When you are out and about in the community taking care of your daily activities, there is a neighborhood ‘watchdog’ that is working behind the scenes to make sure you get what you are paying for. Accurate weights and measures are the basis for many quality control processes used in each industry, such as at the grocery store and at the gas pump.
The Porter County Weights and Measures office, working under the auspices of the state program at the Indiana Department of Health, seeks to ensure that consumers receive the full and complete amount when they purchase any product sold by weight, measure or count, and that any statements on packaging that declare a weight or measure are accurate.
Mike Harper, who has been with the Porter County office of Weights and Measures for the past 21 years, said that some of the products with a scale to calibrate pricing are obvious and range from filling up your car with gas and produce scales while grocery shopping to filling your prescriptions at the pharmacy or sending a package overnight via UPS or Federal Express. Some of the other items and activities are not so obvious.
“Most of the scales are checked on an annual basis by our two-person staffed office,” Harper said. “Right now, we are checking the scales at the high schools to make sure the wrestlers on the wrestling team are in the right weight class.”
“During the holidays, we check the butcher scales at the grocery stores and the deli departments to see that the pre-packaged hams and turkeys and the meats are all correct,” he said. “Once a year at the county fair, we check the scales for the livestock– the cattle, sheep and hogs– before any ribbons are awarded,” Harper said.
Rest assured, nothing is off limits and this team is here to ensure everyone is getting exactly what they think they are.
“We also check other items such as propane tanks, laundromat dryers, and 18-wheelers,” he said. “For some of the heaviest weight vehicle scales, we need to call in an outside company to assist with and, in some cases, the county inspectors work hand-in-hand with the state inspectors.”
“We all work together for the benefit of the consumer,” Harper said. “If a Porter County resident has an inquiry, something that they would like us to look into, we want to know about it. That’s what we are here for. That’s our job.”
After an annual inspection, a 2022 sticker is placed on the scale or measurement item with the phone number of the office for verification.
“That is how many of the complaints are registered: at the source of the incident,” Harper said. “General inquiries to the office also can be called in to 219-465-3585.”
For more information about the Porter County Weights and Measures office, visit https://www.porterco.org/Directory.aspx?did=47.