PRICING ERRORS AT THE GROCERY STORE GO BEYOND THE SHELF-PRICE
Your grocery shopping trip is not over until you’ve read your receipt and are happy with what you see. We’ve created our own consumer pricing policy in the CBB household and that is to make sure we don’t pay more than we should be, EVER.
Grocery receipt errors are more than just watching for the wrong price which most but not all consumers are aware of which is why reading your receipt is Step 1 in saving money at the grocery store.
Over the years we’ve conditioned ourselves to look for pricing errors and for those stores that do offer what many of you know as The Scanning Code of Practice this can mean free product.
No one wants to believe that a store is being dishonest and in most cases errors that do happen are human errors. This means both the consumer and the grocery store are at fault, not just the grocery store.
The pricing errors don’t just stop at the wrong price though even though we’ve come to depend on price checkers that I believe every store should have available for customers. Most people won’t bother asking customer service to do a price check on a product because that means wasting more time at the store than needed.
We’ve come to learn there are more things we should be watching out for that will also attribute to pricing errors rather than the common computer glitch at the cash register or by using the self-checkout scanners.
Pricing strategies for every grocery store in Canada differs depending on who they are marketing their products to. It’s not hard to see which grocery stores in Canada are the best priced if you know your prices.
Defects in the computer system whether human or not means your money could be flying out of your wallet unsuspectingly. Have you ever gotten home after grocery shopping and while you are putting your groceries away you decide to read the receipt only to find out you’ve been charged for bananas, but you didn’t buy bananas.
How many of you have actually added up everything you’ve purchased to compare final pricing and taxes after your grocery shop? Probably not many of you but you might be shocked to find that there could be an error right in front of your eyes.
Fortunately for us we do this since we post our grocery shops each week for The Grocery Game Challenge but have yet to find anything suspicious, but you never know.
Am I being too nit-picky? Perhaps, but no one is forcing you to watch where your money goes, these are just potential holes in the system that you should catch. I suppose living on a tight budget has made us more aware of every dollar we spend.
Don’t leave the grocery store without doing this
It’s so easy for pricing errors to happen that it’s a must that you read your receipt, every single time whether it was a big shop or you just ran in for milk. Our consumer watch strategy is to step aside for a moment before leaving the store and to look the receipt over.
If there is a bench or area that is not busy take a moment to start your receipt review. The worst is having gotten into the parking lot and then decide to read your receipt or even when you get home.
Once a consumer is home the likelihood of them reporting a pricing error is slim which means they paid more money than they should have. Keep in mind just because you are at home and find an error doesn’t mean you can’t claim it.
Make a phone call right away to the shop and tell them. Most often they will take your name and number so the next time you shop as a valued customer they will honor the error when you bring your receipt to customer service.
We used to look at our receipt in the parking lot but with a baby it was a hassle to bring him back in with the product or full order to have the pricing error fixed. Some people still choose this option but I find once you leave the store you either not motivated to go back if you find a mistake or forget about it and take the loss.
Pricing errors can add up over the course of a year if you just forget about them.
If you shop once a week for the year and each time you shop you are over-charged $2.00 you’re paying $104 a year more than you should have. Realistically this wouldn’t happen each shop but be mindful of the small mistakes adding up over the course of your day.
It might not stop at the grocery store. Pricing errors can happen anywhere you need to pull out your wallet. Today let us all take a look at other ways you may be losing dollars and cents at the cash register without even knowing it.
Over-charged for a product
Whether the sale price for a product was not entered or the computer system was not updated by the marketing team at the grocery store it’s important to read your receipt. Not only should you be aware of your cash register receipt but any department that prices product by weight or measure.
Costs shouldn’t include the packaging or wrapping of a product when working with weight and measure even though we know it’s likely factored into the overall costs.
For example :
- Produce department may offer pre-packaged, labelled and priced product
- The Deli may have issues with their weight scale and charge too much or too little
- The deli clerk, produce, seafood, bakery or meat department could all easily make pricing errors on the sticker so do the math and always have a calculator on hand. You’ll be amazed that you will find mistakes on occasions whether they are to your benefit or not.
- You may be paying for extra weight such as frozen product priced after freezing or added ice for packing fish and other items. Products should be weighed before any type of freezing processes for the true weight and cost. It may be tough to determine but if you think something might be wrong, ask the manager how they price frozen foods or ice-packed products.
- Bulk food products in containers then labelled may have a pricing error.
P.S- It’s up to you whether you want to be honest or not if you’re getting a smashing deal by mistake.
Charged for incorrect product
You might not have noticed but that package of pre-made hamburgers was actually labelled sausages which may or may not be costing you more money. That’s just an example of how easy a pricing error can happen when someone manually prices products or forgets to change a computer system on a production line.
Charged for more than you purchased of a product
We’ve in the past had a cashier charge us for more than we purchased for a bakery product. You may notice they count the what is in the clear packing but they do make mistakes. Instead of paying for 8 buns we paid for 10 buns. Seems simple enough to count but if you’re rolling out the customers it’s an easy error to make.
Another time the cashier charged us for more avocados than we had in the bag as well. At $1.25 each that can add up if your receipts shows one or two extra that you didn’t get.
Also, make sure you read the fine print when making a purchase whether at the grocery store or not. There may be other fees or extra fees for products and services that apply that are listed but you fail to see.
Online Grocery Shopping Pricing Errors
For those of you who order groceries online whether from a well-known grocer in Canada or from places like Amazon Canada, Low-Carb Grocery Canada and a myriad of other websites so be sure and watch the prices you pay BEFORE checking out.
I’ve also found that if you’re not careful you may end up paying for shipping even if your order is a dollar less than what free-shipping costs entail. Be very aware of the cancellation policy when ordering online and what happens when you do find a discrepancy for your online grocery receipt.
Charging Tax on Non-Taxable Items
This is probably one of those areas on the receipt that consumers don’t pay much attention to, the taxes they pay. You may be paying taxes on products that are actually non-taxable so as a consumer I’d say learn what is taxed in Canada and what is not. The best way to protect your money is to be informed.
The supply of basic groceries, which includes most supplies of food and beverages marketed for human consumption (including sweetening agents, seasonings and other ingredients to be mixed with or used in the preparation of such food or beverages), is zero-rated. However, certain categories of foodstuffs, for example, carbonated beverages, candies and confectionery, and snack foods are taxable. If a product’s tax status is in doubt, the CRA will consider the manner in which the product is displayed, labelled, packaged, invoiced and advertised to determine its tax status.- For a full list of what is taxed and not taxed in Canada
After the recent price-fixing bread scandal with Loblaws we have been more watchful of prices especially if we think a store is trying to promote a product to sell it fast at the reg retail price but inflates the price. For example: Bottle of shampoo Sale: $4.99 but regular price IS $4.99 but they label it $6.99. This is an inflated price making it seem to the customer they are getting an amazing deal.
Knowing your prices is very important as a savvy shopper for this reason and take the time to compare products. You might find the reduced rack in the produce department is selling strawberries for $3.99 with a reduced 50% price but find out that strawberries are on sale that week for a dollar.
The Good Side to Receipts
The receipt always seems to get a bad rap when it comes to pricing errors but there are benefits to holding on to your receipts and reading them. Below I’ve found a few savings that we’ve benefited from in the past.
Some shops offer random customers the opportunity to go online and tell the store how they measured up during their grocery shop. Not everyone might get this but if you do, fill it out. We’ve won $50 and a $25 voucher to Giant Tiger over the years just for giving our opinion.
I don’t care who you are if you use coupons on products you do purchase you’re a genius money saver. We don’t often use coupons these days unless we find coupons that suit our needs. That doesn’t mean we don’t look, we do and everyone should.
Would you walk by a fiver on the side-walk, stare at it then walk away? Likely not so don’t do that at the grocery store. Read the back of your grocery receipt as many retailers use this space for marketing purposes and you may just find some awesome coupons.
Don’t miss out on those discount codes at the bottom of your receipt or even on the back. These are savings you might be throwing out the window!
Discussion: Have you found any of the above pricing errors on your grocery receipt? Am I missing anything that should be added for Canadian consumers to be aware of?
Comment below, I love hearing from you.
March Grocery Game Challenge
Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!
- Last shop February – How To Create An Organized Grocery List
- 13 Food Items That Do not Need Refrigeration Shop #1 March
Free Money Saving Tools 2018
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2018 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Optimum Points to Spend: 2,900,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0.
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 4 x 4 litres Sealtest Milk $4.27
PC Optimum points earned 8100
Total Out-of-Pocket $17.10
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $300
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month Jan,Feb $105 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $0
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $64.90 (not too bad for 2 months)
- Total spent this week: $17.10
- Total spent so far this month: $136.13
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total left to spend for the month: $163.90
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Most of our meals this past week had ham in them since we were trying to finish off the huge ham we were given from my sister-in-law before they were going on vacation. We didn’t need anything this week besides milk which we got at a fantastic price at Shoppers Drug Mart. We spent $17.10 buying the milk and got back 8100 PC Optimum points which is $8.10! That means we paid $9.00 for 4 x 4 litres of 2% milk. Awesome deal.
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals
Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!
Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?
- Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
- Check out my new Free Recipe Index
- If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
- Don’t forget to Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder by Email to get my daily email. Once you subscribe you MUST VERIFY your email account so check your spam folder and inbox for that email! By Subscribing you get all the inside scoops first plus any new finance tools and tips.
- If you notice and broken links or errors please email me or leave a comment below.