Home Depot sells power tools that require in-store activation

Shoplifting is a major problem for many brick-and-mortar retail stores, and it appears that stealing and then selling power tools is a lucrative business for some criminals. To combat this, Home Depot is starting to sell power tools that will only work if activated at checkout.

According to a 2020 survey in the United States, “retail organized crime” costs retailers $719,548 per billion dollars in revenue. A thief was recently arrested after stealing over $17,000 worth of power tools from Home Depot. While many stores put high-value items in locked display cases, Home Depot felt this tactic would negatively affect sales, so they partnered with vendors to add an internal kill switch. While persistent criminals may find a way to disable this feature, it seems Home Depot is hoping it will be just hard enough to convince most criminals to seek easier targets elsewhere.

We would be really interested in getting our hands on one of these power tools to see what this kill switch looks like and how it works. Something like a Bluetooth enabled relay is an option, or maybe even something that’s built right into the motor controller. If it were up to us, we’d probably choose something that’s powered wirelessly using a coil and requires a unique code. For their sake, we hope it’s not something that can be disabled with just a big magnet.

thanks for the advice [Garth Bock]!

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