Now I can always be sure I have my calculator with me when I shop. It's on the key ring with my house key. I never leave home without locking the door so I'm always going to take this with me too.
Why do I always take a calculator to the store? No it's not only just for the obvious of adding up what I'm spending. There is another purpose. You know how you put your groceries on the conveyor and the salesperson very quickly scans everything and drops it into bags then gives you the total? It's hard to know if they have scanned something more than once or if the right price is done by the scanner. The scanners can make hugh mistakes sometimes!
If you never check to be sure the register total is right.... how can you be sure you're not over paying? Never trust the register scanners!!!! The price changes are put in by a human being. Humans make mistakes. The sale price might not have been entered yet. The typest might have typed a double number. They might be thinking of something else while typing. They might have had a bad day and wanted to take it out on the boss. There are millions of reasons for human errors.
When I'm at the register, no matter how many impatient people are behind me, I know what my total should be because I used my calculator. If the register doesn't agree with my total I know something is wrong. I won't argue with the clerk because of the impatient people behind me. But, if the register total and my total are off by more than a dollar I will stand off to the side and check the whole receipt to look for a mistake. When I find the mistake I will go to the service desk and ask for a refund of the over charge. Even if it means a trip back into the store by the clerk to check the shelf price. The store clerk gets paid an hourly wage. It's the exact same amount whether they are walking back to a shelf or standing at the counter.... so it doesn't bother me to ask them to check a price.
Actually, the big chain stores make millions of dollars in profits each day because the scanners and the shelf price tags don't match and very few people actually check. I have never found a price difference to be in my favor. I started using my calculator to double check my register total a few years ago. I had bought some kool-aid along with some other groceries. The total came to over 70 dollars for a few packs of kool-aid, some bananas, a pound of hamburger, and a bottle of dish detergent. Shocked! Yes, you could say I was shocked. Shocked enough to never, ever forget it. It turns out the register charged 7 dollars each for the kool-aid. The person who had put the prices into the scanner computer had transposed 0.07 to 7.00. (Kool-aid was cheaper back then.)
More often than not the price on the shelf and the price in the scanner are off by only a penny or two; but, with millions of pennies everyday all over the country, that's a lot of profit for the big chain stores. Can you imagine how it would be if a person normally bought large amounts of groceries (like a months worth of food stamps at one time) and never checked the price of the kool-aid? They would have paid way over the correct amount but not thought twice about it.
Most people are way to busy to be thrifty. They rush into the store after work, grab a few things, then rush through the register to get home. Checking for mistakes are the last thing on their mind. In order to be truly thrifty you must adopt a slower life style. Slower meaning slow enough to check where your money is going. Slow enough to pay attention to everything that could be robbing you of your hard earned money. Especially at the grocery store.
Invest a little money for a calculator and use it. Also, make use of the in store price scanners. I will often stand at one of those price scanner machines checking several prices before heading to the registers. Sometimes the item on the shelf is not what is on the shelf tag. A clerk may have put the wrong item on the shelf or forgotten to change the tag. Or even worse, there isn't a shelf tag at all for the item.
I guess I should mention that I also take a small magnifying glass with me to the store too. Senior eyes can't always read the tiny shelf tags. Especially tags that are way down at the floor level. I'm often wondering if this is done on purpose by the stores. If a tag is hard to read there is more chance of a mistake being overlooked by the shopper. No matter how rediculous I look bending way over to look at a shelf tag..... with a fat behind sticking up in the air.... I'm going to check the shelf tag price.