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Trying To Explain This Is Taxing

, , , | Right | March 29, 2022

Here in New Zealand, taxes are included in the shelf price unless there’s a really good reason for them not doing so. We have one area in the store that this applies to, but it is kept physically separated from the normal areas and is treated rather differently so people know what they’re about. BUT the store also prints receipts with the price listed without the tax on it since they sell to a lot of restaurants that need that information for their own tax reasons.

Tax is still on the signs and still added at the end; it just doesn’t appear on this tiny little piece of text in the middle of the receipt.

Me: *Finishing up a sale* “Thank you for shopping here. Here are your strawberries and your receipt. Enjoy!”

The customer takes the receipt but does not move away — not great at the express lane in the middle of the rush. The next customer is trying to politely reach me as this woman examines her receipt like it holds the secret to life itself.

Customer: “Why this?”

I glance at my current customer, get the nod to try and figure out this odd question, and turn to look at her.

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

She pushes the receipt at me and points to the tax-less price.

Customer: “This is less. Sign say [price]; why am I pay [lower price]?”

Me: *Pauses* “That is showing the price without tax. The tax is automatically added on here, see, and you did pay [price], here, see?”

Customer: “But sign say [price]; why is price lower? Why is not [price]?”

Me: “It… it is, ma’am. You paid [price]; that is the same as [lower price] plus the tax.”

Customer: “But sign says [price]! Why am I not paying [price]?!”

She definitely keeps quoting the higher price, so as far as I can tell, she’s not getting mad about not getting a lower price, but I also cannot seem to explain to her about the tax and the way our receipts work. I will remind everyone this is during the evening rush and at the express checkouts. I ring for a manager and the gods smile; it’s our produce manager, the one who wrote the sign that she’s quoting.

Manager: “What’s up?”

Me: *Straight-faced* “This customer has some questions about the prices she’s just paid. I’ve tried explaining about tax, but I don’t think she’s quite following me about it.”

Customer: “Yes! Why it say [price] but I only am paying [lower price]? It is [price]!”

With that, the manager took her away from the checkouts and guided her to the signs. I didn’t see her again, so hopefully, she understood. I also hope I didn’t misunderstand her asking me why she didn’t get the lower price. She definitely seemed insistent that it was the higher one and her receipt was wrong. Maybe she wanted me to make those receipts read more normally? I don’t know, but it’s not my problem anymore.

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