Friday, December 21, 2007

Shopping Experience

We were over in Cancun shopping a bit yesterday. I had a very different experience at Papeleria Cancun that I thought I would share with you. PC is a giant stationary store that sells everything from staples to bibles. They have a fairly good selection of cotton yarn and beads.

I put 8 skeins of yarn, 12 packages of beads and 18 meters of cording in my basket and proceeded to the check out. Everything was going fine until she announced the total. A whopping 932 pesos! That's almost $93 USD! For that little bit of stuff? I was trying to figure it out but just couldn't get my head around it. I'm not the best when it comes to math. I usually can only count to 21 if I am naked. I knew the total was wrong but didn't know why. So I emptied my wallet and pockets and paid the bill. Then I went downstairs to reconnoiter with B and L who were waiting. (this store has three floors)

I filled them in and showed them the receipt. Immediately one item stood out. It said I bought something green. I didn't buy anything green. And I didn't buy any one little item that would have cost 127.10 pesos. So back upstairs with my purchases and receipt in hand. Of course, the cash register was now closed up there and no sign of the girl that had rung me up. So I looked around and saw a lady who looked like she had a stick up her butt and was acting all stuck up and important like to the other girls. I headed over to her. She had to be the floor manager.

I briefly explained my problem and dumped all my purchases out onto the counter where she had busily gluing fake Christmas packages together. She got on the walkie-talkie and called the register girl. They hunkered down over the receipt and purchases. Part of the procedure there, when you buy certain items like a few meters of cording, is that they write the product number down on a slip of paper and give it to you. At the cash register they key it in and it charges you X times the amount you bought.

My receipt said that I bought 10 of 4357. They immediately saw the mistake. It should have been 2 of 4357. So the manager with the stick up her butt sent me and cashier girl back to the cash register to ring it all up again. This time when she gets to 4357, it came up the same 127.10 pesos! For two meters of cording??? I protested and she refused to do anything about it. I told her that the wrong number must have been written down. She refused to call up to the department to check. So I grabbed all the pieces of cording I had, took the list with the numbers on it and went back to the third floor myself. It was her turn to wait.

We checked the numbers against what I had bought and what was written. Sure enough, the salesclerk had the written the number for a whole roll of cording, not just the per meter number. She corrected it and back downstairs I went. I gave the girl the new slip, she entered the number and all was fine with the world again. And I got a $51 dollar refund. Sweet.

One of the things I just don't understand about this store is that even though almost everything has a UPC code on it, they refuse to scan anything. For instance the little bags of beads. Instead of scanning each bag, she individually hand types the product number on it into the computer. Like this: 586797445-27 Can you see the room for error here? Transpose or type one wrong digit and you have boughten yourself a totally different product. It pays to watch your receipt very closely.

There are many problems and frustrations outlined in this post regarding trying to do any shopping here and how different it is from where I came from. But, I have learned the hard way, if you are patient, not rude, gently insistent and refuse to give up, you will eventually have everything turn out alright.


Anonymous said...

Hey Wayne,

I found you through my favorite Canuck's blog!

Very interesting post about the Papeleria...if I ever am there again, I will be very aware of my receipt!

I love that place, though. I mostly ended up there for immigration forms and school supplies, but my mind was consistently blown by the amount and variety of goods they sell. And being the map dork I am, their map selection rivals INEGI's!

Anonymous said...

I found you because I am trying to rectify a shopping problem that I had. I 'Googled' "Isla Mujeres Police" and your blog came up. Maybe you can help me, if you care to. I was in Isla Mujeres on Friday, Dec. 28. I was on a tour from Moon Palace in Cancun and we had gone snorkeling near Isla Mujeres Palace, then to an outdoor market. I bought a wooden mask at a shop on Hidalgo, called Aztalan, I believe. They switched the mask I chose for a cracked, poorly painted version. I want to get 1. the mask I chose and paid for and if not, 2. to let the authorities know what they have done.

Do you have any suggestions? Do you know the name of the market? There was a huge frog near the pier where we docked. Do you know which police department I should contact and the contact information?

I'd really appreciate any suggestions you might have. My family had a wonderful vacation but that experience left me with a bad taste.

Deb G-D

wayne said...

Deb, I sent you an email regarding this. To the resot of you: my advice was that there is nothing that she can do if she is not still here. Even then it would be next to impossible to get justice. If you buy a big purchase that needs to be wrapped, have the shopkeeper wrap it in your presence. I was really sad to hear of this experience. How it must be spoiling her fond memories now.

Hollito said...

I am sorry, but my experience in MX always was: If you are a tourist, they will make you pay more. :-(
As my wife is from MX, we sometimes could turn the price of something into a normal one. But it shure is annoying in MX, as we experienced in Zihuatanecho: Taxi *to* our hotel was 25 Pesos, but back to the bus station it suddenly was 35 Pesos. The Driver just had the lame answer, that this was another taxi company, but my wife said 30 Pesos would be enough and he accepted.
I really would feel better in MX if the people would not always try to cheat my with prices.
Compared to them, I am "rich" here in Germany, but in Germany I am just one of the millions of workers who spare money for their holidays.
Really annoying.

Regards, Hollito