The scanning code of practice. Ever heard of it? Like most people probably not. But you NEED to know what this is.
You know how annoying it is when you go to buy something that you think is $7.99, but then it scans at the cash as $9.99, then you have to have point it out to the cashier (it’s not his/her fault by the way that the price came up wrong, they are just scanning bar codes, so don’t be a jackass during this process.) that the item should be $7.99? Then usually someone verifies the price, and says “Yes, it’s marked as $7.99.” So then the cashier makes the change and you get your item for $7.99, right? WRONG. You get that item for FREE. That is correct, for NOTHING. Well you do if the store follows the “Scanning Code of Practice” as per the good people at the Retail Council of Canada. And you know who follows the Scanning Code of Practice? Just about every major retailer, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Loblaw’s (Superstore) and even Costco, check the link for a complete listing.
To add a bit more clarification, if your item scans more, and the item you are buying is $10 or less, you get that item for FREE. If the item is over $10, then you get $10 off that item, so your $12.99 purchase that came up at $14.99, will be $4.99 after the adjustment. If you happen to be buying multiple items that scanned incorrectly, then the discount applies to the first item only. Follow my link above if you want other details, but the examples above are the most common occurrences. And let me tell you, the occurrences can be common, depending where you shop. I’m not big on calling out the stores which screw up their prices the most since I fear highly paid corporate lawyers who might be looking for something to do, but two really jump out in my mind, one being a large well known pharmacy based store, and another a department store retailer. Now anytime I go to these places, you bet I’m taking extra time to check the prices on the shelf and match them up with my receipt. I would estimate that the department store has an inaccurate price about 40-50% of the time, staggering indeed, and the pharmacy store 10-20% of the time. I am going to take a moment to call out two stores where you can likely save yourself some time, and just stuff the receipt right in your pocket, because I would wager my first born what you were charged was 100% accurate: Wal-Mart and Superstore, I’ve never personally had a scanning error from either of these stores, I don’t shop at Wal-Mart often, and Superstore has been my regular choice for groceries for a few years, so it is very impressive they’ve not made an error, at least not that I have caught, yet.
Getting back to my personal experience when calling out a store for charging the wrong amount, they have actually almost all gone smoothly. I mention to the cashier that a price has come up wrong when she is scanning in my order, and again be nice here, “Excuse me I think that was $5.99 on the shelf.” or something along those lines will do the trick. Usually someone goes to have a look on the shelf (I volunteer sometimes and take a picture with my phone) and comes back and confirms with the cashier, then the cashier applies the discount and everybody is happy. Occasionally the cashier may just update the price without giving you the item or the discount, at which I point I say “I think I get that for free, due to the scanning code of practice right?”Once again, keep it polite, she didn’t just murder your grandmother. And if the cashier still looks puzzled, then I point of the Scanning code of Practice sign or sticker located by the cash, then usually a supervisor is called. Now I’ve only had one time where a cashier lady gave me a bit of an issue. I bought an item which was supposed to be $1.59 or something, but it came up at $1.99 or something like that, which I pointed out, so she just changed the price. I said something along the lines of “Shouldn’t I get that for free due to the Scanning Code of Practice?” She said no, because I didn’t actually get charged, as in I didn’t actually pay yet, the incorrect amount. So I just said something like “Oh really…”. Now my take is that you don’t HAVE to actually be charged, because the Scanning code of Practice is about price accuracy, the price came up wrong, so the Scanning Code of Practice should be followed in my book. I would love to hear someone’s take, or from someone with some info in the comments below. As for this particular event, I just went along with it, because I was on my lunch from work, and didn’t have much time, and also I was also only 99.9% sure I was right. Afterwards, it occurred to me that this method doesn’t make much sense, since it would take more time for the store and the customer to correct the issue; meaning the customer would have to save the receipt and then to back to customer service and get a refund, rather than the cashier pushing a few buttons. So now, whenever go to this store, that is what I do, I make sure to actually pay for everything so I have the incorrect amount right on my receipt, and there shouldn’t be an issue, however I don’t go to this place often, so I haven’t had a chance to see if the same thing might reoccur. One other personal story I’ll add is that I’ve actually also used the Scanning Code of Practice to my advantage once to get the same free item 2 days in a row, and then the same item again a few days later, so it took the store about a week to correct their error. It was a large bag of chips, I originally bought them because they were on sale for $1.99, but they wrung up at $2.99 or whatever, so I got the item for free. I went back the next day, mostly out of curiosity to see if the error was fixed, it wasn’t so more free chips for me. I then went back a few days later and the error was still not fixed, so MORE free chips. The next day the error was fixed. So this tells you that very few people check their receipts, because the store wouldn’t give away dozens of bags of chips everyday. I told the story to someone at work, and they told me I was ripping off the store. Hmmm what?? I’m willing to pay the correct amount for the chips, it’s the stores own fault for not updating their pricing, that is my take on it. Also, how many people paid an extra $1 or whatever for their chips? That’s all gravy for the bottom line for the retailer.
So there you have it the Scanning Code of Practice in a nutshell. Thanks to CBC’s recent article reminding me that I had this draft sitting here mostly ready to go.
What is your take on the Scanning Code of Practice? Should you get more of a discount? Have you called out a store for using the incorrect price, what was the result? And what about my free chips? Think I was ripping off the store? Please leave me a like if you enjoyed the post. Thanks!!