Friday, August 19, 2005

Funny Money

Momma always told me to watch those scanners at the grocery store (or to check my receipt afterwards). I recently caught a whopper of a mistake (the store's "mistake") by doing this. I had happily caught some sale items, including Corinth grapes, commonly known as 'champagne grapes'. They, and all the other grape varieties, were .99/lb. earlier in the week, so I grabbed a couple of one-pound clamshells of grapes, and made it to the checkout line.

Now, even when you use one of the store "discount" cards, it's impossible to know if the item's price is properly entered in the store's system, as it shows up as the "regular" price on the screen as the item is being rung up. You only know by looking at the receipt afterwards if the appropriate amount was taken off to provide the "discount." Thus, only after I peered down at the receipt afterwards did I realize that I was charged $1.49 each for the .99 grapes. I wuz robbed! I was also too tired to go back that same evening, so I decided to return the next day.

I'm glad I decided to wait. I don't think I would have had the energy to deal with the clerks' obfuscation and condescension the previous day. First, they tried to tell me that the sale price was only for a pound of grapes, which I knew. I told them that the grapes only came in one-pound packages. For some reason they chose to think that I didn't know what a pound was, and one of them went to the grape display to weigh some grapes. Sure enough, the grapes were all in one pound packages. Puh-leeze!

The (apparent) head customer service clerk then decided that the champagne grapes weren't included as one of the grape types on sale. I said not only that they were, but that they were printed on the in-store signs displayed nearby, and went with her to point them out. I then asked (for the third time) if I could have another package of grapes to make up for being overcharged for two, to which she finally agreed.

The grapes scanned at the wrong (regular) price multiple times, even when the customer service clerk scanned them, which makes me wonder if this was a pricing strategy on the part of the store, to overcharge while claiming a sale price, and not a mere mistake.

Is this kind of behavior what typically happens when a respected regional grocery chain is bought by an international corporation, one whose name, unfortunately, rhymes (in part) with a common unmentionable word?

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