For the past few months, a man in San Luis Obispo, CA, has been protesting his local Costco, claiming that the store’s gas prices are misleading. Now the store has sued the peeved protester, alleging that he’s trespassed on store property and made threatening statements.
The man, a retired clinical psychologist, has been holding up signs that read “Costco gas is a ripoff” and “Costco hates free speech.” He says that while Costco, which advertises having the lowest gas prices, does match competitors’ prices on gasoline, it doesn’t factor in the additional cost of requiring a membership to the warehouse chain.
In the lawsuit, Costco alleges that the protestor has strayed outside his designated area for picketing, that he called employees “fascist bastards” and threatened at least one store staffer.
For his part, the picketer says he’s never threatened anyone, that he said “fascists” but not “fascist bastards,” and that no one has ever given him a specific area within which to hold his daily protest.
“Several times during my picketing, Costco people told me to stay off their property,” he told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. “But they kept changing where they claimed that begins.”
Costco sues man in picketing spat [San Luis Obispo Tribune]