A game of chicken …

Grocery cart

In our podcast yesterday Bill Storie and I were talking about “Appreciation” and it got me thinking about something that happened at the grocery store.

I shop each week at a warehouse style store where all the goods are stacked 18 feet high on open shelves. I like this establishment for the crazy combination of items that appear on the shelves as much as the discount pricing and I enjoy cruising the aisles each weekend to see what’s new.

This past week in my travels I picked a package of chicken that was marked $7.95 but when I got to the check-out it scanned at $995. Instead of the check-out person entering the price into the register manually, the store manager was called.

At first I really didn’t understand what was going on. When he arrived he didn’t enter the price manually either – he got on the store microphone and announced that “a package of chicken needed to be weighed at the front”.

I still didn’t get it ,  so I asked him why he wasn’t going to sell me the chicken at the price it was marked?

The response actually stunned me for a moment – “This is not the price; there is supposed to be another ticket on top of this one and it has fallen off”.

And suddenly I remembered reading an article on shoplifting that pointed out that changing the price of an item inside a store is actually considered a form of theft and the store has the right to prosecute someone who does this.

The problem is – in this situation all I had done was pick up a random package of chicken.

So I said very politely, “But I didn’t remove a sticker from the package”.

“I know you didn’t”, he replied, “It probably dropped off in shipping”.

I just smiled and said, in that case I would leave the chicken, and then I paid for the rest of my items and I left.

There are a lot of other ways that I might have responded to this situation, but here is what I think:

I appreciate that a store owner needs to make a profit, and that regrettably they do need to protect themselves against theft. I also appreciate anyone who manages to offer items at a discount in this age of spiralling inflation.

I don’t appreciate that the store manager attempted to make me pay for someone else’s packaging mistake, or that the store does not seem to have a policy of selling goods at the price marked; but I do appreciate that I at least provided him with the opportunity to think about whether he had done the right thing in this situation.

Now I know what you might be thinking, but I live on a small island so I will be shopping there next week as usual, but I won’t be buying any more chicken.

I like a bargain as much as the next girl and I appreciate the opportunity to choose not to be taken for a fool.



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