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Andrew Joiner
03-15-2018, 2:41 PM
A large supermarket in my area overcharges more often than any store I've ever been in. Not sure on policy here but it's name starts with an S.
It's always an overcharge never an undercharge, so I wonder if it's intentional. Many people must get overcharged often and it adds up. It's so consistent I finally complained to the state regulators and sent a copy to the stores main office.
I got an apology email from the store saying:

At S------, we guarantee the accuracy of our prices. If the price charged is higher than our lowest advertised price and our lowest advertised price is less than $5, we will give you the item free. If the price charged is higher than our lowest advertised price and the lowest advertised price for the item is $5 or more, we will sell the item at the lowest advertised price and give you a $5 S------ gift card. Limit one free item or one gift card per transaction.

Now it's more tolerable when they overcharge. Sometimes when I get the free item they say "sorry we'll post the correct price immediately". I've checked and an hour or day later I get the same item free again because they still have the lower price posted!

They don't have this policy posted anywhere in the store. In fact most employees don't know about it or pretend not to know.

Anyone know of similar store policies at other stores?

George Bokros
03-15-2018, 4:24 PM
If they are scanning the bar codes they are over charging everyone. What makes you say they are overcharging? Are you saying the price does not match the price on the shelf? If so they must sell it to you at the price on the sign or shelf.

Andrew Joiner
03-15-2018, 4:47 PM
Yes, the price is often higher than the price on the shelf. In this case I insist they go by the store policy so I get it for free or a $5 gift card.

Dave Lehnert
03-15-2018, 5:36 PM
I use to work for a large big box store.
The grocery department alone had 4 or 5 full time people that did nothing but price changes.
It was not unheard of for the corporate office to change prices on thousands of items each night. Although it is not intentional it is possible for the wrong price to be on an item. It can take many hours for the staff to get the new shelf labels up, old signs down and new signs up.
What I see happen often is, Say the price changes on motor oil. The pricing department will go to Automotive department and change the price. But they are unaware that the manager put a display of SAE 30 motor oil in the Garden Department next to the lawn mowers. So that price does not get changed.
We had an item in electronics that retailed for $249.00. The buyer told pricing to set the retail at $249. They entered it as $2.49. a few customers figured it out and cleaned us out and never said a word. So it works both ways.
There are exceptions but most often the register is tied into the master pricing file. So the register is ringing the correct price. The problem is the shelf price is wrong.

We use to have a policy of giving the item to the customer if it did not ring at the posted price. The idea was to give the customer a reason to bring the problem to our attention so it could be corrected. But with the invention of texting it started to become a game with customers to find a problem item, text their friends to come and load up first before coming back for a refund.

If you want to see how bad people can rip you off, Open your own retail store and see what great length people go to for a deal.

Bill Dufour
03-16-2018, 9:22 AM
Walmart used to give it to you for free if it was under 5.00 or so and 5.00 off if more. No idea if they still do that.
Bill D

Perry Hilbert Jr
03-16-2018, 9:56 AM
Many years ago, I lived in Northern Virginia, where most of the grocery stores belonged to a chain that started with S. It was around the time that stores in general were switching to bar code pricing and they advertised on TV and radio, that if the price at the register did not match the shelf, it was free. I have run into that problem at both Giant and Weiss here in central PA. I stopped at a Giant store on a thursday early morning (24 hr store) and the sale prices that went into effect at midnight Wednesday had not been programmed into the computer. Nearly all the sale I items I went there for had to be rung up by a manager with override authority. I had the sale ad with me to show the prices. At Weiss, the cashier said it happens almost daily with a few items. As soon as such a discrepancy shows up, they call it in to the home office so the computer geek can make the change in the program. Their price programs are updated every couple hours.

If it were to happen regularly like the OP says, it is probably something the state's consumer affairs office should be bringing charges about.

Carlos Alvarez
03-16-2018, 10:15 AM
Why on earth would people not publicly say the name of the stores?

I've never paid attention to the store policies or the prices themselves, but recall a few years ago the state AG went after a store where they could show a consistent pattern of not actually loading sale prices into the computers. Apparently they sent people in to buy stuff and analyzed all the incorrect pricing. Then learned that they're just idiots, they were under-charging about as often as over-charging, because they'd also forget to change sale prices back to normal.

Andrew Joiner
03-16-2018, 12:01 PM
Why on earth would people not publicly say the name of the stores?

I've never paid attention to the store policies or the prices themselves, but recall a few years ago the state AG went after a store where they could show a consistent pattern of not actually loading sale prices into the computers. Apparently they sent people in to buy stuff and analyzed all the incorrect pricing. Then learned that they're just idiots, they were under-charging about as often as over-charging, because they'd also forget to change sale prices back to normal.

I wonder why they call big box lumber yards Borgs here when posters complain about them?

In this case it's all true based on my experiences. The store is Safeway.

I may have been undercharged once in 15 years, but I've been overcharged often. Often enough for me to contact my state's consumer affairs office. I'm honest at the cash register in all the places I go and point out undercharges. That's why this is unjust to me. For some mystery reason Safeway is the only store in town that consistently overcharges. It seems like most customers never check or do the math at the checkout and Safeway knows this and takes advantage of it.

Carlos Alvarez
03-16-2018, 12:14 PM
So you memorize the prices of everything in your cart? That's actually a fascinating ability. I'd never remember, even if I paid attention to start with.

Andrew Joiner
03-16-2018, 12:58 PM
So you memorize the prices of everything in your cart? That's actually a fascinating ability. I'd never remember, even if I paid attention to start with.
Yes. Since it happened so often, I started going there only rarely for weekly specials.

Unfortunately most people probably trust the store. That's why I posted all this.

Carlos Alvarez
03-16-2018, 1:03 PM
I'm not sure on the trust thing. I don't trust them, yet simply don't care. I'd never pay attention to the prices for grocery items. High dollar items, sure, but not a head of lettuce.

I think VERY few people would be able to memorize 50 items' prices and check them at the register. Even if I wanted to, I'm sure I'd fail.

Jim Koepke
03-16-2018, 1:56 PM
So you memorize the prices of everything in your cart? That's actually a fascinating ability. I'd never remember, even if I paid attention to start with.

It actually isn't as difficult as you make it sound.

In my younger poorer days one of my regular tactics was to keep a running total in my head while shopping. Even with items in the produce department being sold by the pound. My on the fly total was never off more than a few cents. This was helpful for me to know how much could be purchased with the cash in pocket since this was in the days before credit cards and for me even having a checking account.

For Andrew in Northern Oregon, my suggestion is to shop at Fred Meyer as their prices are almost always lower than Safeway. For some items we will shop Winco or Grocery Outlet for better prices.

At Fred Meyer, in my experience, they will check a price if questioned at checkout. On a few occasions the checker has actually just taken my word for it and changed the price at the register. They have my loyalty most of the time, but when a few of my preferred items are priced higher than the competition my money is spent elsewhere. This isn't always true for a few cents per item, but on items where the difference amounts to a dollar or more when bought in the amounts we normally do when stocking up, it is then worth making an extra stop while we are in town.

jtk

Carlos Alvarez
03-16-2018, 2:05 PM
Doing a running total is easy. Remembering that lettuce is $1.29 and spinach is $1.37 is not. I asked a couple people, because I'm curious, and nobody thinks they could remember more than maybe ten item prices. I'm fascinated by the ability to memorize what I assume is several dozen items (a normal shopping trip for me).

Andrew Joiner
03-16-2018, 2:53 PM
I look at the weekly specials online at all our local stores. All the stuff on our shopping list gets a price noted on the list if it's lowest.
Safeway is rarely on the list.
Safeway is good at making it harder to see the posted price at the scanner too. It's confused by having a membership price discount. When the item is scanned it doesn't always show the actual individual item price. The last $5 gift card I got was for only a 17 cent overcharge that I needed to do math on to see it.

I can easily afford to waste money on overcharges, but not everyone can. It happened so often I started warning friends.
Safeway knows about, say's they'll change it, but it consistently happens here. I'm happy to point it out and get the $5 and inform people.

Steve Peterson
03-16-2018, 3:46 PM
So you memorize the prices of everything in your cart? That's actually a fascinating ability. I'd never remember, even if I paid attention to start with.

Yes, there are always many brands to pick from and usually one of them is on sale. I pick the one on sale and the price usually sticks in my head.

Like the OP, I used to shop at a store that starts with an "S" and ends with "afeway". One particular store was horrible with mismatched prices, so I started shopping elsewhere for about 10 years.

John K Jordan
03-16-2018, 7:24 PM
I've taken to writing the shelf price on the sticker. I check the scanned price to make sure it matches.

Bill Orbine
03-16-2018, 7:55 PM
I think that particular S store needs a more vigilant scanning coordinator. Most stores I go to do a very good job. One of the biggest problem is sometimes stores place items in more than one location. They may change the unit price tag in one location but not realize there are other locations.

glenn bradley
03-16-2018, 8:21 PM
On the left coast grocery stores have sold the item at the shelf price if overcharged via scan or some variation of a discount or free as long as I can remember. Fortunately, LOML has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to shopping. I don't have to worry about anything getting by her. I also have become detached from what food items and staples cost. I just hold it up and say "88 cents, is that a good price?" and take her response as gospel. Seriously, I have seen her explain to store managers, and even corporate via the phone while in line, exactly why the coupon or special should be processed such and such a way. Its like watching Morisa Tomei's character talk about cars in 'My Cousin Vinny'. Makes ya proud.

Matt Day
03-16-2018, 8:51 PM
Take pictures of the shelf prices with your phone, arrange items on the belt in the same order and swipe through the pics at checkout.

I pay attention to every price at the grocery store. That helps to determine when to buy in bulk to save a bit or when a deal is really a deal.

Bert Kemp
03-16-2018, 10:22 PM
Stores are tricky almost always a gal of milk is cheaper 2 half gal but every once in a while 2 half gal will be cheaper gotta watch them LOL

Brian Elfert
03-17-2018, 6:47 AM
I believe the policy at Cub Foods stores is you get the first item free if the shelf price is wrong. I think it was Rainbow Foods here that was using electronic LCD shelf tags to avoid the hassle of changing shelf tags. Rainbow Foods went out of business in 2014.

John K Jordan
03-17-2018, 7:26 AM
I believe the policy at Cub Foods stores is you get the first item free if the shelf price is wrong. I think it was Rainbow Foods here that was using electronic LCD shelf tags to avoid the hassle of changing shelf tags. Rainbow Foods went out of business in 2014.

What I don't like is the trend in some stores to have NO shelf tags. I've seen this in a places that cater to trade pros (why would the worker sent after supplies care about how much they cost?) and most recently in an auto parts store with dozens of interesting items in racks on pallets near the counter. "How much is this?" "Bring it here and I'll scan it for you."

I realize this saves the store a lot of effort. It also saves them the bother of ringing up impulse purchases.

JKJ

Rick Moyer
03-17-2018, 8:50 AM
On the left coast grocery stores have sold the item at the shelf price if overcharged via scan or some variation of a discount or free as long as I can remember. Fortunately, LOML has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to shopping. I don't have to worry about anything getting by her. I also have become detached from what food items and staples cost. I just hold it up and say "88 cents, is that a good price?" and take her response as gospel. Seriously, I have seen her explain to store managers, and even corporate via the phone while in line, exactly why the coupon or special should be processed such and such a way. Its like watching Morisa Tomei's character talk about cars in 'My Cousin Vinny'. Makes ya proud.

Luv the reference!:)

Marshall Harrison
03-17-2018, 10:29 AM
Back in my grocery store employee days we had to change the stamped price on the cans before stamping with the new price. The replace the shelf tags and program n the price changes was supposed to be an easier and less error prone method but it hasn't lived up to its promise yet.

When I get something off the shelf that I think may be a price issue I use my cell phone to take a picture of the item and the shelf price tag.

Jim Koepke
03-17-2018, 3:22 PM
Doing a running total is easy. Remembering that lettuce is $1.29 and spinach is $1.37 is not. I asked a couple people, because I'm curious, and nobody thinks they could remember more than maybe ten item prices. I'm fascinated by the ability to memorize what I assume is several dozen items (a normal shopping trip for me).

It may be my mind is good at number memory. Another trick to help in memory is almost all grocery store items pricing ends in a 9. The outliers stand out. Also many canned goods have the same price as similar canned goods. The regular price on many Fred Meyer house brand canned vegetables is 89. Another trick is to mentally note price progression of items from to cheapest to most expensive.

Another person mentioned milk prices. One of the major grocers here used to alternate between 99 a half gallon and $1.89 a half gallon every other week. They recently changed up the pricing on milk. Recently the gallon price was $1.79 and the half gallon price was $1.89. Some people are set in their ways and will not buy the less expensive gallon instead of a half gallon just as some folks will not buy two 99 half gallons as opposed to a $2.98 gallon. One guy when questioned told me his kids drink it faster if it is in half gallons. ?????

jtk

Brian Elfert
03-17-2018, 3:35 PM
Back in my grocery store employee days we had to change the stamped price on the cans before stamping with the new price. The replace the shelf tags and program n the price changes was supposed to be an easier and less error prone method but it hasn't lived up to its promise yet.


I think the real labor savings is in not having to price every single item. A single shelf tag can be the price for up to 20 or 30 items.

Matt Meiser
03-18-2018, 10:16 AM
In Michigan, the law says they need to issue a refund of the difference plus 10x the difference not less than $1 and not more than $5 if the error is caught after the sale is complete. Before they can just change the price.

The midwest chain of superstores who's name is spelled very similar to mine is infamous for not putting sale ad pricing into the POS system. For a long time my mom shopped there and my dad would check her receipt against the ad and find at least one mispriced item every single week averaging overcharges of a few dollars a week on average. My uncle 2 states away started doing the same and sure enough, same thing down there so it wasn't a local issue.