10 Things Your Grocer Doesn't Want You to Know

Scanners Can Make Pricing Errors -- And They Do

The days of grocery store cashiers ringing up each item by hand are over. Now they just have to scan a barcode and the product price automatically enters the system. You can even do a self-checkout in many supermarkets.

The scanner not only adds speed to the checkout process, but also accuracy. However, don't assume that the computer is always right. Pricing errors occur more often than you might think -- and it could work out in your favor.

Your cashier might charge you for green peppers when you bought red. Or perhaps something that was supposed to be on sale rang up at regular price. The really interesting thing here is store policy on scanner errors.

For example, in Michigan, if a consumer is overcharged, he or she is entitled to a discount on that item worth 10 times the discrepancy. Sometimes they'll just give you the item for free. So read those receipts, people!

Related Articles


  • Bloom, Jonathan. "Expiration Dates -- They're Helpful -- And Confusing." Culinate. Jan. 21, 2009. (June 24, 2010) http://www.culinate.com/articles/culinate8/expiration_dates
  • Fiegerman, Seth. "Grocery Store Secrets You Need to Know." Mainstreet.com. Oct. 27, 2009. (June 24, 2010) http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/lifestyle/food-drink/grocery-store-secrets-you-need-know
  • Fulmer, Melinda. "Secrets of superstar grocery shoppers." MSN Money. Mar. 7, 2008. (June 24, 2010) http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney /SecretsOfSuperstarGroceryShoppers.aspx
  • Goodman, Jack. "Grocery Shopping: Who, Where and When." The Time Use Institute. Oct. 2008. (June 24, 2010) http://www.timeuseinstitute.org/Grocery%20White%20Paper%202008.pdf
  • Grant, Kelli B. "Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill." WalletPop.com. 2010. (June 24, 2010) http://www.walletpop.com/top5/general/cut-grocery-bill/
  • "The Psychology Behind Grocery Store Design." Frugal for Life. Jun. 15, 2009. (June 24, 2010) http://frugalforlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/psychology-behind-grocery-store-design.html
  • "Shopping Carts More Germy Than Public Restrooms." Good Morning America. Feb. 8, 2007. (June 24, 2010) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=2859060
  • "Supermarket Secrets That Can Make You Sick." The Doctor Oz Show. Nov. 2, 2009. (June 24, 2010) http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/supermarket-secrets-can-make-you-sick
  • Vlahos, Kelley Beaucar. "Store Customer Cards a Source for FBI?" FOXNews.com. Aug. 1, 2002. (June 24, 2010) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,59262,00.html
  • Wadyka, Sally. "10 Things Your Grocery Store Doesn't Want You to Know." MSN Health & Fitness. 2010. (June 24, 2010) http://health.msn.com/fitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100165289
  • Wansink, Brian. "Grocery Shopping Psychology." Cornell University. 2010. (June 24, 2010) http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/research/shopping/anchoring.htm
  • Weiss, Rick. "FDA is Urged to Ban Carbon-Monoxide-Treated Meat." The Washington Post. Feb. 20, 2006. (June 24, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/19/AR2006021901101.html


How Processed Food Saved the World

How Processed Food Saved the World

You probably ate a lot of from-scratch cooking over the holidays. HowStuffWorks Now looks at the problems of preparing food in the past.

More to Explore