Australians have been left in disbelief over this photo of a basket of groceries from Woolworths supermarket.
The snap shows an assortment of essential everyday products a customer tried to steal from a Queensland store.
In total, there were 27 items in the green basket, totalling “$398”.
Coles and Woolworths have both reported a dramatic rise in customer theft in recent months, which experts estimate costs the retail industry a whopping $9bn annually.
But while stealing is undoubtedly wrong and leads to higher prices for everyone, many have argued the cost of basic items is now so expensive, some Australians have been left with “no choice”.
Debate over the current cost of basic grocery items was sparked by a local Facebook page in Queensland which asked followers to guess how much the stolen basket cost.
“Today in Woolworths a so-called customer tried to steal this basket full,” Crime Watch Logan & Queensland wrote.
“What do you think it came to $00000?
“If you listened to the TV report on shoplifting, we the people who pay for our goods also pay for theirs because we pay a loss percentage which is built into every item we pay for.”
Amid the items that had been pinched from shelves were items most households consume, including a hot chook, fresh vegetables, meat and a jar of Nutella.
There were also several pairs of Bonds undies as well as a handful of skincare products.
“Sad that some people actually ‘need’ to steal this to get by,” one user commented.
“27 items for $398 – WTF,” another remarked.
As one raged: “$398 for a basket of food!!!! Now, really who’s the thief!!???”
“I am more shocked that basket of food came to $400. I would expect to fill my trolley up for that amount,” another agreed.
To be clear, the basket contained some food items, but also a range of other items including skincare and underwear.
Another commentor noted a detail on screen that pointed out money saved from utilising Woolworths “specials”, stating: “Nearly $500 without the ‘savings’.”
“With the cost of living, no wonder people are stealing,” another chipped in.
There were also some who argued many of the items weren’t “essential” and said “help” was available to those struggling.
Australian retailers have revealed in recent months there has been an alarming upwards spike of theft and violence towards workers – particularly in supermarkets.
As a result, Coles and Woolworths have introduced a swathe of new security measures, including body cameras and additional CCTV at self-service checkouts.
“It’s important to note that the majority of customers do the right thing in store. Measures like this are for the ones who don’t,” a Coles spokesperson told news.com.au in September.
“The safety of our team members and customers is our top priority, and we have a range of security measures in place to reduce theft from our stores, including security personnel and surveillance technologies such as CCTV.”