Stick With Me: Temperature Can Affect Price Tag Security

Posted on: 27 August 2015

If you own or manage a store, be on the lookout for the scam where someone replaces the real price tag on an item with a fake tag. One way you can combat this problem is by using price tags that rip into pieces when you try to remove them. The tags take much longer to remove, making it more likely that the crook will be discovered. But be aware of the types of tags you use should you decide to go with this option. The temperature of the air and of the item in question can render these tags useless.

Preventing Scams

Fake price tags are the bane of places such as bookstores, especially those that sell remaindered books, those hardbacks that have been heavily discounted. However, this scam can happen in any retail environment in which the items for sale are marked with adhesive price tags. The scam can take a few forms:

  • Someone removes a tag on a discount item and then tries to return the item for store credit for the original full price, claiming the item was a gift to explain the lack of a receipt
  • Someone replaces a tag with a higher price with one that has a lower price and attempts to buy the item for the lower price
  • Someone tries to remove a discount tag from one item and put it on a non-discounted item

A price tag that tears into bits as you try to remove it can make the scam too annoying to attempt. It can also delay the person trying to remove the tag -- that makes it easier to spot them furtively scraping away at the item -- and the leftover adhesive is a clue to cashiers that something might be wrong.

However, the adhesive on the tag needs to really hold onto the item for the tag to be of use. If the temperature of the air or of the item itself is too hot or cold, though, the adhesive won't stick.

Hot air will make the adhesive soften. That's why running a hair dryer over a sticker stuck to a wall will make it easier to remove the sticker -- the hot air is softening the adhesive so that you can pull the sticker off the wall. If it's a hot day and the item has been sitting in the sun, it could be warm enough that its price tag would peel right off.

Cold temperatures cause adhesives to stiffen, lessening their stickiness. For example, you work in a bookstore, it's winter, and you've got display tables with specially priced books set up right outside the door. Even if clean, the books may be too cold for the price tags to adhere securely. The result would be that someone could rip off the price tag quickly.

Finding the Right Labels

There is a solution, but it's one that you have to remember to keep using. Many adhesive label and tag companies offer temperature-hardy tags that can handle higher and lower temperatures. You must remember to keep ordering this type of tag, and you must remember to use this type of tag when pricing items -- don't accidentally pick up the remaining rolls of non-temperature-resistant tags.

One caveat to keep in mind: Temperature-resistant labels can work well, but you still have to store them correctly. For example, Electronic Imaging Materials notes that you can get special freezer labels that work well in the cold, but if you don't store them correctly, the labels still might not work that well.

If you'd like to know more about labels that stand up to heat or cold, contact a label manufacturer directly. The staff there can go over all of the conditions that their labels meet, and the staff can help you choose the best labels for your products. For more information, visit or a similar website.