- Today, I was with a friend who purchased several items
at Walmart. He bought two pairs of men's shorts, which he and I both saw
were clearly marked $15.99 on the rack. We went through the self-checkout
scanner and he scanned the two pairs of shorts and another item. The automated
voice told him to insert cash, which he did, and the machine spit out his
change. He bagged his own purchases and away we went. But before we left
the store my friend examined his receipt and a funny look came across his
face. He said, "I need to go to customer service."
- Many Americans today lack both awareness and basic arithmetic
skills, but my friend looked as his receipt and calculated the charge.
How many people look at their receipt and do their own tally? He had paid
4 dollars more than he should have. This all happened fast. You scan the
items quickly, the machine beeps, and your total appears. You put your
money or credit card in the slot, you bag your items. You trust the machine.
Should you trust the machine?
- My friend went to customer service and presented the
receipt. Well now, there were some interesting discrepancies. The shorts
were listed as $15.99 on the rack. But the price tag on the shorts read
$16.99. And the automated self-checkout charged him $17.99. The clerk at
customer service mumbled an apology. She refunded the total amount and
then rang up the sale again, charging $15.99.
- Think of all the purchases made in all the Walmarts across
America. Think about how much money could be made if the computer adds
a dollar here and a dollar there. I'm not accusing Walmart of anything.
I'm just reporting what I witnessed today.
- I'm a news reporter. A few years back I covered a news
conference where attorneys announced a settlement involving Walmart. They
had sued Walmart on behalf of employees who had been cheated out of a portion
of their pay. The Walmart time clock did not record all of the employee's
work hours. When a worker would punch out for lunch break and then punch
back in the time clock didn't seem to record them going back on the job.
The attorneys won a settlement.
- In my opinion, this all illustrates the need to pay attention
and look at how much you are really paying.