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March 16, 2011 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Why does this package of batteries have a "Intended for sale at (STORE X) only" sticker on it?

All of the packages of batteries have a similar sticker on them. I'm guessing they're put on the packages to prevent some kind of scam, but I can't think of what it would be. Nor can I think of a reason why somebody buying them for resale wouldn't just tear them off. Who places the sticker there, the store or the manufacturer? And why?
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Anti-shoplifting, I believe. Just that little extra hassle/deterrent.
posted by CaptApollo at 6:50 PM on March 16, 2011

Yeah, theft prevention. Those stickers are usually pretty hard to take off, too. It doesn't matter for packaging that will be disposed of, but it always irritates me when it's something like bodywash that will stick around for a while.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:58 PM on March 16, 2011

Safeway (and other grocery stores, of course) often have deals on products like this that will bring the prices down low enough that smaller independent convenience stores can buy them, mark them up and resell them for more profit than if they had bought them from their distributor.

Since these items are likely intended as "loss-leaders", the store is trying to prevent this sort of thing from happening.
posted by davey_darling at 6:58 PM on March 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Text: "This item is intended for sale at Store #791". It looks like the sticker has been placed by Safeway, not by the manufacturers.

Tearing the sticker off would probably rip off parts of the packaging as well. This would deter a reseller who might be tempted to buy at the low prices offered by Safeway (because Safeway gets a better deal from the manufacturer's distributors than smaller retailers, or because there is a promotional campaign on).

On preview: what davey_darling said about loss leaders too.
posted by vidur at 7:04 PM on March 16, 2011

Possibly for quality control. Batteries are perishable and their useful life may be affected by poor storage conditions (extreme temperatures, e.g.). Duracell may want to limit sales to those retailers it is confident will store the product properly.
posted by holterbarbour at 7:22 PM on March 16, 2011

Today the Seattle Police Department busted a theft/resale ring. A store in Wallingford would basically send junkies out with a shopping list.

The junkies would steal what was on the list (small but high-priced items like cosmetics and batteries) then bring them back to this store and sell them for pennies on the dollar. The store would then turn around and stock the stolen items on its shelves.

I imagine stickers like this are a cheap and efficient way to prevent that sort of thing.
posted by ErikaB at 9:42 PM on March 16, 2011

I have reason to believe loss leader is incorrect. Why? Because I found a similar sticker on booze, and booze is never a loss leader.

Recently when I went for a road trip to the redwoods, my stops included a Safeway run in Crescent City, CA. All of the booze we bought from the cheap rum to the Glenlivet had a similar sticker affixed to the very bottom of the bottles. I wondered the same thing you did, what the hell is this doing here? On the glass bottles, the sticker also came off easily.

My guess is that it had to do with distribution and quality checks. All speculation here, but one or more of their distribution points may have been making mistakes, too many items going to the wrong location, which could be bad for them on items that have tax issues across state/provincial lines. For Crescent City, the nearest distribution centers (that I found) were near Portland and near Sacramento. If the products are coming out of Oregon (no sales tax, Byzantine liquor laws) then it would make sense that they would want to keep close track of what product wound up in what store.

Lastly, does any consumer even care if a product has this sticker? Would you even know your store number without that sticker telling you? No one reads their receipts!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:28 PM on March 16, 2011

Best answer: I found some more information. It is definitely an anti-theft and anti-resale measure. Check this document (pdf) for details. Apparently, they are called "tamper-evident labels" (cropped image from pdf document). Google that for much more info.
posted by vidur at 11:45 PM on March 16, 2011

An attempt to prevent/discover hijacking of shipments. It is quite common for smallish items especially disposable razors to be stolen during shipping.
posted by Gungho at 6:53 AM on March 17, 2011

To discourage hijacking or resale, to be sure.
But to prevent shoplifting? No way!
posted by Rash at 8:34 AM on March 17, 2011

Yes, shoplifting, in addition to larger scale retail theft (There is supply-chain theft as well as employees and customers stealing stuff). The Walgreen's sticker on the pack of batteries I am looking at here has an RFID antenna integrated into it, presumably to activate the sensors at the door. RFID tags can also encode lots of other supply-chain information (where did the batteries found at the corner store leave Walgreen's control?), so there could be a number of different uses for that same sticker. Large chains have enough purchasing power that such stickers can be applied in the factory. I'm basing this on general knowledge about uses of RFID tags, not specific knowledge of the Walgreen's sticker usage.

(Actually looks at the sticker in OP's question) Oh- no RFID tag- this is probably for preventing grey or black market resale, as others (i.e. vidur) have noted. I doubt it is easy to peel off.
posted by rockindata at 9:37 AM on March 17, 2011

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