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It’s the principal of the matter … Literally!

by J. Money on Friday, June 27, 2008

One of my all time greatest annoyances (i refuse to use the saying “pet peeves”), is getting gypped by cashiers. It’s one thing to have it done every once in a while, but it happens allllll the time for me! Maybe i’m just super unlucky, but i seriously have to question a receipt at LEAST once a week.

Just the other day I was picking up a bbq sandwich with mashed potatoes, and it rang up as $13.00. Being in DC i didn’t think much of it at first, but then a co-worker’s meal rang up at $11.00, and he got MORE than i did, i was like wtf!, right?

So i asked the cashier why mine was more, and i got back a very annoyed “well i’m Sorrrrrrry okay, i thought you got something else!” wow. Anyone who knows me can tell you i’m a pretty un-confrontational guy (you know, those who curse people out in their head, but never to their face), so why this girl had to get all uppity was beyond me.

At any rate (a saying that i do like), she had a manager correct the bill and i gladly accepted my $3.50 back. That’s a HUGE difference!

So, what do YOU do when this happens? Do you go back, cut in line, and begin your questioning – others call this “bitching” – or do you simply let it slide? I don’t think there’s a solid answer here, but i do know there’s a way to avoid it altogether.

How do you avoid this? Simple. Review your total BEFORE you pay.

That’s all there is to it. No one else is gonna look out for your wallet, so making it a habit to pay attention can go a long way. And if you slip, don’t worry about it – you’re only human like the rest of us. That being said, it’s not always easy. A whole bunch of variables can play a part in speaking up:

The point at which you notice this discrepancy.
For me, this is the determining factor. If i’ve made my purchase and am now sitting on my couch back at home realizing that an error has occurred, there’s no way in hell i’m going back to raise a stink about it. I usually blame myself for not catching it earlier, and try to take home a nice little lesson from it ;) which i will no-doubt repeat again at another time anyway…haha.

If i notice it while mid-swipe of my credit card, however, you better believe i’ll bring it up! These occurrences are the best because i don’t even have to think about it – i just react naturally.

The actual amount in question.
I’m willing to guess this is the biggest one for people. If you got gypped a couple of pennies, i doubt you’d bring it up no matter where you notice it, it’s just not worth your time. As the amounts go up though, i say from about 50 cents and up, the odds you’ll speak up go along with it.

For me, this amount is usually around 75 cents – once it hits that mark, i’ll start asking questions right away. Now, if i’m at home realizing this, then forget about it. I’m not gonna waste my time going back. BUT, if i’m at home and the amount is a good $4.00+, i’d be tempted to turn back around! Or at the very least call the store and see if i can do something about it over the phone.

The strictness of your budget.
A couple of dollars to one person can mean a whole lot more to another, especially if you have a family to look out for. At least that’s what they say ;) I think your age also plays a big part in this. My grandma would hold up a line for 10 cents, bless her heart, while i was to lazy to pick up a dime yesterday on the street (sorry Mr. Change Race!).

The Confidence you have, or do not have, in yourself.
It takes balls to speak up when this stuff happens, no doubt about it. It’s one thing if you’re the only one in the store on a weeknight, but you drop that person downtown in DC/NYC during rush hour to complain about 25 cents, you better know how to take it! Every once in a while i can pull this off, but i wouldn’t stake any money it.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to worry about this, but unfort. employees have been known to smoke crack every now and then.

This time around i happened to stand my ground, but I’ve been known to let more than a few dollars slip out of my pocket in the past. And the only thing i can do to cope is to hit myself upside the head and tell my self i shoulda had a V-8!


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