Archive for December, 2009

Operation Price Check #2
December 30, 2009

Okay… time for an update to Operation Price Check. This is a little more difficult than I had imagined. I honestly feel guilty for calling them out on a 10 cent overcharge. Admittedly, I also felt tired. I dropped by Kroger after 4pm.. the end of a long day that started at 1:45am (I worked the morning shift).

Here is the latest information since my last OPC post.

Overcharged Refunded Time Wasted Undercharged

12/13/09      .10     $1.61          4 minutes

12/18/09       No errors

12/20/09     No errors

12/22/09     No errors (And the cashier insisted on carrying out my Cokes! Extra points. She was great!)

12/26/09     .19                                                      $1.65  (Didn’t request refund of $1.44).

12/30/09    .10  (Didn’t ask for a refund of $1.89.) .31 undercharged


Operation Price Check
December 14, 2009

I don’t think there’s anything that annoys me more than being overcharged at the checkout.

Last year we aired a whole series on grocery stores and pricing.  It was then that I learned that Kroger, H-E-B and Randalls all have a policy that if you are overcharged for an item, you can get one of that item for free. They don’t usually offer it. You have to hold them to it.

And as of last night at 6pm (Sunday, Dec. 13th, 2009), I intend to do just that.

Here’s the back story: For the last 4 consecutive grocery trips in 1 week, I have been overcharged at my neighborhood Kroger.

First, December 7th, I purchased 3 cartons of trail mix. They were on sale for $2.89, marked down from the original price of $6.89. At the register they rang up at the regular price. I was also overcharged for apples and a grapefruit that were both on sale for 10 for $10. The cashier rang them up at $1.39 a pound. When I discovered the inaccuracies on my receipt, I went back to the register. A quasi-manager discovered that the sale on the trail mix had ended 5 days earlier, but employees forgot to remove the sale tags. Kroger honored the sale price; but I didn’t ask for any of the trail mix for free because the sale was technically over.  I did ask for and get an apple free because of that bad scan.  I was overcharged $13.01.

Fast forward to December 12th. I picked up some powdered sugar. It was on sale for $1.50. The cashier charged me $1.79. I told her and she changed the price. Technically, she should have given me the item for free, but I didn’t make a fuss.

Later that same evening on Dec. 12th, I ran into Kroger to buy some Redi-Whip for hot chocolate. The sale price was $2.00. The can rang up for $4.19! I told the clerk and she corrected the price. I didn’t ask for the item for free because my in-laws and husband were waiting in the car.

My 4th trip was Dec. 13th. Every item rang up correctly except my ziploc bags. They sale price was $1.39. The bags rang up as $1.49.  Really, ten cents is not that big of a deal.  But at this point it was the principle.  I pushed all of my groceries out to the car, loaded them up… and went back inside with just the ziploc bags.

I told a manager at the front that I would like to get a refund for the cost of the bags. When he looked at me a little confused, I explained that I had been overcharged on 3 prior trips. I was finally invoking the store’s policy to get the item  for free. He never said a word to me. He looked at the woman behind the Customer Service counter and said “take care of this woman” and then walked away.

I received $1.51 for Kroger’s error. The correction took 4 minutes.

So here’s the Operation Price Check game plan:

Each time I go shopping at my neighborhood Kroger, I will post a blog to let you  know if I was overcharged. (It’s only fair to let you know when they get it right).

I will keep a running total of how much I am overcharged and how much I get back for their pricing errors. Operation Price Check will run 1 full year (until Dec. 13, 2010). At the end of the year, I will donate the full amount I received due to Kroger’s errors to the Houston Food Bank.

Here’s my first entry:

Overcharged Refunded Time Wasted

12/13/09      .10                                     $1.61                    4 minutes

Let me know what you think. At some point this may become a story that we broadcast. I am open to your ideas and suggestions.

How to Get in Touch with the Folks who Can Make Decisions
December 8, 2009

How many times have you dialed customer service of a company needing help only to get India? Polite as they may be, they just can’t seem to solve your problem.

I always tell you that you need to talk to someone with the authority to make a decision. But there’s another dilemma. How the heck can you get past the gatekeepers??

I’m a big fan of It’s an awesome consumer website with all sorts of useful and entertaining content.

Tonight’s blog post comes directly from the site. It’s “7 Steps to Reach Executive Customer Service at Any Company.”


Home Energy Savings Makeover Update
December 7, 2009

We introduced you to the Jones family of Sugar Land this summer when they were selected to receive a Home Energy Savings Makeover by Gary Parr of KSEV 700’s Gary on the Air radio show.

We tracked the inefficiencies of the Jones’ home and then the improvments. You can watch our series below:

Home Energy Savings Makeover Part I

Home Energy Savings Makeover Part II

The Jones family is now sharing their August electric bill. Aug. 2009 was the first month where all of the renovations were complete to allow a comparison from Aug. 2008.

Drum roll please….

In Aug. 2008, the Jones paid $749.41.

In Aug. 2009, the Jones paid $333.53.

That’s a 55% reduction on their electric bill!  

As if that wasn’t enough great news, Gary Parr also got the Jones home a Silver Certification from the National Association of Home Builders, making it a Certified Green Building.


Check out “Ask Amy” in Print
December 4, 2009

Next time you see a copy of Houston Family Magazine, pick it up. I’ll have an “Ask Amy” column in each month’s edition. This month, there’s an update to a story I did on a company called Reservation Rewards.

Check it out before you buy anything else online.