Can it be for real? I keep wondering. It’s the fourth time for crying out loud! Sure, 4 times in in three months, so it isn’t as if it happens every day.
But how often do I go to Great World City to shop for grocery, shampoo, eye-drops, cotton buds and such. Perhaps twice a month? And to be overcharged four times in three months– say six or seven visits in all — sure freaks me out.
The previous three times have been documented here. Just follow the links:
People who read those accounts have told me it’s like hitting the 4D repeatedly.
The latest overcharging wasn’t at Cold Storage where the three previous overcharging took place. Still, Guardian Pharmacy — where it happened today (Nov 20) — is a sister company of Cold Storage, as both are under the Dairy Farm Group.
I had bought a few things, Neuroforte and Folic Acid for my mum and a shampoo for myself. I had been looking for this particular brand of shampoo (it gives the scalp a peppermint feel after shampooing) and was delighted to find it again after many months. Hence, I was beady-eyed about its price: $6.70, reduced from $8.80.
Because I wasn’t overloaded with shopping I was again able to check the receipt, after signing my credit card chit. That was when I thought ‘hallo, how come the shampoo was billed as $8.80?
What followed was less than satisfactory. I queried the cashier who asked his colleague to check. I followed her and sure enough, the price was $6.70. Not only that. The promotion period was from Nov 1 thru Dec 08.
I didn’t get an apology. I didn’t get an extra bottle of shampoo, unlike at Cold Storage on two of the three overcharging occasions. Instead, the cashier simply opened the cash drawer and handed me $2.05.
I got mean. I need another 5 cents, wu-fen, I said.
The cashier said no more coins or something to the effect and asked his colleague to help. She gave me 10 cents in exchange for the five-cent coin.
Now, I’m not really fussed about apologies, thank you ma’am, have a gud day etc But what I’m fussed about is getting overcharged, repeatedly.
I’ve speculated previously whether CS (and now Guardian) was raising its prices so fast that its people on the shop floor hadn’t the time to adjust them. Or that there was poor control and while the computer systems have been updated with the latest prices, the shelves haven’t been updated, or vice versa.
However, after reading the latest survey on pilferage at retail outlets across the world — from shop lifters and internal thieves — and with Singapore stated to have lost US$145 million between July last year and June this year because of retail thefts, I begin to wonder whether I’ve stumbled onto a scam at the Dairy Farm units?
Who gets to benefit if the customers are billed wrongly when slashed prices aren’t passed on? And who gets to benefit if the shelf prices are lower than the prices actually charged and when queried, the cashier inevitably answers “the price has been increased”?
These are questions I’ve no answer to but suppose the difference isn’t passed to the shop owners but pooled among the staff, with or without the shop owners’ knowledge?
I’m not saying that this is what’s happening at Cold Storage or Guardian. What I experienced with them could have been “genuine mistakes”.
What I advise is always to check your bills when you’re shopping and in particular when you are doing that at a Dairy Farm outlet. Even at the risk of annoying a long queue of customers with laden trolleys behind you!