As anyone who has worked in retail knows, the customer isn’t always right, and can quite frequently be wrong.
Massachusetts woman and Target manager Tori Perrotti was stuck in this situation in January, but is now $47,000 richer after a customer asked her to honour an incorrect price on an electric toothbrush.
The toothbrush had been marked as US$0.01 (AU$0.02), despite the real sale price of US$89.99 (AU$131.58). Perrotti refused to sell the item for the marked price.
The customer, journalist David Leavitt, took to Twitter to share his story, which included a picture of Perrotti. He also revealed that he had called the police’s business line to inform them of the incident.
“This @target manager Tori is not honoring the price of their items per Massachusetts law,” Leavitt wrote.
“The police said I need to sue them and that they are making me a verified report [to] take to court.”
Despite the common shopping frustration, public sympathy was not completely on Leavitt’s side, as people took to Twitter to ask him to remove the picture of Perrotti.
“Dude, please take her photo down. In what universe do you think it’s ok to shame a woman working at @Target because she didn’t sell you a toothbrush for 1cent?” columnist Rita Panahi said.
Dude, please take her photo down. In what universe do you think it’s ok to shame a woman working at @Target because she didn’t sell you a toothbrush for 1cent? Calling the cops was bizarre, too. It’s an obvious labelling error, she did her job.— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) January 17, 2020
Others said that if the price was marked as 0.01 cents, then the shopper should be able to buy the item for that price.
David is correct. I agree with David. #GoDavid The company @Target and others are often clueless and abusive to the public for just wanting what is legal. The same happened to me at @PicknPull this last summer. Bait and switch. Please sue them and give me the attorney's name. pic.twitter.com/n4jldrXuNj— Wayne Lambright ⚡️ (@WayneLambright) January 18, 2020
But others still suggested Target grant Perrotti an extra week of vacation and a raise.
Hey @Target . Please give Tori a raise and an extra week of vacation. She is awesome.— Casserole-o-Disaster (@Veggiemacabre) January 17, 2020
Within hours, a GoFundMe had been set up to send Perrotti on a holiday. The initial target of US$5,000 (AU$7,310) was exceeded within a day, with US$32,440 (AU$47,431) now raised.
Speaking to NBC, Perrotti said the support has been “overwhelming”, and that her first thought when the tweet went viral was that she wished she had worn makeup to work that day.
“It’s so often that people will take the picture and make a meme out of it in a mean way,” she added.
“So, it’s nice to see there’s publicity out of this to support me and my feelings.”
Leavitt ultimately joked about the encounter, tweeting: “I’m giving away vacations. Who’s next?”
I’m giving away vacations. Who’s next?— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) January 18, 2020
Who was right?
According to Massachusetts law, retailers aren’t obliged to sell items at the lowest represented price if the price is “the result of a gross error”.
The law is similar in Australia. If a product is displayed with multiple prices, they must sell the item at the lowest marked price.
However, they also have the option to withdraw the item from sale until the price is corrected.
Dick Smith in 2013 advertised a 32GB microSD memory card for only $8 - the price point for an 8GB card.
It refused to honour the offer, describing it as an instance of incorrect labelling and was not penalised.
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