May 2, 2012
I just read about scanning errors resulting in overcharging at Dollar General stores. Oh my, if I had a dollar for every error I've found at supermarkets and general merchandise stores I'd be rich. Sometimes, computers are not programmed with advertised prices. Other times the bar code is at fault. But if the total seems even a little bit off, put on your glasses and read the receipt --- not an easy task, since most computers list the full price with the difference subtracted below. Sometimes shelf markers haven't been changed after a sale ends; in this case, any store that wants my business will honor the shelf marker. Unit prices also bear watching. The print may be tiny...but worth reading, as is doing simple math. Example spotted recently: a four-pack of corn muffin mix that costs more than four individual boxes. Or a large size that, by the ounce, is more expensive than a smaller one of the same product. Another buy-me ploy: This week, one supermarket circular is advertising margarine along with deep-cut specials. Only problem, the margarine price is the same as always. You just assume it's cheaper. I see many labels that blare "Contains no yadda-yadda-yadda..." implying that a competing product does -- perfectly legal as long as the promise is declarative and not comparative. But it plants a seed of doubt.