In retail, "sweethearting" is one kind of theft carried out by collusion between an employee and a customer. It is so named because it most often occurs between a cashier and his or her family members or friends, usually without prearrangement.
There are several varieties of sweethearting.
- The cashier may fail to charge the customer for some items, or may only ring up one item of a multiple purchase (a can of Coke rather than a six pack, for instance)
- In shops with no bar code scanning, the cashier may ring an item up with a lower price, or ring it up as a cheaper item.
- The cashier may apply discounts where they are not justified.
Like all forms of fraud involving collusion, sweethearting is difficult to deter by means of administrative controls. Many large retailers use closed-circuit cameras to both detect sweethearting and intimidate employees out of doing it.
Sorry to spoil such a romantic node, but them's the facts.