Thursday, February 18, 2010

Balancing the register

Have you ever gotten your shopping basket to your car to unload your groceries, and as you put the last bag in the trunk, noticed something that was on your list lying -- unbagged -- in the bottom of the buggy? It happened to me on a recent cold Sunday, and I knew I was not going to trudge back to the store. I checked my receipt, hoping against hope that it showed generic ibuprofen, $7.22. But no. Sigh.

Again, I knew I wasn't going to walk back to the store, wait in line at customer service and make things right. I came up with a different plan pretty quickly. The following week, I would scan another bottle of ibuprofen and leave it in the store. I knew the plan could work, with the hardest part being just to remember to do it.

I made a point of leaving the bottle on the table where I would see it each day. And when Sunday came, I grabbed the bottle and put it in my car, to remind me even as I went to the store. Of course, I also had put it on my grocery list: Scan ibuprofen!

Everything went as planned. And I feel much better. Ir was not really a big thing, but it was the right thing. I was glad to think of an easy solution.

I guess why I'm writing about this is because I keep thinking of how frustrating it has been any time I've tried to do what I thought would be the right thing on issues with Walmart, which in this case would have been to take it back to the store right then. But I couldn't even imagine trying to explain what I had done. Maybe I was also afraid they'd consider me a shoplifter.

So, am I honest or not? The register is now balanced again. But I sure felt like a shoplifter for a week. Fortunately, it's not a feeling I liked. The next time the self-checkout station's automated voice says, "Please check your basket and make sure you've paid for everything" (or whatever it is that it says), I'll pay much closer attention!

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