Tesco has fixed security tags on kids colouring pencils worth just 18p each.
They have been attached to other stationary items at one of the supermarkets.
It comes amid the cost-of-living crisis which has seen shoplifting cases rise across the country.
The cheapest packet with the tags are two Berol handwriting pens for £2.20.
But they are also on a 12-pack of Noris colouring pencils for £2.25.
They work out at just 18p each.
The security measures are also on a 3-pack of Zebra Mermaid – £2.50 – and 10 Zebra Grip ballpoint pens – £3.
A Bic Evolution Stripes 6pk – £3.75 – a Tesco own brand Ballpoint pen set 20pk – £5 – and Papermate mechanical pencils – £6 – also have them.
They were spotted at the Tesco Extra store in Finsley Gate, Burnley, Lancs.
Customer Dylan John, 46, who lives in the town, told NeedToKnow.co.uk. “I only went in for a ballpoint pen and felt like I was shopping for a Rolex watch.
“Even the children’s pen set worth £2.20 had a tag on it.
“Are shoplifters getting that desperate?
“I can understand a nice bottle of whiskey or champagne having a security tag on but a ballpoint pen set?
“The world has gone bonkers.”
Tesco has been approached for comment.