The other day I was at my other favorite supermarket standing in the self-checkout lane ready to do battle with the attendant standing at the control station. You see, I had taken the plastic bottle of laundry detergent and scanned it over the plastic plate and the price came up as 2.59. As far as I was concerned it should have read 1.77, just as the sign said on the large display from which I grabbed it near the back of the store.
After finally getting the attention of the attendant who had been helping two obviously more important shoppers than me, I made mention to her of the incorrect pricing. She scanned it in her computer and said that 2.59 was correct. Naturally, I was a gentleman (hey, this is my fantasy, not yours) and said, “Ma’am, I’m sure you are mistaken because the sign indeed read 1.77 in two locations- at the shelf in the regular aisle and at the large bin display all the way in the back.”
Not wanting to believe anything that came out of my mouth was true, she motioned for a gofer to check the accuracy of my statement. A few long minutes passed with those standing in the self-checkout lane behind me getting antsier (an obvious anagram of nastier) by the second. The gofer finally returned and said that the price was indeed 2.59 and that it was a different brand at 1.77. I asked him to which location did he go (but in a way in which I ended in a preposition) and he said that he looked in the regular shelves. I pointed out to the judge that the corporate attorney did not do due diligence. I said, “well, if he had gone to the large bin in the back he would have seen the mixture of products all at the same price. I picked up the said exhibit from the large bin which had both brands on it and there was no quick way to discern if there was any price differential between the myriad of labels. The sign only read 1.77.” The attendant looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language.
The judge- I mean, attendant- did not rule in my favor so I asked her to remove the said exhibit from my list to which she complied. I also told her that I was going to appeal to a higher court- the store manager- hoping this would intimidate her into giving in. She gave me that look I’m used to seeing. You know, the one that says two words.
Anyways, after I bought a couple of lottery tickets at the self-vending machine I took a look at the nearby service desk, saw that there was only one other person arguing with the clerk and figured what did I have to lose. I walked over and told the clerk about the pricing problem. She said that she would have another gofer check out the bin to see if I was telling the truth. Five minutes later she still had not sent anyone because the store was a madhouse of activity.
The clerk took a hard look at me and saw I was not going to back down for 82 cents. She asked if the detergent I had grabbed was still at the checkout lane. The attendant controlling the self-checkout area gave it to her and she rung it up at 1.77. Yes! There is justice.
I’m thinking of teaching an adult education class in self-assertive skills at the local community college.