An essential worker in Christchurch was left dumfounded after she got to the checkout at the supermarket to find a $633 bill for her tray of mince.

Helen Carmichael was doing her weekly grocery shop at a Countdown supermarket in a Christchurch suburb expecting her bill to come to around $200.

But after her items were processed, she was faced with a $826.91 bill, $600 more than she was anticipating.

The support worker told the Herald the checkout operator tried to give an explanation before the $626 mistake was eventually found.

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"I didn't see the price of the mince come up as I was packing my groceries while the operator was scanning. Then when she said the total I was like 'pardon?' and looked at the eftpos machine thinking there is no way in hell my groceries cost that much," Carmichael said.

"I then questioned it and said 'how can that be? Look at my trolley it's not even much!' Her reply was there are no sales so that's why it cost so much.

Essential worker Helen Carmichael was charged $633 a tray of mince. She fears more vulnerable shoppers could be stung by innocent mistakes. Photo / Supplied
Essential worker Helen Carmichael was charged $633 a tray of mince. She fears more vulnerable shoppers could be stung by innocent mistakes. Photo / Supplied

"I said no way there is no way it's that much. Something must of scanned wrong! After looking up my mince that was stickered at $13 the scanner showed it priced at $633.38."

While the experience gave Carmichael a fright, she doesn't want to heap blame on supermarket workers during stressful times - but instead is warning Kiwis to check their receipts.

She says it is a tough time for New Zealanders, especially vulnerable shoppers who might not be looking out for any innocent errors in their shopping bills.

"My whole point in this is how often do these errors occur? Would an elderly person even check their receipts?

"Someone who is hard of hearing or impaired sight, do they just pay and have no idea what they are paying for?

"I am a support worker so I am aware of how hard our elderly and disabled do it in the community already without these errors being made. Just please remind everyone to check their receipts."

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A Countdown spokesperson apologised for the incident, saying errors are very rare and have reminded shoppers to always check their receipts.

"Pricing errors are very rare but obviously like in any industry, they can happen from time to time.

"We'd always encourage customers to check their receipts, just as you would for any purchase at any retailer."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website