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German man fined 208,000 euros for scanning meat as ‘fruit’

A German man has been fined 208,000 euros ($326,000) for cheating at a supermarket self-service checkout. A Munich court convicted the 58-year-old businessman of theft for trying to pass off 47 euros worth of veal liver as ‘ fruit’.

The man had done the same thing three times before and also had past convictions for theft and tax evasion. The court based the fine on the man's monthly income of 24,000 euros.

An article by shows how self-service checkouts normalise and excuse supermarket stealing. Supermarkets in Australia are also cracking down on the practice. Associate Professor Gary Mortimer from the Queensland University of Technology says there was $4.5 billion (2.87 bln euros) worth of retail theft in 2016. Studies show customers feel more comfortable stealing from a machine than when they came into contact with a human being.

NSW Police Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman said committing this kind of offence was a crime, no matter how small people thought it was. "Even if it is the avocado and you think you're saving $2, it's still shoplifting. It's still stealing, it's still a crime and if you get caught, you will be charged."

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