The One Thing You Should Do Before Leaving the Grocery Store

published Oct 25, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: UpperCut Images/Getty Images

You’ve strolled the aisles. You’ve waited in line at checkout. You’ve placed your items on the conveyor belt and paid the cashier. What next?

Some would say you should make sure you return your shopping cart to the cart corral, but I’ve got something you need to do even before you walk out of those sliding glass doors: Read your receipt.

That cash register receipt is valuable; it’s a legal document with proof of your transactions, a record of what you were charged for each item, and how you paid for it. 

While some value the receipt for the smiley face the Costco employee draws on the back or the ability to submit it to iBotta for cash back, I want to know exactly what I was charged and if it matches my expectations.

Buying groceries can be such a mundane experience that all involved have their minds elsewhere. The bagger is chatting about what he did last night with his buddies. The manager comes over to give the clerk extra tens and fives. You’re going through your mental list of things to do once you get home, and there’s a pair of kids hitting each other with candy bars in the back of the line.

If you’re not able to watch the price of each item light up on the register as it goes through, then you need to make sure you read your receipt before you leave the store. After all, no one cares more about your grocery budget than you.

Why you should read your receipt before you leave the grocery store.

Mistakes are easy to make, whether it’s the cashier typing in the wrong code or the head office programming a sale price incorrectly into the computer system. When you put groceries in your cart with a certain price tag in mind, you want them to get loaded in your trunk with that same price — or lower!

Spend just a minute or two reading your receipt to double check that everything is listed the way you expected. Do this before you leave the store so that it’s easy to have it remedied. Because who wants to go back to the store after you’ve schlepped everything home?

If you spot a discrepancy, you can solve the issue with a quick stop at customer service, or even the same cashier. By doing this, you’re ensuring that you were charged correctly, and you’re also helping fellow shoppers. The sooner the store knows about errors, the better it is for everyone. They’ll make fewer mistakes, and your fellow customers will also come out ahead. Call it grocery shopping for the greater good.

Just be sure to return your cart before you head home.

Got any other grocery shopping tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!