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.