Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Small price signs are driving me crazy

1974–2000 ShopRite logo, still in use at some ...Image via Wikipedia

I needed a few things at ShopRite in Hackensack on Monday, but little did I know I'd be making two trips to the store because of a missing price sign.

I picked up two cans of ShopRite canola-oil spray, which were on sale, and noticed for the first time the olive-oil spray is in the same size can, yet contains two ounces less. I also got two half-gallons of Florida's Natural orange juice ($2.50 each). 

But I didn't notice until I got home the organic, low-fat, lactose-free milk I bought rang up at $4.19 for a half-gallon, not the usual price of $3.99, and I thought I had seen a $3.99 sign near it. Do I go back? Well, I left ShopRite's pure instant tea off my list, so the return trip was justified.

That afternoon, I tracked down two bottles of pure instant tea and then went looking for the price sign for the organic, lactose-free milk. I bent, I craned and I scanned the signs, squinting at the small letters describing each variety, but couldn't find one for that milk. The $3.99 sign above it was for a different brand.

A couple of weeks earlier, I bought one pound of organic spinach I thought was on sale, according to the price sign, but which rang up at $6.99, not $4.99, I realized when I got home. I do review my purchases before I leave the store, but often miss items. When I returned to the store with the receipt for the spinach, a produce guy pointed out the number "11" on the shelf sign, indicating the sale was on the 11-ounce size, not the one-pound package I selected.

But ShopRite's overall system puts shoppers at a disadvantage. If the sign is not missing, it's hard to read, with abbreviations and small type, especially on low shelves. Store workers need to look over shelves to make sure items are placed over the right signs and police customers who move items or change their minds and just drop an item wherever they are.

And sometimes, even if the sign is there and correct, the store's computer hasn't been updated and you get overcharged at the register.

I don't have the same problem at Costco, where price signs are large and displayed prominently, or other stores, including Fairway Market and Whole Foods Market, both in Paramus.

My second trip to ShopRite wasn't a total loss. I got a $2 discount on the two jars of instant tea by using a store coupon from my first shopping trip.

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