People Are Stealing Avocados By Scanning Them As Carrots

Is this how they're able to get into the housing market?

OK, so it's official -- this crazy obsession we have with the cost of avocados has reached its peak. Why? Because  -- according to London's Times newspaper -- people are now stealing them from supermarkets by "carroting" -- scanning them as carrots at the self check-out.

Yes you read that right.

They look harmless enough. Image: Getty

One of the UK's foremost criminologists has suggested that carrots -- the sales of which  have been soaring past few years -- are not witnessing an unlikely revival in popularity but are actually the latest accessory in an unprecedented crime spree.

Emmeline Taylor, a senior lecturer in Criminology at City, University of London, says shoppers are using self-service checkouts to pretend they are buying carrots when in fact they are taking home much more expensive fruits or vegetables --  like the not-so-humble avocado!

$4000 worth of avocado right there. Image: Getty

It makes sense -- carrots are one of the cheapest veg you can get, meaning there are significant savings to be made by selecting them when actually weighing other, pricier, produce. 


Which says so much about us and our obsession with the avo.

“I was working with retailers [in Australia] to reduce shoplifting when one major supermarket discovered it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock" she told The Times. "Puzzled by this development it looked into its inventories and found that in some cases customers were apparently purchasing 18kg of carrots in one go. Unfortunately this wasn’t a sudden switch to healthy eating, it was an early sign of a new type of shoplifter.”

"Carroting" (PSA be careful when you google it -- there are other, more ahem sexual acts of the same name) is the act, according to Urban Dictionary (and members of the ten daily team), of "putting expensive fruit and vegetable items through the self service checkout as cheaper ones. For example, one might put through a mango as a carrot or an avocado as a potato and save a few dollars."

Genius. And obviously, ahem, illegal.

According to Taylor, the crime is so rife, people in the UK have done it without remembering that what they are doing as illegal. The Times also reveals that the "carroting"  problem is a big one in terms of losses for the supermarkets (ten daily did reach out to both Coles and Woolworths for comment).

Crime scene. Image: Getty

"More than £3 billion of goods are estimated to be stolen through Britain’s 50,000 self-service tills each year,  Theft from unmanned checkouts has more than doubled over the past four years, surveys suggest."

Studies show that shops that use the tills experience nearly double the average losses from shoplifting."

In Australia of course avocados are the reason many young people can't get their first home ... well kinda. Much has been made of the real cost of Avocado toast -- with millionaire real estate mogul Tim Gurner last year warning millennials of the perils of their pretentious breakfasts.  “When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he said. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.”

With carroting on the rise, it can surely be no coincidence when you look at what is replacing that root veg in our baskets.

Feature Image: Getty