Watch Your Receipts


By Cheryl Gochnauer

Since my ability to stay home hinges on my financial status, I guard my money when I shop. I’m not talking about watching out for muggers, though that’s a wise idea, too. It simply means I watch cash register totals carefully and point out discrepancies when I see them.

You would be amazed how many times the totals are wrong, whether you are at the grocery store, the gas pumps or your favorite discount center. Here are some common shopping pitfalls to watch for:

* Sale items ringing up at regular price.

* “New and improved” packaging that charges the same price for less product.

* Clerks forgetting to subtract coupons.

* Items being rung up twice.

* “We just ran out” excuses, when you’re shopping on the first day of the sale.

* Perishables being sold past their expiration date.

* Substitutions that don’t match the quality of the advertised product.

* Damaged product (dented cans, slit boxes, broken seals, etc.) sold at full price.

It’s also important for the customer to understand the requirements of any special deals being offered. For instance, I may have to buy more than one of the advertised item to get the discount. Perhaps I have to make a minimum purchase or submit a special coupon before the savings kick in. Or maybe the markdown is only valid on certain days.

Another thing to keep in mind? These hard-saved dollars are too precious to be spent at stores that don’t respond positively to customers’ requests and concerns. Smart managers understand they attract a lot more Momma Bears with honey than vinegar.

So watch those receipts, and let both price and service be your guides as you shop for your family.

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