Com­pli­ca­tions at the su­per­mar­ket

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Opinion - PAULO LORETO LIM

“Scan­ner price ac­cu­racy is an im­por­tant cri­te­rion for main­tain­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence.” –Former Cana­dian Fed­eral Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sioner Kon­rad von Finck­en­stein

Are­cent trip to a lo­cal su­per­mar­ket turned out to be more com­pli­cated than ex­pected. With the store cir­cu­lar in hand, picked up an item that was marked on sale. As usual, there was a hunt for the said item as (and this is a com­mon prac­tice with most re­tail­ers across the area) stores of­ten hide sale items or keep them off the shelves com­pletely. The same store held a sale around the hol­i­days last year and items with large mark­downs were nowhere to be seen within min­utes of open­ing their doors. Ask any sales as­so­ci­ate and all they were able to say was “sold out” – not if the doors were just opened a mo­ment ago.

Found the item – hid­den be­hind a pro­mo­tional dis­play – and brought it to the cash reg­is­ter (the cir­cu­lar ready in case the price needed to be dis­puted). Asked the cashier to ring up the item and (as ex­pected) it came up the reg­u­lar price. Showed her the flyer with the sale price, to which she pro­ceeded to send the bag­ger to cus­tomer ser­vice. It took a while for the bag­ger to come back and, upon re­turn, all he said was to wait longer be­cause whomever he spoke to had to “con­firm” the price. What con­fir­ma­tion is nec­es­sary? It’s the store’s flyer.

The con­fir­ma­tion process was an­other wait. Al­most walked out but chose to stick around be­cause it was pretty clear this sit­u­a­tion was not com­mon. Not to say wrong prices are not com­mon, but it would ap­pear most cus­tomers are prob­a­bly not very con­cerned about prices – whether it’s a mat­ter of ig­no­rance, pride, or try­ing to project an ap­pear­ance of “money is no ob­ject;” even lo­cal pan­han­dlers ig­nore the coins sit­ting on the ground next to them, how much more a per­son with an in­come?

The long and te­dious wait came to an end with a su­per­vi­sor com­ing around to ad­just the price.

Wrote about a sim­i­lar sub­ject last March and talked about how stores else­where han­dle price dis­crep­an­cies.

In the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle, a visit to a sport­ing goods store in the United States was dis­cussed, where a foot­ball jer­sey was marked $25 but when the cashier rung it up, it was $65. Af­ter mak­ing him aware of the er­ror, the price was ad­justed ac­cord­ingly. How­ever, upon leav­ing, the price on the rack was im­me­di­ately changed – the $65 was the cor­rect price but, as a token of good will to their cus­tomers, the store took re­spon­si­bil­ity for their er­ror.

Some su­per­mar­kets in the US of­fer in­cor­rectly-marked items for free; most just need a cou­ple but­tons on the cash reg­is­ter to be pressed in or­der to solve the mat­ter.

CBC News, a Cana­dian me­dia out­let, filed a re­port a few years back re­gard­ing poli­cies formed by in­dus­try groups on how to en­sure cash reg­is­ters are ac­cu­rate.

They made three pri­mary stip­u­la­tions on cash reg­is­ters ring­ing up in­cor­rect prices. Items cost­ing less than $10 would be given to the cus­tomer for free; cus­tomers re­ceive a $10 dis­count on more ex­pen­sive items; and with iden­ti­cal items sold at dif­fer­ent prices, the sec­ond pur­chase would be cor­rected.

The re­port also quoted then-Fed­eral Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sioner Kon­rad von Finck­en­stein, who said, “Scan­ner price ac­cu­racy is an im­por­tant cri­te­rion for main­tain­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence.”

A col­umn in The Plain Dealer, a news­pa­per out of Cleve­land, Ohio, in the United States, dis­cussed the mat­ter of price scan­ners. The writer was re­spond­ing to a let­ter re­gard­ing an in­ci­dent at a Rite Aid, a na­tion­wide drug­store chain, where a price needed to be ad­justed.

They quoted Rite Aid spokes­woman Ash­ley Flower, who said, “As soon as we be­came aware of the er­ror, our store team im­me­di­ately re­solved the is­sue and cred­ited the ap­pro­pri­ate amount to our cus­tomer.” As men­tioned with other stores in the US, price ad­just­ments can be done “im­me­di­ately” with no need for the store to con­firm if the price they of­fered was, in fact, cor­rect.

Not to men­tion, the piece also dis­cussed ran­dom in­spec­tions con­ducted by the county to en­sure cash reg­is­ters are op­er­at­ing prop­erly. The writer even out­lined the process (which was fairly ba­sic), “The in­spec­tor ran­domly chooses 50 items and takes them to a reg­is­ter; if more than one scans wrong, the store fails.” With the num­ber of ex­pe­ri­ences de­bat­ing prices with cashiers (who mostly just re­peat the phrase, “It’s the bar­code”), the con­cept of ran­dom in­spec­tions must be a com­pletely for­eign con­cept to lo­cal re­tail­ers and gov­ern­ment agen­cies.

It does not make any sense why the big pro­duc­tion is nec­es­sary to cor­rect a price. The sale price was re­flected on the store’s own flyer – as long as the cir­cu­lar date was valid, there shouldn’t be a need to “con­firm” a price.

Do stores not de­ter­mine their own sales? They’re the ones who re­leased the cir­cu­lar and they should be re­spon­si­ble in en­sur­ing their reg­is­ters are up-to-date; and, in the event there is an er­ror, there shouldn’t be any ques­tion as to the cor­rect charge since the pub­li­ca­tion dis­play­ing the price was put out by the store it­self./

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.