Tuesday, September 18, 2007

She Didn't Hear the "Beep"

Recently our favorite Albuquerque grocery store chain, Raley's, was bought out by another supermarket chain that Dan and I are not very fond of. So I have been trying out other stores in the area, in the hope of finding one I really like.

Friday, I went to this store that's not far from our house, for just a few items. As I watched the clerk ring up my purchases, I noticed her scanning one thing over and over, and on the screen I could see that I was, indeed, being charged over and over. I called it to her attention. "Well," she said, "I couldn't hear the beep." She deleted all but one of the charges for that item. Once those items were removed, and the screen scrolled a bit, I could see another item showing up multiple times. I mentioned it to her, as well. "Well, I can't hear the beep!" she said again, this time as if it was my fault. Finally she finished, and my total was $60 and some change. I'm pretty good at estimating the cost of my groceries, and I thought the charge should have been more like $40, but she shoved the slip at me to sign, and it wasn't itemized; she was holding the itemized receipt in her hand until I signed the charge slip. I signed it, but told her that I wasn't sure it was right, and that I wanted to stay there and look over the receipt to make sure. She shrugged, handed me the receipt and began helping the gentleman behind me.

When I reviewed the charges, I saw that there were two other purchases that had been rung up multiple times. In my head I calculated about $17 of overcharges, in addition to the ones she had deleted in "round one." I thought it was pretty funny that the two scrawny chicken legs I had purchased from the deli, for my lunch, ended up costing $9.48! I stood and waited until she was between customers, showed her the errors, and waited for her to ring up a refund slip (as she mumbled something under her breath, again, about not hearing the beep).

When she was done, she handed me $13 and some change, in cash. I knew the erroneous charges came to more like $17, so I asked to see the itemized refund slip. The refunds each had a negative sign in front of them; all but one of them. That one "refund" had mistakenly been rung up as a charge. So now, I explained (I could see the bewilderment in her eyes) she would need to first refund the amount of the new charge, and then refund it again, since it was supposed to have been a refund all along. I felt bad that we were holding up the progress of the express lane. When the clerk finally figured how much more she owed me, and handed me the additional $3.58, the next person in line grumbled, loud enough for me to hear, "I would have given her $4 if I'd have known that was all that was holding up the line." I told him I was sorry, but that it wasn't $4, but $17. "Well," he said, "I guess that's a little different."

I left the store with my cart of groceries and $17 in cash, grieving over the demise of Raley's in Albuquerque.

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