Tis the season to be overcharged, or I was having a bad shopping day – you decide. I was going through my journals and came across something that happened last year during the Christmas shopping season that I simply must share. It could have happened yesterday for my luck has not changed. I have new gripes this year, but it seems this story tells things best:
It happened last night at Bon Ton in Hagerstown when I was shopping with my mom. My mother was buying cute fuzzy socks for my niece. They were on sale, so I decided to pick up a couple of pairs for stocking stuffers. The sign said they were two pairs for $16.00 with a 40% discount.
After standing in the long line with only two pair of socks (I have to admit I was with my mom who had other purchases), it was my turn. Something didn’t sound right with the price, so I checked over my receipt. Well, something was not right – the amount I was charged. I asked the cashier about the discrepancy and was told that the socks were actually $10.00 each or two for $16.00. This cashier was trying to tell me that 40% off was for each pair of socks, thus 40% off the $10.00 each made the total come to $16.00.
I had to correct her math, and then I attempted to explain to her that whatever the sign says is what the store must honor. She stood her ground, poor math skills and all.
Anyone who knows me well can tell you exactly what I did next. I made her issue me an immediate credit and returned the socks. No, I did not ask for a manager. If a store is using false or misleading advertising, they’re not getting any of my money.
My mother decided to go back to the area where we picked up the socks. She found another employee and showed them the sign. That employee took her to another register and gave her the socks for $8.00 each and a 50% discount for her trouble.
I took the kids out this afternoon to pick up gifts for their friends. We stopped and got pizza in the Martinsburg Mall. My total came to $10.89. I was just short a dollar, so I used my check card. I’d given the kids all my cash for their gift buying. The guy behind the counter came back with my charge slip to sign. Thankfully, I looked at it. It was for $20.38. What happened there? I asked him about it and he said that was my total. I said: “Why was my total $10.89 if I would have paid cash, but because I’m using my card, it’s $20.00?” He just looked at me and said that was my total. I pointed out to him that the register still had my total on it.
As I stood there with my jaw slightly ajar, the manager of the pizza counter asked what was going on. He doubled checked my order against what was on the register tape, then told me that my total was $10.58. The manager seemed pretty upset with his employee, as if this was not the first time today he’d done this. I was issued my credit and the correct charge was made. All this for pizza.
After pizza, I visited my all-time most hated store. I hate it because it is the only book store in my local mall, and they always seem to tick me off. It’s not Waldenbooks itself, but the actual Waldenbooks store within the Martinsburg Mall that grates on my last nerve.
I buy a disgusting amount of books throughout the year. My husband, our middle daughter and I are all avid readers. Between online and retail purchases, the newspaper’s NIE (Newspapers in Education) used book sales and local yard sales, we easily spend between $500.00 to $1000.00 a year on books for ourselves and as gifts.
So today I walk into the store and pick up several very large and heavy books which the clerk gladly puts behind the counter for me so that I can continue looking. I end up with eight books and the clerk tells me that if I buy two more books, I will get another book free. I told her that I thought the deal (buy four, get one free) only applied to bargain books, but she said that it goes for all the books in the store.
I did not want to spend all this money and only get two bargain books free, so she said that if we separated the purchases into two, then I could get one bargain book free and then one regular book free. I agreed and said: “Yep, I’ll gladly do THAT!”
I found two books that I would really love as the other ones were gifts. My clerk was busy with a line and the guy who was working with her must have been in the back of the store. I waited in line for my clerk to help me, but then this other guy comes in from break and he asks for me to come over so he could assist me with my checkout. I tell him that all those books on the back counter are mine and explain why and how I plan to purchase them.
This new clerk tells me that I do not have to make two separate purchases, that he can separate them on the receipt so that I can accomplish what I want to do. I asked him if he was sure, because I wanted to make sure that I got one of the regular priced books free too, not just two bargain books. He said he could do that. He proceeded to ring up my purchase. After I signed my sales slip, he handed me the receipt. I checked it over to make sure I got the free books the way I wanted to. I could not understand the receipt and asked him where it shows which books I got free. He pointed to them and I said: “Both of those are bargain books.” He said: “Yeah, it wouldn’t let me do it the other way.”
Can you imagine the sound of frustration that escaped my mouth? I took a deep breath then told him that was why I wanted to do two separate transactions, but he was the one who insisted he would make sure I got the prices I was after. He said that it wouldn’t let him because all of the regular books were discounted. I doubt very seriously he knew what he was talking about, but I decided to handle this calmly. Well, at least I started things out calmly.
I took out a regular book that I knew was not one of the ones that was 30% or 40% off and asked him why that one could not be used as the free book since it was the least expensive of the regular books. He just looked at me. I told him I wanted him to credit my card, then re-ring it the way I asked him to do it originally. He attempted to give me a credit on my card, but after about 15 minutes of him ringing and re-ringing the books (because each time he did it the register came up with a different total – someone please explain that!!), I decided that I did not want the books THAT much.
I told him that I no longer wanted the books and to please just issue my card a credit by inputting the numbers by hand and then he could figure out later how to fix it in his register. He said it wouldn’t let him do that. I told him that he could if he wanted to.
After another 5-10 minutes, I told him that I have arthritis in my spine and STANDING STILL is what causes me intense pain. I cannot do this any longer and I just needed him to issue me a credit and let me go home. He said that was what he was trying to do.
Finally, he got the machine to come up with a number very close to the amount he charged me, he said here is your credit and it is for more than you were charged (twenty-two cents). I asked for copies of the receipt and credit in case something didn’t work right. He gave me a copy of the receipt, but he said he could not give me a copy of the credit! I told him that he was going to give me a copy, so he immediately handed over one.
Was it just me, or are stores purposefully trying to rip you off?