I’ve noticed an alarming number of inaccuracies on my grocery store receipts in the past year. This has probably been going on for a long time but I had never stopped to notice.
Let me preface this by saying that I’ve always hated it when an old person is in the checkout line ahead of me and stops to frown at their receipt after they finish paying. I always think, “Oh boy, here we go.” They love to scrutinize the price of their groceries. “Milk doesn’t cost ten cents anymore, people!” That’s what I always imagine myself saying to them in my head.
It turns out that these meddling geezers are actually on to something. Items do ring up incorrectly more often than you may realize. I can recall at least four times this year when an item rang up with the wrong charge. This has led me to start combing over my receipt after I check out to see if there are any suspicious charges on there.
An overcharge is generally more noticeable when you are buying a small amount of items. I was recently charged an alarming $12 for 3 apples. The price per pound wasn’t wrong, but the weight was way off. I don’t know how, but somehow my receipt said I bought some very heavy apples.
The three biggest areas to watch out for are: 1) Items that have to be weighed (as I just mentioned), 2) Items that have just gone on sale, and 3) Items with special pricing in conjunction with a store loyalty card.
If an item just went on sale, there are times when the sale price hasn’t been updated in the computer system. I had that happen to me last week. An item that I bought rang up $2 higher than the new sale price. Perhaps this would be easier for stores to manage if they would stop moving the prices up and down all the time.
I’ve become highly suspicious of items marked down with the grocery store loyalty card. I’ve often found those specials to not be discounted when they are scanned at the register. This is such a problem that I almost want to call marking down items in this way to be somewhat of a scam.
One grocery store chain in my area goes a step further and offers extra incentives if you subscribe to their weekly email newsletter. There are specially priced items on there that only apply to your particular loyalty card. I have found those deals at times to be too good to be true. I’ve seen those items ring up at higher prices on my receipts. I even knew a girl who worked at this store and she admitted to me that this particular scenario is a frequent problem. Sometimes I think they deliberately charge people the full price and hope that they don’t notice.
I’ve begun to take notice. I review my receipts. It’s somewhat easy for me because I rarely buy more than a single basket full of groceries at a time. If something is priced wildly incorrectly it is easy to spot in the overall total, and it doesn’t take long for me to scan a short receipt to look for anything out of the ordinary.
When I find something wrong, I go to the customer service desk and show them. I’ve become just like one of those annoying old people that I used to complain about. Wait, past tense? Who am I kidding? I still complain about them.