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The Reason Self-Checkout Kiosks Have Mirrors

Amid the increasing number of self-service check-out stations cropping up at grocery stores and other vendors, companies have devised a unique measure to deter potential shoplifters—mirrors.

Initially people assumed it was used to ensure shoppers “look good” before checking out, these reflective devices are actually there to make prospective pilferers feel guilty. This might sound ineffective on its face as robbers would presumably just steal with no one monitoring their actions.

However, mirrors are psychologically proven to make people feel guilty. According to a study in the journal “Letters on Behavioral Evolutionary Science,” people who are in a “self-aware” situation such as in front of a mirror are less likely to engage in “antinormative behavior” like stealing or cheating than those who are not.

The study noted that when participants were subjected to mirrors, their “private self-awareness was activated” and influenced “decision-making” despite the lack of social cues. “These results suggest that socially desirable behavior is influenced by mirrors.”

However, the study authors admit that the mechanism behind self-awareness’ effect on behavior is not well understood—perhaps the mirror makes people “reflect” on the crime before even committing it. Psychology Today postulated that mirrors “allowed people literally to watch over themselves” and therefore “made them more likely to behave in a more upright way.”

In general, experts argue that mirrors aren’t enough to prevent shoplifting at self-checkouts, which are notoriously susceptible to theft due to the lack of personnel. Scams have included weighing meat as fruit, and even scanning bootleg barcodes attached to people’s wrists before walking out without paying.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Bible; Scripture; Word of God - A person can look into a manmade mirror and soon forget what they have seen and go ahead with their sinful plans. However, when we look into the perfect law of God, we see a true and undistorted image of ourselves. God designed this so that our actions will be brought into alignment with his will and so that we will do what is pleasing to him. (Jam. 1:19-25, Heb. 4:12-13)

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