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Price Discrepancies at PriceSmart


The government recently reduced the amount of tax that we pay on food items by 2.5%. However, the number of food items that we pay VAT on has significantly increased. That being said, with the reduction in VAT, it baffles me that some of the items in Pricesmart have remained the same despite the decrease and some items have even increased quite a lot because now they are taxable and were not before. Nevertheless, I cannot understand why the cost of these items would have such a huge increase. Not to mention that the Express Newspapers had an article recently stating that food inflation is supposed to go up by 18%. That is madness! We rely too much on imported foodstuff. We need to start growing our own food and supporting local, something I have always been advocating.

Anyway, running out of a few items early, Evil Senpai and I decided to pay a quick visit to PriceSmart to procure these items. While there, we walked around and checked out prices again on various foodstuff and I checked back against the list that I created, monitoring food prices because these places have a sneaky habit of raising food prices without one even knowing.

On this occasion, the number of items we had to get was minimal, so we remembered the prices of each of the items that we picked up. After we cashed our goods, Senpai looked at the bill as he usually does after we move away from the cashier, and we noticed that we paid more for the Nestlé Fruit Punch than was stated on the price tag on the lane. Seeing this, I went back to the cashier, whose name was Danielle, and asked her about it. She dismissed me by saying that whatever price comes up when they scan a product, that is the price they are going with.

Immediately getting upset, I went to the person who I believed was the supervisor and told her the same thing. She seemed quite unconcerned but asked me to show her the price that was on the lane. With the supervisor in tow, I walked back to the lane  and showed it to her. When she saw it, she lazily responded that if I wanted it cashed over, I had to go to the Membership Counter, have the person there void the transaction on the bill and then cash it back at the correct price. So, Senpai and I proceeded to the counter and did the transaction and went back to have the item re-cashed.

When we went back by the cashier Danielle, she ignored us totally and kept on cashing the customers that were in front of her. Then, when I persisted, she turned around, watched me, rudely and robotically stated the same thing about the system and prices, turned her back to me and continued with the customers in front of her. Seeing this, the supervisor then slid across and told Danielle to call her when she was finished so that she could go into the system and fix whatever she needed to fix so that the juice could be cashed over. However, she continued cashing, while rudely ignoring us. Finally, the supervisor decided to let another cashier do the transaction, so we were able to leave.

Two things happened here that greatly annoyed me. First, the fact that prices on the system appear to be different from the ones advertised on the lane and if you do not scrutinise your bill carefully, you would be getting robbed of the limited dollars that you have and secondly, the horrible customer service provided by employees of PriceSmart. There was no reprimand of the cashier Danielle for her disrespectful and rude behaviour but I guess that could not be since the supervisor also demonstrated a lazy attitude towards assisting customers as well.

I cannot stress how much I was very, very upset at the low quality customer service we received from the workers at this PriceSmart. And it has not been the first time. I remembered last month when we went there, we had asked that same supervisor a question about whether or not we would be able to get parts for a wacker, should we purchase it from there. She casually dismissed us by saying that she didn’t know anything about that and left it that way and strutted off to the back.

I am seriously thinking about not renewing the card when the time comes and seeking an alternative to them should this nonsense persists. It is high time that Trinidadians and Tobagonians stand up and demand good quality service because at the end of the day, it is the customers who are inevitably keeping your store open PriceSmart.