brett has been going to the Aldi in Starling Road since it opened in September 2022 when he visits his elderly mother in New Milton.

He said: “I actually introduced her to it as I have always thought Aldi were a good supermarket, but I won’t be going to them anymore.

“I went online and saw that apparently Aldi introduced this new policy last year and there were many people on shopping forums complaining, like me, that it basically makes you feel like a shoplifter instead of an innocent customer.

“I realise that shoplifting is a big problem at the moment, but you can’t treat every customer who walks through the door as if they are a potential thief.”

The new Aldi policy was first revealed by The Grocer magazine in August last year. Aldi have since confirmed some stores have it in place but said the checks would be carried out by security guards.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “In line with other retailers, bag checks are being carried out in stores by our colleagues where needed.” They said that this was done only with the “consent of shoppers”.

The supermarket giant said any customer refusing to have their bag checked would not be stopped from making purchases, or leaving the store.

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