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 49 LP MAGAZINE | MARCH–APRIL 2019 ADT/Sensormatic, CombiClip, Checkpoint Systems, Inc., EAS SensorSense (WG), Unisen, and Universal Surveillance Systems got into the benefit-denial business. Through the collective efforts, the terms "ink tag," "ink pin," and "benefit-denial device" eventually became part of the retail loss prevention lexicon. According to a 2004 study conducted regularly by a well-known security equipment manufacturer of EAS market penetration among the top twenty-five department store chains in North America, over 68 percentof the branch stores used benefit-denial devices in some form. Only 48 percent of the stores employed EAS (all technologies). By this measure, benefit-denial products had penetrated more department store locations in nineteen years than EAS has penetrated in forty years. What Made the Ink Tag So Important? The phenomenon of the ink tag introduced a transformational type of theft deterrence—benefit denial. As long as the security devices cannot be defeated before the protected merchandise is damaged or disabled, then benefit denial is a more powerful and permanent "capable guardian" of merchandise than anything else available. Secondarily, the original introduction of ink pins like Kno-Glo, CombiClip ® , and Inkmate allowed EAS users to add the power of benefit denial to reinforce the deterrent. Loss prevention executives realized that the combination of EAS and benefit denial forced the thief to "do something" with the tag inside the store or run the risk, however insignificant, that the alarm would cause a problem as they left the store. My ringside seat provided an opportunity to witness a few transformational security initiatives, such as EAS, dome-oriented video monitoring, and benefit-denial devices. The ink tag saga is my all-time favorite. ROBERT "BOB" DiLONARDO is a well-known authority and consultant on the electronic article surveillance business, the cost justification of security products and services, and retail accounting. DiLonardo started a successful consulting practice after several years in sales and marketing for Sensormatic, Security Tag Systems, and Decision Point Data. Prior to that he held various accounting, shortage control, internal audit, and loss prevention positions with Macy's and Carter Hawley Hale Stores. DiLonardo was a long-time contributor to LP Magazine from 2001 until he retired in 2015. He can be reached at rdilonar@tampabay.rr.com.

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