Reach of Straits Times Forum

Yesterday, I got the best number of page views since I began this blog back in 2008.  My blog enjoyed 326 page views, easily beating my best one-day record of 254 page views when I accidentally touched on some raw nerves when I supported Josie Ng in the tussle for control of Aware.

But yesterday, I wrote nothing sensational, controversial or sharply critical of the PAP — as if i ever do 😀 !

Instead, yesterday’s post was most innocuous and personal: it’s about the clasp of my favorite necklace coming apart in the restroom of a restaurant and that I didn’t dare to pick up the pieces to repair, because i was put off by the germs suspected to be lurking on the toilet floor.

I know that subject couldn’t have bumped up the pages views.

my two lines' worth

What I did do yesterday, however, was to add my two lines’ worth to a letter (see below) in the Straits Times online forum from a reader complaining about being overcharged at a supermarket.

I also invited readers to read my blog on the same topic and the outcomes.

Clearly, the ST’s reach — based on the page views garnered — is superior even to Mediacorp’s blogtv which had graciously mentioned the Singaporegirl blog on its blogroll. The blogtv link yielded me just 124 page views for which I’m grateful, but fact is fact. The ST online forum brought me more visitors.

Feb 26, 2010

Check your supermarket bills

I WONDER how many shoppers really look at their receipts and note the prices of what they have bought. Do they know they may have been overcharged? Do they know they may not have paid the special offer price stated in the promotion?As prices are shown on supermarket shelves and no longer tagged on the product itself, many shoppers are unable to verify the price at the cashier or against the receipts. I do not normally remember prices and check them against the register at the check-out counter, but I did so twice and found that I had been overcharged.

On Feb 1, I went to Giant VivoCity and bought some household linen. I bought some towels supposedly on offer at $2.89, as shown on the sign. I also bought a bedsheet set at $14, as shown on the price tag on the shelves.

At the cashier, I noticed the scan showed $4.80 for the towels and the bedsheets were more than $20. I asked the cashier who went to check. She then overwrote the price and keyed in $3.80, which was still wrong. It took a total of three attempts, once with me, to get the price right. Another trip was made for the bedsheet set. 

Instead of voiding and re-entering the price manually, the cashier did the overwriting by mental arithmetic and made many errors which I had to correct. It took more than 20 minutes for me to get the final bill – but that was not the end of it. 

After checking the bill, I noticed the cashier had overcharged me for an extra towel. I had to take the trouble to go to customer service to get a refund. Worse, the assistant took time to verify the price of the towel as the system was set at $4.80. 

All in all, I spent more than 30 minutes to complete the purchase and my dinner reservation for my husband’s birthday was affected. 

The second incident occurred on Feb 12 at Giant IMM, where we went to do our Chinese New Year shopping. We bought a carton of Tiger beer, supposedly at $3.99 per six-pack, but after scanning the whole carton, the register showed $43. We asked the cashier and she immediately voided and re-scanned by individual six-pack. 

When I checked the receipt later, I noticed an $8.90 waste bin was priced at $11. I had done a scan check at the price scanner earlier and it was supposed to be only $8.90. So I had to go to customer service to get a refund. As it was just before Chinese New Year, there was a large crowd. 

We talked to another shopper who had the same experience with Tiger beer but noticed it as there was only one item. But do you think those who bought many items would have noticed the error? 

I do not know how many people have been overcharged on purchases or how many notice. Do Giant and other supermarkets update and verify price accuracy? Without price tags on each product, how many shoppers will remember the actual price and verify it against their receipts, especially if there are a lot of purchases? 

Jennifer Lee (Ms) 

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