Commissioner Steve Troxler: Weights and Measures Week

Every March, Weights and Measures Week rolls around and likely many people don’t realize the connection they have to this annual event. This year’s theme is Ensuring Confidence in Every Transaction, which speaks to the role Standards Division inspectors have in protecting the public. From commercial scales and gas pumps, to price scanners and taxi meters, inspectors help ensure consumers are getting what they pay for.

 

  • March 1 through 7 is recognized nationally as Weights and Measures Week. Fun fact: The dates of Weights and Measures Week are designated to commemorate the date when President John Adams signed the first weights and measures law on March 2, 1799.
  • But even better, it gives me a good reason to recognize our Standards Division inspectors who help protect the public in everyday business transactions.

 

  • What that means is that our inspectors are out checking gas pumps, price scanners, commercial scales, prepackaged soils and fertilizers, taxi meters and many other items to ensure consumers are getting what they pay for. This year’s theme is Ensuring Confidence in Every Transaction, and I think it’s fitting for the work that our inspectors do.

 

 

  • If you stop to pump gas, you should find a sticker from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that notes what month the gas pump was inspected and what number to call if you feel you did not receive the amount of fuel you should have.

 

  • At grocery stores in the deli section, you will likely also see the sticker on the commercial scales that weigh your sliced deli meat or seafood. That sticker means these scales are checked for accuracy, so when you buy a pound of deli meat, you are getting an actual pound.

 

  • If you think about your home scales, you realize how these can get out of calibration. Commercial scales are similar. Our inspectors help ensure those scales are accurate since they are used in commercial transactions.

 

  • Everything our inspectors check are not stickered, but sometimes it is surprising how many things we do inspect. Containers of oysters – after all you want to pay for mostly oysters not mostly liquid in a container; bags of fertilizer, mulch and other soil amendments; taxi cab meters; heavy truck scales; firewood; bags of ice; the lottery balls used to pick numbers for nightly drawings; we’ve even had questions about pints of beer.

 

  • Our inspectors also check price scanners for accuracy, which is significant considering how many prices change on a weekly basis in some stores. Inspectors randomly select a number of products from store shelves and then compare the shelf price to the scanner price at check out.

 

  • North Carolina is recognized as a national leader in outreach efforts on weights and measures efforts. Our Standards Division has produced five educational videos in conjunction with the national conference on weights and measures, and has plans to produce three more.

 

  • In recent years our inspectors have also been on the front lines of credit card skimmers, looking for anything out of the ordinary when they check gas pumps. They have helped alert local law enforcement and secret service to the locations of skimming devices.

 

  • I am very proud of the work of these field inspectors and I am happy I can recognize their work during Weights and Measures Week.