LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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THE IMPROBABLE HISTORY OF THE INK TAG 45 LP MAGAZINE | MARCH–APRIL 2019 in society at large that explain the concept and that acted as catalysts for the products developed for use in retail: ■ Exploding dye packs used by banks to identify stolen currency. Cash involved in bank robberies can be readily identified and is less likely to be accepted as a medium of exchange. ■ "Breakaway" electronic switch connectors that disable car radio/CD players if they are removed from the dashboard of the vehicle. ■ Security systems that disable a vehicle's electronic fuel pump a few seconds after a theft attempt. When Did It Start? The Color Tag ® (circa 1984). Spawned by the bank dye packs, the first ink-based product designed to protect apparel was introduced in Europe in March 1984 by a Swedish company—Fargklamman AB (also known as Color Tag). The original version had two four-inch long plastic "straps" connected at one end by a hinge. One side housed two pharmaceutical grade vials containing nontoxic but foul-smelling dye, along with two needles to puncture the fabric. The other side housed the receptacles for the needles, along with the lock and the small plastic piston required to open it. They were heavy and expensive (about $6.00 each). Color Tags were rugged and were able to withstand the rigors of repeated use within retail stores. They were difficult to force open with tools without incident, but the vials didn't just break, they exploded. When that happened the garment was, indeed, ruined. As with conventional EAS tags, Color Tags were to be removed at the point of sale. A blast of compressed air was needed to push the piston to unlatch the bolt and hook keeping two sides of the tag together. The compressor was not user-friendly. It usurped precious space at the checkout stand, required a dedicated electrical outlet, and cost $800. Notwithstanding the safety, liability, and operational issues surrounding the product, and the general lack of understanding of the deterrence concept behind the idea, Color Tag successfully marketed the products in several European countries. It took a while, but a few visionary

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