MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

July 23, 2013

Working with those clueless on policy

Do you take advantage of price matching when you shop? It’s a great way to streamline your shopping – you can buy at a store that’s perhaps more convenient to you, while enjoying the lower sale price you found elsewhere. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. What happens when it doesn’t?

Dear Jill:

Why are so many employees clueless about their own policies? One store I shop has a policy that they will match the price of any competitor’s ad, as well as some online retailers’ prices. I found a video game online that was just a great deal. But I didn’t want to pay to shop it, so I went to the store and asked them to match it.  The clerk was clueless. She asked for a manager who said they do not match prices on the Internet. I did not have their policy with me and they refused to check. I came home and called the corporate line, and they said the store was wrong. What a pain this is when you waste time and gas.

— Ofelia C.

I agree that there are few things more frustrating than a shopping trip gone wrong – especially when you encounter an unexpected battle in the checkout lane.  Couponers and price-conscious shoppers take the time to research stores’ policies, and at times you may feel that you know the store’s policy better than the person standing in front of you does.

While my price-matching adventures usually go well, I have learned that it’s always worth taking a few things with me too to help the trip go as smoothly as possible:

1. Take the competitor ad with you. You might think this tip would almost go without saying, but several major chains advertise “ad-free price matching.” In my experience, this opens the door for potential issues. Without the ad in hand, expect a longer-than-normal wait if the cashier has to look up or verify each item’s price. And, if you’re matching an online price, print a copy of the ad in question, or be prepared to pull up the ad on a smartphone.

2. Take a copy of the store’s policy. If you’re faced with resistance at the register, pulling out a copy of the store’s policy on price matching makes it difficult for a cashier to say the store doesn’t match prices when their policy clearly states that they do.

It’s never my intention to generalize about all employees anywhere at any store. Most cashiers are knowledgeable, and I especially enjoy the ones who commend me on my savings at the checkout. But as my readers have shared, the cashiers who don’t know the policy can inadvertently make life difficult for shoppers who are simply trying to utilize a service that the store offers.

Another reader shares some thoughts:

Dear Jill:

I could kind of understand it if new cashiers weren’t totally familiar with stores’ policies on things like taking competitors’ coupons and matching prices from other stores, but what burns me up is when I see a cashier with a nametag that says “Ten Years of Service” who is still insisting the store doesn’t do something their policy says they do. I always take a printout of the policy with me and will stand there and calmly wait and wait and wait until either the cashier decides to believe me or calls another employee over who will.

With this economy, people are going to want to save money any way they can. It should not be a surprise to the store when shoppers only want to do what the store’s website says they can do.

— Laine D.

Smart Living Tip: Stores with policies to match competitor prices, whether it’s an advertised price or accepting a competitor store coupon, are doing so to entice shoppers to remain at their store to shop versus heading across town to shop elsewhere. Don’t feel as though you’re doing something wrong or “taking advantage” of the store by trying to exercise these customer-friendly policies – even if your cashier happens to be less than friendly.

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