In Canada, we have something called the Code of Practice: Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code. Companies that adhere to this voluntary code will typically display a plaque near the checkout counter.
According to the Retail Council of Canada:
1.1 On a claim being presented by the customer, where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and
(a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge; or
(b) if the correct price of the product is higher than $10, the retailer will give the customer a discount of $10 off the corrected price.1
What this essentially means is that consumers have the right to get an item at the price that it was advertised for or even for free if it was falsely advertised at a cheaper rate than it scanned for at the checkout counter.
By knowing that a particular store claims to adhere to this rule, I have managed to get several grocery and small consumer items for free or at a discounted rate. In order to get what I was entitled to, though, I had to speak up.
The thing is most cashiers won’t tell you that this Code exists. If you don’t know to tell them that you have the right to a free item, they won’t volunteer the information. In fact, they will often argue with you if they don’t know about the Code themselves.
You have to make up in your mind that it’s worth the extra effort because they typically need to speak to a manager, it takes longer to process your purchase, and the people behind you don’t always understand. But even with all of that, I will often go through the hassle because in the end, it’s worth it.
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd in his nation’s capital. His now famous I Have a Dream speech came exactly 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”2
As I listened to the speech in its entirety for the first time, I couldn’t help but marvel at the passion and tenacity that his generation showed. One hundred years had gone by, but they still hadn’t truly received the freedom that they were entitled to. They had been ridiculed, spat on, hosed down, mocked and imprisoned, yet there they were submitting their claim.
I am a young, single, black woman living in North America in the 21st Century. I grew up with the right to an education, a professional career and to go essentially where I please when I please. Subtract about 50 years and that all changes.
It’s very sobering to realize that people died for the rights and freedoms that I think of as commonplace. I take it for granted that I can be anything – so much so that I often don’t do anything at all.
I think about some of those men and women. How would they feel if they saw us today, if they saw that we were neglecting the liberties that they fought so hard for?
And yet, we do the same thing to God, who paid an even greater price for our spiritual freedom. He devised an elaborate plan to send His only begotten son to earth to die for our sin so that we could be reconciled with our Father and enjoy the privileges that come with begin a citizen of His Kingdom. Yet, we never file a claim.
I take what Christ had to suffer for granted. He says that he came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). But am I living that life? Are you? My honest answer is no.
The thing is, Dr. King Jr. had a dream, but so does our Heavenly Father. Every good parent wants to see his or her child succeed. God is no different. But there is a role we need to play.
First things first. We need to know what we’re entitled to. Otherwise, we won’t even recognize that there is anything missing in our life.
We need to do our homework to find out our inheritance. Here are just a few of the promises that the Bible tells us we are entitled to as God’s children:
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. (Ephesians 1:3, NLT)
If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. (Deuteronomy 28:13, NLT)
The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22, NLT)
So what do you do once you’ve read and understood some of the promises of God but your life does not look anything like what they say? Submit a claim! Ask God for help and guidance through prayer.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6, NLT)
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11, NKJV)
Warning: I feel the need to add a word of caution here. God and His promises are not like a jack-in-the-box. You don’t turn the crank and watch the blessings pour out like some kind of musical entertainment show. The Father’s heart is for relationship and He does not tolerate idolatry. God’s ultimate desire is to see us turn to him in repentance and humility. Because he is sovereign, he can and will do what is best for us as his children in the long run, even if that means withholding something for a season.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2:3, NIV)
With that said, it’s not always enough to ask for something once and go along your merry way. Satan knows better than we do what we are entitled to, but you better believe that he has no intention of giving us anything without a fight. We need to keep speaking and declaring the Word of God over our situation.
When Dr. King Jr. said, “Let freedom ring,” he was prophesying over his nation. In Christ, we have the same authority to speak up. We can speak to the dead, dry bones in our lives and command them to come to life. How do we do that? Rehearse the promise, not your present circumstances. God doesn’t write bad cheques. You can take His Word to the bank.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV)
God has good things in store for his children. He is simply waiting for us to believe and keep believing. That’s the part that I struggle with the most. The great thing is that God doesn’t expect us to do everything alone. We have the Holy Spirit to help us. As the body of Christ, we can stand in agreement with fellow believers.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (John 14:16, NKJV)
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)
In other words, we’re in this together.
- Scanner Accuracy, Retail Council of Canada: http://www.retailcouncil.org/scanner-accuracy
- The Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/