Archive for July 17th, 2009

Making Sure it All Measures Up

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Recently, the communications team was given the opportunity to step outside of the office and see what the folks over in Weights and Measures do on a daily basis. We loaded up the cars and drove to the newly renovated section of Columbia Heights. There, we went to Target and did a price-check. Price-checking is necessary because it ensures that customers are not being ripped off. The point is to pick up 85 random items and make sure that the figures in the computer correspond with the sales tickets/stickers that the consumer sees. It’s easy to be ripped off these days because not many people take the time to make sure that the receipt and the price tag have the same value.

Another thing that causes people to be cheated out of their money is total trust in computers. Inspector Charles Sampson said, “People tend to forget that OTHER people program computers, therefore there are bound to be mistakes.” DCRA only handles overages meaning that the companies only get reprimanded if they advertise that their products are cheaper than what they really are. Luckily for Target, when we made our visit, there were no discrepancies because fines can go up to $100 PER (wrongly priced) item.

After leaving Target we met up with another inspector, Lawrence Taylor, at Giant to see how they test scales. Mr. Taylor goes to the stores with his own weights to make sure that the scale is not faulty in its reading. After moving the weights to each quarter of the scale Mr. Taylor marks the scale with either a green sticker (certified) or a red sticker (uncertified). Removal of the sticker by anyone other than an inspector or someone working on the scale can result in a $500 fine.

Inspections such as these were thought to be unnecessary by some around the time that computers became more widely used, but it’s always important to have a real person monitoring the computers. Inspector Sampson says “it’s very rare that a store won’t have any errors.” DCRA definitely does a good service to the people of the District by making sure that they aren’t being taking advantage when they go shopping.

Summer youth, Kenneth Allen and Duane Bumbray assisted in the inspections.

Darion Parker

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Friday Funny

I hope you all have a great weekend! —Ms. Kemp

From: Randy Glasbergen