, Muskogee, OK


March 18, 2014

How to navigate errors while at the checkout line

As a frugal shopper, I’m always closely watching my grocery budget. When I plan a shopping trip, I know roughly what my pre-tax, post-coupon total should be before I get anywhere near the checkout lane. This is helpful when coupons don’t scan correctly or worse, when an item I buy scans at a higher, non-sale price. I’ll also take a minute and look through my receipt before I leave the store. A quick 30-second glance at my receipt can save me a return trip if something rang up wrong.

Some of my readers do the same, and it’s a good habit to get into, because the checkout process isn’t always perfect:

Dear Jill:

I would like to bring up the subject of errors that can occur at the checkout. I always check my receipt after I get home and make sure that all the charges are correct. Although some errors are common, like an item double scanned or an item charged at full-price instead of the sale price, here is the strangest and most costly error I have ever found.

I purchased some lunch meat at the deli counter and the label printed out as $3.59, however when I looked at my receipt, it rang up as $35.90.  

In all cases, my local supermarket has always been very courteous and refunded the overcharges, and at some stores if the item rings up at the wrong price, it is free! So I have found that it is better to report the errors to customer service rather than at the checkout. Don’t ever throw away your receipts without double-checking them!

— Veri D.

I agree. There are few things more frustrating than getting home, unpacking your groceries and then looking at your receipt and realizing you overpaid for an item, or one of your coupons wasn’t scanned.

To resolve it, you’ve usually got to make a second trip to the store, usually within a few days of the first trip, then go to the store’s service counter and ask them to sort out your receipt and give you a refund.

Trust me – it’s much easier to take a moment and look at your receipt before you leave the store. If you don’t want to stand in the store, load your groceries in your vehicle, sit in the driver’s seat and then take a minute to go through it. Another reader echoes this sentiment:

Dear Jill:

Big fan of your column! I would like to share something with your readers.

Keep your receipts and really look at them. I have found coupons that didn’t come off, and especially with the new digital coupons that you load to the store card, I like to look at the receipt and make sure those come off, too, because you can’t always tell at the register.

Take a minute and do it while you’re still in the store. If something does ring up wrong, it seems easier to go to the service counter and have them fix it.

I have found that with the digital coupons, sometimes you need to email the company if the coupon didn’t come off at the register, and when you do that, they need information from your receipt too.

— Angie R.

This is a great point – saving your receipt is necessary for straightening out any potential issues with e-coupons that weren’t credited, as well as any Catalina promotions in which you might have taken part.

For example, if you purchase items that are part of a “Buy Two, Get $1 Catalina Coupon” deal, and the Catalina does not print, you can visit Catalina’s website ( and request that the coupon be mailed to you.

However, to do this, you’ll need some information from your receipt. (Again, keep those receipts!)

Smart Living Tip: Another reason to keep your receipts? E-coupon apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 require you to submit photos of your receipts to receive reimbursement for coupons that you’ve loaded via these apps.

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