Bait And Switch (Randyjw; August 29, 2019)
What happens when you’re a Walmart customer, and two of the items you were planning to purchase ring up at the wrong price advertised? If you notice it, and you’d prefer to receive the cheaper prices that the proposed items should be, then you notify the cashier, who’s supposed to check the prices and adjust as needed. But, if you’re a homeless person, and, in my case, Jewish, as well, you get banned permanently from the store, law enforcement called (five!), handcuffed, and humiliated.
I hate to be writing about this, at such a time as when Walmart, and it’s customers, have also been innocently targeted, as in the recent incidents that have lately been in the news. I commiserate with the victims and the victims’ families, as well as the corporation, for these recent (and, also, not so recent, come to think of it) tragedies. But, I am upset about the treatment I have received in their store – – not only today, but in the last few months during which time I have been a regular customer.
I selected my purchases and proceeded to the self-checkout lane. Upon finishing my scans, I noticed that two items did not ring up correctly, and notified a cashier. One item was a French Bread, which normally is $1.00 USD. I wrote about the bread in a previous post. And, yes; I have been discriminated against before making that post, and hence to this day. The French Bread, however, was ticketed with a French Bread Twin price tag (both front and back), which makes it $1.98. However, the product was obviously mislabeled, as I know the difference between the two: the French Bread has only one loaf in the bag, and seems to be wider than the French Bread Twin, which, as its name indicates, contains two loaves in the bag, but they are seemingly thinner. I’d rather have more middle than crust, anyways, and being that the other one is cheaper, it works all around for me. But, no. The cashier was insistent that it was French Bread Twin, although she was wrong. The second item was a small Snickers bar (I would have preferred a larger one, but they didn’t seem to have them in the next couple of aisles, so I just left it, as is). The orange and yellow shelf tag indicated that the Snickers bar was .78 cents – – but, it rang up at .88 cents.
Then, a man came over (not the usual manager), a Walmart employee, and told me to never set foot inside the store again. He was going to also take my entire purchase. They hadn’t even gone to check any prices or anything (in fact, a female employee said I should go get another one; all the way at the back corner of the store…). I had picked out the particular loaf I wanted because it was lighter than the others, and would therefore be softer. The man said he was calling the police (law enforcement). He did, and they arrived quickly. First, there were two officers, than three, inside the store. They took the story of the Walmart man first. I had wanted to hear what my accuser was saying, but they would not let me. The employees then fixed their errors of the pricing, and then the officers left the store with me. They wanted my ID, but I didn’t see any reason to provide it, considering that I didn’t feel I had done anything wrong, other than exert my protection under Federal law to receive the pricing advertised on the shelf and items. Then they started giving me a hard time. They said to me that I couldn’t take the cart beyond the area (these things are limited with electronic stopping devices, anyways…), and so I went to get my stuff out of the cart. One officer grabbed and pushed down my backpack, so that I could not remove it from the cart. Then they started trumping up charges, saying I was yelling and disorderly conduct, and trespassing, saying I could be a serial killer, (no, I really wasn’t; I was just being targeted and discriminated against by Walmart (there have been many, many other incidents by them to me, some of which I’ve made reference to and have responded to them in their surveys). They said that they took the ID of the Walmart guy. They asked for my hand (no; not in marriage, but behind my back), and handcuffed me. The officer got my ID from my pocketbook; he said they needed it so that they could put it in the computer. He went into Walmart with it. When he came out, one of the officers asked, Anything? The other indicated no. The free bus picks up at Walmart, and I told them I was going to wait for the bus. Now, I don’t really know what is going on; if it’s just the store, or if I can ever wait for the free bus at the location, or not.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects consumers from such practices, known as bait and switch, since it had been a problem in the past, when sellers would advertise items at a certain price and then say they were, or actually be, out of stock on that item, or sell higher-priced items in their place. It’s some of the driving factor between stock numbers on cars being listed in ads, or rain checks for sold out items, etc. Mislabeling, with higher prices charged for the item in the package, or a shelf price which rings up higher at the register, would likely fall under the same parameters.
As they say, Caveat Emptor.