HEB Giveth…And Taketh Away

Mondays are our usual grocery shopping days, and today was no exception. The HEB store in Marble Falls was practically deserted when we got there around noon…at least compared to the pre-Thanksgiving madness of last week.

We picked up everything on our list plus about fifty things that weren’t and headed for the checkout, where the wait was infintesi…infitensi…really short. I started bagging the groceries as they came down the tiny treadmill, so I couldn’t discern the subject of the discussion that the checker was having with Debbie regarding a package of coconut shrimp. The checker kept scanning the package and staring at her screen with obvious puzzlement, and she finally picked up the Food Fone and called for a manager. One quickly appeared, they had a brief consultation, and after he left the checker said, “well, today is your lucky day.”

I asked Debbie was was going on and she said we were getting the shrimp for twenty cents, which is how the package was marked.

Photo - Label on a package of coconut shrimp showing a price of twenty cents
I hope we don’t discover that these are actually helium-filled shrimp.

My guess is that somebody weighed and labeled the package before it had shrimp added to it. We would have been happy to pay the real price — I’m not sure why they didn’t just weigh the package on the checkout line scales and apply the per-pound price, but it was the manager’s call. Anyway, we joked about needing to buy lottery tickets — hilarity ensued — paid out, and headed back to Horseshoe Bay.

On the way, Debbie started inspecting the receipt and said something to the effect that perhaps we weren’t so lucky today after all. Here’s what she noticed on the receipt:

Photo - Portion of a grocery receipt showing $39 for a bottle of lemon juice
Next time, we’re not choosing the juice from Magic Lemons.

So, this one is more difficult to understand (although it might explain why nobody before us appeared to have taken a bottle of lemon juice from the display). Even though the bottle of juice was marked correctly (see below), the scanning system rang it up as ten times the correct amount.

Photo - Label on a bottle of lemon juice showing a price of $3.98
At $3.98, it’s a deal. At ten times that, it’s a steal…for someone.

I don’t anticipate having any trouble whatsoever getting a refund for the difference in price, and I can’t help wondering if I won’t be the only customer who experienced this foodie faux pas. But, the lesson is obvious: even for the stores with the best reputations, Доверяй, но проверяй, or — if you don’t speak Russian, which is highly unlikely given the sophistication of the typical Gazette reader — trust but verify.

[Update (11/30/21): As expected, getting a refund for the LJO {lemon juice overcharge} was painless. This is apparently not the first time something like this has happened. I suppose there will always be the potential for human error when inputting prices for thousands of different items. I wonder if HEB has considered using some kind of AI to reality test the price that’s input against the nature of the item, e.g. there should never be a can of refried beans with a price in excess of $10.]