your receipt when shopping at supermarkets or anywhere else for that matter!
This was what I was given free when I queried what I was charged for two packets of No Frills toilet rolls after I had paid for my purchases at Cold Storage supermarket in Great World City.
This was how it happened. Normally, I would find it rather difficult to tally purchases with the amount charged on the bill after a hectic round of shopping for groceries and household goods, especially when I also buy yucky-to-the-touch stuff like fish and meat.
I would be too busy making sure that wettish stuff doesn’t get stacked with fruits, bread, and expensive salad like argula. Also, with the sort of crush that one nowadays encounters at check-out counters, it doesn’t do to hold up the housewives train by querying every odd cent or two.
Very unfortunately for Cold Storage and its cashier on Weds (Sep10) was that I’ve begun to modify my supermarket shopping modus operandi.
To cut the stress of separating the wet stuff from the dry (and sometimes expensive stuff), I’ve taken to buy them at different times, whenever I get the chance.
Also, I try to shop during week days than week-ends and also during hours when the 9-2-5 brigade won’t be around in large numbers.
Moreover the item on which Cold Storage chose to make a mistake on happened to be something whose price I know rather well. After all, I had extolled its value-for-money quality publicly in this post less than a month ago:
Hence, after I had paid and the cashier was attending to the customer behind me, I needed just one glance at my receipt to know, holly cow, I had been overcharged.
$3.20 X 2 = $6.40! And I had only minutes earlier noted that the 10-roll packs appeared to have risen by 5 cents at $2.55 per pack.
Impatient, I called out to the cashier: “Excuse me, I think u’ve charged me wrongly for the toilet paper!”
And she without missing a beat while toting up the other customer’s purchases, replied (as if she’s been doing it all the time): “The price has been increased.”
“Cannot be,” I retorted in my best Third World fish-wife voice. “I just saw the price. It’s $2.55, not $3.20.”
“You let me finish with this customer and I’ll go and check.”
That shut me up and sure enough, after her “thank you ma’am” to the customer and a “please wait, I got to check price for her” to the customer next in line, which got me a baleful look from next-in-line, the cashier trotted off.
I got more baleful looks from the queue as the seconds trickled away into minutes. Then she returned, with a pack of the No Frills rolls and the $2.55 price tag colored bright orange and began fiddling around, nary a look in my direction.
“Errr,” said I to draw her attention. And she replied as if she had eyes at the back of her averted head: “My supervisor will come.”
And pronto, her supervisor appeared and taking the No Frills pack from her, handed it to me: “Is this all right?”
At first, I wasn’t sure what she meant. Then it dawned on me she was “rewarding” me with an extra pack.
“The price is $2.55?”
“No, the price has been increased.”
“Maybe it’s for another type of No Frills,” I said helpfully. (I always try to be helpful — I think).
“No, the price has been increased,” the supervisor came back firmly. And as if to short-circuit further pursuit on the matter, she added: “We will inform the management. Is this all right?”, the last sentence directed at my hesitating fingering of the extra No Frills she handed me.
It was getting late and I thought of the car parking charges. Further debate/discussion on the matter might lead to higher charges, as it would mean prolonging my stay in GWC.
“Yeh, fine, fine thanks.” I put the extra pack into my trolley and ambled off to the carpark, still uncertain if what I was given was by way of apology for Cold Storage’s mistake in not updating the prices or whether it was an expedient to get rid of a difficult customer.
Whatever the case, this episode reinforces the need for consumers to be alert about the price of everything, especially when prices are moving up all the time, some stealthily and some brazenly.
And even if one isn’t overcharged, it is good to do our bit to ensure that big shops don’t get into the habit of putting a lower price on the shelves and charging a higher one at the check-out.