Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Tesco - spot the difference

Spot the Difference
Lime Lemon / Lemon Lime?

The checkout staff at my local Tesco have a problem identifying fruit and vegetables.

I've been charged for asparagus when I bought Broccoli and and open cup mushrooms when I bought closed cup. There is a common theme to the mistakes. The veg they charge you for is usually twice as expensive as the veg you take home.

Today I brought a lime (15p) but was charged for a lemon (28p). When I raised this with the checkout operator he said I would have to go to customer services for a refund. This is the other side of the store, fortunately there was no queue. The customer services assistant barely made eye contact, mumbling while I explained the store's error.

His manner was so unapologetic that I pointed out that Tesco employs heavy handed security at the store with CCTV and uniformed staff to stop the customers stealing. Tesco is much less bothered when they rob the customers.

Until recently both Tesco and Morrisons had refund policies which compensated customers when the store made pricing mistakes. Morrison's refunded twice the difference, Tesco gave customers miss-priced items for free if they complained. Both stores have now ended these policies.

Users of the excellent forums brought Tesco's generous miss-pricing practice to an abrupt end. Forum Users would post details of all the items they found miss-priced in Tesco - there were many - and shoppers would fill their baskets for free with everything from CD's to bottles of wine. Tesco couldn't keep up with their eagle eyed customers and stopped giving the items away. Now a straight-forward refund is given instead when mistakes are pointed out.

A refund isn't an unreasonable remedy - except - how many customers have time to go to customer services when they're over-charged 13p for a lime? Not many. So Tesco pockets the cash and there's no incentive to train their staff to recognise vegetables, or ensure the shelf fronts display the correct prices.

As the price of groceries soars most of us could cut our supermarket bills simply by checking the receipt carefully.

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