A few years ago I wrote a blog about encountering consumer fraud at Lowes.
I have now encounted exactly the same problem at Walgreens in San Francisco. Consumer fraud. Walgreens is a 112 year old company. A genuine disgrace.
You can see it on this label. The advertised sale price is in large letters, $2.99. Very visible to anyone. If you act on the visible sales information you will find out at the checkout counter that you have not seen the small type that says this sale price is only available to members of the Walgreens club 'with card'. This is intent to deceive customers. In legal language this is fraud.
If you are part of Walgreens, feel free to show them this blog and do what you can to end this corrupt practice.
The worst thing about fraud is that it reinforces bad corporate behavior. It does sell more objects to people who are careless, have some disabilities especially with their eyes or to actual members of their club. On the other hand the people who are offended buy less at Walgreens. Those of us who are offended show no evidence that we have been offended. This pattern of fraud shows who buys more and are visible while those who buy less are not. It reinforces the corrupt behavior.
Companies don’t see the overall harm that is caused to its business in the long-term, because the long-term customers remember the abuse.
Except for airlines and other institutions that are selling limited space at marginal rates I find that club cards and memberships are counterproductive. People who are very price conscious appreciate it. Such practices offend the rest of the people who know that they are not getting the best possible deal whether they are regular customers or not.
These long-term effects are far more important than most businesses realize and the harm this behavior does is cumulative. Whenever a competent competitive business comes along the fraudulent businesses lose their most profitable desirable customers.
(After writing this blog I find that Walgreens has a practice of fraud all over the country and has been sued appropriately in a few states.)