How far would you go for a price adjustment?

by Erika Torres

71d321035cd84a7b955959ab7132f363I have to tell you a story that made me feel really dumb. Its the kind of incident that leaves you reeling because you feel pretty stupid even though you know you’re right. And the kind of moment that you can’t shake off your head–so I decided rather than to continue to feel stupid about it, I would blog about it, because somehow I know you guys will all understand.

After suffering through a cold and hardly getting any sleep, I went to CVS to get some NyQuil. I specifically chose the CVS brand over the name brand because it was on sale–a two-pack for $10.99. There was only one cashier on this lonely Saturday night, and there were three people in line behind me.

The pack rang up for $13.49. I asked him, “Are you sure? It’s listed as $10.99.” And he said it’s not on sale, the price is $13.49. I’ve been guilty before of getting the wrong item, so I told him to push my stuff to the side because I needed to go check the price.

So I went all the way to the back of the store, and sure enough, it was $10.99.

So then I had to go back up to the front of the store, and I told him it was $10.99. But there were still two people in line, so he had to ring them up first. So then after he rings them up, he calls an associate to do a price check.

I then have to go with the associate again to show him it’s $10.99. He confirms “oh yeah it is.” So I ask him: “Well don’t I get a discount or don’t I get it for free or something since you guys priced it wrong?” And he says, no I just get it for the price that it’s listed at.

That seems wrong to me since most stores I know have some sort of price accuracy rule, and I remember a blogger (can’t remember who, sorry!) recently wrote about price check laws in their state.

Anyway, I then have to wait in line, again, to get rung up correctly.

At this point, I’ve spent upwards of 7-10 minutes to get the right price and I’m a little annoyed.

When I finally get up to the cashier, I tell the guy: “So isn’t there some rule or something that I get it free or discounted because it was priced wrong?” And he also says no.

Mind you, I am smiling while I say this. Having worked in customer service before, I know full well that you attract more bees with honey.

But this cashier was 18, and his price check associate, was also 18, and they’re both now at the counter, looking at me like I should be working their jobs because I’m getting so worked up about a $2.49 price adjustment.

The guy continues to ring me up, telling me that no, I don’t get it free, I don’t get a discount, I don’t collect $200, I don’t pass Go!

So while he’s ringing me up, I’m looking at all the policies CVS has on their counter space, right there, right in front of me. They have policies like glued onto the counter space. And sure enough there it is:

CVS Price Accuracy Guarantee: If the price charged does not match the price advertised, an automatic $2 discount is given on the advertised price. 

So I said “Hah! There it is, right here” and pointed to it to the 18-year-old cashier, and he’s still like “Oh I don’t know, I’m going to have to ask my manager.”

So I said, “Go right ahead, I’ll wait right here, I’m not moving this time, you’ve already made me spend 10 minutes doing this.”

At this point, he just gives me a $2 discount because he doesn’t want to upset the customers waiting in line behind me. But I am so irritated at how this 18-year-old kid is looking at me like I’m some psycho going nuts over $2.

And I want to tell him: Look, kid, at my age, it’s not about the $2. It’s about the fact that I’ve just wasted 10 minutes of my life doing YOUR job, and I’m going to make you pay me for my time.

But since I don’t want him to think I’m any crazier than I already am, I say nothing. I get wrung up for the correct price for the NyQuil, plus the $2 discount.

Then the manager finally does come over and says “Because of your aggravation, here is another $2 coupon” and she smiles at me.

I tell her I wasn’t aggravated, I was annoyed that they were making me feel dumb, and she said I wasn’t dumb, while giving me that ‘just-get-out-of-here-lady’ look.

So I left, but the whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Apparently, CVS has a history of overcharging its customers and were even caught as early as 2013 doing it again.

Anyone else have any price check horror stories? 


jay serra July 9, 2017 - 11:09 am

I was in CVS today July 9, 2017 and overcharged for koolaid. I showed them the right price, they adjusted it. I asked for the overcharge policy, they had no clue what I was talking about. This was in Huntington, WV. I know the policy exists in CA and am wondering if it changes state to state. I told them I think it is $2. Manager said “No we don’t do that”. Looked high and low for written policy, no where to be found. I have seen it on the counter, above the counter, over the customer service, on the store flyers, but here in Huntington WV is is nowhere to be found.

Irina May 7, 2016 - 6:42 pm

Just happened to me for ZZZQuil,buy 1 get one 50% off on rice equal or less value. Ring at the cashier as full price for both. In 2 days went back to return my money.

Tiare January 28, 2015 - 9:49 am

You did that kid a favor! Now he knows how to do his job and he learned from someone who is more “honey” than “bee”. ; )

Amy @ Army Amy January 25, 2015 - 1:02 pm

I worked at Kohl’s for a few years in high school and we had a “yes we can” policy. (It even said “Yes we can!” on our nametags. LOL!) If someone told me the price was wrong and asked if I could adjust it, I was supposed to say yes. I didn’t even have to verify the signs. I was just supposed to do it. So I kind of expect that same treatment when I go shopping, which doesn’t always happen. However, I’ve never heard of people getting a discount because they were rung up wrong. That’s news to me!

Reply January 23, 2015 - 7:51 am

Good for you. I know it would have been wayyy easier to just pay what they rang it for but I commend you for sticking with it. Well done.

Jocelyn @ Bacon Payoff January 21, 2015 - 4:04 am

Hey Erika!

I totally did this at CVS about a month ago too. For maximum strength Mucinex or something (that shit is expensive!). I would’ve got the generic brand, but the real stuff was on sale, only it turns out I accidentally grabbed the 32-tablet box instead of the 16 and got rung up too high. I did the same thing you did, except I was in the wrong. Then I said “I only want the 16 box!” Of course!

Untemplater January 20, 2015 - 11:40 pm

Awesome for sticking them to it! I’m not sure I would have had as much patience as you especially with other customers around, so props to you. I didn’t realize there were price check laws like that. Very good to know thanks!

OFG January 20, 2015 - 8:45 pm

I’ve started to weigh the time-value of money more in these scenarios. If it’s just a couple of dollars I am unwilling to wait in line to correct the problem. In these scenarios I have grabbed the sticker off the rack and presented it to the cashier. It’s a whole lot faster than waiting for a price check 🙁

Jolene January 20, 2015 - 11:20 am

I actually love that you did this! I always keep an eye at CVS because I feel like that happens way too often!! They do at least take their own coupons after expiration date, which I think is the right thing to do but still, this was so maddening! I would have been irritated for sure!

CECE January 20, 2015 - 9:00 am

i would go just as far as you did and I think you were totally justified. Had I left the store and realized it was rung up wrong later I would probably just let it go. It’s a good thing they had the policy right there on the counter but it just goes to show you that their employees don’t know the rules and if you hadn’t pushed for it then they would have gotten away with it. Which is sucky customer service.

Kalie January 20, 2015 - 8:03 am

I have similar stories, including spending extra time in line with two kids in tow! It’s not about the $2 or $4, it’s the principle of getting the right price and any discount that might apply. This principle can translate into way more savings when you spend the time to get the best utility rates or the lowest mortgage rate. Being frugal is partly about getting a better deal as often as possible.

Akirah January 20, 2015 - 7:02 am

I’m glad you waited in line for the adjustment. Kids these days need to be reminded that money doesn’t grow on trees. Also, I think it’s good for them to see someone like you pinching pennies. Everyone has a right to ask to be charged properly!

Money Beagle January 20, 2015 - 6:21 am

I think you were just fine. The one change that I would have made is that I probably would have given up on trying to deal with those two and asked to speak to the manager a little early on in the process.

SavvyFinancialLatina January 20, 2015 - 6:11 am

You go girl! You just have to stand firm!

Revanche January 19, 2015 - 12:40 pm

I’ve had those cashiers before! And like you, once irritated, I’m standing firm until they get it right if they give off the attitude that you ran into because it is not my problem if they don’t know their jobs, it is my problem if you’re trying to get away with not doing it at my expense, literally. I may come to them with a smile about it but not being rude doesn’t make us stupid or softies!


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