Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Supermarket Savvy

Does anyone else out there religiously check their supermarket receipts? I've learnt over the years that it's worth the minute or so it takes to check the items and prices on the receipt before leaving the store. I've lost count of the number of times I've needed to go to the Customer Services desk to complain about a mistake - sometimes mine, but mostly theirs.

Just a week ago I picked up a 'Klip Lock' container in Sainsbury's, reduced from £2.50 to £1.70. It was a really useful size and I needed one for butter. As per the norm, my husband hung around while I checked the receipt and, sure enough, I had been overcharged for the container - the price on the receipt was £2.50. I then thought that perhaps I'd picked up the wrong-sized container by mistake, but I went to the desk anyway to query it. There was a queue, and the store manager noticed and came over to serve me. I explained that I thought it was priced at £1.70; he then looked it up and told me that it was indeed £2.50. Feeling a bit perplexed, I requested a refund, which he then processed.

I was curious as I walked away as to how I'd made the mistake, and decided to go and take a look for myself. I wasn't surprised to find that I had picked up the right container; the label on the bin clearly said it was reduced from £2.50 to £1.70. Annoyed, I returned to the desk and told the manager that it was indeed reduced. He decided to walk back to the bin with me (I felt he disbelieved me) and he diligently checked the container size against the price reduction ticket. He reluctantly agreed with me and said he would need to go and find a member of staff to find out what had happened. He eventually returned, after quite a few minutes, and told me that the ticket should have been removed because the offer had expired the previous day but he would let me have it for £1.70 as a goodwill gesture! I followed him back to the desk where he proceeded to try and work out how to sell it to me at the reduced price. In the end, he said he would need to hand me over to a colleague because he didn't know how to process the reduction; this colleague was busy serving another customer and there were others waiting. I'd had enough by this stage and my mobile was ringing - it was my husband who, by this time, had unloaded the shopping into the car and was wondering where I was. I told the manager to "forget it" - I'd wasted far too much time already.

I know it's a small amount of money but, for me, it's the principle. How many other people had bought the containers, lured by the offer, and unknowingly paid full price? How much money do supermarkets gain deceptively from their customers in this way? Many times in the past I've picked up an item only to find that the wrong price label had been placed in front of it - are these really genuine mistakes by the staff? I'm sure some are, but I doubt that all are. I want to shop in the knowledge that I'm not being deceived into spending more than I think I am because of outdated offer tickets or incorrectly placed price tickets. I don't want to have to spend precious time queueing at the Customer Services desk and querying prices. And, I want to be believed when I query a price and to receive an apology for a mistake on their part.

So, I will continue to check my receipts until I feel I can trust the supermarkets, some of which are infinitely better than others.

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