Friday, December 14, 2012


1/2 off!   Save like never before!   
Take  50% off our already low prices!    
No one beats our prices!

Sound familiar?

Every store in the mall is vying for your dollars!  "We want, We want, We want your money!"

Okay, this time of year many of you are willing to part with it.  You're out there shopping like crazy!  

"Buy this, buy that, don't worry, someone will like it"

I can almost hear the bells chiming along:

"Spend Christmastime, merrily spend, 
                  buy everything, credit cards bend!"


Lurking on your receipts, you will find the nemesis of fair play.  It is there in plain sight, but most do not even think of looking for it.  Who would ever fool around during the most joyous season of the year?  No, not your friendly retail store that has all the sales going on ... they wouldn't dare!   

Or, would they?

Most states have laws on the books that make it illegal for a store to charge more for an item than it is priced on the shelf.  However, who will know if this act has taken place if they don't check their receipts?

Look at it this way.  You're at the mall.  You've spent hours shopping.  You're checking out at the register, but instead of watching or adding up the prices in your head, you're thinking about:
Why should I pay attention to what's on the receipt?
I've got so much to do!  It's only money!!!

  1. How the hell you're going to get your car out of the cluster ____ of a parking lot outside
  2. Who you still have to buy a pair of socks or some jockey underwear for as a gift  (*see Julie for suggestions)
  3. What still needs to be wrapped at home before that joyous morning
  4. The ass behind you with the crying kids that still want the package of Honey Boo Boo hair ribbons the mother has put back on the shelf three times
  5. What your spouse is going to say when you tell them how much you've over spent on gifts
  6. Or, quite possibly, what's taking the damn cashier so long because you've had to take a leak for the last 30 minutes and your bladder is about to explode!

The cashier tells you the amount due, you swipe your debit or credit card, get your receipt and grab your bags, and rush to escape the madness, or make it to the bathroom before you leave wet tracks on the floor.  (Fairly obvious when there's no rain or snow on the ground outside.)

Stores love these sort of emotional purchases and buying stress.  Why?  Because you don't check how much you were charged and find all the mistakes that just happened to be in the profit pocket of the retailer!

How dare you suggest we intentionally
mess with the prices around
Christmas Time!  That's only to pay
for the Christmas party we have.
We mess with it all year 'round!!
Now, many of you realize I embellish upon occasion, or use even nasty sarcasm to make a story funny.  It's what I do.  (If you enjoy it ... Great!  If you don't ... Sorry 'bout that!)  It's what I normally do.  

However, the following is an actual event and conversation that took place Tuesday.

I needed one item, some recordable DVD's.  (Yes, I still record DVD's of movies and documentaries on the non-commercial pay channels like HBO, MAX, STZ, SHO, TMC, etc.)   I drove to Big Lots, store #05125.  (I list the store # because I've already written to their home office about the incident.)  

Anyway, I walked to the DVD's, found a package of 50 with a shelf tagged price of $13.00, and took them to the register.  Like most stores, one register was open for over ten customers waiting.  Finally, another register opened as four more joined the line.  After a couple of checkouts, it was my turn.  Completing the ringing up of my item, the cashier saw the twenty in my hand (yes, I still use cash) and said, "Do you want me to take this out of the twenty?"

Now, normally, the price is given.  This time, it wasn't.  Automatically, I handed her the twenty.  She returned my change, a five and sixteen cents without counting, and said, "Merry Christmas!"  

I looked at the change and said, "How much did you charge me for these?"
Cashier:  "$14.00 plus tax is what they came up at."
Me:  "They're only $13.00 on the shelf."
Cashier:  "So."
Me:  "So, it's illegal to charge more for an item than what it's marked at on the shelf!"
Cashier:  "Don't worry about it.  It's only a dollar."
Me:  "That's right, it is ... MY dollar, not the store's."
Cashier:  "It's Christmas.  It's no big deal."
Me:  "I'm sure your corporate headquarters doesn't advertise to bring people in and then plan to steal from them.  I need to see a manager if you're not going to do what's right."
Cashier:  "Step over there and I'll get you one."

What does it take to stop the insanity of this cashier?
It's not that it's only a dollar, it's the principle of a store
stealing without any form of guilt involved!
So, I stepped to the area at the end of the register.  Immediately, the cashier took the next customer, and the next, and the next.  Finally, she turned around, saw me still there, turned back around shaking her head, and took the next customer.  

Ten minutes passed and she had not made the first move to get a manager.  Perhaps, she envisioned I would grow tired of the game and walk away.  I guess she's never dealt with one that has much more experience in life being an ass than she has!  (Not literally, of course, she had me beat there.  I don't think her tail had ever seen the light of day until she got the job she seemed to be totally enjoying!  Not trying to be crude, but she not only beeped when backing up, floodlights came on and a radar tower started turning!)

However, shall we say, "I'm beginning to get pissed!"  

When she finished with the customer, I stepped up to the counter and issued a strong, "Whoa!"

I continued, "You've ignored me for over ten minutes.  Now, you either get a damn manager up here, or I'm calling the police department and pressing charges against you for theft!  The gambit you've played is disgraceful and completely unacceptable to anyone with a hint of principle.  If you cherish your position, you'll listen to a person that is a District Manager for a national retail corporation and get your tail in gear ... now!"

I bought all this stuff and never once checked a
receipt.  I trust cashiers as they never make mistakes.
And, you know computers don't either!
Now, I'm no longer a DM, but she didn't know that.  Besides, it sounded like an intelligent statement to me!

She got on the phone, called to the back, and five minutes later a manager showed up.  Completely ignoring my presence, punched her code in the register, turned and walked away without a word.  No apology, no explanation, no nothing!  The cashier gave me my dollar and tax, and said, "I hope you're happy."

Needless to say, I returned the kindness of the store manager and cashier with an email to their corporate headquarters immediately.  Since I have yet to have a response received from them, all I can do is to envision the cashier getting an award for her tenacity to help out the company's profit margin.  ("And here's to the young lady that helped us to afford this year's Christmas and 4th of July get togethers!  Yay!!!!)
How dare you mess with my lunch
at Arbys!!!  Why, if I didn't give you
what you asked for, you'd keep the
stuff I wanted.  Why should I pay you
more than the marked price?

But, that's not all.

Wednesday, I went to Office Depot for some cd cases, as I'm making my son-in-law some mix cd's of some classic rock artists.  I went to the shelf, saw the price tag of $7.49, grabbed a package, and took them to the counter.  

Guess how much they stated I owed them?    
No, not $7.49 plus tax.  


This time, the cashier followed me to the rack, saw the tag and recognized that there was no way the cases should be priced that high, and corrected the pricing at the register.  This was done in less than two minutes.  However, if I had been thinking of something else, I would have given the store an extra couple of dollars.

Am I a cheapskate?  Damn straight!  Profit margins are already in the marked prices.  Anything over that is just additional money out of our pockets!  A dollar here, two dollars there, another one down the way, and you've given away lunch at Arbys!   (And the Lord knows I love my Bacon, Turkey, Ranch sandwiches from Arbys!)

Retailers, adding dollars to price lists in their computer
systems?  Why, they wouldn't do that ... would they?
Are retailers purposely marking items up in the computer?  Good question!  I have no proof, so to say so would be slander.  But, just think about this.  They know you're in a rush and not thinking about prices like you normally would as you're caught up in the season.  What better time for corporate to tell the price programmers for the registers to jack up the prices a dollar or two and certain items?  If they get caught, they'll simply say, "Oops" and change them back.  If they don't, it's profit!

So, beware of price changes that shouldn't change.  Look at your receipts, and give them hell when they try to say, "It's Christmas, don't worry about it!"

Or, if you wear your "Shopping Sucker" tag with pride, simply send all your extra, frivolous cash my direction and I'll say, "Thank You!"  

I'll even smile when I say it!  And, if you're not offended, I'll add, 

Merry Christmas!!

©Copyright RCRUMPLE2012. All Rights Reserved


  1. This was great Richard and think you are totally right about stores marking things about in the computer ad seeing who they can sucker out of a few dollars here and there. Nice job on calling them out on it at Big Lots. I hope you get an answer back from corporate and that you get a bit of satisfaction from all of this. I am like you and watching my pennies. I would have done the same thing and that is why I love this article, because I can truly relate!!

    1. Janine - Good to see you! I can't say that they're doing it intentionally, but something sure seems funny. To have it happen to two items in two days at two different stores is a little beyond the norm. I just want people to be aware of what could be a possibility and watch the receipts. Money is too hard to come by for most to squander in these days we live. Many Thanks!

  2. Thank you for opening my eyes! I really thought South Africa was the only place on earth that had one person attending to a cash register with a large queue waiting at Christmas time. What's the matter with these stores?! This year, I'm staying far away from shops and malls for presents. Today, I've gotten 3 smses from shops telling me to hurry because my credit limit has increased until 31 December. As if I'd be that stupid. I think that's a reason I'm not enjoying Christmas as much this year. Hopefully next year we can go away for a week or two to somewhere quiet and relaxing.

    I think what you did at that store was excellent and am shocked at the treatment you received. I would have taken it further as well. Bad customer service is something I just don't deal with at all. That's disgusting. And for the "Manager" to act like that as well? Appalling! I'd keep on at them....what a bunch of disgusting thieves!

    Great post by the way....customer service gets me a little round up, so forgive the waffling please ;)

    1. Melanie - Good of you to visit today! It's a ploy of business to create frustration and get your mind off of things you should be watching. My wife works at a drug store and they are constantly understaffed because their corporate thinks customer service is second to budget. The horror stories she tells me are unbelievable as the customer is no longer always right, but always wrong. Get the dollars and get them out of the store quickly is the philosophy. Many Thanks!

  3. Good for you Rich and I love the way you handled that cashier. I think I would have been yelling a string of obscenities before it was all said and done. It's unbelievable that the cashier had the nerve to behave that way. Bah humbug to her! Anyway, great post and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on my receipts this holiday season!

    1. Emily - Thanks for the support! The obscenities were definitely in my mind, but I've always been a student of maintaining control over the emotions to think clearly. I'd rather intimidate through power words than to allow them to see they're getting to me. I knew I was in the right, and wasn't going to let her get away with it. My fear is that this isn't the only place operating this way. Two times in two days seems like it may be starting to be standard business practice. Many Thanks!

  4. It's the WHOLE principle of the thing, not the stupid dollar. Oh, I would have done EXACTLY what you did and then the snide remarks. How rude! Big Lots isn't known, though for its...shall we say...on-top-of-it-all-ness. LOL. Awesome post! I hope Big Lots sees it. :)

    1. Cyndi - Really good to see you here! I buy very little here, but thought saving $5 on recordable DVD's was worth the visit. Usually, they're very nice, but obviously, the Christmas season is bringing out their true colors. Still no response from their corporate. Guess it's not out of the norm for them to have that type of problem. Many Thanks!

  5. I watch my receipts like a hawk. Albertsons was ALWAYS overcharging. One trip, they overcharged us $7.00. In a month, they tried to steal almost $20 from us. The stores must think most of us are idiots because they get away with it. It just pisses me off. They already make decent money off of hard working folks, but to turn around and overcharge. Makes me wanna hit someone with a loaf of garlic bread. Good post, RC!

    1. Terrye - Really good of you to stop by! It seems to be a marketing tactic instead of mistakes these days. I could see a mistake every now and then, but it's almost like they're gambling we'll let them get away with it to save a little time. To me, it's deceptive and unethical, and needs to be stopped! Good to see you and others fighting back, too. I thought I was an oddity for being so anal about it. Many Thanks!

  6. My husband and I check our receipts too. Sometimes, cashiers "accidentally" add in extra items or duplicate them so that the amount is suddenly higher. Good warning this season, Richard.

    1. Michelle - It's really good you both are so conscientious about it. These folks behind the registers make mistake (cough cough) as well as the people programming prices in the computers (cough cough) It's amazing how much some people are saying they've been taken for this year. But we do all know it's accidental, don't we (cough cough)? I just wish they'd stop so I could get rid of this cough! Many Thanks!

  7. Tis the season, huh? Thanks for a great story, and most importantly, for making me laugh today!

    1. Stephanie - Good to see you today! Tis the season for business folly, fa la la la la, la la la la! It's amazing what happens to the innocent in today's world. Glad you enjoyed! Many Thanks! Keep smiling!