Monday, February 11, 2008

Scam at the grocery checkout lane

If it weren't for a family friend's alertness and assiduousness, she would have been cheated of P100. Now, P100 isn't such a big amount, but as we like to think, it's the principle of the thing. Besides, the culprit was one of the cashiers at the grocery of Gaisano Mall of Davao.

It's a story worth telling, if only for its cautionary value.

Last weekend, Mrs. D purchased groceries worth P650.20 from Gaisano Mall. That was the amount that came out on the till display. She put two P500-bills on the counter.

"Ma'am, do you have 20 centavos?" the cashier asked.

Mrs. D fumbled in her purse for the coins. The cashier gave her change. Mrs. D was a little distracted because she was thinking of a few other things, so the bills didn't register immediately.

The bills came out to P250. Mrs. D stared long at the bills, sensing something was wrong but not quite certain what it was. The receipt in her other hand also indicated change of P249.80.

"Ma'am, are these other items also yours?" the cashier asked, pointing to the next pile. Mrs. D shook her head. "Then you're done."

Mrs. D took five steps away from the lane before coming to her senses. She turned back and confronted the cashier.

"My change is P350," Mrs. D demanded. "You only gave me P250."

The cashier turned white. She blurted an apology and gave my Mrs. D another P100 bill. "I'm sorry, I forgot," she said.

It was only when Mrs. D got home, looked over the receipt, and found out what happened.

Indeed, the groceries purchased amounted to P650.20.

However, instead of punching in P1,000 for the cash tendered, the cashier first punched in P100. That left a balance of P550.20.

And then, the cashier punched in a cash tender of P800 instead of P900. That -- conveniently -- brought the change returned to P249.80!

If Mrs. D had relied solely on the receipt to do her arithmetic for her, she would have lost P100. (Again, not a big amount who knows how many other victims there might be in a single day.)

So all you shoppers out there, be careful. Mrs. D is reporting this to the management of Gaisano Mall. No doubt they will take action against the cashier but you never know if this tomfoolery is endemic among her cohorts.


  1. was this reported? im willing to help/report this to top management... if only your friend got the name of the cashier :P

  2. She still has the receipt and the name of the cashier is there.

  3. Great can you pls post it here? if its alright? even the cashier lane of the grocery and the date. thank you Very much

  4. Just curious: who are you, exactly?

  5. i work for gmall. And i want the culprit to get fired/blottered. If indeed she tried to cheat/scam the customer. I thank you for posting it also... :)

    Could you give me the infos needed? :)

  6. Posted a scan of the receipt. Do note, however, that it is quite likely that the cashier will chalk this up to an "honest" mistake.

    I don't know if your POS system records the cash tendered field. Multiple occurrences will likely point to hanky panky.

  7. tsk tsk... I should check my receipts more often. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. thank you very much for the post. Thank you VERY much :)

  9. im happy to report that the cashier has been terminated from the company.
    When we asked her about the incident she denied trying to scam the customers.

    From the management side i would like to apologize for the hassle he/she experienced. We would like to thank the customer who complained. Rest assured we will try our best to make your shopping experience better.

  10. got curious with the "CracklingsS&V" item...

    googling it turned out Oishi Ribbed Cracklings Salt & Vinegar...

    too much junk food for Mrs. D there...

  11. i'm just curious how one can quickly tell in that situation if it's a scam instead of an honest mistake...

    if it were just an honest mistake, kawawa naman yung cashier...

    wala lng, just a thought...

  12. The cashier looked innocent. She really denied all the charges against her. we tried to investigate. We had no choice but to terminate her.

    KAwawa talaga kung mali lang talaga.

  13. How can we be sure? We can't. But if you've ever been scammed (and I have), you know the feeling.

    What raised Mrs. D's suspicion was how quickly the cashier immediately handed over the balance. If you've worked as a cashier (and I have) and someone points out an error, you'll at least take time to investigate and track back your error. The cashier didn't even bother looking at the receipt.

    Yes, I know, that still isn't conclusive.

    But another way of looking at it is: if the cashier was not dishonest, she was at least incompetent (100+800=1000?). That falls now within the purview of company policy.

    My own dilemma was how to handle this. Should I have kept quiet? After all, the amount wasn't huge. But if I did, what about other customers? And if I brought the story out, surely someone could lose her job (and did.) It's very un-Filipino, but I opted to bring it out in view of the greater good (albeit my own presentation was colored by Mrs. D's account of the events.)

    In my own defense, I can point out to that I did not ask for the cashier to be removed from her job. That's up to the management of Gaisano. On the other hand, I'm not surprised they terminated her: either through dishonesty or incompetence, the trust of a customer was broken.

  14. @good_samaritan: hmm, i'm just curious. what did your investigations show? was the cashier often committing the same mistake? if she kept doing it so many times, chances are she was really incompetent or she was really scamming the customers.

    if it were just an isolated incident and results of investigation were inconclusive, then i sympathize with the cashier. not only was she falsely accused, her means of livelihood was also taken away from her.

    @dominique: i don't have anything against not keeping quiet about what could be something wrong. indeed, it is the right thing to do. ako nga rin napa-isip kung baka na-scam na rin ako before. nag-comment lng ako kasi when i read your post, naisip ko na parang ang dali naman yata mag-judge ng mga tao na guilty nga yung cashier. yung determination nung guilt ba based on gut-feel lng? yun yung naisip ko, initially... pero kung nagkaroon naman ng proper investigation, eh di okay. :)

  15. There was an investigation about the incident.
    We called some of our head cashier to look at the situation. All of them agreed that something was not right/fishy. So we were about to call the cashier when someone complained at the grocery and low and behold it was the same cashier! That really gave her. But she kept on denying all charges. So in the end we just terminated her...


    thanks for posting it on the net... thanks for informing us. Thank you very much! :)

  16. seriously? such drama in this post. LOL@baycas2!