Know about the Scanning Code of Practice?

A few years ago, the Retail Council of Canada introduced the Scanning Code of Practice.  If you’re a consumer, it’s something you should know about.

In a nutshell, the code asks retailers to voluntarily commit to scanning accuracy of their products at the checkout. It also allows consumers to expect a standard resolution for instances where a product is scanned for more than it appears on the shelf.

According to the code, if a product scans too high at the checkout, the consumer can ask for the lower price.  In addition, if the correct price is $10 or less, the consumer can request the item for free.  If the item is more than $10, the consumer will get $10 off.

I remember when this first came out.  I was elated.  There were many times in the past when I’d take an item to the checkout and it looked like I was charged more.  Zellers kindly gave me four towels when the code first came out because of the code.  I’m still using them!

On the weekend, I was shopping for feta cheese for homemade greek salad. Feta cheese is an awful price, but we love to make our own greek salad, so there’s usually some in the fridge.  When I got to the checkout it scanned at $9.29.  Ouch!

I let the cashier know that the price on the shelf was $8.79.  She had somebody check it out.  They returned confirming the price I recalled. As she was manually changing the price I said “do you abide by the scanning code of practice?”  She paused.

“I have to call my manager” she said.

“No problem” I responded.  Even though I had a tinge of guilt as the lineup was growing behind me.

I overheard some of the conversation and the cashier saying “the customer wants it for free.”

Frankly, I was both embarrassed and a ticked off when she said that.  I didn’t go into the store wanting free feta cheese. I was willing to pay a ridiculous price of $8.79 for the container. It’s the code that lets me know that I have a right as a consumer to ask if my grocer volunteers to adhere to that code.

Honestly, I didn’t make up the code!

She hung up the phone and said “you get it for free” and adjusted my bill. I just smiled and said “cool! thanks!”

It’s been a long time since I spotted an error like that. It pays to know what the items in your cart cost, and it also clearly pays to watch as they’re scanned in.

Have you called a cashier on the code? What’s your story?


2 responses to this post.

  1. I love hearing stories like yours. I love it even more when the store voluntarily follows the code without being called on it! I hope your Greek Salad tasted even that much better!

    I have two stories.

    At the Real Canadian Superstore I wanted to buy a toy for 50% off (regular $20, on sale for $10). At the check outs it scanned for regular price. When I told the cashier it was meant to be on sale, she called an associate to check it out. The response: I got the item for free without any hassle.

    At Toys R Us I saw a toy my son wanted that was regularly priced at $100. There were about 50 little post it type notices around that section of the store saying that these items were 20% off. At the check out, it scanned for regular price. When I told the cashier it was meant to be 20% off, he called an associate to check it out. The response was “you have to buy *2* items to get the 20% off deal”. What? The sale notices posted all over every shelf where the toys were stocked said NOTHING about having to buy 2. I returned to grab a sale notice and brought it back to the cashier. He still refused to honour the posted sale price. I asked to speak to the manager. The manager came over and spoke to me – walked away briefly to check things out himself, then called the cashier back and said I could have it for 20% off. I was very annoyed that I had to be confrontational and “make a scene” in order to get the posted price. Since then, I have avoided shopping at Toys R Us as much as possible. They lost a consumer that day!


  2. Posted by caitlyn on May 24, 2010 at 1:25 am

    I still do not think it should be enforced, just take the sale price and leave the store. Retailers have to deal with jerks for customers everyday and to have to deal with something like this is just ridiculous, no offence, but when you asked the cashier if she followed the code and she told her manager that you wanted it for free, you should not be offended because thats where you were going with the question anyways.


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