According to this story from NBC, a San Diego Woman was charged $167 for a jar of peanut butter! Obviously it was an error and when she returned to the store they gave her the money back plus a $10 gift card for the trouble.

But here's my beef, how do you not notice an extra $167 dollars on your grocery bill!?!

Maybe I am in the minority here, but I try and pay attention to what I put in my cart. I almost have a running total going in my head as I shop. It's not precise, but even on big grocery transactions I can guesstimate within ten and twenty dollars of what my total will be before I head to checkout.

On top of that I try to watch the screen totals as grocery clerks ring up my purchases. I figure it's good practice seeing as I can't even count how many times I've had things ring up wrong or discounts not given that were supposed to be. I'd say in the last 5 years I have easily caught a few hundred dollars in errors at grocery stores.

Some people want to jump on the anti-corporate grocery store bandwagon and blame the big companies for trying to steal your hard-earned cash. Not me though. They move a lot of merchandise and change their prices every week, that's a LOT to keep track of. As long as I pay what I'm supposed to in the end, I'm happy. I think the stores want to get things right the first time because for every transaction they overcharge someone a few bucks, they probably undercharge someone else.

But, the idea that this woman heard the total, paid and went home with "a bad feeling about the transaction," seems ridiculous. She didn't even check her receipt until the next day!

If I think I've been overcharged I'm usually checking the receipt before I leave the store, or at least in the parking lot. I don't know about you, but I think I'd notice a triple-digit error in my total.

I put more shame on this woman for being oblivious to what she's paying for than I do on the grocer for have a wrong number typed in their computer system.

Stories like this are a good reminded to always pay attention to what you are paying for.  In the NBC story they interviewed a County Supervising Inspector that estimated about 20 percent of grocery stores overcharges their customers in some way. But that most of those overcharges are honest clerical mistakes, not the big box store trying to screw you out of another 35 cents on those refried beans.

  • Every cash register is required to have a customer display. Watch this cashiers scan items.
  • Read your receipt before leaving the store. It's a hassle to return to the store when you find an overcharge.
  • If you're charged full price for a sale item, tell the cashier. Even if the item was placed on the sale accident unintentionally, stores are required by law to honor the lowest posted, advertised or quoted price on items.


What's the most you've ever been over/under charged at a grocery store?