Pick n Pay’s Puzzling Policy

21 Feb
You *magazine*, or someone else?

‘You’ magazine, or someone else?

I just had an interesting interaction at a nearby Pick n Pay Supermarket. They used to have a ‘scan-right’ policy in which they promised to give you a product gratis if they charged you a different price at the till than was listed on the shelf (and if it was demonstrably their fault). They have recently changed their policy so that they give you double the difference between the two prices.

At least, that is the simple version. According to the lovely ladies who helped me this morning, the calculation is complicated by one additional step.

Sorry if you lose sleep over maths story sums, but here is one:

Jordan goes to buy some cheese. The shelf says ‘R36’. When scanned at the till, Jordan is charged R50. He complains to the manageress who kindly honours their ‘Double the Difference™’ policy. How much change should Jordan get?

If you’re keeping up, you might be calling out ‘R28!!’ but you’d apparently be wrong, because our branch has interpreted the policy to mean that you must calculate what double the difference is, and then subtract it from the till price (R50). So I received R22 change.

I insisted that this can’t be right, and they pulled the “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t make the policies” line after trying to explain a few times. Eventually I took the R22 (because score anyway, right?), and left.

Not being a mathematician, I’ve had a go at working out by means of trial and error whether this can actually be their policy. Consider the following table:


The first line is my actual transaction. You subtract the list price from the till price to get R14, double it to get R28, and then subtract it again from the actual till price to get my change: R22.

Observe what happens when I make the difference smaller or bigger. In line 5, for example, if Pick n Pay only mislabelled their item very slightly wrong (by R2), I should receive R46 change. By contrast (line 6), if they made a huge mistake and listed the cheese at R10 instead of R50, I would owe Pick n Pay an additional R30 for their error.

Please, mathematicians, by all means tell me if I’ve gone wrong, but otherwise, Pick n Pay ladies, your move.




9 Responses to “Pick n Pay’s Puzzling Policy”

  1. PicknPay February 21, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Hi. We are extremely sorry you experienced this & would like to address it with the store concerned & contact you to correct this matter. Pick n Pay announced on 1 November that it has replaced its Scan Right Policy with a new Double the Difference Policy. Both the old and new policies are aimed at over-compensating the customer if there is a discrepancy between the shelf price and the scanned price at the till.
    The Double the Difference Policy is that if a product scans at a more expensive price than the marked price on shelf Pick n Pay will charge the lower price, and give an amount equal to double the difference between the shelf and scanned price in cash at the till. If more than one of the item is purchased, the double the difference only applies to the first item, the subsequent items are charged at the lower price. Please email us at teampnp@pnp.co.za with the store name, date of this incident & your contact details, thank you.

    • Jordan Pickering February 21, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      No worries, PnP, I felt over-compensated. And puzzled, but still over-compensated. Will email.

  2. SmartShopper February 21, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    What about a case where the till price is lower then the price listed on the shelf?

    • Jordan Pickering February 21, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Not sure. People would report that less often, but I suppose one could insist on being given the difference again. I predict you may just receive an icy middle-managerial stare and an invitation to enjoy the rest of your day.

  3. Lauren March 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    So funny, I had a similar experience at the Hillcrest pnp & the ladies took about 15 minutes trying to work out how much change I was owed. Clearly the didn’t do maths!

  4. Lillian Agius November 4, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Incident: Pick ‘n Pay, Quagga – 012 3272284 – 03.11.14 17:55

    Yesterday, at Pick ‘n Pay – Quagga Centre, I bought Pick ‘n Pay toilet cleaner (4 items). Shelf price – R12.90 with till price at R14.99. Double the difference policy amounted to R4.18, but was deducted from the till price of R14.99, resulting in an actual saving of R2.00.

    Same with the Koo Peach Slices (5 items). Shelf price of R8.90. Till price of 12.99. Double the difference at R6.18. The amount of R6.18 was deducted from the till price, resulting in an actual saving of R2.00.

    Total savings: R4.00 off both items. Should the savings not have been R10.36 off these two items?

    Both times, Petrus insisted that this was the correct method of applying the policy…..just not comfortable with this………….

    • Jordan Pickering November 4, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Yes, shame, they get very confused. AFAIK, they should give you the lower price (e.g. 12.90—therefore refunding you the R2 that you overpaid), and as an apology, they also are supposed to give you double the difference as a mea culpa (i.e. another R4). You should contact the head office so that they know just how much training they need to give their people…

  5. Tania June 9, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    I went to PNP and bought Pink Happiness First Love for my daughter. Paid at till R26.99 and shelf price was R18.99. I was refunded R8. This isn’t the first time. PNP @ Worcester Mountain Mill Mall usually only refunds
    the difference between the shelf price and what u paid at till. Ive only received a double the difference once.

    • Jordan Pickering June 9, 2016 at 10:53 am #

      Someone really thought the name Mountain Mill Mall was a good idea?

      Yes, some PnPs want the benefits of being associated with the PnP name, but without doing the things that *give* PnP a good name. So they won’t give you an R8 thank-you for spotting the error for them, but they will happily take R8 extra off of every customer who didn’t spot the error. Nice. You should grumble to head office / PnP on Twitter.

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