Friday, 9 November 2012

Tesco's dodgy checkout

I was in our local Tesco Express a short time ago, buying some Penguin bars. They were on offer: Buy One, Get Two Free. (Yes, really.) Now, I'm partial to a Penguin and a Rocky Bar with a cup of tea in the afternoon at work - yes, one of each, thanks very much. I was fresh out of Penguins, so this evening's offer was too good to resist.

I p-p-picked up six packs, nine bars in each pack. The shelf price for a pack: £1.82. This makes each Penguin a fraction over 20p, about twice what I'm prepared to pay - hey, I'll be a (middle-age) pensioner next year! - but 27 Penguins for that amount makes each one less than 7p. Bargain.

At the self-service checkout I scanned the six packs. £1.82 came up with each beep. Clubcard scanned. Beep. Subtotal £10.92. So far, so expected. Six times £1.82 is £10.92, and I know that the discounts are applied when I press "Finish and pay".

I press. Total to pay: £3.50. Three pounds fifty? I mentally calculate how much it should be. Twice £1.82 is £3.64, so Tesco is undercharging me 14p! I can't see any catch, so I insert my tenner, collect the £6.50 change, and study the receipt.

There are six entries of £1.82, with a subtotal of £10.92. Fine so far. Then the Multibuy Savings section.

MCVITIES B1G2F .... -£7.42

Hang on, four times £1.82 is £7.28. This is where things seem to have gone wrong in the Tesco computer. How can a machine which makes thousands of calculations a day get a simple repeated addition wrong?

This time the error is in my favour, but how often does it work against the customer?

I think I'll visit as invited to on the receipt and tell them. I don't suppose they'll ask me for the 14p back.


Val Poore said...

Just the numbers alone make my head spin. You are really on the ball, Halfie! Can't believe you're retiring next year!

flingel said...

If you go on the Tescos site and search for Penguin, you'll find they're showing the offer you quote - but at a price of £1.75. I therefore suspect that the computer program has been set up to work out the total to pay based on that - i.e. 2 x £1.75 - and then chucked the difference out as the multibuy savings.

Halfie said...

So why not avoid all the confusion and price the product at £1.75 both on the shelf and on the receipt? I'm still waiting for a response from Tesco.

flingel said...

I imagine that the price if you bought an individual pack has to stay at £1.82 because that is the higher price you have to pay at a Tesco Express rather than £1.75 at a large Tescos, but I agree with you that you'd think they could give a clearer / better explanation. My guess is that their reply to you will point out how good they've been to you because not only have you got 3 for the price of one, but they've also let you have it at the "normal" Tesco price rather than the Tesco Express price - and they'll probably fail to say anything much as to the shortcomings of why the till receipt can't be clearer!