Monday, 29 June 2015

That's not the right Price!

I remember as a kid, my parents coming home from the weekly grocery shopping trip and helping them check off the grocery prices against the cash register receipt.  Quite frequently, the prices didn’t match.  This was back when employees looked at the item price on the shelf, set the price by turning a dial on a sticker gun, and clicked a trigger to eject a sticker that was applied to the item.   If it was replacing the old price, the old sticker would need to be removed or the new one just went on top.  The cashier would read the price on the sticker and manually key in the price. No scanners back then.  There were lots of places for things to go wrong on what you were charged and hence why my parents went through this price checking routine.

Fast forward to present day, where prices are read by scanning bar codes, cash register screens face customers and a lot less manual keying.  This has led to overall better accuracy but it’s still not perfect.  I’ve seen claims that as much as 3% of scanned prices are incorrect.  Like happened to me the other day when I bought something on sale but when the item was scanned at the cashier, the wrong price came up.   I pointed it out and thought I’d just get the right price but I got a lot more.

I forgot a lot of Canadian retailers voluntarily follow the “Scanning Code of Practice” which basically gives you the product for free if the correct price is $10 or less or a discount of $10 if the correct price is higher than $10.  Take a read of the practice to get all the details.  You’ll see this sign displayed at the cashier for those that follow this practice.  This code encourages retailers to ensure their prices are accurate and to have a standard claim mechanism.  The $10 discount sure helps with this.

You should have seen how fast the store manager went off to fix the scanned price!!  I ended up getting $10 off the sale price.

For my readers, outside of Canada, you’re not out of luck.  There may be similar practices in your area such as the  “Get One Free” in Connecticut or “Code of Practice for Checkout Systems” in Australia.

So watch your prices and if a mistake happens, check if the store follows this practice.

A couple of last words.  Thanks everyone for the survey responses for future posting ideas.  l’ll leave it open for anyone else who still wants to vote.  The top three so far are: (1) Alternative payment systems (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet) (2) RESP basics and (3) Life Insurance basics.   I’ll start with the Life Insurance basics soon since I’ve been procrastinating on finishing the insurance topics.

James Whelan

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