They must make sure there is no dis­crep­ancy be­tween what is shown on la­bels and at cashier coun­ters

New Straits Times - - Viewpoint - The writer, a lec­turer at Sun­way Col­lege, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scot­tish/Ja­panese/ In­dian lin­eage. She be­lieves in a to­mor­row where there is no racism and ha­tred

IWAS re­cently caught in a messy sit­u­a­tion while shop­ping at a lo­cal hy­per­mar­ket in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. It was a bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence that I hope I never have to en­dure again.

I have been to count­less hypermarkets to do my gro­cery shop­ping and I have en­coun­tered prob­lems re­lated to price dis­crep­ancy ev­ery now and then. The price shown on the la­bel on the shelf is dif­fer­ent from what is shown at the check­out counter, with the lat­ter usu­ally higher.

There were times that I walked into stores to shop for some house­hold items, and walked out feel­ing an­noyed and dis­sat­is­fied af­ter hav­ing a row with one of the su­per­vi­sors at the cashier counter. Usu­ally, I would not make a big deal out of it, but this time I have had enough.

A few days ago, I de­cided to buy some of­fice sup­plies in bulk. I checked the la­bels and prices of each item to make sure I knew ex­actly what I was buy­ing. I took a packet of sheet pro­tec­tors and no­ticed their price on the la­bel. I then pro­ceeded to the price checker just to be sure.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the price that was shown was higher than what was shown on the shelf.

I no­ticed ring files that were on pro­mo­tion and grabbed a num­ber of them and put them into my trol­ley. I had made it a point to cal­cu­late the to­tal amount be­fore head­ing for the cashier counter.

To my sur­prise, the to­tal was much higher than my cal­cu­la­tion. When I en­quired about the dif­fer­ence in price, the cashier looked puz­zled, say­ing it was the fi­nal price of the items. I de­manded to see the su­per­vi­sor while the line of cus­tomers be­hind me grew longer.

Af­ter I con­tin­ued re­fus­ing to pay the higher amount, the su­per­vi­sor ul­ti­mately told the cashier to key in the lower amount.

As I walked back to my car, I told my­self that enough was enough. I had tol­er­ated this for years and all I had been do­ing was bring in the su­per­vi­sor, or man­ager on duty for a quick fix. The worst part is that this hap­pens al­most ev­ery time I go to the store, and the prob­lem doesn’t seem to be go­ing away.

I tried a dif­fer­ent ap­proach this time and posted about the nasty ex­pe­ri­ence on their Face­book page, in ad­di­tion to send­ing them a com­plaint by email.

In my email, I ex­pressed my dis­ap­point­ment and threat­ened to lodge an of­fi­cial re­port with the Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry.

The fol­low­ing day, I re­ceived a call from the gen­eral man­ager of the hy­per­mar­ket, who apol­o­gised pro­fusely for my un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence, be­fore ad­mit­ting that it had in­deed been a prob­lem for some time now.

He said my email would serve as a re­minder to his staff to be more meticulous and care­ful in mak­ing sure some­thing like this never hap­pens again. He promised to have the prices in the hy­per­mar­ket checked thor­oughly within the week, with the hope that I don’t pro­ceed with lodg­ing a re­port with the au­thor­i­ties.

I de­cided to give them one more chance, hop­ing that this would be a les­son for them to not have a lack­adaisi­cal at­ti­tude when it comes to their jobs.

My point here is sim­ple: there is no need for scream­ing matches in the first place if stores na­tion­wide are more thor­ough with en­sur­ing their cus­tomers are treated justly in terms of pric­ing.

There isn’t a need for threats in the first place if stores na­tion­wide are more care­ful with mak­ing sure their cus­tomers are sat­is­fied with the ser­vices pro­vided.

There isn’t a need for anger and frus­tra­tion in the first place, if stores na­tion­wide are held ac­count­able for mak­ing sure their cus­tomers have a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence while shop­ping.

Stay­ing alert and tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity will go a long way in mak­ing sure cus­tomers keep com­ing back in the long run. I hope this will serve as a les­son for other stores out there.


The price of toma­toes dis­played at a hy­per­mar­ket. Hypermarkets should treat cus­tomers fairly by en­sur­ing they are pay­ing the right price at the cashier coun­ters.

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