Yesterday I went shopping at a local health food store. It is in the same location as the former ‘Inner Bookshop’. I loved that shop because I bought many spiritual books there. A health food store is a poor comparison. But I still like to support a few local independent stores – I do enough buying from Amazon and Tesco.
Anyway first up I bought some Paleo organic cereal for £6.75 (375grams) I think I bought mainly because of the outrageous price. In economics, we might call it a Veblen good (the higher the price, the better we think it is – the demand curve goes the other way) I may do an economics blog post on this to justify the purchase (market research and all that)
Anyway, by the time I’m getting to the back of the shop, my inner Yorkshireman is coming to the fore. After spending £6 for a few seeds, I’m looking for a bargain to square the money circle. I see my favourite soup is on special offer £3.39 cut in price to for £2.50 – because it is getting close to its sell-by date. So I take one of these – I can eat it for lunch. I also buy some avocado humous – reduced in price.
So I take my shopping to till, and the lady rings in the products. First up is the soup and it goes through as £3.50 on the till. So I speak up and say – ‘the soup is on special offer’ She replies ‘Yes. That’s OK.’ So I assume she will sort it out, but I don’t see any correction on till. Anyway, at the end, I want to check the receipt. But, the shop doesn’t give out receipts. So here the very bad English reserve in me doesn’t want to make a scene and ask for a receipt so I can check up on the shop assistant. So I leave thinking if you can spend £6.25 on some paleo cereal, you shouldn’t worry about the chance of being overcharged £1. So I try to put it out of my mind. But, as I am cycling back home, can you believe what happens?
I see a shiny one pound coin on the road! I pick up and offer thanks to Lakshmi. Often I pick up pennies out of respect for Lakshmi, but a Pound coin is more than worth picking up!
Now the interesting thing is this pound is almost the same amount, I might have been overcharged at the shop – My joy in finding a pound is clouded by the anxiety over whether I was actually overcharged or not. I now feel I did the wrong thing in not asking for a receipt. It would have put my mind to rest and perhaps helped the shop – if they had bad practices of not including sale price. But I missed out because I didn’t want to be ‘awkward.’
So am I up £1 or am I down? I don’t feel bad spending £6.25 on a bit of sawdust and seeds, but I do feel a little bad for not chasing up the discount. Perhaps Lakshmi was trying to illumine me – just because you can afford to buy cereal for £6, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give importance to the correct price – there is something more important than the actual money. But, look how Lakshmi illumined me – by allowing me to find a shiny one pound coin!
So that was another shopping experience.