At The Gap, "50% Off All Sweaters" Is Essentially Meaningless

One would think that with a major national retailer such as The Gap, promotional signage would be carefully coordinated on a national basis. Local stores wouldn’t be slapping whatever placards they have lying around in the store window, whether or not the sales advertised on those placards are actually happening, and regardless of whether the prices on the placards are actually true. Jeremy tells Consumerist that… well, at his local Gap, that pretty much seems to be the case.

I just got back from The Gap in [redacted] after having an infuriating experience with the store and the manager. I, along with several other people who were just as dumbfounded, were lured into the store by the attached sign that was on the sidewalk outside. 50% off ALL sweaters — what a great deal! So I promptly went in and picked out a sweater. When I reached the register, and the salesperson rang it up, I noticed there was certainly not 50% off. I asked about the discount, and she said: “Oh, that’s only for SELECTED sweaters,” and she pulled out a little piece of paper that said just that, in very fine print, on the bottom of the card. I got a manager and asked her to walk outside with me, where I showed her the sign that was there, except without any such fine print (you can look at the pictures).

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What the manger told me was this:

“Oh yeah, you are right, it doesn’t say it on THIS sign, but we just didn’t have the correct placard to put outside. In fact, we even had to cover part of this placard with a piece of white tape (which you can see in the photo) becasue it originally said ’50% off all sweaters and cords’ and this sale doesn’t involve cords. If you look inside, however, there is documentation that shows that it’s not ALL sweaters — this sign outside is just meant to get people into the store.”

I swear that is what she told me. I was like… duh! I know how advertising works! But you can’t lure people into your store with a total LIE!!!! She did not offer to give me the 50% price, even though another customer even asked her outright to do so. And even her claim that there was documentation inside was a stretch — if it was there, it was certainly not displayed as such. Can you help me here? This is definitely a step over the line from tricky advertising — it is completely false advertising!