An email to Tesco. The worrying thing about this is that I appear to be turning into a cantankerous old git. But maybe I always was?

Hello. On 11 October, I purchased some Broccoli from the Tesco Express on West Street, Sheffield. I don’t normally do this, given the exorbitant 90p cost for a small floret at the express store, but the promise of a half price vegetable secured my interest, and so I queued for the requisite 10 minutes with moderate excitement in order to pay for the goods.

Unfortunately, at the till, I was charged 90p. I wondered if I had made a mistake so paid, and then checked the shelf again.

Alas! It was the store that was in error. Given that I had already allocated much of my lunch hour to the gathering of broccoli, I was reluctant to queue again in order to rectify your mistake. As there was no apparent customer service desk, I walked to the front of the queue.

“Get back!” shouted the nearest cashier, perhaps assuming that I was going to attack her with the cruciferous vegetable. Knowing that this was not the case, I was able to hold my own with a swift retort of “No, you owe me 45p!” No doubt dreading that here was a ‘live one’, she let me be served, although making sure it was her colleague – the original cashier – who would administer the task.

Whilst the cashier was apologetic “oh, yes, sorry, I realised just after you had gone”, and gave a refund of the difference, it was not until a few days later that I realised that Tesco has a policy, whereby in the event of an error between the price on the shelf and the till, the item will be refunded in full and kept by the customer. Unless, of course, it was in Sainsbury’s when I read that sign. But it seems unlikely, given the current dire financial circumstances that are faced by your rival, that they could even afford to get a sign printed let alone follow through on its promise. So I stand by the thought that I read this in Tesco.

The question, then, is why I was not refunded the full amount by the cashier, for a mistake that was apparently known about, and in accordance with your published statement. Could it be a matter of staff training?

In case it is of assistance, I still have the refund for the receipt itself, although I can’t locate the one for the original broccoli purchase so you’ll just have to trust me on that. It was the same cashier for the purchase and refund. The numbers read:

“11/10/04 13:14 3354 003 2004 4079”

I must stress that despite the apparent discrepancy with company policy, the cashier who served me was courteous, friendly and apologetic. Nonetheless, the thought that I am being robbed blind by misprogrammed computers does make me think about where I should shop next.

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