Individual Food Price Tags No Longer Required in Mass.

The law allows store owners to place scanners in the aisles, permitting shoppers to do their own price checks, instead of individually marking each item.

Massachuetts has officially become the last state in the union to abolish a law requiring individual price tags on all food items.

Instead of having the prices marked on every item, as has been the law since 1987, grocery stores can now install aisle price scanners every 5,000 square feet that would display the prices of scanned items.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in July after earlier passing in the House and Senate—with only two senators in session.

The bill, called "An Act relative to clear and conspicuous price disclosure," has been strongly supported for years by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, who argued that the current system creates less accurate pricing, lowers the level of service for customers and raises consumer prices at checkout. They pointed to an Emory University study that reports consumer prices are 10 percent higher when "antiquated item pricing laws" are in place.

Furthermore, the advocacy group said that Massachusetts grocers are hurt by the competition with border states, which do not have laws requiring individual price tags on all items. 

But the law is not without its critics, who lobbied against the bill before Patrick signed it. Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, wrote on the group's website in June, "We hope that the Governor realizes the importance of the current price disclosure law to consumers, and at a minimum that he amends this anti-consumer bill to be more protective of the shopping public." 

Cummings asserted that price scanners have proven to be highly inaccurate, but the Retailers of Massachusetts say the opposite is true. 

What do you think? Will this change your shopping experience or expectations at all?

Lisa Dolloff January 02, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Nice. More work for the customers.
Bob January 02, 2013 at 04:12 PM
This will work out real well at a Market Basket?????????
Bob January 02, 2013 at 06:14 PM
If I don't see a price I usually put it back and find one that does. How many times do you see a price on something and it gets rung up different? just saying.
Russ January 02, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Why is it then that Stop & Shop which has not been individually pricing for years but has higher price than Market Basket which still individually prices most items? Worse, based on my own experience I have found that Stop & Shop charges are incorrect and charge higher compared to their shelf labels easily 3 to 4 times more frequently than Market Basket. Stop & Shop used to reimburse the entire charge when they charged incorrectly but now claim because of this law they just need to reimburse the amount they overcharged. Normally I'm lucky if I can find two price checkers in a Stop & Shop.
Bob January 03, 2013 at 02:34 AM
I quit shopping in Stop and Shop due to high prices and getting home aand looking at slip and seeing overcharges. i liked A&P of yrs ago. Then Stop and Shop merged and it was called Stop&Pee.


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