‘I got charged for three six packs of crisps last week when I only bought two. There’s one here (pointing to the till receipt) and two here. I assume it’s another case of the till reading the bar code twice.’
‘Sorry. It does happen, I’m afraid.’
‘I know. It’s happened to me four times in the last six months.’
‘The tills are very sensitive, you see. They have to be to get through the queues quickly. The cashiers should be vigilant enough to spot it, but some get missed. We’ll obviously refund you the £1.’
‘It isn’t the £1 I’m bothered about. Think a stage further. I’m sure your tills aren’t targeting me specifically, so if it’s happened to me there’s no doubt it’s happened to other people. In fact, it probably happens to everybody occasionally.’
‘Well if that’s the case, how much is Sainsbury’s making in phantom sales?’
‘It isn’t just Sainsbury’s. I’ve had the same thing happen to me when I’ve been shopping in other stores.’
‘OK, so how much is the corporate world making in phantom sales? It must run to millions because I’d lay a fair bet that most people don’t check their till receipts against their shopping.’
Nod of concurrence. And then she arranged for a member of staff to organise a refund. I was also given an additional £5 as a goodwill gesture (which I was glad of because £5 buys four 500ml bottles of premium beer when it’s on promotion.)
But then I began to feel guilty. Is this effectively hush money to keep me quiet? Could they have guessed that I’ve always been the sort to make waves in places as high as I can reach? (I’ve even got a few results down the years.)
So I pondered, and eventually decided that this is a borderline case where the doctrine of caveat emptor is not entirely unreasonable. So check your damn till receipts!
(Don’t snigger. This isn’t trivial, you know. It isn’t.)
And I might make a post
About a rock song with a ghost
It might even have an existential twist. Won’t that make a change?