Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ms. Wise & Ms. Otherwise Report: On Math, Groceries and Feeling Good

Ms. Wise says, "Life is school, school is life. There's always learning going on whether we are purposefully trying to teach or not."

Yesterday I went to the grocery store. Alone. Just me, and my own self. I did what I nearly always do at the store. I tallied as I went. My system of tallying is pretty accurate. I am usually within $5.00 or less of the actual total. Here's how it goes. (Note to self: teach this little trick to all the kids.)

Everything I place in the cart adds $1.00 to the total. Actually, I should say that anything $.50 or more adds $1.00 to my tally. For instance, if the actual cost is $.64, it equals $1.00 towards my total. If there is an item that costs $.29 and another that costs $.25, then I would combine those two to make another dollar. If something costs more than $1.00, I add an additional dollar or two, as the situation warrants. By rounding up all the time, that takes care of the tax that will be applied at the end. (I don't weigh all my produce. I just make a guess.)

My tally this time at the grocery store came to $95.00. ~~Why do I tally? Why do I watch the items for errors as they scan them in? (Tough to do when they begin scanning before you have all your items out of the cart. Also tough to do because each store scans them in a different way to make it hard for you to decipher.) Someone wealthy and wise said doing this is a wise idea.~~

Wow! I am going in and out of my story today--Sorry! Back on track...hmmm, where was I. Oh, yes. $95.00. I had brought with me two competitor's coupons to use. One was for $.99 peanut butter and another for $5.99 for an 8 pack of paper towels.

The cashier rang up the peanut butter and paper towels somewhere in the middle of the order. Then, at the end, he tried to scan in the coupons. I had already questioned one item that he had scanned and didn't want to hold up the line again or look stupid if I was wrong again, so I didn't say anything about it.

The total amount I was to pay came to $80.26! Based on my tallying calculations, it didn't seem like the correct total. I had that niggling feeling in the back of my mind. But, before I could really take the time to process my thinking, I was done with my transaction.

I grabbed my mile long receipt from the case lot sale, and started to look it over. My eyes scanned the length of it two or three times seeking confirmation of items that were not appearing on the receipt. It seemed to be that the cashier had not charged me at all for the peanut butter or the paper towels. In addition to not charging me, he had also taken off $6.98 for the coupons. I had the items in my cart and was being paid to take them away.

AAARGH! I say this because now I had to visit the customer service desk. Did I have to? Yes, even though I had already been at the store longer than I had wanted to be and was reluctant to stay longer. I admit. I hesitated for a moment knowing how long it would take and the hassle of it all. Drat! {Ms. Wise wins again}

Yes, it took forever. Once it was my turn, they had to call a manager since they didn't know what to do with me. In the end though, I paid the 7 bucks for the items, but they couldn't do anything about the coupons, so I ended up essentially getting the items for nothing rather than having them pay me to take them. However, as is always the case, choosing the right made me glad I had.

What's the point of this long and probably boring story? It's the lessons of course! I can teach my kids math calculations, which is great and very useful. But, I can also teach them about making the right choice when you are by yourself or in a crowd. I can teach them about the good feeling you get when you make a good choice that wasn't the easiest thing to do.

Thanks, Ms. Wise, for coming through.


Christensenmom said...

Funny thing is I could've written this post!

I usually add up my groceries too. I've been having the kids play the game as well.
I've also been undercharged and had to go to customer service and they too didn't know what to do with me... lol!

Mom of 5 Boys said...

Yeah, I get that too. I've actually had cashiers say to me, "Just take the stuff; who cares?" I've had customer service people say, "Wait, you want to pay for it, when you could just have had it for free?"

Um, YES!

KymPossible said...

Good for you!! I've done the same thing. A few years ago my DH was charged only $1.50 or so for a car battery, due to a barcode error in the store's pricing system. He tried everything he could think of to pay the correct price for the battery but finally had to concede failure and walked off with only the $1.50 charge on our Mastercard.


CompleteLee Blogger said...

Seriously, they (the infamous they) make it difficult to be honest these days! Whatever happened to days like when Abe Lincoln walked for miles just to return some change owed to someone?!

Mary @ Raising 4 Godly Men said...

Thank you for sharing this ! I loved reading about it. I loved how you round up which is a trait my hubby and I do. And to teach your kiddos how to do right even when it would be so easy to do wrong. Bless you for doing this and I was blessed reading your story. I pray you join in on TWT again.

Blessings in Him<><
-Mary@ Raising 4 Godly Men

Rebecca said...

Great post and great TT tip! I've been tallying like that for years and you're right it's great for catching computer and cashier errors, but it's also the only way I can keep myself from over-spending!

It's so embarassing to put stuff back at the checkout if you go over your budget -- most folks won't do it, so they just "pay with the card". Hard to stick with the budget that way!

Kudos for trying to correct your error -- how we act in front of people is one thing, but what God cares most about is how we respond to temptation when no one is looking!

Have a blessed week!