Weights & Measures

The Auditor is the Sealer of Weights and Measures for the entire County, thus protecting the general public from the possible loss which may occur from faulty measuring devices, such as scales and pumps. He is charged with the responsibility of insuring that all State laws relating to weights and measures are strictly enforced. One method of enforcement is to perform “spot-checks” on prepackaged items to test the accuracy of the weight of the contents.

Consumer Protection Are You Protected?

When a consumer makes a purchase in the department store or supermarket, two elements are primary in the decision process: Quality and Quantity.

Quality is subjective matter. One person’s good quality can be another person’s bad taste. In a free market economy, deciding on the best quality to purchase is left to the judgment of the individual purchaser. Government regulates quality only to the extent that certain minimum standards for health and safety are imperative to the efficient functioning of a free market economy. Beyond that, “quality” becomes a highly subjective matter.

Not so with quantity, however. The content of a package can be determined with a high degree of accuracy. But determining the amount in the package requires a great deal of training, a thorough technical knowledge of the varying characteristics of different types of commodities, and a wide range of precise measuring equipment. Needless to say, it would be unrealistic for every consumer in the United States to spend the time and effort required learning to verify the amount contained in each package that he or she purchases.

It is much more realistic to have a few people checking packages so the public can be sure that when the package says “one pound” there is one pound in the package. There are such people. They are checking the quantity and weight of the contents of packages in your supermarket today. They are your Weights and Measures officials.

AT YOUR SERVICE

Weights and Measures officials do much more than just check package quantities, however. They also may be found checking the accuracy of such things as the UPC scanner and scale in the supermarket, the neighborhood gasoline pump and L.P. gas scale – almost every weighing and measuring device that affects your pocketbook.

The County Auditor is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of weighing and measuring devices used commercially in the county. A good Weights and Measures program saves the average household at least $300 per year. The Weights & Measures Department seal protects both the buyer and the seller by ensuring marketplace equity.

Look for the current year County Auditor Weights and Measures approval sticker on the weighing device.

WHEN PURCHASING GAS

Be sure that zero is indicated on the amount of gallons and purchase total before starting the pump.

Multiply the price per gallon by the amount of gallons to be sure the total price is correct.

When possible, pump one gallon from a self-serve pump and check the price against the pump’s advertised price per gallon.

Take note of the identifying number on gasoline pumps in case a problem should develop. This will help our office verify your complaint.

If purchasing fuel oil or gasoline in large quantities from a metered vehicle truck, when possible watch the meter as the fuel is pumped. (It works the same as a gasoline pump.) Check to see that the meter is sealed by the Weights and Measures Department. If not sealed, ask why. This seal is visible and very important because it prevents meter tampering.

Be sure you receive a delivery ticket that states:

A) The name and address of the vendor and purchaser;
B) The date delivered;
C) The price and quantity delivered;
D) The identity of the product.

WHEN BUYING BY COUNT

Prescription Drugs:

Ask the druggist how many pills you are supposed to receive and ask him to include the amount on the label of the prescription.

Count the prescription and be sure that you have received the correct amount.

If a shortage is found, telephone or return to the pharmacy and report the error immediately.

Shortages are caused by human error or by electronic counters malfunctioning.

Over the Counter Medicines:

Spot check anything that is sold by count such as aspirin, bottle vitamins, plastic bags, stationary and office supplies.

CALCULATING VOLUME

CYLINDER – The volume of a cylinder is found by multiplying the area of its base by its height.

V = (r x r) x h

CUBE – The volume of a cube is found by multiplying the length by width by height.

V = E x E x E

OBLONG – The volume of an oblong is found by multiplying the length by width by height.

 V = l x w x h

WHEN USING SCALES

Look for current year County Auditor Weights and Measures seal on the weighing device.

See that net weight and total price indications show zero before weighing the product.

Make sure that correct price per pound is entered.

In over-the-counter sales, the scales and their quantity value indicators must be in plain view of the customer.

When you are purchasing merchandise on a counter scale, keep in mind that the height of the person can cause a difference when reading the indicator on non-electronic scales.

Merchants should check all devices for accuracy at least once a day. (A scale weighing 1 ounce light when weighing a product selling for $1.00 per pound, repeated 100 times a day for one year would result in the merchant losing $1875.00 annually.)

Question the merchant if you are in doubt about a transaction. In case of short weight, do not condemn too hurriedly. It could be the result of an error.