How careful are you to watch the prices of items scanned at the checkout? Unfortunately, most people don’t look. It’s pretty easy to tell what others do: Just watch what they’re doing and where their eyes are looking when they, or a cashier, are scanning their purchases.
As a result, we just look at the displayed total and pull out or debit or credit card to pay. I normally keep an eye on the scanned items, especially those sold by weight. I’ve stopped a cashier when some fruit came out at (what I thought) was an insane price to delete it. But confession time: I clearly need to be doing it all the time!
At Costco a couple of days ago, I just needed some crackers, cookies and croissants. I ran all six items through the self-serve checkout, saw the $100.84 total and paid with my debit card thinking: Yup, can’t get out of Costco for under a hundred bucks.
Five seconds and two steps later I stopped. Wait a minute. A hundred bucks for THIS? That’s when I saw the sixty buck charge for a dozen croissants. Yes, they’re really good, but not sixty bucks good!
The bakery department person doing the labels that morning simply entered too many digits to print the scan sticker. Mistakes happen, it was fixed at customer service, but hopefully the lesson will stick. According to a report from the Journal of Retailing, about 4.08% of scans are incorrect. 2.33% are priced too low while 1.75% are too high.
The Retail Council of Canada also has voluntary rules for compensating customers. Sadly, it appears Costco either isn’t part of it or wouldn’t honour it.