The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection offers these pumpkin-picking tips.
Q. This is the first year my family and I bought pumpkins that were individually priced and not by the pound.
We usually go to a pumpkin patch or farmers market and pick out a few pumpkins with our children. They are teenagers now and don’t want to pick pumpkins with us this year so my wife picked up a couple at the grocery store.
I thought pumpkins could only be sold by the pound. My wife told me I was wrong. Can you educate us on the subject so we know who is correct? R.N, Dublin
A. Pumpkins may be sold in the state of Pennsylvania either by the pound or individually at a set price. When you do buy pumpkins from businesses that sell by the pound, there are a few guidelines to follow.
If the seller puts the pumpkins in a box and then places it on a scale the box weight must be deducted as the tare weight. They are not allowed to charge you for the weight of the packaging, such as a box.
If the pumpkin is placed on the scale without any packaging then that is the actual weight and you are charged accordingly at their set price per pound.
Pennsylvania also requires that any scales used for commerce must be inspected for accuracy and then sealed with a sticker from the issuing department. In Bucks County that would be the Department of Weights and Measures; our seal is blue for 2012. Look for the Bucks County Weights and Measures seal on the scale.
The scale must be visible to the consumer so you are able to observe the weighing.
If consumers find scales being used that are not inspected they should contact the department at 215-348-7442 or fill out a weights and measures complaint form at www.buckscounty.org.