How Item Pricing Saves You Grocery Money

Posted: February 16, 1990

You're in the grocery store doing your shopping.

Because the store doesn't put prices on the items, you feel like you're shopping blind.

To find out how much something costs, you have to search for the shelf tag.

If you can't find it or it didn't have one, there's no way to know how much it will cost - or to compare it to other items to see which is the best buy. All you can do is guess and hope it won't cost too much.

Later you start to worry whether you have enough money.

But since there are no prices in the items in your cart, you have no way of adding up how much you've spent.

Finally you're done shopping and go to the cashier.

As your items go over the scanner, a couple of prices are higher than you expected. But because there are no prices on the items, you have no basis to challenge the scanner.

Your only option is to hold up the line of people behind you while someone goes to check the price.

So you sigh and let it pass.

When you go home, you go over your register tape, but again, without prices on items you can't check to see if you were overcharged.

Does this sound familiar?

It illustrates the problems consumers face when shopping in grocery stores without individually priced items.

And it shows the need for an item-pricing ordinance in Philadelphia.

Item pricing enables us to be smarter shoppers.

A New York study found that shelf tags were missing or incorrect for one- third of the items surveyed.

With item pricing, all items would have a price marked on them, allowing us to compare prices better. We can buy what we need and we know how much we're spending.

Item pricing saves us money.

A study in New York found overcharges in 32 or 33 stores using electronic scanners.

Another study in New Jersey showed that overcharges by scanners cost consumers there $13 million a year.

Item pricing allows us to check the scanners at the check-out or at home to make sure that we aren't overcharged.

Grocers say item pricing will increase their costs. But studies show that item pricing will cost 10 cents per $100 of groceries at the most. Consumers will save that much by avoiding just one overcharge!

Item pricing is good for business.

Surveys show that shoppers prefer stores with item pricing. A survey in New York found that 90 percent of shoppers want item pricing.

It's time for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania to take action too. Consumers need item pricing so we can stop shopping blind.

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Readers are welcome to submit proposed "Guest Opinion" columns to Editorial Dept., Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Phila., Pa. 19130.

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