Shop­ping trip doesn’t add up

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

As a re­tired per­son on a very fixed in­come, I labour at be­ing a pru­dent shop­per who con­sciously ad­heres to a strict shop­ping list when­ever I pur­chase gro­ceries for my kitchen.

How­ever, with the de­spi­ca­ble, in­cred­u­lous meth­ods used by gro­cery stores, es­pe­cially the na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery stores, I find it more dif­fi­cult, and most frus­trat­ing, to shop for gro­ceries know­ing that the items ad­ver­tised in our lo­cal weekly gro­cery flyer will not be scanned (priced) at the ad­ver­tised sale price.

Al­though such na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery stores go through great pains to cre­ate weekly fly­ers to en­cour­age shop­pers to buy at their stores, shop­pers need to be very aware that all may not be as it seems.

Cus­tomers are of­ten in­ten­tion­ally slighted by the ad­ver­tised sale prices and the ac­tual charge as seen on the sale re­ceipt af­ter check-out. With au­to­mated scan­ning by bar codes and the hid­den cash regis­ter, a cus­tomer may not re­al­ize the charge for each item, es­pe­cially items that are ad­ver- tised at a re­duced price.

Case in point, as part of my weekly gro­cery shop­ping at our na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery store, I re­cently pur­chased PC Sparkling Bev­er­age (with lock­able stop­per) ad­ver­tised for $2.49 per bot­tle, as op­posed to a reg­u­lar price of $4.49, and Danone Oikos yo­gurt ad­ver­tised at three for $9.99 (reg­u­lar price $3.99 each).

As my gro­ceries were scanned at the check­out and charged to my re­ceipt I, in a brain­less state, ac­cepted that the scanned charges were 100 per cent mat­ter-of-fact. Not un­til, at home, my re­ceipt was scru­ti­nized and I re­al­ized that I was not given the re­duced prices as ad­ver­tised in the weekly flyer of the na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery store.

In fact, for the PC Sparkling Bev­er­age (with lock­able stop­per) I was charged $5.99 — $1.50 more than the reg­u­lar price. For the small yo­gurt I was charged $11.97 for three, not $9.99 as ad­ver­tised.

On my next visit to the same gro­cery store, I made Cus­tomer Ser­vice aware of the above and I did pro­duce my cash re­ceipt. The ex­pla­na­tion I re­ceived in the case of the yo­gurt was the prod­uct must be ex­actly the same flavour.

As there was no men­tion of this in the lo­cal flyer is­sued by the lo­cal na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery store, I, as a reg­u­lar weekly shop­per, be­came ag­i­tated. When Cus­tomer Ser­vice did not seem to ap­pre­ci­ate my state of mind, I asked to see the Man­ager.

The Man­ager only spoke via tele­phone with the Cus­tomer Ser­vice and told her to re­fund the dif­fer­ence. Re­ally, to me, this was more than a mat­ter of a sim­ple re­fund.

The man­ner in which my con­cerns were ad­dressed by the na­tion­ally-af­fil­i­ated gro­cery store was far be­low the stan­dard I ex­pected. As a con­se­quence, I shared my frus­tra­tion in Twit­ter.

Per­son­nel from the na­tional head­quar­ters did re­spond, how­ever, I did not re­ceive the re­sponse from na­tional head­quar­ters or the lo­cal gro­cery store that I, as a reg­u­lar weekly shop­per, de­served. So I will buy my fu­ture gro­ceries from a lo­cal store that has its home of­fice in this prov­ince.

Harold Peach writes from Salmon Cove

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