ethical dillema?


Old 12-10-17, 08:41 AM
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ethical dillema?

I bought a case of wine yesterday. The shelf price was $15.95 a bottle. The wine scanned at $8.95 at the register. That's the price that I paid. When I got home I told my wife about the great deal I got and she told me that was wrong and that I should return to the store and pay the correct amount.

I know that she's right but it's a half hour drive and since it wasn't the cashier's mistake he won't be penalized. What would you do?
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Old 12-10-17, 08:54 AM
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There is an entire course at every university on ethics. It boils down to a couple of issues. What if that were your business and you made the mistake of marking the bottle wrong or the register picked up the wrong price and you were stuck with the difference. Is it morally correct to allow the store to bear the difference in the price or should you at least talk to the manager and inform him of the discrepancy. Would you consider this theft or is this a shady area where you use another ethical principle to allow this dilemma to proceed because the wine bottle was not marked therefore not your fault. I have been in a similar position with a different kind of product but my ethics demanded that I tell the person that the product was marked at a higher price on the shelf and offer them the option of collecting the correct amount or leaving things the way they were. At the end of the day, the shortages will show up and be considered shrinkage or theft and personally, I wouldn't want that on my conscience.
Old 12-10-17, 09:31 AM
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Its probably the right price and the shelf price was wrong... If it scanned that way it was probably a sale or closeout..

Don't worry about it... drink the wine, be happy...

Any bad Karma you think you may get from would come from your own negative thinking that you did wrong...

Scanners if not always scan a higher price then lower...compared to shelf price..
Old 12-10-17, 09:41 AM
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Like Mike, I'd tend to believe the scan price was correct. I try to watch the price when items are scanned and while occasionally something rings up cheaper than I expected - more times than not the scan won't reflect savings on an item on sale.
Old 12-10-17, 09:47 AM
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Mike got some of this but I'll post it anyways.

Let me ask, if you paid for something with your credit card and the store later discovered they had the price in the computer set way too high, do you think you (and everyone else who paid too much) would find a nice credit next month when your statement arrives? I believe the answer is a big NO. In fact I suggested this credit after the fact when mistakes were brought to their attention and this one store said they couldn't be bothered, long story.

For all you know, the management could have designated that wine to be on sale but the display price was never changed.

Enjoy the wine and to show your appreciation buy another case. Kind of kidding, but you could point out the discrepancy on the next purchase, just don't mention the first.

I have a long running battle with my local grocery store due to their frequent overcharges and register mistakes so I'm a bit hard nosed about being the saint.

Old 12-10-17, 09:50 AM
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The price you paid is half of the shelf price.
Usually you have an idea what somethings costs.... which one is right or closer ?
Old 12-10-17, 10:03 AM
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Are you OK man, slap, slap....
Even if you think the price was a steal, you still paid 8.95 per bottle and the store will not go out of business. It would be different IMO if the price difference was very great or they neglected to charge you.
I one time bought a faucet at over 200.00. I don't know how I got out of the store but I did. I was looking for my receipt and couldn't find it, that's because I didn't have one. I went back in to pay.
Like said, the store might have neglected to update the shelf price compared to the actual sale price.

Rest Easy shipmate, people have done far worse and for all you know that could be the correct price that day.
Old 12-10-17, 10:50 AM
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You could call up and tell the Manager . . . . and he "may" look into it, or he may say thanks for letting them know about the issue, and they'll correct it.

And s/he may say you can make it right with us next time you're in the area . . . . or he may say to consider the difference your reward for telling them about it.

I doubt very much that anyone would say that you should beat it down there this week end to cough up the stolen money.

BTW - Have you ever noticed how many people don't bother to take their receipt, let alone look at it ?
Old 12-10-17, 11:34 AM
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Scan price is always right even if it's wrong. The programmer (data input personal) have control, not the store manager or the cashiers. You have no moral ethical dilemma.

The only time you might have a problem is if you know the cashier inadvertently or otherwise did not scan the item. Or if the quantity was not correct (quantity two bought but only one paid for).

As a cashier, if we know a product scanned wrong we are obligated by local county law to allow that price to stand. We then alert corporate of the discrepancy.

If I were you I would go back and buy more! It's worth the 1/2 hour drive.

As a side note. Here in Erie county we have very strict rules about posted pricing and we can be fined if in error. If a posted price is in error and a customer complains, we can be held to 10 x's the product cost to be given to the customer (depending on circumstances).

Once a year we are checked by the county on a random sample of several hundred items. If we don't pass then we have once chance to correct the items and then another several hundred random items are again checked. If we fail again, the company is fined big time.

Last edited by Norm201; 12-10-17 at 11:49 AM.
Old 12-10-17, 11:53 AM
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25+ yrs ago I worked at a grocery store when scanners were fairly new, and I did a lot of the data entry for new items and price changing in the store's computer. It's generally accepted that since prices change quite often due to weekly sale items, price reductions, price changes, etc... that at some point something will get screwed up. So it's the store's responsibility to do "price verification" where each item is scanned, and the sticker price is verified. We were doing this regularly... at least twice a year... for around 14,000 different items in the inventory. It's a big job to keep track of.

People don't like it when they are overcharged... and the store doesn't like it when they arent charging enough. If you feel morally required to do something, IMO it would be enough to just tell them about the mistake... they would likely be greatful if you did.

I recently was checking my receipts for a job and found that a checker had not counted number of items correctly, and that I had in effect not paid for about $400 worth of building materials. Next time I was in the store, I told them about the mistake and offered to pay for the items... which I did. They were astonished and greatful. In the end, honesty is always the best policy.
Old 12-10-17, 11:53 AM
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Norm, per your law, is the scanner always always right? As in, even if the scan price is higher than the shelf price? Or does it always benefit the customer? (Not arguing anything, just curious, since we don't have a similar law that I know about.)
Old 12-10-17, 12:41 PM
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The lower price will take precedence. If an item is posted say at $5.00 and the scan price is $4.00, regardless of the correct price, the $4.00 price stands. The customer is always protected. Circumstances not under our control, such as other customers changing price tags or putting items in the wrong place, will not be counted. If we put a shelf label in the wrong place, it's our fault. If the label price shows higher than the prper cost, we could be fined and customer can be given the 10 x's the cost price. This condistion has several "rules" to it that I don't have all the details.

If you look at this site
Erie County's Scanner Accuracy Law | Department of Law
section 11, it will tell you exactly what the circumstances will result in a 10 x's refund.

This program is run by the county department of Weight and Measurements . we have other stores in other counties but I don't know what their rules are.

One of then things that bother me is that we must price every single item. Then state and county tax is applied. So a customer will never know what his or her actual cost will be until the items are rung up. Since state and county tax is a must, why can't we post prices with tax included. That's how it's done at our gas pumps.
Old 12-10-17, 02:15 PM
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I don't know if I am on the fence or not on this one. I agree with a lot of what people are posting here and it makes sense. I also know that I have a conscience that won't let me sleep if I do something that is not above the board. My eyes, you were happy to spend $15.95 a bottle for a case so it wouldn't be like you were not planning on spending the money. If it was indeed a mistake they you are no less satisfied by spending what you intended to in the first place as you have a case of your favorite wine. Its an $84 error at best. Again, my conscience would say that you at least give the retailer a call to clear things in your mind and satisfy the wife who obviously has as tough a conscience as I do.
Old 12-10-17, 04:03 PM
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I consider myself very honest. But I disagree with czizzi in this case. In most instances the manager (assuming for the moment that it's not a mom/pop store) is unable to make adjustments and most stores are unable to accept an additional payment once the sale is completed. Where would they apply the payment? If it was caught within the day then most likely a refund would be made and a re-sell would take place.

But if it were to be brought in say a day or two later in our store we would take in as "found on floor", and a particular cashier would be charged an overage on their till. Not that it would be big thing, but any overage or shortage on a till is not good.

In any case I'm betting the store is well aware of the "mistake", if in fact that's what it was.

Side note. Several years ago my wife bought a high end vacuum cleaner from Kohls. It was very obvious that the price was well under the correct price by a lot. We knew it and the manger knew it. We told him we would either skip the purchase or pay the higher price depending what it was. He said no! You pay the price as marked. Another customer saw what happened and even after they changed the sign, he asked if he could also get the low price. He did not see the old price. Manager said absolutely.

Unless you knowingly cheated the store, don't try to correct their mistake! It's not a matter of honestly or dishonesty. It's a matter of the system being properly inputted. Of course each store has their own policy and I could be wrong in some instances.

Now lets go to the extreme. Suppose it was in the hundreds or thousands. That would no longer be a mistake but an error that would need to be corrected by both store and consumer. If consumer fought it, I'm sure it could go to court. Similar to a bank giving too much money on a withdrawal. It happens and the customer must give it back even though no crime was committed.
Old 12-11-17, 07:48 AM
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That's a very interesting law, Norm. My biggest pricing problems usually arise from things being in the wrong spot, unfortunately. What does get me sometimes is sale shelf prices that the store forgets to take down when the sale is over. It's good to know the customer is protected from a "bait and switch."

CWbuff, playing devil's advocate, are you sure that the shelf price you saw was for the wine you got? Could it have been in the wrong place, or for a bigger container? Could it possibly have been on sale that you didn't know about? Like Norm said, at least the receipts and the amount in the till add up.

If it really bothers your conscience, you can always call them up and say, "I think something rang up wrong, is this really the right price?" If they say yes, then sleep easy. If they say no, then I really doubt they'd make you drive all the way back. They'd probably just say, "Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We'll fix it in our system. Enjoy your wine." And then if it really, really still bothers you, then drop the difference in their tip jar the next time you're there, or in a Salvation Army kettle, or something similar.

I once ordered several items from an online retailer, and one arrived broken. They refunded me for all of them, and when I pointed out the mistake, they said, "Oh, well I already input the refund, so I can't change it now. Please accept this as a token of our appreciation for your continued business." And I can't really argue and say, "no, input another sale to take some of the refund back," because then their inventory count will be off, which will cause someone more headaches down the line.
Old 12-11-17, 09:16 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. After I posted I decided that there was no way I was going to drive all the way back to the store wasting my time and gas.

However, I took czzizi's advice and called the store this morning and I talked to the manager. I told him what I had purchased and the price I paid. He thanked me for the info and told me that it was the store's policy that if an item scanned higher than the shelf price (which was the correct price) it would be free and if an item scanned lower than the shelf price the scan price would be what was charged.

He also added that a customer should never have to pay for the store's mistake.

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