Watch Out for Walgreens

Watch Out for Walgreens

Several weeks ago, I was in Walgreens to pick up a prescription. I grabbed a couple of other items including three packages of store brand cough drops. There was a big yellow sign on the cough drop display indicating that they were on sale at three packages for two dollars. The regular price was $0.99 per bag, meaning that I would save about a dollar.

After paying at the checkout I glanced at my receipt and noticed that I had been charged the regular price, not the sale price. I immediately protested but she had already started to ring up the next customer and I had to go. I did tell her that I felt Walgreens had stolen money from me just the same as if I had reached into the cash drawer and grabbed a handful of bills.

When I got home I went to the Walgreens website and filed a complaint. It took about a week, but I eventually received a phone call from the store manager. He apologized profusely. I said I didn’t care so much about the apology, that what I wanted was some assurance that I could shop at Walgreens without fear that I would be ripped off again. I used the ‘you are stealing from me’ analogy yet again. All he could or would do was waffle and apologize. He offered no solution.

The problem of course is the automated scanning system. That sale had expired and the scanning system had reverted to the original price automatically but the store had not removed the sale promotion sign.

Lets think about this for a minute. Suppose they left the sale sign up one day too long and that 10 people were encouraged to buy cough drops. Each one was ripped off for $1.00. Let’s say that two of the 10 noticed the mistake and got their dollar back, each waiting between 5 and 10 extra minutes for the manager to show up and make the correction. That means that the store pocketed (read stole) $8.00 that they were not entitled to.

There are 34 Walgreens locations in my county phone book. $8.00 times 34 stores is $272.00. Walgreen’s has about 6000 stores nationwide so $8.00 times 6000 is $48,000. If this error occurred on one item per week per store it would generate $2,496,000 in undeserved revenue per year. I suspect that my estimate is extremely low and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the amount is 10 times $2.5 million per year.

Excerpt from the "Walgreens Creed":

"We believe that honest goods can be sold to honest people by honest methods. "

They have an interesting take on honesty.

Yesterday, I went to the same Walgreens again to pick up a prescription. I picked up a few other items. On checking out, I thought the total was a bit high so once again I checked my receipt. They had scanned the most expensive item ($6.00) twice. This time I stayed and got it corrected.

I do the grocery shopping for my family. This amounts to several hundred items per week bought in two or three separate transactions. I am vigilant in watching as the prices go up on the screen and I check my receipt to make sure that sale items ring up correctly. I rarely see errors like this at the grocery store.

Let me make clear that my ire is not directed at a simple mistake. We are human and we all make them. My ire is directed at the utter indifference displayed by management and their inability to offer even the suggestion that they will try to correct this problem.

I will close with this question. Were I to be caught stealing $8.00 worth of merchandise at Walgreens, do you think I would get off with an apology?

Remember, check your receipts, those dollars add up.

StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 6/23/2008 11:33:10 PM
Sure do. I almost got jack for some juice that was on sale for .99, but was charged full price of $2.99...for 12 bottles! Thats $24.00 extra the store almost got. Good thing I can add in my head. Needless to say I got my money back. Thanks for the warning.

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An episode of dishonesty at Walgreens
A Word from the Writer
Check your receipts
Published Date
6/5/2008 12:00:00 AM
Published In