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Watch that Price Tag!

When I was younger, I used to feel embarrassed whenever I accompanied my father or aunt to the grocery and they’d have little arguments with the sales clerk or supervisor about erroneous pricing. To me then, a matter of one or two pesos was too small to be an issue. But I grew up, started working hard for money, and began paying bills – these changed my outlook.

Last night after work, I dropped by that red supermarket in Albay to buy some supplies. I went to the pastry/bread section and got attracted by a yummy-looking toast.

The price label said P16.00, which was reasonable for me so I placed 3 pieces in my red basket. When I went to the counter to pay for my purchases, I noticed that the price of the toast suddenly became P18.00 per piece as per the clerk’s scanner. I was hesitant to question at first for fear that my memory was just betraying me again. I’m poor with numbers so it’s not something new to me. But, for some reason, I knew the price label said it was only P16.00 per piece. That’s when I decided to speak. Our conversation went something like this (originally in Filipino but translated to English for convenience):

ME: Miss, I think the price label at the racks said that toast is only P16.00/piece.

CLERK: Really ma’am? Let me scan it again. (scans the toast again)

                It’s P18.00 ma’am.

ME:        No, it’s only P16.00. Can you ask someone to check it there? (This time she calls her supervisor and explains the situation)

SUPERVISOR: Hi Ma’am. Let me check this. (she scans the toast 4 times and the computer flashes P18.00 every time – of course.)

                It’s P18.00 ma’am (by this time the line behind me was getting longer and I was getting some stares for arguing about the 2-peso difference)

                Will you still buy it?

ME:        Yes, I’ll buy that. You can scan that now but after I pay, I will return to the rack and check on the price label. Is that okay?

SUPERVISOR: Okay ma’am.

After everything was paid, I went back to the racks as promised. There, I saw that the price label has been turned over (the white-blank side on top). I took it and saw that I was right. The toast was only P16.00 per piece. Hurray for winning the battle for that 2-peso difference! Trying hard to hide a smirk, I went back to the supervisor and showed her the price label. She and another supervisor looked shocked and a bit worried. They tried to scan their price listing again which, of course, said the toast was really P18.00!

The supervisor was apologetic and explained that their price labels must not have been updated yet. I told them to have it corrected as soon as possible because it’s unlawful practice. The supervisors nodded and gave me back my six-peso refund after I angrily lectured about Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines which makes it illegal to sell products at a price higher than that indicated in the price tag or label.

For the sake of my peace-loving husband, the lecture part’s just made up.  

Anyway, last night reminded me of a similar experience I had in that yellow supermarket in downtown Legazpi. I bought a large size keratin shampoo which I wanted to try for its alleged ability to soften my dry hair ends.

Tresemme Keratin Shampoo, you dry hair's best friend. Maybe.
Tresemme Keratin Shampoo, you dry hair’s best friend. Maybe.

The price label said it was P200-ish. Along with the shampoo, I also bought some chips amounting to about P50.00. When it was time to pay, I was busy talking to George (my husband) and did not mind the salesclerk while she scanned the purchases. After a while, she said my bill was P700-ish. Of course, I did not believe her. It turned out that when the shampoo was scanned; the computer entered it 3 times, thus tripling the price. The clerk was sorry and asked her supervisor to void the entries.

The point is – we, as intelligent consumers, must be more vigilant in matters like this no matter how small the amount is. It’s not just about the money; it’s about protecting ourselves from deceptive sales or business practices.

How about you? What’s your price tag horror story and how did you deal with it?

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