On Jan. 17, an alleged Kroger worker posted a TikTok where he replaced a price tag on an item with a “sale” tag. Except the new price was the same as the original, drawing concerns over the legality of the act.
@kekm_ them stores gon get you man, they shiesty #work #kroger #lifehackvideo #fyp ♬ original sound – Keishon M
User @kekm_ starts the video with the overlay text reading, “this should be illegal.” The TikToker then peels off a $2.49 price tag of Velveeta cheese on a shelf, just to replace it with a new one that claims the original price was $2.99. In the tag, the new “sale” price is still $2.49, showing the item isn’t actually discounted.
Almost 1 million people have now viewed the TikTok, with a barrage of viewers flooding the comments debating on whether this is truly illicit or not.
Many commenters stated that this was nothing new, but is, in fact, a tactic many retail store departments have been using for ages.
“Tell me you’ve never worked retail without telling me you’ve never worked retail,” one wrote.
“This is literally what they do everywhere during Black Friday,” another commented.
However, some were quick to refer to other large retail stores that were served class-action lawsuits for similar sale tactics. “It is illegal. A store cannot raise the price of goods for the purpose of having a “sale” at normal price. Can be hard to catch and prove intent tho,” one comment read. A few cited well-known department store Kohl’s as losing a “huge lawsuit over it.”
According to a 2016 NBC News article, Kohl’s was not the only one to get sued for “fake” sale pricing. Retail giants like JCPenney, Sears, and Macy’s were also hit with lawsuits.
“Customers have the right to be told the truth about the prices they’re paying—and to know if a bargain is really a bargain,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement, according to NBC. The article adds that “under California law, stores can’t advertise a former price unless it was the going price as of three months ago, or if the date of the original price is clearly shown in the ad.” Kohl’s previously settled a similar lawsuit for $6.15 million.
It is still unclear whether the Kroger price change shown in @kekm_’s TikTok is enough to warrant the extent of a lawsuit, but the general consensus seems to be people don’t like being duped.
“[The tactic] works too,” a TikToker commented. “It just goes to show you people care more about the perception of a “deal” than really thinking about if a product is worth the price.”
The Daily Dot reached out to @kekm_ and Kroger for comment.