It doesn’t add up

Or: Why Kroger’s can’t do math

Stopped at my local Kroger’s to pick up a back of spuds. A 5lb bag of red potatoes cost $4.29 (which is daylight robbery, but if you shop at Krogers, you don’t expect cheap). As usual, there were so few cashiers on duty and so many people in line that I thought that I was in Wal-Mart, so I decided to use the self check-out.

Bad move:

  • Scanned the spuds – $4.29
  • Put in four dollar bills.
  • Put in two quarters.
  • Waited for my receipt, none came.
  • Looked at the screen. It apparently wanted another money.
  • Looked more closely. Total goods, $4.29. Amount tendered. $4.50. Cash needed: 79c. What the Hell..?
  • Tried to get the attention of the already-overburdened cashier. Finally got him to come and look at the machine. He prodded the refund buttons and tried to get the machine to cooperate.
  • I drew his attention to the fact that it had counted the cost and the cash correctly, but could not figure out the subtraction part correctly.
  • He returned to his supervisor station, weaved an incantation and sacrificed a fresh-frozen chicken to the silicon gods, and the machine finally decided that I was not a thief and let me go.
  • The Dude handed me some change and a ridiculously long receipt showing several corrections he had to make in order to complete the simplest transaction imaginable.

I have already established in the past that I do not like shopping at Kroger’s. In a world that forces you choose between cheap and good, they are not particularly either. I have never liked their prices, their silly shopper’s card and their not-particularly-competitive gas prices – and I loathe their misleading “everyday low price” yellow tags – a bad idea that Meijers has unfortunately copied.

The only reason I shop there at all is because they are the closest store to my house. In spite of this being a new store, they never seem to have enough cashiers and their self-scan checkouts have been troublesome from day one. I have complained to them about this several times, and they have replied with meaningless apologies.

My one regret was that I did not take a picture of the screen with my phone. That is an error I hope to correct.

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