Beating the Drum on big box stores

Beating the Drum

Many a slip from slip to slip at Shoppers Drug Mart

By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario. She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

06 July 2012 — We are continually told that technology has made our lives better. Things have been made more efficient because of it. With regards to the retail sector, I am beginning to wonder whose definition of efficient they are using.

I don’t know about you but lately I have been continually overcharged on some of my purchases. Last week-end it happened twice in one day at two separate stores. In the first instance, I was charged twice for one item. I believe this is what the retail sector refers to as double scanned. Of course the double scanning required me to make trip back to the store to fix the $22 error.

Now this is not the first time this has happened to me at Shoppers Drug Mart here in Ottawa. I seem to be continually overcharged by this store. I have been given a multitude of reasons when I point out the price is not right. The advertised sale prices have not been inputted into the computer. Someone put the wrong items in the wrong bin. Someone forgot to take the sale prices off the display

Well this last time I decided it was time to voice my complaints. Here is my excursion to the complaints department of Shoppers Drug Mart.

Having been overcharged for items a few too many times, I have become much more vigilant about watching the prices on the cash register at Shoppers. In the past month, I have either had to point out numerous price errors at the register or I have had to return to correct mistakes.

When I do this the cashier is always extremely cordial and any exasperation shown is because they must do this continually throughout their shift. Obviously there are a number of products not programmed into the computer. Of course, they can’t just take my word about the price. I have come to assume their job description requires them to find evidence of this price altercation.

So off they march in search of the product as I stand there watching the annoyed faces of the crowd lining up behind me. I am sure these cashiers must walk a few miles during any of their shifts because anytime I am in there these cashiers are off doing price checks. 

What bothered me about this situation was the fact that this was the fifth time I had been overcharged at Shoppers Drug Mart in the past month. This time however it wasn’t a dollar it was $22. Had I not looked closely at the bill I would not have caught the error. It was time to voice my complaint.

So off I went to the internet and found the Shoppers Drug Mart customer complaint/comment form. I filled out all the mandatory fields and in the comments section gave them a concise version of events. I got the usual auto-reply form letter which sounds like the same script used in the telephone world. We are experiencing high volume and it may take some time to respond to your concerns but rest assured your concerns are important. Blah! Blah! Blah!

Well a Shoppers Drug Mart customer service representative does contact me via email. Another wonderful form letter which does not address the points I raised. No instead it is a wishy-washy condescending letter that discusses how customer service is of paramount importance. More blah, blah blah and then there is the request to supply them with additional information on the one product that I purchased. Forget about any of the other times I have been overcharged or the problems with their computerized cash registers. Anyway I replied back with the required information.

 Once again my email account is graced with another form style letter. The complaint has been forwarded to the store... more blah, blah, blah...and we are going to give you some extra Shopper’s Optimum points. This amount converts to $10 off anything in the store.

The problem with the solution was that when I had looked at the return receipt I had noticed that it would appear that additional points in the amount of $5 had already been subtracted from my account. So I wrote back and said that it was unacceptable. By the math I really wasn’t getting $10 in points. I am now awaiting their response to that email. Tune in for final episode of the Descent in Shoppers Drug Mart Customer Complaint.

Now for those of you interested in the second overcharge. Having dealt with one overcharge during the day, I was somewhat more vigilant in my shopping excursions. There I was at the Gap purchasing a skirt that was supposed to marked- down. The price tag said $17.99 but at the cash register it rang in at $28.99. Of course the markdown was not registered in the computer. Neither was the additional 30% off that was supposed to be applied to the price. This second overcharge I caught when the individual was ringing in my purchases. It saved me from the refund experience.

Maybe it is just me but I am beginning to discover that I have to be a discerning consumer not only when I am buying my products but also at the cash register. I am finding out that many of the larger stores haven’t always programmed all price adjustments into the computerized cash registers.  For the unaware consumer, it would appear they’re getting screwed. Isn’t it time you reviewed all your receipts?