Oops! A Checkout Error Scored My Friend Two Free Dresses!

Shopping Ban
This writer banned herself from buying -- and it backfired. Read More »

This weekend, I went shopping with a friend of mine, doing what I do best, i.e. encouraging her to buy everything she looked cute in (and vice versa, although I didn’t look cute in anything, SAD FACE). “You’re so bad to shop with!” she exclaimed, holding a pile of clothes as we waited in line at the register. “I’m spending so much money…”

When it was her turn at the register, we stood there chatting as the salesperson rang up all her items and bagged them. She announced the total and my friend paused our conversation to hand over her credit card. We made eye contact as she signed her receipt, and I could tell both of us were thinking the same thing. When we got out of the store and had safely turned the corner, we both stopped in our tracks.

“Wait, wait, wait, how was your total that little?” I asked frantically. “It should have been twice that!”

“I know, I know, I know!” she exclaimed, digging through her shopping bag, searching for the receipt.

“Was something on sale? Is everything in there?” All of the clothing she had purchased — two dresses, a pair of shoes (on sale), a skirt, and a pair of jeans — was accounted for.

“Oh my god,” she said, her eyes scanning the receipt. “They didn’t charge me for the dresses. Like, they’re not listed on the receipt, but they’re in the bag. What the fuck? Should I go back?”

“Are you INSANE?!” I asked. I grabbed her arm and dragged her down the street in the opposite direction.

Basically, what we figured had happened is this: the salesgirl had thought she had swiped everything but clearly the sensor hadn’t worked on the two dresses. In her haste, she had bagged everything without realizing that the total couldn’t possibly be correct. (Like, it was HALF of what it should have been — it’s crazy she didn’t notice.) I definitely wonder if the censor had been malfunctioning all day and if other shoppers walked out undercharged — if they had, no one had come back to alert them to the malfunction. And we obviously didn’t either. My friend — lucky bitch! — scored the free dresses, but had it been me, I wouldn’t have gone back and paid for them either. While karmically I suppose it would be a strike against me, this particular company is a large one, with many retail stores, and is hardly going to hurt over the loss of a couple hundred bucks because their scanner was broken and their salesperson wasn’t paying attention. (Whereas I would feel too guilty to do that to a local boutique owner, for example.)

But I imagine some of you would do differently. Would you have gone home with the free dresses or back to the store to pay in full?

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