You walk into the store to buy your favourite cologne. When you get to the shelf it cost £1.69 but you get to the cashier the price is different from what you saw at the shelf, they charge you £1.99. The business rule says that the price you see is the price you pay. They can always claim the difference, right? I do not have a problem with this rule because in a way the rule protect the consumer. In fact I like it. It works to consumers advantage.
Here is my question, is this an innocent mistake on the retailers’ part or is it a deliberate mistake with the hope that naïve consumers won’t notice the price difference? When you are just buying that cologne only, it would be easier to spot the difference right there and the mistake rectified but what if you are doing you monthly groceries shopping and your favourite cologne is priced differently from the price you saw at the shelf? This would not be so easy to spot, especially if your trolley is full to the brim. You are not going to check the price of every item in your trolley that the cashier scans. In fact it would be challenging if not impossible to remember the price of every item in your trolley. These cashiers scans so quickly, and who can blame them. The cashier will be trying to pull the queue because should he/she becomes slow, we the shoppers are bound to complain again that the service is too slow. This is the moment when your trolley is full, and there other shoppers behind you, that you may not notice the price difference.
By the way, the price difference for the cologne charged at £1.99 is 30 pence. Let’s say you only notice this when you get home, if you happen to remember the price. Would it be worth your time and petrol to drive back to the store to claim your 30 pence? You might say, it is a small amount, I am not going back. Imagine if say, for example, ninety-nine other consumers buy that cologne, and they also decide not to go and claim the difference. Other consumers who are trusting may have not even notice the price difference. That is 100 by 0.30 pence. Using this example, the store has made £30.00 profit. It still looks like it is not a lot of money. Now imagine, there is also another item in store, maybe not one let’s say 10 for argument sake that unsuspecting customers are not aware of. How much money will the store make? Obviously, it will depend on how long the items stays on the shelf, and how many shoppers buy it.
Is there a way for consumers not to find themselves in this situation? With shoppers being so pre-occupied most of the time by I do not think so. I think the best way would be for consumers to double-check their till slips for inaccuracies. Not an easy task, and one many people do not bother with.
I always check my till slip, especially before I get out of the shop to lookout for such careless mistakes but only when I am buying less than 10 items, and I can remember most of the shelve prices. If you are like me and you think the price difference matter, do check the till slip on your next shopping trip.
Do you check your till slip against the shelf price?
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