Operation Price Check

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.


4 Responses

  1. I agree that this is a big issue…even if it is only 10 cents at times. I try to watch as best I can as they ring up my groceries, but they go so fast! I ddn’t know you could get the item free! I have even gone in with a receipt when I was overcharged…it was corrected, but I was never offered a refund!

  2. I applaud your assertiveness (which is why you’re such a good investigative reporter), as well as your consideration in not making your husband or in-laws wait!

    Not related to groceries, but on a similar note, I bought an item at JC Penney’s this weekend, only to find an ink/security tag still attached to it when I got home. When I returned to the store, the gal at the register not only apologized, but also gave me a $5 merchandise credit to spend on a future visit – which for me, was within 2 minutes of receiving it. 🙂 Nice gesture, but even more importantly, good customer service…

    Enjoy your holidays, Amy!!!

  3. yeah its unfortunate that items get rung up as the wrong price. At grocery stores, they have so many new employees that they are not aware of the free policy and with employees that have been there for awhile they have to call a manager which takes quite a bit of time. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  4. I like the blog on overpricing. One thing I have found also is rotation of dairy meats and the like. They seem to be unaware of the meaning of the term. Also check the ice in the ice machine net is 10 lbs I have yet to have a 10 lb bag of ice at Kroger using the check stand scales come in over 9 lbs. wont even talk about going in after 10 pm only check out is self checkout. Love the blog keep it up.

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