Foodland Ladprao is one of our usual supermarket chains for grocery shopping in Bangkok. Few days ago, I went to Foodland at The Street Ratchada all by myself to buy some groceries.
There were quite a lot of shoppers during lunch time, could be due to their Buy One/Buy Two Get One Free promotion.
Since their Westland Cheese is part of the Buy 1 Get 1 Free promotion, I decided to take advantage of it. There were two types of cheese on display: Edam and Gouda. It wasn’t indicated whether customers are allowed to mix the type of cheese. So, I grabbed one pack each of the Edam and Gouda cheese, and told myself to ask about it at the checkout counter.
At the checkout counter, I forgot to enquire about the promotion details before the cashier scans in my purchase. I only remembered to ask, when the cashier was about to scan the second pack of cheese. I was told that it has to be the same type of cheese. I then returned the Edam cheese and got another pack of Gouda cheese. A person I assumed the supervisor even came over to do some ‘cancellation’ on the cash register, which I assumed to cancel off the Edam cheese.
I usually do not check receipts in Thailand’s supermarkets, as it is usually in Thai language. But Foodland’s receipt has dual language, so I quickly checked it after paying. There were three related cheese items indicated in the receipt, with 2 as pay and 1 foc. It doesn’t take a genius to read the receipt: it was as clear as a bell that I have been charged twice.
So, I double checked with the cashier, and she insisted that the receipt is correct; no double charge. She told me that the first line in the receipt is paid, and the next one is free, and the next one is also free. Hmmm …. So, if it’s free, how come there is a price indicated? And she repeated the same thing again, and insisted that the “plus one” had not been charged at all.
Given my Thai language limitation, I wasn’t exactly sure whether I understood her correctly. And vice versa. But I left with a big question mark in my mind.
Leaving the supermarket, I have a nagging suspicion that I have been double charged, despite whatever the cashier said. I understand that there is no intention whatsoever; the staff were just not as knowledgeable as they should be. So, I found a seat somewhere, and calculate all line items on the receipt. Indeed … it was not a free-cheese after all.
Sigh. Will I be able to argue with the staff (again) on my own without my bf-translator? I didn’t want to bug him at work over petty matter like this, but will I be able to explain myself clearly in Thai? It’s cowardly to walk away without a (good) fight. I’ll never live down the fact that I am being charged 167 baht for an item supposedly to be free.
So, I went back, and the rest, as they say, is a history.
I approached the same cashier. I told her that I calculated all line items using a calculator, and the cheese was charged twice. She was obviously displeased, and walked away to get a calculator. She did not even extend the common courtesy to say that she will check, etc, etc .. She just walked away, leaving me standing at the counter. Blimey. Is this not The Land of Smiles?
And of course, after calculating, she found out that I was indeed right.
And the same supervisor was called again. This time round, after a quick glance at the receipt, the supervisor confirmed that it was double charged. And there were discussions between both of them about the refund process. The cashier then proceeded to pull out my items from my shopping bags and scan everything again.
I was still ignored at this stage, by both the supervisor and cashier.
After the re-scanning was completed, the cashier gave me a cash refund of 40.75 baht.
Huh? Simple mathematics, no?
1+1 = 2; if you get a 3, then you question the accuracy, no? *foreheadslap*
167 baht overcharged = 167 baht refund.
Why 40.75 baht?
Where is the missing 126.25 baht?
The supervisor assured me that the refund amount is correct, they have done the necessary refund process, or something like that. Like seriously, wtf?
As I was only given the new receipt, I requested for the old receipt, and proceed to double check the two receipts. Me doing the double checking; not the cashier, nor the supervisor.
I had to reassure the cashier that I just wanted to find out why the discrepancies, in a reassuring tone. Most importantly, not to make them ‘lose face’ (เสียหน้า) ..
And the customer, aka me, found that there were 2 items overlooked in the previous receipt. I kid you, not. They gave me 2 packs of beef for free, at 66.25 baht and 60 baht each.
So, I walked away with 2 packs of free beef, at the expense of 1 free cheese previously.
Why this blog post? A question of competence, a question of experience, the pressure to conform to conflict avoidance’s culture and the never-ending obstacles of language barrier. You win some, you lose some in Thailand. Welcome to my life.