Turnpike a model of highway robbery
A young woman taking a different route home Monday stopped at a supermarket along the way to pick up a few things. At the register, she unloaded all her stuff.
The cashier, a teenager with an acne-laden face, scanned in the items. After the last item went through, the total came to $23.70. As she took out her wallet to pay with cash, however, she noticed the cashier hit another button on the register.
The total jumped to $26.07.
The shopper lowered her wallet and raised her eyebrows.
"Um, excuse me. What was that?" she asked.
"What?" the cashier answered neutrally.
"That thing you just did where you added an extra 10 percent on my bill. Why'd you do that?"
"Oh," he said. "That's our new policy that started today. Actually, it's really cool. If you use our store card and our automated checkout, you pay the posted price for everything in the store. But if you don't have the card, and need to use a cashier, then we charge an extra 10 percent."
"What's cool about that?" she said, shaking her head at the cashier's logic. "Well, sign me up for this card, and I'll go use the automated checkout."
"Great! That'll cost you $41 dollars."
"Wait -- what???"
"The card," the cashier explained. "Starting the account costs $41, which includes a $6 annual fee and a minimum opening balance of $35 you put on the card. Every time you shop here, the grocery bill comes out of your card balance. When the balance gets below a certain amount, money is automatically added from your account to the card online. It's a sweet deal."
"Are you kidding me?" she raged. "That system only works if you shop here on a regular basis! I shop here three times a year. You're penalizing me for not being a regular customer -- charging me extra to buy the same items because I don't really need your special card. How is that fair?"
The cashier cleared his throat, clearly a bit nervous. "Well, it is faster and more convenient for shoppers to use the card," he practically whispered.
"Hold on," the woman said. "This sounds like what the Pennsylvania Turnpike is doing. If you travel without an E-ZPass starting this week, you have to pay an extra 10 percent."
"Right," the cashier said, "that's where we got the idea. Like the turnpike, most of our customers are regulars. It should only affect a few people who want to pay cash -- like you -- so it's not that big a deal."
"Well, I didn't take the turnpike before, and I'm not doing it now," the shopper said defiantly. "It usually takes me another half-hour to connect with I-80, but I'd rather take that road across Pennsylvania than be a victim of highway robbery!"
"That's nice," the cashier said, holding out his hand. "So, are you going to pay for this, lady?"
"First off, don't call me 'lady.' Do I look like a senior citizen• Secondly, of course I'm not paying for this. This system is bull -- oney! What made you think something like this would work• No one's going to go for this!"
"Our bosses said it worked for the Turnpike Commission. No one's complaining about their 10-percent rate increase. What's the difference between this and that?"
The woman paused for a moment, trying to think of a snappy comeback, but there wasn't one. The kid was right.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins’ competition among bottom six
- Rossi: Pirates better with Maz on scene
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates
- Pennsylvania House pushes liquor system privatization bill through
- Penguins notebook: No discipline for Capitals’ Wilson
- Drivers survive head-on crash on Route 356 in Allegheny Township
- Easter Seals merger in Pennsylvania raises ethics concerns
- Woman charged for holding teen drinking party after video found at Penn-Trafford
- Crowd demands answers from Steel Valley directors over playoff eligibility controversy
- WPIAL finalists feature skilled scorers, playmakers on perimeter
- Federal grand jury indicts chief operations manager for Pittsburgh office of Horizons Hospice