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Jan 10, 2010 01:48 PM

Los Paisanos, Smith Street--RIP-OFF ALERT

I've rarely shopped at Los Paisanos, but went in there this afternoon, mainly on recommendation from this board. I was waited on by an older, very slow moving, man. My first order was $13.00 on the scale, and I then asked for a half pound of an item that was $7.99 per pound. He sliced that where I didn't see him, and came back and told me the total was $18.70. I gave him a $20, and off he walked. I put the second item on the scale, and it was .54 pounds, which doesn't come to near the $5.70 he charged me. He came back to the counter and changed the amount to what the scale said, then told me I had given him a $10 bill, not a $20. I'm very sure it was a $20, but no way to prove it.

So, in a single transaction, he tried to rip me off for an individual item, then swapped my $20 for a $10 and demanded more money. I would highly recommend that anyone shopping there (if you feel you have to) watch very carefully on the scale, and announce what bill you are handing over as you do so. As for me, don't think I have any reason to ever walk into that store again.

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  1. I shop there several times a week.. I have never experienced anything like this at all.. Sorry it happened but, these guys are the salt of the earth..

    2 Replies
    1. re: Daniel76

      I was very comfortable going in there, based on all I heard. I could forgive a single incident--but the overcharge on the item combined with the business about the bill just makes it feel anything but accidental. I do hope my experience is the exception, but I think it behooves folks to pay attention.

      1. re: Daniel76

        Agree --- the old man is one of the two owners and his son is the other (Tony and Mike). It's the only butcher we go to and they take wonderful care of us, including our eccentric obsession with things like offal. Sorry you had a bad experience though.

      2. You never can tell. Many years ago I was cheated in a similar manner by the owner in a Carroll Gardens store once that we had patronized for some time - maybe he thought that someone buying several pounds of a high-ticket item (probably not the way his regulars usually bought that item) wouldnt notice getting charged for an extra lb. I went back and he refunded my money. When this hapened again on something else I stopped patronizing his store altogether. Thankfully there are many more wonderful, honest and friendly sellers in this and other similar nabes but Ive paid attention since then and not assumed that storekeepers in that or any other tight neighborhood think of me, an incomer (30 yrs in Brooklyn), in the same way as members of their group.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          I am not a member of this guys group but, the people at Paisanos are really wonderful people.. I know them and they are great.. The owner is always there and really on top of things.. But, obviously, it helps to always pay attention..

          1. re: Daniel76

            All I am saying is,. the place has been open for 45 years.. They did not make it this long in a small neighborhood ripping people off..

        2. I've been shopping there several times a week for a long time as well and think that they are one of the best butchers in Brooklyn. Normally I deal with the younger Latin guys and have never had a problem with weights, amounts etc...

          I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience. But the situation seems extermely odd...

          1. Running through the numbers, you're getting upset over an overcharge of $1.30? I, for the life of me, can't imagine why he would deliberately overcharge you for $1.30. Maybe there was something on the scale when he weighed it or some other issue that threw the weight off when he did it behind the counter. As you indicated, he is old and slow. To his credit, when you brought the issue to is attention, he charged you the correct amount.

          2. You put the item back on the scale? What's up with that? Did you instantly recognize that your item was 16% less in size that it should have been?

          3. I've never had any problem with any of the folks at los paisanos trying to stiff me with the old you gave me a ten instead of a twenty routine. This seems like either a legitimate mistake on their part or you not remembering what you gave them, rather than a scam.

          1 Reply
          1. re: StheJ

            I happened to be standing in front of the scale, and had figured out the bill should come to about $17. (I had lots of time to think about it, given how incredibly slow he was.). He told me the price and gave me the package--and I gave him the payment. I was really surprised that it was so much (and more than I wanted), and while I waited, again, for him to wander off and do the next step, I pulled out the package, to see if it seemed heavier than expected. It didn't, so I popped it on the scale. That's when I realized he had overcharged me. By my math, the overcharge of $1.39 on an item that should have been $4.31 is more than 16%. Had he not been so painfully slow, I probably wouldn't have noticed--but had way too much time to realize that it didn't add up. (And I didn't put the other item back on the scale, as I had seen him weigh and pack it.)

            As for the issue with the bill, it may have been a legitimate mistake...and possibly on either part (although I was quite sure of what I had in my wallet). However, coupled with the either deliberate or random overcharge of more than 32%, it just left me with a very uncomfortable feeling about doing business there.

            I'm glad to hear that my experience is not the norm--I really do like local merchants to succeed, and that store seems to make a lot of folks happy. My shopping foray there today was something I thought was worthy of note. And, I'm glad other folks have chimed in to make it clear it's not the norm. Just unlucky on my part, I guess.

          2. No, no no no no..... you had a weird bad experience, but these guys are not trying to rip you off. If you were waited on by the person I think you were, he probably should not be working there anymore to be honest (he's had a bunch of health problems,) but this is a real neighborhood, family place. I don't live anywhere close to there anymore and it's still my butcher of choice.

            I understand your complaint, but rest assured that at worst Paisano's is guilty of loyalty to the old guard. Could they be faster? Sure. More exacting? Sure. But there is NO WAY those guys were trying to pull one over on you. I will be very sad the day Paisano's turns into another chain store.

            Salt of the earth indeed.

            7 Replies
            1. re: chorosch

              Point taken. It was a bad experience for me, but I'm willing to accept it as an isolated incident. It's really nice to hear the strong support from the store from regular shoppers, and I'm willing to accept that your multiple experiences are the norm.

              1. re: Marion Morgenthal

                Possibly a sales tax?
                $13.00 first item
                +$4.31 second item
                + A guesstimated 8% sales tax $1.47?
                = Pretty close to your total bill

                1. re: landshark

                  Possibly--but that would be illegal, since there's no tax on raw meat. And, I'd guarantee that wouldn't have been passed along to the state/city! At best, it was ineptitude by someone who shouldn't be behind the counter (which seems to be the consensus here), at worst, a cheat.

                  1. re: Marion Morgenthal

                    Or it was an innocent mistake. In any case, there's now a post titled "RIP-OFF ALERT" that may or may not relate to any actual rip-off. I'd say the point has been made without additional speculation about what hypothetical tax might or might not have been passed through to the government if tax had been charged. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck...

                    To keep the focus on the chow, I'd like to add another voice to the chorus of happy Los Paisanos customers. Having shopped there fairly regularly for several years now, I have been consistently impressed with the price, the service, and most importantly the quality of the meats.

                    1. re: StheJ

                      It was the OP's experience and belief, having never shopped there previously. She later said it was a bad experience and that she takes the word of all the people who are regulars there.

                      I've had good experiences there, as well, but lets all stop chastising the OP for how she felt. People are still entitled to their opinions on this board, right?

                      1. re: jdf

                        I agree with you 100%. Marion is a well respected member of this board and I found her posting to be valid and well worth reading.

                        1. re: jdf

                          Totally entitled to her opinion -- the point is it would be great if people would think more carefully about their subject headings. "RIP OFF ALERT" in caps is pretty harsh and unfair to Los Paisanos ..... that was my point, personally. Not that she wasn't entitled to post on what happened.

                2. Was doing a search on Google to see how late Paisanos is open and found this to be in the top 3 results.

                  Just wanted to toss another supportive voice in here: I'm a huge fan of Paisanos, have gone there weekly, and have found nothing but high quality at reasonable prices with the kindest staff out of any other NY store I've encountered.

                  Paisanos for life!