Local News

Food Lion Not Taking Chances on Bad Checks

Posted September 29, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A North Carolina supermarket chain is taking steps to prevent criminals from costing everyone money. Food Lion is now asking each customer for a fingerprint before it will cash a payroll checks. The new idea is drawing mixed reviews.

The dilemma is easy to identify. Bad payroll checks account for most of the financial loss to fraud in local supermarkets. So, Food Lion is trying something new. From now on, anyone who wants to cash a payroll check has to give his or her fingerprint first. Then, if the check bounces, the print goes to the police.

Each cashier has a small pad which the customer touches with a single finger. The process only takes a few seconds. In other stores where the fingerprint identification system is used, managers say they've cut fraud up to 40 percent. So far, they say they've heard very few objections. everyonebelieves the store is entitled to that kind of information. Food Lion customer Andre Grenberry says it would make him feel like a criminal.

The chain tested the idea in several markets before bringing it to the Triangle. If it works the store will save money and those savings will be passed on to customers.

WRAL-TV5'sBrian Bowmansays local police departments are welcoming the move, but they caution that a print is useless unless it's clean and taken very carefully.

Reporter/Photographer:Brian Bowman