Pricing Hocus Pocus Drives Me Insane

There was a post on one of the blogs I read regularly that spurred me to comment.  And like many of my blog comments they get so long they turn into posts.  Whoops.

Carrie over at Money Saving Methods bought something that rang up for a different price than the rack sign indicated, which she did not notice until she was reading the receipt on her way out of the store.  After being somewhat rudely dismissed by the manager she politely insisted that if the incorrect items were on the sale price rack then the incorrect items should be moved.  She didn’t insist that they sell it to her for an incorrect price, but she felt that they should immediately remedy the situation to prevent others from paying twice what they expected.  She wondered if she was out of line.

I don’t think so.  I agree with her, and I would have done the same thing (I know, you’re all surprised).

The thing is, mistakes happen.  I don’t think large companies like this are systematically trying to scam us by putting the wrong sign on a rack.  Employees make mistakes.  Customers move things.  It happens.

But when it happens management should respond with professional, polite service and quickly correct the problem. What bothers me most about her experience was the manager’s lack of concern.  Not fixing a known problem IS dishonest.

Carrie got a refund.  Like Carrie, I would not expect the store to give me a $30 item for $15 because of an error like this.  If they offer that – terrific!   I’ll gladly accept.   But I’m not going to expect or argue for it when something was placed in the wrong spot.


If something has a price tag with the wrong price I would expect to pay the price marked.  What’s the difference, you say?   Well, I admit it’s splitting hairs.  A wrong price tag (and I’m not talking about a price that’s been peeled off and switched –  I don’t expect a retailer to sell me a 36″ flat screen TV for $1.99 because some idiot switched tags) is  just different.  I will always expect to pay the lower of the tagged price or price the register rings.  If I choose an item that is $14.99 and it rings up $16.99 because they’ve had a price increase I’d expect to pay $14.99 or I would likely not buy the item.

Hey, we all have our own ethical peccadilloes, don’t we?

I remember several years ago I complained about a price ringing up wrong at a Winn Dixie and was promised it would be fixed.  The next three times I went in and bought the same product and every time it still rang up incorrectly.

Tangent Alert!  Really, I hate Winn Dixie.  Hate it.  Dirty, icky meat and produce, rude staff.  Why is Publix so much cleaner???

Another  thing that really peeves me are situations like the one I faced today.  I was in Publix and their Duncan Hines Brownies were on sale B1G1.   I like to keep Brownies in the house as a quick dessert when we have company, or are invited over to someone else’s at the last minute.   Fast and easy and relatively inexpensive.  Here’s what the  ad said:

Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
Buy 1 Get 1 FREE

Assorted Varieties, Chocolate Lover’s or Candy Shop, 16.76 to 18-oz box Quantity rights reserved.
SAVE UP TO $2.59

I got to the register and they didn’t ring up the sale price.  Upon further review it turns out that of all of the Duncan Hines Brownies offered, the one I chose was the only ones not on sale.  The sale was only on 16.76 to 18 oz boxes – the one I chose was 19 ounces.  All of the items were in the same size  box, and it never occurred  to me they’d be different sizes.

Come on…

And this illustrates another Publix-ism that drives me insane.  If you’re saving $2.59 by getting a box of brownies free that means the “regular price” of the brownies is $2.59.

The ones I had selected – with more product – were $1.99.

Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t raise prices for a sale, Publix.

Don’t. Even.

But you’re still better than Winn Dixie.

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