A month or so ago I posted a story about how I was forced to remove a security ink tag from a suit I had bought. You can read all about it by clicking here. The feedback I received from that post made me realise how common a problem this is. Little did I expect that so soon I would be faced by a similar challenge. Some top friends of ours bought us this lovely dress for our new born daughter Lucy
A quick look under the hem and there it is - our friend the security tag.
Aside from the fact that this device is neither green nor from Marks and Spencers, it is apparent that it looks different from the ink tag I documented in the previous story.
However, even though it is white and round rather than green and oblong, a quick look at the back shows that it is fundamentally the same. A bigger front piece that holds the "payload" and a pin clicking it onto the garment with some sort of clutch arrangement hidden in the middle somewhere holding the two parts together. Sadly there is not enough room to use my small pliers to cut the pin. It is in too tight.
The next thing I notice is the filthy big hole in the side of the device. Looking through it I can see that there is a similar but smaller one on the other side. This seems strange because it makes it quite easy to see that this couldn't be an ink tag. Firstly there just isn't enough room but secondly I can see through the device and there are no vials of ink there.
In comments from the last story, some folks suggested using a cigarette lighter to melt the top off the device. That may or may not work but I'm sure that it would stink and possibly drop melted plastic on the garment. Others suggest getting out their power tools to decapitate the device. But there is no need for that nonsense. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the weakest point is going to be that hole. Let's poke a thin screw driver in the hole and waggle it about a bit.
No great sup rise. The hole starts to enlarge. This takes very little effort.
In this photo you can see that the smaller hole below is very obvious. If you use a Phillips style screwdriver then this is the perfect anchor point for the end of the screwdriver.
My little screwdriver slices through the plastic like butter
The success of the thin screwdriver in starting to create a larger hole is unquestionable, but it makes sense to move to a bigger screwdriver to finish the job off.
Almost immediately using the thicker stronger screwdriver the top of the device pops off. Do I see a spring?
Despite the difference in exterior appearance it starts to look like the device is very similar to the Marks and Spencer device.
A quick disassemble shows that once more the core of the device is created by a one way clutch comprised of magnetic ball bearings which grab the pin if you try and pull it out but readily allows you to push it in against the pressure from the spring.
The main difference (aside from not using ink vials) is that the pin has notches in it to help the ball bearings grab it. However, just like the Marks and Sparks device, this should be opened by using a powerful ring magnet to pull the magnetised ball bearings away from the pin and release it. It's only a shame that the monkey on the till didn't do that and prevent me having to disassemble to device in order to use the dress.
Here you can see the bit of the security tag that will set off the alarm if you leave the store. However, I'm not going to explain anything more about it. If you want to find out how to deactivate store tags then go somewhere else. I have no interest in helping shop lifting scum. I post this article simply to help the many folks who get home with a legitimately purchased garment to find an annoying dongle has been left on it.