Home Depot Lets You Keep $199 Power Tool That Rang Up For $0.01

Johnny was pleasantly surprised when the $199 power tool he grabbed off the clearance rack rang up at the self-checkout for just $0.01. Home Depot, of course, stopped him before he could leave and asked for the item back, but Johnny wasn’t fast to part with his new toy.

I told the manager well that’s to bad because I ALREADY PAID FOR IT!!! and if you don’t return MY PRODUCT!!! that I PAID FOR!!! that I would call the cops because you are now stealing from me. I will call Weights and Measures. OH YEAH and my attorney.

Read the full story after the jump.

Well I never thought I would see the day when I would buy an item in a store, I have the item in my hands with my receipt and a Home Depot employee takes the item out of my hands because they are not sure if I can have this item. Sound funny, WELL, ITS NOT!!!

A few months ago I was in a Home Depot shopping and I saw a Power tool (worm drive) on clearance for 49.95 markdown from $199.99. I really wanted this item but did not have the cash on me at the time (just my luck) so I drove home got my credit card and drove back to the store but I was to late, someone had already purchased the item.

So just the other day I was in the Home Depot again and by lucky found the worm drive on the clearance rack unmarked. I took the item to self check-out and the item came up at a penny. I thought, cool I am getting a deal of a life time here. I then PAID for the item and took my receipt. I checked the UPC on the receipt and on the box just to make sure they were a match and they were.

Then a Home Depot employee came up to me from the self check-out and took the worm drive and said I need to check something I’ll be right back and walked away from me with the item that I just PAID for. So after waiting for 6 to 7 minutes a manager came up front and told me that I can not have this item because it is on clearance and once the price falls to a penny it is to be markdown and thrown away. I told the manager well that’s to bad because I ALREADY PAID FOR IT!!! and if you don’t return MY PRODUCT!!! that I PAID FOR!!! that I would call the cops because you are now stealing from me. I will call Weights and Measures. OH YEAH and my attorney.

So after all that, they finally wised up and gave me back the item that I PAID for. I have never had a retail store do something like to me. They made me feel like I was a thief. Like I did something wrong, when all I wanted was to buy a worm drive that I saw on Clearance. (WHAT HAPPEN TO TAKING CARE OF THE CUSTOMER) because you lost another one to LOWES.

Johnny was more than dramatic—he was right. Scanner errors are only worth a small discount in some states. Now, it would have been more ethical to tell the store about the error and to ask for an additional discount, but since Johnny already paid for the item, it was his.


Edit Your Comment

  1. dahlberg123 says:

    You would be amazed as to how much stuff gets marked out and thrown away. Years ago I worked at Home Depot and I remember them throwing away about $15k worth of cabinets because they weren’t selling, there was nothing wrong with them at all. I asked the store manager at the time if I could buy them for my old mans garage but he said it’s a tax thing and they must be thrown out. A sad sad waste of perfectly good cabinets.

    A tip for those who wish to save a bit of money. If you are ever walking through a retail store and notice all of the inventory tags (“DNI”) or the likes check back often because I know that Home Depot for example will clearance or mark out stuff right after inventory has been taken.

  2. jstimson says:

    How strange that as a society we would scream bloody murder if a business where to do something like this with us, but we have no issue with ripping them off and ignoring our own sense of ethics. Almost makes you with there was another site to complement the “Consumerist” that dealt with all the nasty customers that retail has to put up with.

    Had he done a self-checkout on a huge item that cost $10000 and it showed as 1 penny, I’m sure there’d be a court date coming up.

    The proper way to handle this would be to announce the error to somebody but also expect the proper deduction that is in place for a scanner error to be applied.

  3. smoothtom says:

    @jstimson: Nope, sorry, that’s the risk that a retailer who uses self-checkout runs. Self-checkout is designed to be a self-contained system that gets people out of the door in a hurry, with minimal need for paid cashiers, and it relies on the accuracy of the data within the system. If the retailer screws up and has the wrong price in the system, well, then, tough. A human cashier can catch errors like that, but a customer using an automated checkout system can only assume that, if the price in the system is lower than what he thought (especially on a clearance item), it is accurate.

  4. FF_Mac says:

    Wow…Johnny played out all of his cards at once. Including the dreaded “I’ll call my attorney!” line.

    Johnny is obviously ethically and morally bankrupt. I guess the general viewership here will consider what he did just and acceptable because it happened to a corporate behemoth, but just as animal abusers tend to abuse humans as well, Johnny will be prone to stick it to the mom and pop stores, as well.

  5. Falconfire says:

    At first I was going to call this guy a douch… but then I read more closely and realized the guy was right. Basically this was a clearance item that they then where going to toss, which is why they marked it down to a penny.

    If Home Depot was willing enough to drop it to a penny when they removed them from stock, then there is no reason they shouldnt be willing to sell it to the guy.

    Now what I would love to know is why they couldnt remove it from stock at its other prices. What financial gymnastics where they trying to pull?

  6. Mr_Human says:

    What an unethical dork

  7. kingKonqueror says:

    Should Home Depot have to sell you a $150 item for $0.01? I don’t think so: it would clearly be an error, and I don’t think that ripping off people who make accidental mistakes is ethical. Should they, on the other hand, give a damn about someone buying an item they were going to throw away anyway, which is what happened here? No.

    Overall, Johnny here should have gotten his item, but I don’t blame Home Depot for checking whether the $0.01 price actually made sense.

    Also, Johnny writes like an asshole. Sorry.

  8. Falconfire says:

    @FF_Mac: You need to read further than the crappy blurb posted on the front page. Home Depot didnt screw up the pricing on it, they WILLINGLY priced it $.01 and forgot to remove it from the floor.

  9. jaysonjaz says:

    This guy couldn’t be more wrong. He knew that the item didn’t cost 0$.01, but instead of notifying the people there, he did the dishonest thing. He knows darn well he got away with a steal, so drop the condescending “taking care of the customer” crap.

  10. Falconfire says:

    @kingKonqueror: They wouldnt have they would have been selling it for 49.00 not .01. Its original price was 199, the guy was picking it up on clearance for 49.

  11. chrisgoh says:

    If he really wanted to stick it to them, he should have asked for his penny back since they were going to throw it away anyway as the manager stated. In this case, manager and customer could have acted better. Customer could have said something when it rang up at that price (only because it was at the self checkout). Manager could have said it was mispriced and that the correct price was $49.99 but as a goodwill gesture, split the difference and sell it for $24.99. I’m sure both would have left happy then.

  12. W24x192 says:

    This cheap and litigious man would not have understood if he had paid more than he thought was fair for the saw and Home Depot took his stance, saying ‘Too bad – you’ve already paid fot it.’ Consumerist would be getting a letter to the converse.

    When you think you are getting away with something, then get caught, and then get mad, you are a baby, and should man-up. Say you get a huge tax refund check and you know it is wrong. Did the Treasurey screw up? Yep. Still, you spend that money and you are the one who get’s in trouble. Being a good consumer means looking out for yourself and the stores where you shop. Why are customer service people jerks? Because they deal with jerks – all day, every day. Why do stores have to raise prices to install security cameras and RFID tags? Because people will happily rob them blind otherwise. Quid pro quo.

  13. FF_Mac says:

    @Falconfire: I did RTFA. Clearly the item was not meant to be sold at that price. He is still a douchenozzle for taking advantage of the situation. If Home Depot had grossly overcharged him, and refused to refund the money, would you side with Home Depot?

    I didn’t think so. It’s called doing the ethical thing. Apparently, he skipped school that day.

  14. pine22 says:

    you are a fucking thief, you stole $49.94 from home depot. you were already saving $150 from the original price.

  15. homerjay says:

    I don’t really know which side to take on this issue but one things for sure, this guy acted like a pompous self-absorbed ass with an undue sense of entitlement.

  16. ClayS says:


    I’m with you. The guy lucked out; he could at least take a civil tone with the employees. He was really going to engage an attorney over a $50 saw?

  17. Soldmysoul says:

    So you got to keep the product for a penny but are still going to take your future business elseshere? Yeah you seem like a great, loyal customer I’m sure Home Depot will sorely miss you.

  18. trademarked67 says:

    Something similar happened to me at Home Depot a few months ago, albeit it wasn’t for a $200 item. I was purchasing two drill bits, which were not on the clearance table, for $8.99 each. The self-checkouts were either not working or had people in line, so I went to a cashier line that was open. The good consumer I am, I watched the pricing on the monitor as she scanned the items. When the drill bits rang up at $0.01, I pointed it out to her and asked if it was correct. She said, “I guess, that is what the computer says.” Though I found it hard to believe, I felt like I did my due diligence, paid for the items, and walked out the store.

    /No one ran me down
    //Didn’t have to threaten to call the cops or my attorney (which is good, because I don’t have an attorney and would have needed to ask for their phone book to look for one)
    ///Can we use slashees on Consumerist?

  19. Hambriq says:

    I just don’t understand.

    We are so quick to point out the enormous bold line between morality and legality when it comes to businesses. We chastise, castigate, and vilify companies who pull tricks like these. Despite being legally sound, everyone knows they are morally bankrupt, and we respond as such.

    So why should we see this as any different when it’s a consumer performing the morally questionable act? Suddenly that line between the legal and the moral becomes nonexistent. We rationalize his act by pointing out that it was legal, or that the system allows for it.

    To me, there is no rationale for this act. This is second to stealing. And, being someone who is very interested in consumer rights and protections, people like this piss me off in the worst kind of way because it gives the rest of us a terrible name. If everyone views us as self-serving jackasses who are more interested in getting a free lunch than we are in actually upholding a set of principles, do you really think the cause will be helped in the end?

    Or maybe that’s what consumerism has turned into.

  20. Amelie says:

    Where is the ethic in a company “throwing awaying perfectly good merchandise”? Perhaps products that are priced down to one cent, should be marked for charity.

  21. UpsetPanda says:

    Apparently its become an us vs. them kind of game, and more likely, at least on this website, they’re winning. So when someone takes advantage of a fault in the system, they rack it up as a point for the consumer. What he was actually doing was sounding like a pompous jerk who sounds like a 4 year old throwing a hissy fit, screeching “mine mine mine!”

  22. firefoxx66 says:

    I agree with what’s been said above – if home depot had overcharged, and he’d already paid, he would have been screaming out his ass hole about that instead. Yes, he should have gotten a discount b/c of the error, but should he have taken it for $.01? No. And yes, he writes like, and most likely is, an asshole.

  23. sven.kirk says:

    @Falconfire: How was this guy right?! He knew good and well that a $200 item should not be priced for 1 cent.

    Pricing is not set at the local store. Many store update prices daily, directly from corporate. If you actually ever worked retail, you would already know this.

    The guy is even more of an ass for still complaining about not taking care of the customer, and “never going back.

  24. FF_Mac says:

    @zouxou: That is an OUTSTANDING idea. Places like Habitat for Humanity could use stuff like this.

  25. RadioGuyChris says:

    Okay, Johnny was a douche but he was technically correct. The purchase contract was signed, so to speak, when the money exchanged hands and a receipt was given.

    Home Depot is famous for having let its standards of customer service and inventory slip in the last few years, and this is just another example of it.

    Johnny didn’t have to be such an ass, though. Guys like him are what make me glad I don’t have a customer service job.

  26. Fry says:

    A few good arguments for both sides in here, but I side with Home Depot (for anyone that stayed in the Wal-Mart SSBB thread, yes, I’m siding for the corporation again, no I don’t work for Home Depot). If this was indeed the other way around, he would’ve e-mailed saying how he was ripped off at Home Depot. But instead, he clearly knew there was an error, decided to do the dishonest and unethical thing, rip off Home Depot, proceed to threaten with litigation (over $0.01? Come on, now…), and not even continue business. So he took $50 from Home Depot and is no longer a customer. Clearly, this guy is, as others have stated, a douche.

    And yes, he also does write like a douche, as someone else pointed out.

  27. jeadie5 says:

    The guy is definetly in the wrong. There must be some sort of law to protect companies in situations like this. Otherwise I could run a scam with somebody who worked at the store.
    I could have a friend just take an item that should cost $999.99 and “accidentaly” price it for $99.99. Then I walk in and buy it for $900 off.

    No way his case would have held up in court.

  28. macdave2 says:

    This is not a pricing error by Home Depot. They routinely mark items down to $.01 when they are no longer going to carry these items. I have bought the solar powered landscape lights off the clearance shelf for $.01 with no issues from the cashier.

  29. Fry says:

    @jeadie5: He’d get his penny back, or get to keep the saw. He wouldn’t be able to get attorney’s fees if he decided to sue, would he? I’m not versed in the world of law, let alone American law.

  30. jrdnjstn78 says:

    I work in retail and if he had shopped where I work and the item scanned at a penny then that is what he pays. We have a policy that if the item scans at a higher price then the shelf tag says then he pays what the tag says but if it scans at a lower price then what the tag says he of course pays what it scanned.

    I think this guy was right. I always check the bar codes with the shelf tag to make sure it is the correct item. Why do you think stores have people scanning items everyday? If the person scanning misses something then it’s their fault for missing it. When items are on clearance they usually check those first to see if the prices had gone down anymore. Is it ethically wrong when scanners at the place I work at tells some of employees when something has been clearanced at a very low price? Maybe, maybe not but when we are not on the clock we are customers too.

    I doubt that this item was going to be thrown away. Usually stores can get some kind of “credit” if they return it to the manufactor (sp?). Alot of seasonal items can not be returned for credit and then they do throw those away but they try to sell it first. Whether they mark it down 50% or way down to 10 cents just to try and get some money off of it.

  31. akalish says:

    I once purchased a dress for $1.59 that the clerk was supposed to be ringing up as $159.00. I could afford the real price, but I didn’t say a word. I feel guilty about it every time I think about it!

  32. frankadelic says:

    This guy’s the wort type of customer and a thief. He’s actually doing Home Depot a favor by shopping at Lowe’s from now on.

  33. headon says:

    Hey dude way to beat the system. It’s business baby there is nothing ethical about it. The corporations try to kill us every day. Feels good to see someone put a hit on them for once. If you want to be moral you have no place in the business world. It’s a war. Take no prisoners. Don’t even give those pansy ass morality peddling posters a second of your time.

  34. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    All of you calling him a douche or worse don’t seem to understand what the idiots at HD did!

    There must be some sort of internal HD policy that all merchandise destined for the dumpster or charity is to be recorded on the books at one cent!
    This must be a bookkeeping requirement.
    Probably to eliminate internal theft.

    Instead, some underpaid grunt, mistakenly put it on a clearance table & the poster picked it up & bought it. Or maybe the manager wanted it for himself & figured out how to game the disposal system & didn’t realize it got put in the wrong place!

    It’s his!
    He didn’t steal it, he paid for it & the scanner correctly read the bar code & told the register the price.

    The only douche here is the manager [no matter why the saw was on the table] & I’ll bet the underpaid grunt got fired!

  35. weedpindle says:

    It is a retailers responsibility to ensure the pricing is correct, period. If any error is made, it is the seller who is responsible for the error, and the buyer who needs to be protected. Now, this does not apply to fraud. But in this case, Home Depot marked the item at a price and offered it for sale.

  36. uberbitter says:

    Just because it would be unusual for a clearance item to ring up so low doesn’t mean he should assume it was a mistake. At Kohls, clearance items that are marked at $20 or $30 routinely ring up at $0.50 or @0.25, and there are other stores that mark things down ridiculously low when they just want them out of the store. On Amazon you can find all kinds of RAZR phone cases and charger case combos for a penny right now. So it’s certainly not unheard of.

  37. chersolly says:

    Do they actually throw those items away?

  38. Tank says:

    @Hambriq: well said.

  39. FromThisSoil says:

    I worked at Home Depot for 4 years and was a cashier/return/special sales associate. I can tell you from experience that this type of thing happened at Home Depot all the time.

    What the manager said about the penny thing is correct. When an item reaches a penny on clearance or discount it is to be thrown away or donated to charity (mostly thrown away).

    You should see the things that Home Depot throws away. I once saw them throw out a brand new $600 special order door because a pane of glass was cracked. Hello? Home Depot? Someone will buy that for a discount and fix it!

    The problem? Home Depot probably got credit from the company that sold it because it was damaged during shipping and by law has to destroy the item.

    Back to the penny thing – this markdown was obviously a mistake and in cases like that the customer should realize. Just because Home Depot is a “big faceless corporation” doesn’t mean people don’t get hurt.

  40. W24x192 says:


    Hey – I like Lowe’s and I don’t want this prick amoung pricks bringing the place down.

  41. wesa says:

    This guy takes advantage of an error through self-checkout, doesn’t notify anyone of the error (as an honest person would do), then when the company caught him, he raises hell and declares that he will no longer do business at this company. For all we know, he grabbed the UPC off another item and snuck it through self-checkout and they wanted to verify the item’s barcode.

  42. sofasleeper says:

    Bad karma + tool that could cut your hand off one day.. yeah that’s a good combo.

  43. armour says:

    It’s not unheard of I’ve gotten a $300 compressor on thier clearence rack for $5.99 I eaven asked if that is the correct price and told that it was. The longer an item sits on the clerence rack the lower over time it gets.

    I’ve bought a Ridgid 6 pice 18V set that had two missing tools in it for $16 the gegular price was $699.99 I all ready had that set but bought it because still had all 4 batteries witch cost $99.00 each.

    It dosn’t happen often but those prices do happen I still think he was a bit of a dick the way he acted. As for some of the other people reread the story IT WAS ON THE CLEARENCE RACK yes at one point it was marked $199 and there may be still modles in the stor at that price but the clerance items are marked indevdualy if ther were three of them on the clerence then it’s possiable for all three to ave differnt prices depending how long they have been there.

  44. Oshawapilot says:

    Politely standing your ground in a situation like this is one thing, but acting like a spoiled child trying to get his way with his mommy and daddy by putching a fit in a store is another.

    If the store had a scanner price error policy, or there was a state law that protected consumers in this situation, then I *might* have politely stood my ground at the scanning error (it was the stores error, afterall) and see if there was a middle ground to be found, but I most certainly wouldn’t throw a childish hissy fit in the store, threaten to sue, call the cops, etc.

    There’s a big difference between standing up for yourself, and acting like a child.

  45. darious says:

    Does me good to see that the vast majority of these comments are basically ripping into this clown. Regardless of him being in the technical right or wrong he was a self-entitled ass about it.

    “Customers” like these are why companies come up with some of those abusive policies in the first place.

    It’s a shame that the article does not provide enough information to identify the store where this happened. I think it would be nice if that everyone who interacted with this clown that day could read these comments and see that the rest of us also think of him as the “Home-Depot douche bag”.

  46. evarga says:

    I worked at Target for a while in college. Clearance merchandise starts at 30% off (now 15%, the cheap bastards!) and goes as low as 90% off. Then it is marked down further, for inventory purposes, and it turns into “salvage”, where it’s thrown in a giant box and sold by the pound. I’m sure Home Depot is different, but I’m guessing that it was marked down to $0.01 for inventory reasons for salvage/manufacturer return. So IMHO, the price should be honored, since the merchandise was dead weight and its. I couldn’t find any legal justification for honoring prices lower than advertised, but I know that if there’s any signage displayed with a lower price for that exact item, then they are legally required to sell for that price (in CA at least).

  47. evarga says:

    Oh yeah, and “Johnny” either acted like an ass or writes/embelishes like an ass.

  48. strathmeyer says:

    @homerjay: “I don’t really know which side to take on this issue but one things for sure, this guy acted like a pompous self-absorbed ass with an undue sense of entitlement.”

    Yeah, I mean he bought something, and then he expected to be able to keep it. How horrible. Or are you being confused by all the nonsensical corporate shrills in the comments?

  49. Jean Naimard says:

    What’s wrong with the brain of americans? I just read the **FIRST POST** and it is an apology to the big croporation that screwed-up and the consumer was wrong in taking advantage of an error.

  50. BlinkyGuy says:

    The laws on pricing errors differ vastly from state to state. I guess we have to assume that The Consumerist did its homework and this happened in a state that has a law covering this.

    The editorial comment implies that since he paid for it, the transaction is completed and it is too late to amend it. Strangely, they don’t ever seem to feel that way if the consumer is overcharged. In that case, how The Consumerist would react if a Manager said: Well, that’s too bad because WE ALREADY SOLD IT TO YOU and if you don’t remove YOUR ITEM THAT WE ALREADY SOLD YOU, we are going to call the cops because you are now trespassing?

    It would be good for The Consumerist to remember that taking advantage of an obvious error by either side is not what fairness in the marketplace is about. And of course there is the tone of the article that screams “I am a prick and proud of it.”

  51. HalOfBorg says:

    Some (most) people here are missing a few points:

    1) He did NOT know the drill was on clearance for $49.
    “A few months ago I was in a Home Depot shopping and I saw a Power tool (worm drive) on clearance for 49.95 markdown from $199.99.”. A few months “AGO”.

    2) He did NOT know the current clearance price of the drill.
    “So just the other day I was in the Home Depot again and by lucky found the worm drive on the clearance rack unmarked.” UNMARKED. Again, this is months later.

    3) He took the item to the register, it rang up for the price SET BY THE STORE (as he found out after buying it) and bought it.
    “a manager came up front and told me that I can not have this item because it is on clearance and once the price falls to a penny it is to be markdown and thrown away.”
    What the store planned to do with it is hardly his or any customer’s job to know.

    So WHAT is his crime/dishonesty? If you bought something at a store, then AFTER PAYING and getting that precious receipt, would you return it because the manager told you that you had to??

    I’d call the cops myself.

  52. I am a avid shopper of my friend Clarence’s sales. That being said, I think if what the manager said was true, then they more than likely had received credit, and if that happens, it is no longer Home Depots property. They can not sell it, and if the owner decides to junk it or donate it, it’s their decision.

    Just the other day, I was in HD, and went to the Clarence section, and found a great Cast Iron Christmas Tree stand for 1.00. I thought it was a mis label, but there was more than one, and the tag had a description that matched the box. Since this item had no tag, or sign, it was probably not meant for sale. If the item had been donated, was put out for pick-up, our friend here picked it up, and then scanned it at self check out, what then?

  53. picantel says:

    Some of you people are missing the point. The saw price was not a misprint. It actually was 1 penny. He bought it at their price and then they wanted it back. a big no no

  54. @fromthissoil:

    You should see the things that Home Depot throws away. I once saw them throw out a brand new $600 special order door because a pane of glass was cracked. Hello? Home Depot? Someone will buy that for a discount and fix it!

    The problem? Home Depot probably got credit from the company that sold it because it was damaged during shipping and by law has to destroy the item.

    And the reason they mark it to a price, and do not make it a “NOF”(Not On File), is if they take it out of the system, they can not track it. They can’t set it to a astronomical priced because if there is an error, than a store would have a $9,999.99 error, instead of a $.01 error. This guy didn’t get a tool, he was the tool.

  55. Hoss says:

    I having trouble believing a worm drive would stay on the clearance table for more than a day or two. Something’s up with the story. Did he hide the thing until it got to one cent?

  56. flamincheney says:

    The item rang at $.01 and he paid it. I don’t get how this is a morality play? If HD sees an error hey can either reset the price for future sales, or pull remaining inventory to prevent others from selling.

    What would be really funny is if the saw was marked to a cent because it was a recall item, as some stores do, and this guy goes home and saws his hand off. Then the guy turns around and sues HD for selling him a dangerous recalled saw.

  57. @Hossofcourse: Now that you say that, I wonder myself. Was the rack he talked of one of the carts that they may have loaded stuff onto to bring back TO the dumpster/compactor, and he was walking along spotted it, and ran for the registers?

    Also, I wonder about why the cashier would stop him on the way out, unless it flagged on her screen. Perhaps it was busy and she cleared two of the register errors including Johnny’s, and by the time she got to his, he had already paid. He makes it seem like he took the time to read the receipt after it printed, and as we all know, those registers aren’t very speedy.

  58. Snarkysnake says:

    Don’t know about the ethics of this one,but HD should have sold him the tool for the penny,THEN used the episode as an intercompany example of what can happen when somebody drops the ball and screws up. They would have had a happy customer (“I got a saw for $.01” !), and would save MANY TIMES that amount when store managers and other employees could see how this would impact their well being.Could be the cheapest education some of them would ever get…

  59. l951b951 says:

    I used to work at Home Depot, the pricing is done at the corporate level after a defined set of time. If this saw had not sold, and had been in inventory for a long time (i can’t remember the exact length needed) the price starts dropping. That’s why it was 49.99 at one point. If it still didn’t sell at that price, the computer would continue to reduce it, eventually reaching .001.

    The department head is supposed to pull the .01 report and see if any thing on that list shows inventory. If it does, he should see if it is an inventory error, or if it really exists. He then has the perogative to sell it or trash it. While working there, I bought several odds and ends for .01, but nothing large: just screwdrivers, lightbulb packs, and a grilling kit.

  60. Hawk07 says:

    I would highly doubt they just throw the product away at 1 cent. What may be done is that they discount it to that so the store knows to pull the inventory. Then, they donate it a charitable cause and can write the full $200 MSRP selling price off as a loss.

  61. zentec says:

    “Now, it would have been more ethical to tell the store about error and to ask for an additional discount”

    Do ya think?? Well, maybe not.

    As others have pointed out, Home Depot has assigned to the customer all liability of making sure the price is marked correctly. If the price was said to be $49.99 and it scanned for $199, do you think a Home Depot employee is going to quickly run over and correct that? Hardly. So Home Depot should not expect the customer, under any circumstances, to report pricing problems. Once the customer has paid, I don’t think Home Depot should expect to reprice items.

    I’m beginning to like these self-checkout lanes a lot more. If the suits at big-box retailers want me to do all the work, they’ll have to live with me maybe not doing my job so well to help them make a profit. Gee, and they thought people on their payroll were bad.

  62. Marram90 says:

    I don’t understand why everything is screaming bloody murder about how enethical this was. Anytime a product is ready to be thrown out the door, it is marked down to a penny so the overall sales for that day don’t suffer, or at least that is how it works where I work at. Before we mark down our products, however, we make sure everything is in the back room in a packed box waiting to be thrown to the curb. Once that is secure, then we do the markdown! Listen, if Home Depot fudged up and didn’t remove all their stock from the floor, that’s their own fault. I’ve gave customers deals that seemed completely unrealistic just because it is our fault for leaving it on the floor. Same thing with “recalled” products. Our registers lock down if something recalled is trying to be sold. But if the customer asks what it was recalled for and they still want it, regardless of why it may be recalled, my manager approves it and the customer has a nice day.

    This isn’t a case of “the customer ripping off the corporate giants” but a case of “the corporate giants dropping the ball yet again”

  63. arkaycee says:

    Morals and ethics aside (since well-discussed here already), I see a procedural problem for the store — using a $0.01 price to mean something different than “sell this for $0.01.”

    They should program their system to do something like when this item rings up, ring it as “not for sale” and don’t allow it to be bought. Set a “please wait for cashier” flag, so the cashier can come up and say “oh sorry, sir, that was mistakenly put out.”

    Then the person can whine all they want, but they don’t have a leg to stand on.

    When you use one piece of data in a computer to mean a second thing in certain cases (the technical term for this is “overloading,”) you are asking for trouble if you’re not extremely careful.

    Come to think of it, I do have one ethical question — at what point would people think the store was in the wrong? If the same thing had happened and the item was ringing up for $1.00? $10? $40?

  64. HalOfBorg says:

    Was the rack he talked of one of the carts that they may have loaded stuff onto to bring back TO the dumpster/compactor, and he was walking along spotted it, and ran for the registers?

    Since all we have to go on is the original post, the no, since the item was unmarked, WHY would he ‘run for the registers”?

  65. laserjobs says:

    GOOD FOR HIM!!! Customers service sucks these days and companies have done it to themselves. Always work the system in your favor.

  66. nequam says:

    @zentec: Well said.

  67. StinkyCat says:

    First of. I do not buy the fact that this guy was just “lucky” in that this saw just happened to ring up at .01. Secondly, I think he comes off as a smug asshole. Thirdly, the adult thing to do would be to pay for the item. Itr is one thing to hold a company to a policy, it is another to be a complete asshole about tryng to pin a company in a corner.

    Personaly, I hope this guy’s house burns down when his 1 cent saw shorts out.

    This guy makes consumers look bad, and Consumerist is quickly beginning to look like ajoke by boasting stories like this.

  68. bohemian says:

    Home Depot stated that THEY devalued the item to a penny and were in the process of throwing it in the trash. So he really didn’t pull a fast one on Home Depot and it wasn’t a pricing error. I bet if they actually did throw it in the trash out back and he picked it out of the trash he would have been charged with theft.

    Had it actually been a pricing error he would have been in a questionable situation. Home Depot’s computers devalued the item to the point it needed to be tossed in their opinion. The store had no right to treat him like a thief.

    He may not have any better experience at Lowes. We purchased a faucet set yesterday. There was one left and the box was open (seal broken). We made sure all the parts were there. When we checked out I politely asked if there was any possible discount since it was the last item AND open box. The clerk got rather hostile with me and went into a diatribe why the item wasn’t in his opinion open box rather than just telling me no. Then for good measure he refused to sell it to me without giving him my ID to prove I wasn’t using a stolen credit card. God I just LOVE being treated like a criminal when I am giving people money. Assholes.

  69. cmdr.sass says:

    I remember being in a Circuit City once many years ago. I picked out an imported CD boxed set that was hard to find in the pre-www days. It retailed for $119.95. I took it to the register only to have it ring up as $1.19. I pointed out the error to the cashier and his manager. The manager looked at the correct price on the box, then the register and said “well, I guess it’s your lucky day!”

  70. bohemian says:

    @arkaycee: Your right Home Depot needs to come up with a different computer code for items to be removed from the floor rather than pricing it as a penny. The way certain states frame pricing and commerce laws they would be bound by that penny price. They should have some other coding that blocks the sale or pulls it out of stock. That would stop a penny sale and alert store staff.

  71. watwat45678 says:

    “Made me feel like a thief”

    Are you for real? Do you think you were supposed to be able to purchase that power tool for a fucking penny? I’m glad they made you feel like a thief, it’s probably the only does of reality you’ve had in months.

  72. HalOfBorg says:

    @bohemian: Wow – I’d have told the clerk ‘Thanks for being an ass. I’m shopping at SEARS!’ and left.

  73. jpp123 says:

    If it was an error then the morality comments would hold. Bt it wasn’t an error – they had marked it down to 0.01 to be *thrown away* (why they do that rather than giving to habitat for humanity is another matter) . The fact that that the store chose to mark it dow makes this customer right.

    I suspect what was really going on was it was marked down to $0.01 for the staff to take him and he got there first and that’s why they got upset.

    In the same situation I’d probably have argued the same way.

  74. ribex says:

    If HD *really* wanted to prevent someone from buying something like this, instead of pricing it at a penny, mark the price UP to $100,000! Nobody would get through self-checkout or any other checkout with their precious (though soon to be trashed) merchandise.

  75. JollyJumjuck says:

    So how many of you out there are hypocritical enough to play the “Buyer Beware” card when the buyer goes for the deal that is “too good to be true” and yet have the nerve to chastise the buyer when the tables are turned? In other words, it’s okay for the seller to rook the buyer when the buyer isn’t paying attention, but the corollary doesn’t hold?

    The onus is always on the buyer, isn’t it? Like Zentec mentioned, the buyer is getting saddled with the liability of making sure the price is right. Sounds to me like the store wants to save money by cutting service, yet are unwilling to be responsible enough to face the consequences of those cost-cutting decisions.

  76. bobhenry says:

    If we are going to complain about corporate morality, we have to at least try to keep our own morality better than theirs.

    If I had come across this situation, I would immediately have gone to a clerk or manager and told them what happened. If they told me it was a mistake and said it was supposed to be $49.99, that is what I would have paid. I don’t expect something for nothing, and if that was the price I assumed I was going to pay when I went to pay for it, that’s what I would be willing to pay. If, after that, the management said keep it for a penny, I would have been perfectly happy, but I would not have assumed it was my right to do so.

    When overcharged, I say so. So when undercharged, I say so too.

  77. smoothtom says:

    @uberbitter: Right. What’s the cutoff? If I see a product for $49.99 on the shelf and it rings up for $45, should I assume there’s a mistake and try to get the retailer to take the extra $4.99? How about $40? $30? $15? Anytime a lower price is charged (and it has happened to me quite a few times), I assume that the shelf tag just hasn’t been brought up to date yet.

  78. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    This guy writes like he is an ass, so can see how he might have made the situation worse with his ‘tude. Threatening to go to Lowe’s? That’s jumping from the frying pan and into the fire.

  79. bohemian says:

    @HalOfBorg: The receipt had the website for store feedback. I will be sending Lowes some feedback about their store this afternoon. This isn’t the first time I have been treated like total crap at this store by certain staff. They had one old woman working the registers who got mad at me because SHE couldn’t figure out how to get a credit card to process. She didn’t know what button to hit on her end and yelled at me. The same woman accused me of using an invalid coupon a different day. I got it off of one of Lowes promotions and never used it. She claimed I had already used it and refused to get a manager when I asked her to. I was there another day looking for something. She and another staff member asked me me if I needed help finding something. I stated what I was looking for. She “guessed” it was somewhere over by paint or maybe not. The other guy who was a trainee was able to tell me exactly where it was in broken english and was polite about it. That store has a few really nice employees and a few that have no business working with the public.
    Were renovating a house so we spend lots of money at home stores.

  80. Oshawapilot says:

    Methinks that alot of peoples opinions changed when they read the childish manner the person dealt with the matter.

    If the story had been written in a fashion that indicated the person had pleasantly stood his ground and was coordial about the matter, I think there’d be more people here saying “Good for you” or “You got lucky and got a good deal”, instead of what they’re actually saying.

    Grown adults loose a great amount of credibility when they act like children.

  81. GearheadGeek says:

    So apparently dozens of self-righteous pricks reading the Consumerist think that Home Depot would be out less money if they’d DISCARDED THIS MERCHANDISE IN THE TRASH as the manager stated they intended to do, instead of selling it for $0.01? The world would be a better place with a serviceable piece of merchandise destroyed in a trash compactor to suit weird retail accounting practices than in use in some guy’s tool collection?

  82. eskimo81 says:

    When a product comes up at a penny, it’s clearly a mistake on the part of the retailer.

    True, if you want to push it, you can probably make it yours, but look at the credibility you had to cost yourself (and other consumers) to get it. It’s stories like this that make retailers think customers are not to be trusted, and make the wrong decisions regarding proper customer service.

    Believe me when I say this, staff and management at stores remember the people who treat them poorly, and know how to toe the line even better than you. I hope that your $200 power tool was worth it.

  83. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    When did The Consumerist get all the corporate shills?

  84. Rando says:

    This guy is a jackass. Errors happen, don’t be a fucking douche.

  85. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @BlinkyGuy: I guess we have to assume that The Consumerist did its homework and this happened in a state that has a law covering this.

    Nonsense. This transaction is covered by basic contract law and the UCC. The man tendered one penny, the store accepted his tender. At that point the saw was his. Period. The customer is under no moral or legal obligation to try to figure out if the price was “reasonable.” Hell, the store even gave him a written receipt as prof that they had accepted his tender.

    The editorial comment implies that since he paid for it, the transaction is completed and it is too late to amend it.

    If no laws have been broken, it most certainly is too late to “amend” (though “void” would be the correct word here) it without the consent of both parties. This is neither complicated nor controversial.

    Strangely, they don’t ever seem to feel that way if the consumer is overcharged.

    That’s because there are laws regulating things like return policies and honoring posted pricing. Also, you seem to be under the misapprehension that he was “undercharged.” This is not the case. If there had been a posted price of $14.99 (for example) then you would have a case for his dishonesty, immorality, or illegality. There was no posted price, and the item rang up at the correct price. Hell, they even admitted that they put that price in the system INTENTIONALLY.

    In that case, how The Consumerist would react if a Manager said: Well, that’s too bad because WE ALREADY SOLD IT TO YOU and if you don’t remove YOUR ITEM THAT WE ALREADY SOLD YOU, we are going to call the cops because you are now trespassing?

    If they charged him more than the posted price, that’s illegal – the manager has no choice. If the posted price matched the accepted tender, then he was, by definition, not overcharged. As long as all consumer protection pricing laws were complied with, the manager is well within his rights to do exactly what you described. Of course, we would still complain about it because it’s shitty customer service, but far from illegal.

    It would be good for The Consumerist to remember that taking advantage of an obvious error

    What seems like an obvious error to one person may not be so obvious to another. Especially since it has been mentioned that the price was not, in fact, an error at all. It was set to one cent ON PURPOSE.

    by either side is not what fairness in the marketplace is about.

    Gee, if only there were a set of rules to govern these transactions so that it would be fair and standardized…

    And of course there is the tone of the article that screams “I am a prick and proud of it.”

    At last, you make a point that I cannot refute. He was a prick about it. But there is no law that says a customer (or business for that matter) has to be nice. Also, he was within his rights and, more importantly, he was right. So I’m willing to cut him some slack, since I suspect that he would have gotten railroaded if he had been “nice.”

  86. ptrix says:

    So the store was just going to throw the item away? How frequently does that happen, and on what schedule do they do so? Sounds like good opportunities for Freegans/”dumpster divers”…

  87. superborty says:

    What a complete POS. Just behave like a mature responsible adult and don’t try to walk out of the store for 1 cent. Yea, it was mispriced with the scanner but sometimes mistakes happen. You can pretend this isn’t dishonesty but you’re just kidding yourself. It is morally reprehensible to behave in this manner. I’ll call my lawyer, wah wah wah wah wah. This guy is what is wrong with America. I understand corporations screw customers too but it goes both ways. Bring ethics back to both sides and we’ll all be happier, better people.

  88. smoothtom says:

    Is there something slightly odd that people are calling this guy a “douche” while complaining that he did not act like a “mature” adult?

  89. arcticJKL says:

    Hey what happened to all the moral relativists I saw here last week?

  90. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Home Depot got what they deserved for being wasteful, lazy bastards. They should neither make a habit out of discarding perfectly good merchandise or of setting up a situation in their accounting where this could happen. Because, remember, they set themselves up for this to happen.

    The guy who bought the thing did the store a favor by calling attention to a problem that needed to be fixed. He certainly did not set up the situation.

  91. Antediluvian says:

    @zouxou: We don’t know that Home Depot DOESN’T give away it’s older merchandise. We might be reading “throw away” when they said “dispose of” and meant donate. Frankly, I don’t really believe the report from this guy as to what he was told anyway. In the heat of the “battle” he might have mis-heard or mis-remembered some detail.

  92. CurbRunner says:

    @FF_Mac: Said; “Johnny is obviously ethically and morally bankrupt.”…No more so than Home Depot was out here in California, when several years ago, they refused to earthquake-secure those large, stacked pallets of heavy items stored high above their isles, until some predictably fell on customers and Home Depot had to be sued into finally safely securing such items in all of their stores.

  93. nardo218 says:

    Why is Consumerist giving a soapbox to this whining asshole?

  94. bobert says:

    I am carefully ethical when purchasing things. For instance, if I think I have been undercharged or given too much change, I notify the clerk/waitress/whatever and offer the correct money, rather than sneak by with it.

    In return, I expect the places I patronize to abide by their posted/advertised prices and terms. If they haven’t posted or advertised anything, and there’s no price sticker on the item, then whatever it rings up as is what it should go for.

    If I had gone to HD and picked up a worm drive off a shelf, and the shelf said it was $50 but the checkout said it was $0.01, I would have called a clerk and pointed it out, and insisted on finding out and paying the correct amount. But if I’d picked it up from the clearance table, and there was no price on it or on the table, and it rang up as $0.01 – hey, what a deal!

    And while I wouldn’t have been as histrionic as this guy seems, I would’ve stood my ground if someone had taken a purchase out of my hands, kept me cooling my heels for a while, and then started to argue about whether I could have it. Over the 30-ish years I’ve been an adult, I’ve sometimes found that to get a fair shake from businesses, it’s necessary to be firm, insistent, and even loud (in a polite way, without yelling) if not being loud hasn’t worked. It’s amazing how fast a clerk or store manager will quit being a dick when half the store can hear you asking for something completely reasonable.

  95. sleepydumbdude says:

    When I worked at Sears we threw away 1 things all the time. It was rare when we found one in our stock room but they wouldn’t let us sell them. We’d have to destroy them and throw them away. Did it with a 3 piece drill set once. Same went with jeans. One day I spent 2 hours cutting a couple hundred pair of jeans in half because they said if we donated them to charity then they could try to come back and return them so it was easier to destroy them.

  96. terrabyte says:

    My story is a bit different. I was purchasing an extension pole which was marked on the shelf at about $40. It rang up at $0.01 at the self checkout. I called for help and the attendant said if it rang up at $0.01, that’s the price. She said that when they discontinue items they change the price in the database to a penny. Any remaining stock, which didn’t get counted in the last inventory, has a price of a penny. So I got my extension pole for $0.01.

  97. matt says:

    This guy is an asshole, pure and simple. I understand that Home Depot needs to be on their guard with self-checkout systems, but this is just plain dishonest. I would be absolutely pissed if a computer error sent my inventory out the window at a 100% loss, and I imagine everyone else here would be too.

  98. RottNDude says:

    Hey JOHNNY!!!! way to STICK IT!!! to THE MAN!!!

    Just kidding, you’re an asshole.

  99. hxcmetalhed says:

    I work at a Home Depot, and when merchandise gets marked down to a penny, it is supposed to be taken off the shelf. After it goes off the shelf, it is either destroyed (perhaps for safety issues), sent to the manufacturer for credit, or GIVEN TO CHARITY. Seriously! It is a brand new program where merchandise that would normally be destroyed is donated to charity. Merchandise is usually destroyed because: A) it is cheaper for the manufacturer to destroy off site B)HD owns the merchandise, and needs to be written off the books. As a manager, if a customer takes a piece of merchandise to the registers, I will usually okay the sale. the inventory associates should have pulled it off the shelves.

  100. bubuli says:

    The guy was clearly a douche and i would strangle him if i ever meet him in person. If the price rang up as one million bazillion dollars, he would have questioned it…why is it when it rang up as 1 cent, he didn’t? I don’t care about what the store’s policy on marking down prices, this was clearly an error and he should’ve notified an associate or a manager prior to purchasing.

    forget about the way he acted. if i was the manager, i would have called the cops anyway.

    oh and, smoothtom, can you please enlighten us who made up that rule? self-checkouts are for there so that the store doesn’t have to put somebody on each cashier, and not to be a “self-contained system” that you are talking about…that’s why you still see somebody in watching those self-checkouts…because, you know, computers can still make mistakes.

    and, nice going, Consumerist, for taking this douchebag’s side. /sarcasm

  101. Cupajo says:

    I think the big difference here is that the clerk accepted payment. If he (or she) had rung the thing up and caught the $0.01 price and said something along the line of “hold on just a second while I check this out” and *then* a manager came up and explained the situation and said they were not going to sell it at that price, I think that would have been fine. But by accepting payment, the store concluded the transaction. The worm drive belonged to the customer at that point and they had no right to confiscate it, especially with some shady “I need to check something” line.

  102. MYarms says:

    Home Depot should have no problem with making some money from an item that was going to be THROWN AWAY. Even if it was only a penny.

  103. parad0x360 says:

    @FF_Mac: I dont know about that. They told him they were going to throw it in the trash. True the store only got a penny for it but…they told him they were going to throw it in the trash. As far as im concerned if a store is going to throw something away then they might as well give it to this guy for the penny. They wont get merchant credit for it because they werent going to return it to a vendor, they ate the cost the moment the system marked it down to a penny and marked it to be destroyed. Thats a win for this guy and not really a loss for the store.

  104. rasdsm says:

    here’s the problem. when an item goes to $.01 it means that the item is to be destroyed, but it has to have some monetary value in order to be marked down for bookkeeping purposes. the prices are not set at the store level, so an item can go to $.01 at anytime during the day, and if the customer gets to it before it can be destroyed then there is not much you can do about it. i personally would feel like a hack for only paying a penny for something, but i can’t speak for someone else. once it’s been purchased there is really no other recourse for the store. it’s a flawed system, no doubt.

  105. keifernny says:

    This is the problem with totally computerized systems with computerized registers. The man paid for the item, it was his. Period. Why the need to judge him so harshly on here for purchasing an item?

    Just because Home Depot is too lazy to staff their stores properly (necessitating “self-checkout” services), too lazy to pull items from the shelf, and too lazy to double check the prices in their computer, why is any of this the customer’s fault? Since when is it acceptable for large stores to be sloppy and lazy in their merchandising?

  106. smoothtom says:

    @bubuli: oh and, smoothtom, can you please enlighten us who made up that rule? self-checkouts are for there so that the store doesn’t have to put somebody on each cashier, and not to be a “self-contained system” that you are talking about…that’s why you still see somebody in watching those self-checkouts…because, you know, computers can still make mistakes.

    The self-checkout completes the transaction using item and price data stored in a database. A cashier oversees things but neither initiates nor completes any transactions. Read one of the posts above, discussing the uniform commercial code. It’s a good, dispassionate look at this situation. Is this guy’s sense of entitlement and approach at the store obnoxious? Yes, I think so. But that’s not what’s at issue here. What’s at issue is a legally binding transaction. Everybody seems to want to discuss this guy’s attitude, not the underlying principles.

    …And for those of you who think what he did was unethical, the ethical thing to do in a transaction is to follow the long-standing, agreed-upon rules of transactions–that is, the UCC.

  107. Beelzebub says:

    Jesus, as I’m as anti-corporate as anyone, but since when is the always-right-customer freed from the chains of reason?

    All the goons who think that if a mistake in the self-checkout lane is the company’s fault, and this goon who got his item for a penny is in the right, congratulations — when there ARE no more self-check out lanes because of people taking advantage of them, YOU’RE to blame.

    The proper response from the Home Depot would have been exactly what they did, but an offer for a gift card or something since they did make a mistake — not one they should be punished for.

  108. puddintank says:

    Couldn’t they just do what Walmart did with those Nazi shirts and use a code that basically says “do not sell” instead of price of a penny? Even when scanned at the self checkout it would halt the transaction until someone intervened.

  109. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Beelzebub: “…when there ARE no more self-check out lanes because of people taking advantage of them, YOU’RE to blame.”

    No, sweetheart. THEY set the rules. They’re THEIR rules. They INSIST we follow their rules when it benefits them. We should insist right back that they follow THEIR rules when it benefits US.

  110. maztec says:

    This story strikes me as being blown-up by Johnny. That is, to me, it looks like he is “fudging” the facts a bit in a few places. That makes me doubt the credibility of how all of this occurred.

    I suspect the actual story went more like this:
    1) He sees item on clearance, goes to check out.
    2) It rings up for $0.01, he – as nearly anyone else would – thinks, “Whoa! They made an error, big time, sweet I’m going to take this baby and run with it!” Note, I cannot think of anyone that would not initially think, “They made a Mistake!” And a potentially big one.
    3) He starts to leave. The cashier looks at his little screen and sees, “$0.01” for an expensive looking tool. He comes up to Johnny and says, “Hey! I have to check something on that.” While thinking to himself, “This has got to cost more, I bet he swapped tags with a screw or something?”
    4) Cashier runs to manager. Manager looks it up, can’t readily figure out what is going on. Sees it is $0.01 in the system. Goes out to talk to the guy to figure out what is up.
    5) Manager talks to Johnny. Johnny gets rude and huffy. Exasperated manager says something akin to, “Well, usually if something falls to $0.01 in our system, we throw it away.” Johnny doesn’t let him go any further and starts crying that “It’s mine it’s mine I paid for it it’s mine! You big mean evil people, I’ll sue I’ll Sue, etc etc etc.” The Manager realizes that it’ll be easier to get rid of the guy rather than figure out what the price actually should be. Plus the Manager realizes the guy is a jerk and if he gets rid of him, hopefully he doesn’t come back. So, the Manager says here, “Get out of here.” and lets Johnny run off with the goods.

    There are a couple of issues here:
    1) In most places, if an item rings up correctly for a cashier, then they will do a price check and correct it. The “protection” laws for purchasing an item at the wrong price do not extend until the customer has paid.
    2) The self-checkout stands are unique in that the transaction is quick enough the employees cannot check legitimacy until a person is headed for a door. The few states that have addressed this issue have extended the price check period to the point where the purchaser leaves the building. Most of the cashiers are trained to catch it in progress, but sometimes it happens that someone pays. This protection is extended because it allows the store to do its normal investigation during that time.
    3) Despite the presumed knowledge that the price seemed incorrect, Johnny did nothing. Flat out, he depended on a big mistake that was not immediately correctable, and then was a jerk about it. Small claims court and lawyers would have both cost way more than the item. Either way, he would have lost more than he gained. Unless he lived in a state that has expense recovery for small claims court. Either way, a Judge would have had a hard time finding in his favor because of the mistake – unless the state laws specifically dealt with the problem.
    4) Johnny was a jerk about this. The Manager did the right thing and checked into it to figure out what was going on. The Manager also did the right thing in realizing that the item was probably reduced to 1 cent and just letting it go rather than fighting. Especially if he was going to toss it or donate it. Johnny knew he was wrong – otherwise he wouldn’t have been shouting [assumed from his insistence on using upper-case letters] – and has gone to publish it. He has also threatened to never shop Home Depot again. It seems odd, when ultimately Home Depot really did do the right thing and in a fairly painless manner.

    Finally, I wish the story had been written in a less jerk-off sort of way. Oh well.
    Good luck in your life Johnny.

  111. smoothtom says:

    @Beelzebub: Sorry, man, but if I initiate and conclude my transaction at a self-checkout lane, and the machine charged me a price lower than what somebody in management had intended, then, too bad–unless another law voids this transaction (as would happen in the case of the machine charging MORE than what the shelf tag said), the transaction is binding. Does it make me a “goon” to expect that an automatic transaction system should be able to make a transaction without an error?

  112. goller321 says:

    This was not a “morally innappropriate” situation. The store screwed up, but was out NOTHING. They were throwing it away.

    It is also completely LEGAL. In the state of WI (and most others), the lowest price that shows on the scanner, or the label is the legal price. In this case $.01.

    And with regards to the OP’s response to having a manager take his purchase, he responded completely appropriately. The manager was clearly trying to intimidate and force the OP to give up his find. It was ompletely ILLEGAL for the manager to withhold the saw, and it was the within OP’s right to assert his ownership of the item.

    BTW, stores regularly misprice items, sometimes on purpose, so my sympathy for them is nil. And Home Depot in particular does illegal things like marking up the price of items so they can reprice clearance items at the normal retail price. I worked for years for a company that serviced HD, and some of their practices are nothing short of criminal.

  113. TMurphy says:

    I would have bought the tool for 1 cent, then offered to re-purchase it for $50. I wouldn’t want to risk them taking it away from me and not letting me have it at the clearance price, so I would have to step into the ethical gray area and ‘steal’ it, then buy it.

    I agree that pricing errors in the customers favor need to be evaluated before taken advantage of. If I saw a candy bar in a checkout lane mispriced at .65 cents, I might buy one for a penny, but I wouldn’t buy the whole box at that incorrect price.

  114. witeowl says:

    @zentec: This guy’s a moron. Not only is his action mere millimeters above outright stealing, but he then has the gall to complain to the world that Home Depot tried to dissuade him from his theft. Tacky.

  115. drjayphd says:

    Quick recap, just to make sure I got this right.

    * Johnny finds worm gear on clearance, doesn’t buy it.
    * Johnny comes back and finds the same item without a price.
    * Johnny goes to pay for it, and it rings up at a valid price.
    * At this point, Johnny is… supposed to know all of Home Depot’s policies and remember that “oh, $0.01 means this isn’t supposed to be sold”?
    * ANYWAY, after paying for the tool, Johnny’s told that oh, we weren’t supposed to sell you that, even if you already paid for it. No word of refunding the penny, although it doesn’t sound like he got that far before the “GIMME THAT IT’S MINE!” routine.

    So why was this guy wrong again? Yeah, he came off as a douchenozzle, but unlike some posters (ahem, pine22) I can’t see how that makes him a thief. You’d think that if it wasn’t to be sold, Home Depot could flag it in their system some other way (such as Target flagging recalled items at the terminal).

  116. stinkingbob says:

    Everyone calling the author a thief, douchebacg, etc are RETARDS. Let me ask you this: did he steal the item? Did he switch scanner tags on the product? Nope.
    What did he do: he took the item to self-serve checkout, and paid for it. Is that against the law? Nope.
    Now, the MORAL dilemma (not legal because he did nothing wrong) here is if he should have brought it to the attention of the store that the item was 1 cent. Who is responsible for inputting the info in the scanner database? Home Depot. Not the buyer. YOu see people, Home Depot put in those self checkout registers because they didn’t want to pay a human being to do the job. Saves them money and good for the corporate officers and stock holders. But, this is what you get when you try to cut costs at the expense of a a human.
    Yet, I don’t see all you moralists talking about this. Just about how this consumer is a bad guy. Well, get over it.

  117. nequam says:

    @Beelzebub: What you’re ignoring is that the sale was complete before they tried to take the item back from them. This might be different if he brought it to a cashier who refused to complete the sale after the item rang up at $.01. Home Depot cannot undo the sale after it’s complete. It really is their problem for not having removed the item.

  118. witeowl says:

    @drjayphd: You really think that one penny is a “valid” price? Come one. Anyone would have known that that was an error. The ethical thing to do, just as if the item rang up for $1,999.99 would be to call it to the attention of a sales clerk and determine the correct price.

    I don’t expect people to do as I’ve done in the past and walk back in to a store to pay for an item that wasn’t rung up (therefore unintentionally stolen), but I do expect people to be honest enough to take care of this sort of situation while they’re still in the blasted store!

    Not only common sense but basic morality.

  119. cde says:

    @FF_Mac: Ethically, he is not bankrupt. According to the law, the item was advertised for sale, and the business went through with deal (The computer and its programing is a proxy for the business). His property, fair and square. Since legalities define ethics.

  120. nequam says:

    @maztec: “The few states that have addressed this issue have extended the price check period to the point where the purchaser leaves the building.”

    Name them!

  121. tmed says:

    So, he leaves Home Depot to go to Lowes after Home Depot honors the price? That’s just stupid. Yeah, it took some yelling, but they marked it that price, and they set up the self-checkout to save themselves some money. They chose to jury-rig a system for pulling aged inventory rather than pay a developer to write some code to make it better.

    I really have no problem with Johnny getting his $50 tool for $.01. I really have no problem with the manager trying to get his money back as long as he backs down after the guy explains his side. The only thing I have a problem with is the guy being pissed at Home Depot for seeling him a tool for a buck.

  122. cde says:

    @kingKonqueror: They stated that they marked the item down, willingly and consciously. There was no pricing error.

  123. nequam says:

    @witeowl: A penny absolutely is a valid price for a clearance item.

  124. pine22 says:

    sorry lol :)

    there is no way that johnny would think that fairly expensive tablesaw costs 1 penny. that particular item shouldnt have been out on the floor, a cashier would have definitely caught that.

    my point is that he knowingly ripped the store off, and cried like a baby when the manager came. had the error been made so that johnny would have to pay like $49,990, im sure he would like the manager to fix it.

    i would like to think that people have more integrity when they shop. im not going to walk into a store have them charge me a penny for a 50 dollar item, threaten to call my lawyer, and bitch about it on the internet.

  125. SOhp101 says:

    The guy was a dick, there’s no question about it.

    He still was acting lawfully though. “I’m going to call my lawyer.” Oh please, that one call will negate the entire $198.99 you’ve saved… that’s a bluff that’s easily called.

    Home Depot should be a little better at taking care of their inventory and maintaining their business instead of cutting corners.

  126. arilvdc says:

    Where I used to work, if something was priced at a penny, it was salvage, and it wasn’t supposed to be sold. It was an internal was to let the price point people/stock people know to remove something from the floor. However, if something got accidentally left on the floor and someone tried to buy it, we were supposed to call a manager. Some managers would let the person have the item at a penny, while explaining why, and some would do a price change and charge them the full price. I even had some managers refuse to sell the item, because we technically didn’t carry it. The fact that the OP got bought his item just means that the cashier screwed up. The guy got an awesome deal, and Home Depot sold something they thought was not going to be sold.

    BTW- I’ve bought things after holiday at target for 1 penny, so it’s not that unheard of.

  127. Jimmy M says:

    I purchased a $200 Moen faucet from HD once. It rang up in the tens of dollars (it’s been a while, I don’t remember the exact amount).

    I asked the checkout girl who was ringing me out if she was SURE that that was right. She said yes. I asked again, and she looked at it, looked at her screen, pointed at it and said ‘it says faucet right there sir’.

    My wife and I danced to our car with big grins on our faces.

    What I’m saying is, sometimes HD is just stupid.

  128. witeowl says:

    @nequam: Bull. A penny for a $200 item is never a valid price. To pretend otherwise is mere pigheadedness.
    Here’s the way that should have played out.

    Customer: Hey, this is ringing up as a penny. That can’t be right, can it?

    Manager: No, it’s not right. That’s not even supposed to be on the floor.

    Customer: Well, it used to be on sale for $49.95.

    Manager: I could charge you that. You still want it?

    Customer: Um… (chuckle) with an added discount for catching the scanner error, right?

    Manager: You know, you’re right. How about another 10% off; make it 44.95?

    Customer: Great, thanks! I’ll be sure to tell everyone about how you made good on your error.
    Oh, but that would have taken civility and decency.

  129. MEoip says:

    It’s basic accounting. When the HD drops the price down to a penny they are looking to write off 149.99. They are looking to play an accounting game and lost when they forgot to remove the item from the shelf. They are the ones who valued it at a penny, they say it’s worth that much so someone gets to buy it.

  130. goller321 says:

    You have no clue about the legality of any of this. I wonder if you’re some pathetic manager hoping to instill fear into consumers.

    It is incumbent on the store to ensure the proper price is paid BEFORE the transaction ends. They have no right to stop you after the transaction.
    In terms of a court case, the OP would have every right. He LEGALLY paid for an item. There is no uncertainty of the case.
    The manager did the right thin, because he was SMART enough to realize he had ZERO ground to stand on!

    You’re an idiot.

  131. MEoip says:

    Ps. It’s not his job to do HD job for them. They stock shelves he buys the items off the shelf. If they can’t run the store right, they can’t expect this guy to do it for them unless they are going to pay him.

  132. cde says:

    @Beelzebub: No more self-checkouts? So they will have to hire more people to man actual registers? So more people will have a job? Wow :D

  133. nequam says:

    @witeowl: Lamb! So, what would be a valid price? It was, in fact, programmed to scan at $.01. We’ve already read a comment from a former HD employee, who stated that it was the manager’s discretion to either sell the one-cent clearance item or dispose of it. It was not a $200 item, it had been marked down to $49 at some point, and (by the manager’s own statement), the price kept reducing over time as it went unsold — until it reached $.01.

  134. goller321 says:

    @witeowl: You’re an idiot too. The OP has ZERO obligation to call the mistake to the attention of the store.
    Does the store call price mistakes to the customers after a purchase? NO! This was every bit legal and FAIR, and for you to suggest otherwise demonstrates that you’re stupid or a retail hack employee. Get a life.

  135. goller321 says:

    @pine22: BTW, you haven’t a clue about tools either… It’s a worm drive CIRCULAR saw, not a table saw…BIG difference..

  136. goller321 says:

    @Antediluvian: Hme Depot does NOT give away ANYTHING. It is their policy to destroy products no longer sold. I know personally of one employ that was fired for donating some flooring to Habitat for Humanity that was slated to be compacted.

  137. goller321 says:

    href=”#c3907378″>witeowl: Are you on CRACK!?! The manager would have said “this has to be destroyed per our store policy” and then taken it to the compactor. I know this from personal experience. Managers can get fired for doing what you suggest. And who the hell is stupid enough to call the attention of the store???
    If Home Depot (due to cuts in staffing, cuts in staffing pay and the replacement of cashiers for automated machines) screws up, then they deserve what they get.

    Why don’t you ask the guy trying to buy 2 movies for $20 from Best Buy how dealing with management worked for him…

  138. ExtraCelestial says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how people don’t read the article. I mean it wasn’t even a linked page, just the two paragraphs right in front of you.

    This is one of the first times I have to go against the consumer. What he did was WRONG-morally ethically, however you want to put it. He should’ve alerted someone and gotten an additional discount off of 49.95. However I don’t agree with Home Depot running after him attempting to recapture the paid for item. At that point the transaction is already over.

  139. XopherMV says:

    The store offered an item for a specific price.
    The customer paid for the item.
    The item is now the customer’s.
    The store can not then take the item from the customer – that is theft.
    The customer was completely in the right.
    The customer’s behavior was completely ethical and moral – the store’s behavior was not.

    This whole story is very similar to the stores that want to check your receipt before allowing you to leave. Those goods are yours. You paid for them. They have no right to detain you so that they can look over your goods. The store has no right to ask for YOUR receipt.

  140. Smithereens says:

    Let’s get some perspective here. Yes, the gentleman in question does sound a little morally ambiguous. However – the item he purchased was not marked down at $0.01 by accident as many, many commenters are asserting in error. The article clearly states that the item was marked down to 1 cent on purpose – as part of wastage policy by Home Depot.

    The error is that they should have removed the item from display. They did not, however, which means the purchaser could – and did – legitimately buy the item for the marked price.

    While he sounds like a bottom feeding blowhard of the lowest order, that does not mean he was in the wrong.

    As for my opinion, the true moral outrage here is the arbitrary trashing of end-of-the-line items. Throwing away useful goods so they can be written off for tax purposes is an obscene waste.

  141. adam_b says:

    Clearly, Home Depot is in the wrong.

    It sounds like they need to get new POS software or get their current software fixed for these types of cases. I used to work in retail, and once in awhile, the computer wouldn’t let me sell an item because it was being recalled or whatever. Sounds like such a lock-out would have been quite useful for the company here.

    And it doesn’t matter that he was using the automated check-out; if Home Depot is going to have such a system in its stores, it needs to be aware of the potential risks. Once the system accepted his payment and gave him a receipt, the item was his. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    They just need to take better care of their merchandise.

  142. theysaidwhat says:

    So many things went wrong here it’s impossible to assign blame to only one side.

    A logical, honest person would signal a clerk when an item for which they fully expected to pay 49.99 to obtain rang up for .01 in order to obtain clarification regarding the price. So the consume failed there.

    If the HD clerk approached him in the manner in which he describes, simply taking the item from him, then their service is poor.

    When HD explained that the item was not for sale, then yes, he had every right to object since it had indeed been sold. But he could have conducted himself like someone older than 3.

    I suspect he felt like a thief because he felt when he originally rang the item up that he was stealing. What a surprise!

    Everyone in this scenario could have conducted the transaction in a better why that that in which they did.

    A few years ago, I bought several items at a Marshall’s. The total price was way too low, although each item that was rung up scanned at the marked price. So I counted items on the counter against items on the receipt. The clerk had missed 3 items. Alerted the clerk. The clerk re-rang the sale. In my car, I realize that he has STILL not rung every item! So back in I go.

    And, you guessed it, when I got home, I found that even after 3 tries, he never did ring up all my items. There is only so much you can do to help someone out.

  143. goller321 says:

    @TinkishDelight: I can say with almost 100% certainty, that they would have taken the item and destroyed it. They do it all the time.
    And he did nothing unethical. It was marked down to $.01 by the store. The price was not $49.95 anymore. There was no price mistake. He bought an item at the price they set. Just because he bought it before they could throw it into the trash compactor doesn’t make him unethical!

    Again, it is Home Depot’s corporate policy to DESTROY items. If they can get credit from manufacturers, they pull the item… then DESTROY it! (Costs of shipping the items back makes the returning of most items not financially feasible.)
    If they aren’t getting anything credited, then they continue to mark down prices until they are told to destroy it. They make it down to $.01, then compact it. It is never donated to charity, or even sold to employees (which rightly pisses them off to no avail.)The DESTROY the stuff!
    As a former rep for a company that dealt exclusively with Home Depot, I am very familiar with their policies and practices…

  144. goller321 says:

    @XopherMV: They have the right to ASK for your receipt. But you have the right to REFUSE and walk away unimpeded…

  145. goller321 says:

    @theysaidwhat: There is a big difference between trying to rightfully pay for something (your case) and buying something for the store’s price. There was nothing unethical about the OP’s behavior. If you want to pay extra for an item feel free, but do impose that backward thinking on the rest of us.

  146. theysaidwhat says:

    Who’s imposing ANYTHING on YOU? My opinion in the comments on a blog is just that–an opinion! As is yours. I don’t remember telling you to live and die by my words. *rolls eyes*

    Yes, they are different situations. All I was saying was that when something seems as though it may have been mismarked or misrung, in my OPINION, an honest person obtains clarification regarding the actual price. That’s all.

  147. guroth says:

    He used a self check-out register so there was no human-error-checking.

    If he had gone to a regular register and a clerk rung it up for $0.01 the clerk surely would have said “hold on, something is wrong”

    Now, there is someone who can monitor the transaction numbers from the self-checkout registers and intervene when problems, errors, or shady numbers show up; that is exactly what happened.
    There should be some sort of store policy clause that allows a short time frame for resolving pricing errors that can not be caught in time during self-checkout

  148. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    You know, I don’t care what the store policy is…anyone who cries bloody murder because a store manager questioned him getting a $200 item for a penny is a complete asshole.

    The manager probably figured it would be easier to lose the price of the item than deal with a screaming lunatic.

    Most extreme scenario: The unit WAS marked down to a penny..the manager still has the right to question that. Giving stuff away for free is not a good business model.

    The fact that he was in the self-checkout made it seem worse. Under normal circumstances, any clerk with half a brain would have questioned it before the transaction was completed.

    Johnny must be one of these people who go to Wal-Mart and puts a 99 cent barcode on a 32″ LCD TV, goes through the self checkout, and then has a hissy fit because somebody stops him before he leaves the store.

    Lots of companies suck, but so do some consumers.

  149. Maverickewu says:

    @kingKonqueror: The answer to your question is no, they shouldn’t be required to sell it to him at the $0.01 price.

    But the problem is they did sell it to him and he had his receipt in hand and Home Depot technically had his money.

    @bubuli: Actually that’s the problem with the story that you didn’t read. THERE WAS NO ERROR! It sounds like even the manager who came over and told him that he couldn’t have it said that the item was correctly priced at $0.01. What the difference is that apparently if an item gets marked down to that, that’s Home Depots internal code saying “Throw this away and take the tax write-off.” The answer here is simple for Home Depot– Find another code to mark these things, or get them off the shelf at the proper time.

  150. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Maverickewu: Assuming the unit WAS correctly priced at $.01, then I agree, they should have sold it to him. I think the manager does have the right to question the transaction though.

  151. goller321 says:

    @theysaidwhat: Or the smart person… knowing the law, buys said item at the price advertised (on scanned.)

    But you are passing judgment and in that way ARE imposing your beliefs on others.

    Had you said, “personally, I would have double checked the price” that would be fine. But you passed judgment on the OP for not doing so.

  152. goller321 says:

    @guroth: Legally that doesn’t fly. If they want to have unmanned checkout centers, then they better be accurate on their pricing.
    And for the record, in WI, they can’t do anything once you’re at the checkout. By law they are required to sell it for the lowest price of either the scanner or the shelf tag. There’s no “take backs” here.

  153. youbastid says:

    Maybe this guy would be getting more SYMPATHY!!! here if his writing didn’t fully give away what a complete ASSHOLE!!! He is.

  154. goller321 says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: NOPE! No right to question anything. Unless they observed him doing something nefarious, he has every right to walk out unimpeded. I also worked retail LP for a couple of years. The responsibility is that of the store’s, they have ZERO right to stop you after a transaction without definitive proof the customer did something illegal.

  155. XTC46 says:

    @jstimson: there is, it is called customersuck.com

  156. goller321 says:

    @youbastid: Why is he an asshole?!? He rightfully acertain his rights. How is that being an asshole? Had he not, odds are the manager would have taken back the saw, which would have been theft.

    You people are such asshats!

  157. EricaKane says:

    Guy was right, but I am guessing there was something left out of this story – like he scanned the item at a self-price check in the store, saw the great price of .01 and then intentionally went to self-check out to avoid human interaction

  158. goller321 says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: And by the way, you “thinking” and what the law says are two VERY different things!

  159. XTC46 says:

    as far as the destroying goes, companies do it alot. I worked for CompUSA and we destroyed product too. It has to do with taxes and making product as a loss. Same with grocery stores that destroy food. It sucks becasue i have seen lots of stuff I would love to buy for dirt cheap rather than see destroyed.

  160. goller321 says:

    @EricaKane: They don’t have those in Home Depot. At least not in any WI stores.
    I think he thought it was another $49 saw that he was happy he found and wanted to buy it. If you have only one item, why bother going through a cashier…

  161. goller321 says:

    @xtc46: I agree. It is scandalous waste. They could donate it for the tax break, but chose instead to destroy it…

  162. darious says:

    @Jaysyn:”When did The Consumerist get all the corporate shills?”

    Probably around the same time that the Consumerist started actively promoting consumer irresponsibility, abusive behavior, self-entitled hissy fits, and a general lack of common sense.

  163. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @nequam: You really think that one penny is a “valid” price? Come one.Anyone would have known that that was an error.

    Yes. One penny most certainly is a valid price. Just a few months ago I bought an entire carton full of books at a garage sale for one penny each. Go figure. If one penny were NOT a valid price, the register would not be able to ring it up.

    And spare us the “This isn’t a garage sale, it’s home depot!” blather. I’ve been in retail stores (Wegmans, to be precise) where I’ve gotten items for FREE because they were having a problem with it scanning and couldn’t be bothered to spend 5 minutes on a price check.

    Similarly, when I worked as a retail manager, there was more than one occasion that I marked some crap on the clearance table down to a penny just to get it out of the store and off the books. Why not just give it away or throw it away? because the one penny sale at the register automatically takes care of it in the computerized inventory, and also gets it into the hands of a person who wants it instead of the landfill.

    So all you self righteous moral arbiters exclaiming “He MUST have known it was an error” and “It was OBVIOUSLY a mistake,” please do us all a favor and just STFU. The customer had no legal or moral obligation to assume the offered price was a mistake. Especially when the store ACCEPTED HIS TENDER.

  164. LionelEHutz says:

    It wouldn’t be the Consumerist if there weren’t a couple of freaks blaming the customer…

  165. witeowl says:

    @GOLLER321 (Not linked because I can’t decide between the fifteen (!) odious posts – talk about needing a life): There’s a difference between legal obligation and the right thing. I don’t have a legal obligation to turn in a bag of cash I found to the police, but I damned well have a moral obligation. Same thing here. (Oh, and you’re sure to sway people with frequent insults and name calling. Yeah. Your real name isn’t Johnny, is it?)

    @nequam: Duck! Thanks for the levity. I still maintain that a one cent price on anything that retails for more than a dollar (except for “buy one get one for” pricing) is a signal that something is wrong and should be questioned as a clear malfunction.

  166. witeowl says:

    @darious: What’s the emoticon for a standing ovation?

  167. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @witeowl: “There’s a difference between legal obligation and the right thing.

    There certainly is. The right thing would have been for Home Depot to honor their own marked price and stop harassing customers who didn’t do anything wrong.

  168. witeowl says:

    @speedwell: marked price != scanned price

    Were it a marked price, I’d completely agree with HD needing to honor it.

  169. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @goller321: Which is why I qualified my comments with “I’m thinking” and not with “this is how it is.”

    I still think they guy’s an asshole.

  170. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @guroth: If he had gone to a regular register and a clerk rung it up for $0.01 the clerk surely would have said “hold on, something is wrong”

    How interesting that you know exactly what would have happened if he had done something he didn’t actally do.

    If he had gone to a cashier, they MIGHT have said something like that, and called the manager. The manager might have refused to sell it at that price. And that would have been fine.

    But what if the cashier smiled and said “Enjoy your one cent bargain sir!” would he then have some nebulous obligation to ask for the manager to further check the price? And if the manager had OK’ed it, would he be obliged to call corporate to make sure it was right? Where EXACTLY does his obligation end?

    He made an offer in good faith of one penny. The store accepted it. His obligation ends COMPLETELY once the store accepts his tender. They even provided a receipt as proof of their acceptance of his offer.

    If the store manager has a problem with his cashiers (or automated checkout systems) accepting tenders that he thinks are too low, that’s HIS problem, and he needs to get new cashiers (or POS systems)

  171. Milkham says:

    Guys, they wanted to take it from him so they could throw it away. How does that make him a douche? It wasn’t a price mistake, they changed the price to 1 cent on purpose and forgot to remove it from the floor. If he didn’t force the issue and threaten to call the cops they would have “tossed” it which probably just means some store employee fishing it out of the trash for less than a penny.

  172. Pope John Peeps II says:

    Johnny’s a dick. Period. That’s a little sleazy.

  173. gas says:

    I’m just kind of amazed at some kind of the comments here from people who don’t understand what happened. Yes, the guy doesn’t sound like he behaved all that well, and his self-righteousness in this case was excessive.

    But Home Depot didn’t think that he was trying to steal the item or underpay for it – their position was that they couldn’t sell it to him for any price. It’s not like they tried to make him pay more money, they just didn’t want to sell the item because it would cause a bookkeeping problem. And I can understand that someone who found an item they want it on the shelves and purchased it was not exactly thrilled when the store took it from him and basically said “No, You Can’t Have It!”

    The fact that he was charged a penny for the item really had nothing whatsoever to do with what happened. If he had not seen how much he had paid for the item, he would have reacted to Home Depot’s behavior in the exact same way.

  174. nequam says:

    @witeowl: There was no marked price, which makes sense because the clearance items have dynamic prices that decrease over time. In that case, one has only the scanned price on which to rely. There was a commenter earlier who has purchased items at Target for one cent. Again, though, the fundamental flaw in your point is that you suggest that a one-cent price is presumptively an error. Whether that is true as a general matter (I concede) is open to debate. Unfortunately for your point, however, there was no pricing error here. The price was 1 cent.

  175. nequam says:

    @Milkham: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!

  176. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Milkham: Because the guy automatically writes a letter that’s full of self-righteousness, as if the world owes him something. “Give me what I want, or I’ll call the cops, and a lawyer, and my mum, and I’ll call my dad and he’ll come in here and beat you up! Waaaaaaah!”

  177. coren says:

    @ptrix: EXACTLY what I was thinking. I may not get a ton of stuff I can use, but I know charities that would love to get some of that sort of stuff.

    @Cupajo: No clerk, auto-checkout.

  178. cde says:

    @witeowl: What’s the difference between the two? Human error is less faulty then computer error? If the marked price was wrong then he would have to have it at the marked price, but if the scanned price was wrong, he can’t have it? Just wait till marked prices go away with the advent of mass, mobile price scanners/computers on shopping carts.

  179. coren says:

    @pine22: How is he ripping off the store when they are going to throw the item in the trash and not even make that penny he paid? He did them a favor!

  180. rworne says:

    Dunno what the “ethical” arguments are…

    The item was marked down to a penny. It was NOT a pricing mistake, and it was a clearance item that was to be discarded. (By the store managers own admission)

    The customer just lucked out on a really good deal, and HD was not about to let it go without a fight.

  181. mikemar42 says:

    The moral of the story is morals get you no where and fast. I would’ve done that in a second. I applaud him for his legal theft. Who the fuck cares if home depot loses money. Maybe the gm won’t get his big fat bonus check that month. Fuck em. Buying things for a penny is legal and morally right. You paid, you leave, you win. EPIC WIN.

  182. cde says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: Right, because what Johnny did is in every way identical to deliberate grand theft by fraud…..

    The only way fraud and johnny’s actions are even remotely similar is if someone cracked into the database, changed the price there, and johnny, unknowingly, goes in and buys the item, having absolutely no connection to the cracker.

  183. coren says:

    The guy here is in the right: he paid, he got a receipt, it’s his item. No, he probably shouldn’t have thought the deal was for a penny, he has a bit of an idea of what the price should be. But it’s not his job to price check, that’s the cashier who is monitoring self-checkout.

    That SAID, he comes OFF as an IDIOT BECAUSE of all his random capitalized WORDS. God that was annoying.

  184. cde says:

    @witeowl: Yes, you do have an legal obligation to turn in “lost” or “mislaiden” property. That big cash of money belongs to someone thats not you, and you do have to turn it in for a duration of time before you can legally claim it, because you have no reasonable belief that the money was “abandoned” property. Even then, the state can place a claim on the property, with a right similar to escheatment.

    Also, if a 200 dollar item is priced down to 5 dollars, is it still an error?

  185. JohnOB1 says:

    Perhaps a dumb observation… but why couldn’t they just sell the thing for a penny? They were going to throw it out, one customer has a saw he got for a cent, he’ll tell the universe that he got it for a penny and he’s a Home Depot customer for life. Isn’t that worth the cost of an out of date saw? There would be no Consumerist article and no thread here to be weighing in on.

    Instead, now we have a bitch session against a store where a person was operating within THEIR system. Rang up. He paid. Got the receipt. That’s that. What was their reasoning for not letting the guy have it? There wasn’t really an answer. Wouldn’t it have been more worth it to let the guy have the saw and keep a happy customer for life?

  186. GearheadGeek says:

    @matt: Yes, I’m sure you would. And since it would be YOUR error (an error in YOUR computer system, maintained by YOUR employees) then you’d have no cause to be angry with this customer, and unless he was acting in collusion with an employee who marked down the merchandise just to pass it off to him, he’s *NOT* dishonest for buying something offered for sale on the clearance shelf. Plain, simple, done.

  187. forgottenpassword says:

    @jstimson: I will tell you EXACTLY why. Because big companies/stores use all kinds of ways to influence, confuse, trick,mislead etc. etc. customers into buying their product (and they have the gall to call it something innocuous like “marketing”). And most times we often fall for it. They have nearly unlimited resources to do this against the average consumer. The consumer has the internet & their own wits to defend against it and that’s about it.

    So when david actually scores a win against goliath…. then it is a fantastic victory.

    Hope that explains it.

  188. sixtoe says:

    Everyone below this comment has nothing futher to add to this argument.

  189. forgottenpassword says:

    I find the “throw away valuable merchandise if it doesnt sell” policy quite bizarre.

    Makes me wonder if I shouldnt be dumpster diving on a nightly basis behind home depot!

  190. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @cde: You keep confusing opinion with fact. I already said at 4:50 PM that I though that if the item were priced at $.01, the guy is probably legally entitled to it.

    It’s my opinion (which by definition cannot be proved or disproved) that the guy is a whiney self-righteous jerk. You may think otherwise and I’m sorry you don’t like it. You’re entitled to that opinion, but stop trying to tell me that I’m not entitled to mine.

  191. stinkingbob says:

    I find it incredible that people still think the guy did something wrong. These people, I believe are super moralists. They probably question everything before doing anything, except when it comes to themselves.
    This is not a question of morals people. This is about legality. He didn’t steal the item and he didn’t switch price tags on it. He paid the price for the drill according to what Home Depot set. That’s right. What Home Depot set. Not the customer, but Home Depot. Lets assume that the drill was not a clearance item and that it cost $220. If he goes to the self-checkout and it rings up as 1 cent and he pays for it, then it is legally his. He did nothing wrong. He paid for the item what the store asked for. Obviously, the pricing is a mistake, but that is not the consumers fault. For all these moralists out there, why haven’t they commented on the fact that HD as well as other chains cut costs to boost profits by putting up those self-checkout lanes. They do this to not hire an American and pay wages and benefits. Why aren’t you moralits jumping up and down about that? But let the consumer get a break and he is a bad guy. Please get off your moral horse.

  192. SaraAB87 says:

    I didn’t read all the comments and I am not sure if this has been mentioned but don’t certain states have pricing laws that state that if an item comes up in the computer as a lower price than it is marked, then the customer gets the lower price. Regardless if it was a penny or not, this policy should apply here if the state has a law like this.

    If home depot wants to avoid this, they should remove the item from the system completely, so that when it scans it scans as nothing and out of system, a penny still indicates a salable item to me provided the item was still on the shelf.

  193. monkeyboy13 says:

    In this case it was a self-checkout, but several comments have been about cashier errors. While you don’t have to point out errors, and once the purchase is made, the transaction is finished, you ALWAYS should point out obvious ringing errors with human checkouts.

    I work in Loss Prevention for retail, and I get and research reports of items ringing up at below the correct prices, to try and spot cashier dishonesty. While a good store will get the manager, who should approve the price it rang up for good customer service, which my store does, it will help LP when the review the video to see that a manager was alerted and let the item sell. While it is not automatic termination, if the cashier is making those errors, it could look like a pattern of underringing.

  194. bubuli says:

    @Maverickewu: whether it’s an item that shouldn’t be on display, or a pricing error, somebody made a mistake…and Johnny-boy here shouldn’t have taken advantage of it…because if the pricing error was against him, he would’ve bitched about it.

    imagine if this is a mom and pop store…and they priced 1c for a $200 item? wouldn’t you feel bad trying to hold them for it? so why is then when doing it to Home Depot it’s OK, hm?

  195. Rusted says:

    @FF_Mac: Yeah but it was a legit sale. Morals and Ethics were not on HD’s side either. They blew some good publicity too.

    @trademarked67: I used to work for an airport retailer. It was policy, that if something was mis-priced lower, that what was the customer paid. They seemed to like it.

    @fromthissoil: Broken glass, some real liability issues there. 600 bucks is a drop in the bucket compared to the damage a lawsuit can do.

  196. stacy75 says:

    Sounds like this guy is pulling consumerist’s leg.

  197. Youthier says:

    Well, Johnny was in the right but wow… does he sound like a gem or what?

  198. stinkingbob says:


    “imagine if this is a mom and pop store…and they priced 1c for a $200 item? wouldn’t you feel bad trying to hold them for it? so why is then when doing it to Home Depot it’s OK, hm?”
    First of all, mom and pop stores do not have self check out registers. They do things person to person. What this means is that at the time of purchase the HUMAN would have noticed the pricing error and would have corrected it before the customer bought it.

  199. XianZomby says:

    “Congratulations, sir! Your purchase today revealed a flaw in our computer system, and you are going to exploit it. You have managed to walk out of the store with an expensive item, but you only have to pay a penny. You got us. Please don’t come back here.”

  200. blue67texas says:

    It’s not the fault of the customer or the cashier that the saw was sold for a penny. This should have been caught by the Iventory Management Associate or the dept head over that dept. Home depot has alot of stuff that goes on clearence. These items are identified on the shelf with a yellow tag. After a period of time the tag gets replaced with another yellow tag but now has a was is tag on it. Sometimes the price drops alot and sometimes it stays the same for longer periods of time. The customer knows that if he waits long enough the price will eventually drop down to a great price. Usually to a few dollars. Here’s the thing though, if this product does not show any type of sales movement the price will drop down to $0.01. This is put on the item so it can be marked down and thrown away. It doesn’t matter if the item is good or bad. The reason why that manager wanted it back is because he can lose his job for selling it at that price. No if and’s or butt’s about it. This saw could have been miss placed in the overheads and found at a later time. The bad thing is they have lots of stuff that usually sits in the overheads because they won’t allow it on the floor. They don’t want to block up any of the aisles. So if you see someting you like and your watching the price drop on a clearence item you better make up your mind if you want to buy it. It could be in the trash before you know it.

  201. unklegwar says:

    To everyone coming down on the saw’s purchaser, before you condemn him, what state was this in? Many states have LAW that says any discrepency between marked price (in this case, NONE), and scanned price results in the price that is most favorable to the customer. So if it rings up for $.01, then the customer is indeed entitled to the item at that price BY LAW.
    Just as the saying goes “Let the buyer beware”, so should it go for the seller.

  202. unklegwar says:


  203. meneye says:

    Johnnyboy: you are such an a-hole. A total cheapo, despite you being technically right. Your mommy upstairs needs to give you a good beating.

  204. gambles says:

    @sofasleeper:”tool that could cut your hand off one day”

    Thats not called Bad Karma thats called MADE IN CHINA

  205. guevera says:

    I support Home Depot in this, because they only use the self checkouts sot they can have more people out on the floor. That’s why it’s always so easy to quickly find a competent and experienced person to help you when you have a question about something. Oh, wait….

  206. randalotto says:

    @TinyBug: I’m not sure it’s as simple as that.

    Given that the product was sitting on a shelf without a price tag and wasn’t intended to be sold, I’m not sure there was ever an offer made to actually sell the product – kind of important if you’re going to claim a valid contract was formed.

    Besides, I’d say that the guy pretty clearly violated his duty of good faith.

  207. Crazytree says:

    I wonder if the idiot would feel the same way if his CC got charged for $1,990 instead of $199.

  208. cde says:

    @guevera: I thought it was so they can avoid having more people on the pay roll and pocketing the change.

    @randalotto: What about the stores duty of good faith? To not have unsellable, nib copies of normally sellable products on the floor without something saying it isn’t for sale? It’s not like he went in, took one of their pos computers and tried to buy that for 1 cent. He went into a store, took an item that he had no reason to believe was not for sale, bought it, fair and square. HD should have programmed the pos to not allow it to be sold.

  209. Trojan69 says:

    The best part for me is that if he used a credit card, the transaction cost Home Depot at least 34 cents in merchant fees! Do y’all think the bank would waive the fee seeing as we all know that it is impossible for any merchandise to cost one cent?

    Didn’t think so.

  210. Buran says:

    @bubuli: Please enlighten us on how you think it’s OK for the store to disobey the law. Fact is, the law says the item is his, so it’s his. They should have been more careful. If you don’t want stuff walking out the door for a cent, don’t price it at one cent! If you try to take it back after the sale, you are a thief and that’s a real crime, not civil-court “crime”.

  211. Unknownheadfeelings says:

    Working for a big box retailer, here’s my thought. If the company puts a stupid system in place (clearance items are marked a penny), they paid some corporate jackass for that system. If a store has a lower advertised price for the item with no expiration date on the tag, they should keep track of who was suppose to replace the tag and, if he can’t keep up, get him some help or kick his ass out (I get yelled at for incorrect pricing from customers, but it’s not my job and management won’t give me time to double-check my department). With big businesses, my feeling is the more they lose, the faster they will learn to fix the broken system. I usually tend to think the world works differently then it actually does, but hiring people who want a good job and are willing to make things work should help avoid losses and fix the system without causing the company any pain.

  212. stinerman says:

    If I were him, I wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it.

  213. crankymediaguy says:

    The REAL question is how much did Johnny pay for the English As A Second Language course he obviously failed.

  214. mvwsvw says:

    I didn’t have time to read all of the posts, but… couldn’t Home Depot donate all of these “throw away” items to Habitat for Humanity or a similar charity and get a nice little write off and some good press at the same time.
    Shitty disposable society

  215. 00exmachina says:

    definition of ethics: [dictionary.reference.com]
    # 2 applies in this context.
    definition of morals:
    # 7 applies in this context.

    So to get the obvious out of the way Ethics and morals are not the same thing.

    That being said the store screwed up when they took the item and refused to give it back. They could have told him it didn’t scan correctly, refunded the 0.01 then charged the shelf price. That even would have been legal, advertised accuracy policies aside.

  216. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @crankymediaguy: Too true, too true. LOL

    For all you whiners about “it shouldn’t have cost a penny,” I’ll make sure I NEVER go to any of your garage sales. Instead, I’ll go to the garage sales of people who actually understand the concept of “put a ridiculous price on it so it can go away.”

  217. laker says:

    What the hell is wrong with you people? There’s nothing ethically or morally “bankrupt” about Johnny’s behavior:

    1) He CHECKED the UPC for a match and found it.

    2) It was NOT $150, in case anyone ignored the fact that it was on clearance for $49! So I don’t see how he “stole $150 from Home Depot”

    3) I agree with the individual who stated that if you choose to have a self-checkout, you’re responsible for the results, as it’s your system of choice.

    4) I don’t see WHAT was wrong with him purchasing it if they were planning to clear it off. The $0.01 he paid was the ACTUAL price, as has repeatedly been stated here and in the original email.

  218. clickable says:


    The mistake is when it seems “reasonable” and it is a very slippery slope. Because for some situations, a markdown from 49.99 to 5.99 can *most definitely* be reasonable. If the box is knocked around, the item maybe a little scuffed, an awful color (in the case of apparel), all kinds of “issues” can force a price to rock-bottom. So MSRP 199.99 down to bargain bin price of 4.99 a season or two later is not unheard of. Of course, it’s probably not something anyone would want, obvs., or it would have sold at a higher price.

    But $.01, I would agree, is the kind of figure that would make me go “huh?” Knowing nothing about retail, I would guess that it doesn’t seem like a price, but more like some kind of administrative marker the store put on the item for some reason. I’d take it to the most inexperienced, bored, indifferent clerk I could find (and therefore hopefully the one most likely to want to help me “get away with it”), and try to get them on my side – “hey, is this for reals? Is it possible that this really costs only one cent?” If my timing is right and my hunch about the clerk is right, I just might get away with it. So I would alert the staff, but I’m sure as heck not going to apologize for trying to swing things in my favor by trying to do it in a way that might still let me snag that awesome one-penny find. Sometimes attitude is everything.

    And if they say “no,” and won’t sell it at $.01, I wouldn’t create a scene, because I’m not stupid.

  219. ben1711 says:

    It comes down to this.

    There are 2 types of people in this world. Ones who do the honest thing, and one’s that do not.

    For instance, I found a giant ribeye roast (normally like 70 bucks) the other day that the supermarket had mislabeled the weight on it somehow so it was labeled 12 dollars. Now, I could have jumped on the deal and fed my family like a king for cheap…but I returned the item to the meat counter to be repriced. Who wants to guess what the author of this article would have done. Hint: The answer includes the word “mine” multiple times.

    People, if we expect (and we do) businesses to be 100 percent ethical and fair…we as consumers need to do the same.

  220. darkened says:

    I read through a bunch of comments and wtf people do you even RTFA? It clearly states the ITEM WAS PRICED CORRECTLY, it then states it shouldn’t have been available for purchase off the floor regardless of the price. That is not his fault they placed an item that was schedule for the dumpster on the clearance rack (or left it there)

    I’m actually impressed Home Depot did the right thing and gave him his purchase. This if anything only encourages me to continue shopping there and be sure to watch for that clearance rack or dumpsters…

  221. hapless says:


    And if a mom and pop screws up this badly, they deserve the kind of treatment Johnny gives them.

    Pricing errors happen. It’s your cashier’s job to prevent them. Why was the self-checkout not adequately monitored?

  222. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @randalotto: Given that the product was sitting on a shelf without a price tag and wasn’t intended to be sold

    Do you see the inherent contrasiction between “product was sitting on a shelf” and “not intended to be sold”?

    If it wasn’t intended to be sold, it should not have been on the shelf.

    I’m not sure there was ever an offer made to actually sell the product

    Well, fist of all, it was a product that they carried, it was on the shelf, it was recognized by the scanner, and the computer showed a price for it. It doesn’t seem the least bit unreasonable to interpret that as an offer to sell.

    But regardless of whether or not they made an active offer to sell it, HE made an active offer to buy it, which the store accepted. The fact that they took his money is the really the defining factor here. It really is that simple.

    And I’m not sure what makes you think he acted in bad faith – he offered a penny, the store accepted his offer, and then he paid it.

  223. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I don’t get it. They were going to get rid of it anyway so why try to take it away from him?

    Yes, the way he wrote of the incident makes it sound like he acted like a jerk. However, it is not unethical to buy something for a penny if that’s the price the business set it at.

    HD really needs to fix their system. Items to be thrown out, for any reason, should be marked as such and their scanners should be programmed to not allow the sale.

  224. silentluciditi says:

    1) The cashier who was supposed to be in charge of the self checkouts probably should have noticed something wrong when it rang up, but depending on how busy it was and being human, may not have had a chance to react quickly enough before Johnny paid for the sale (which, after seeing it ring up at $0.01 he probably did with great speed instead of inquiring.). He didn’t have to be an ass about it.

    2) He’s an ass. Speaking as a former big box home improvement center customer service manager, he’s the kinda of customer we will gladly do without. And the threat that he’s only going to Lowe’s from now on? Absolutly hillarious. We never gave a damn or were intimidated by those threats, since A) we don’t get paid enough to deal with people like that, B) we’re glad to let him be someone else’s problem, and C) more than likely, he’ll have a bad experience at another store and he’ll be back.

    3) As for the possibility of him having taken the item from a bin going back to D&D- perfectly likely. We had people pull that crap all the time, worse yet was when they’d nab something going back that was damaged or defective, then a day or so later, they’d come back and return it for a full refund. Yeah, we marked them before they went back, but sometimes cashiers didn’t catch it. Same goes for heavily discounted merchandise or stuff that was set to be pulled from inventory.

    4) Wouldn’t put it past this guy to try and return it at Lowe’s or somewhere else without a receipt to get the full price (minus whatever they won’t give him for not having a receipt) back. I hate people like that.

  225. silentluciditi says:

    Also- I’d put money on it that Johnny knew something was up with the item since the clearance price was not marked, so to avoid possibly being stopped and having to pay more (possibly) at a cashier, he decided to self-checkout, thereby giving himself the opportunity to possibly get it for less and not raise a flag immediately.

  226. Dibbler says:

    I hate Home Depot’s self check-outs and only use them when I have no other choice. At the store near me they seem to only have one cashier working at any given time so I’m forced to either wait in a long line or use the damn thing. This one is a matter of Home Depot screwing up and they should have had some kind of safeguard up to not allow the transaction to go through. I think the guy is a thief but at the same time he did pay for it so Home Depot is out of luck. 50/50

  227. Teh1337Pirate says:

    I don’t know what the laws are there but the cops can’t even prosecute if the item isn’t $20 or more. Since the item rang up for 1 cent I don’t know what legal action he could take other than being an asshole.

  228. RandomHookup says:

    Interesting thread. A lot of you are saying the customer was wrong because he acted childishly when denied the sale. While he could have been the biggest ass in the world, the law doesn’t care. It was either a completed sale or it wasn’t. It was either a gross pricing error or it wasn’t.

    My suggestion for inventory items like this: set it to an impossible price, like $.0001. When the machine can’t make change, an associate will have to come and fix things.

  229. This guy is a douche who misuses capital letters and overindulges in exclamation marks. I think on that we all can agree. I would have been okay with him getting screwed on this one for those reasons alone.

    Even so, the advent of self-checkout means that entire transactions are handled by automated systems. Both parties exchange consideration and all terms are agreed upon and committed in writing. Regardless of any computer error, the contract is executed and documented. Companies need to take responsibility. Hopefully the efficiency of automation offsets the disadvantages introduced by occasional errors.

  230. stinkingbob says:

    Lol. Everyone who is calling the author names is pissed off because they couldn’t score a deal like him! Morally and legally,the author did the correct thing. Power to him! I hope you have great use of that drill. You deserve it.

  231. rmontcal says:

    @Falconfire: Dear Home Depot, To prevent this situation from occurring again, for items you intend on discontinuing, instead of marking them down to a penny, how about marking them UP to $1,000,000.

    Thank you. Now where can I pick up the check for my consulting services?

  232. Stush0104 says:

    I think it is a horrible argument to make that customers have a right to return an item that was not intended to be sold at $0.01 because it was an error. I am sorry, but if HD made a mistake, then it has to pay for that mistake. And to imply that it should be returned because companies fix pricing errors that happen in their favor is crap. If the company does not fix the pricing error, it will eventually catch up to them and they would lose business. They don’t fix it to be nice, they fix it to keep you coming back.

  233. jaewon223 says:

    @TinkishDelight: As stated it was a SELFCHECKOUT. There was no employee ringing up the product for him to purchase. I don’t see what the big deal is. If they were going to just end up throwing it away then why not just give it to the man for a penny.

  234. rbdfoxes says:

    People are evil. Companies are super-concentrated evil. Everyone’s clinging to the false veneer of civilization mitigated only by the force of law. I say score one for the consumer.

  235. e_cubed99 says:

    Selling the item for $0.01 was not a scanner error. When HDepot decides a product should no longer be sold, they lower the price to $0.01 in the computer and, as the manager said, destroy/toss the items. One of my friends is employed there and takes advantage of this on a pretty regular basis.

  236. ben1711 says:

    It seems alot on here say “since they (HD) were just going to throw it away, whats the big deal”. However I think because they were going to write it off…it could not be sold…it had to be disposed of/destroyed. I may be wrong but hey, I’m not an accountant…..

  237. goller321 says:

    @guevera: You don’t know squat about Home Depot. They don’t have unmanned registers to increase floor staff, they have it to DECREASE cashiers. There has been zero increase in floor staff since they started installing these things.

  238. goller321 says:

    @silentluciditi: Again, assuming facts not in evidense. First off, Home Depot doesn’t always tag all of their clearance stuff. It is not uncommon to see items missing the clearance tag and he KNEW that it had been $49 previously.

    Second, who the hell goes to a cashier if you can complete the simple transaction at the self-sever? Why waste the time, if you don’t need to.

    Third, a very good portion of the time, you can go to many Home Depots and have absolutely not cashiers working. Only the head-cashier overseeing self-serve and calling for someone if necessary…

  239. goller321 says:

    @ben1711: Nope. No difference between a $.01 destroyed or sale.

  240. goller321 says:

    @e_cubed99: If your friend is emplyed at HD, then getting the $.01 deals are the only benefit for their employees left- although they’d get fired if it was found out. I think it would be worth it though, sine they treat their employees like crap. I’m just sorry Bob Nardelli didn’t develop a horrible painful cancer and die…

  241. Asshole30 says:

    Its not a matter of Home Depot screwing up or the system being wrong. When they take a markdown of a penny, its because the vendor has absorbed the cost of it. At that point Home Depot can not sell the product. As far as throwing away perfectly good merchandise, well if you have ever been a manager at a retail location you know that if you receive credit for the merchadise from the vendor and they instruct them to throw it away they can not sell it because it no longer belongs to them.

    Did Home Depot screw up by not pulling from the shelf? Probably, im sure thats not their biggest concern when they have hundreds of thousands of products to deal with. I know Home Depot would have made it right, not for a penny but would have done the right thing for the customer!

  242. jstonemo says:

    As the economy continues on its downward spiral, I know where I am going to be dumpster diving!

  243. coren says:

    @laker: I find it amusing that you’re telling other people what the price was not (199) and then quoting an incorrect price yourself (49 was several months ago)

    @stinkingbob: Yeah, jealous of some saw or whatever that I don’t’ know what it does, and clearly don’t need (if I can’t figure out what it’s for, what do I need it for?)

    One thing that’s bothering me..a lot of people are saying home depot is accepting his transaction. But in this case, it’s a computer that’s at fault (and when I say at fault, I mean not behaving as a human would and questioning the price). All the time when humans screw up and misprice things on websites, those deals get rescinded; why is this different? Because he was physically there?

  244. RandomHookup says:


    All the time when humans screw up and misprice things on websites, those deals get rescinded; why is this different? Because he was physically there?

    Yes, because all the elements for a completed transaction are present. With websites, the transaction isn’t completed until the item is shipped. There are plenty of cases where e-commerce companies tried to charge more after the fact to correct an error, but it would usually be considered too late (or the consumer would be able to return the item without penalty).

  245. greenpepper says:

    Something to be said about the people that follow this site… not one person said I’m getting one, thanks for the lead!

  246. dextrone says:

    What mistake?
    Last time I went to Home Depot and got something for 0.01$ at home depot (orig. price 70$), they said that’s part of the system….
    They even said, don’t worry, we do that with items that will be discontinued/are not being sold…..

  247. BlazerUnit says:

    @jaysonjaz: Dollar General has the same practice. We’ve had individual clearance items that were to be disposed of the in exact same way, but for whatever reason, some items were left on the shelves. Nobody would know that they were to be discounted until that item was scanned for purchase. Much of these items were seasonal items that had already been discounted 50-90% off a few weeks before.

    Trust me–if one ‘discontinued’ item still remains in store and rings up $0.01, Dollar General is NOT losing out, as they originally discounted the stuff to move it in the first place. Home Depot basically tried to screw the customer by taking his item away.

  248. BlazerUnit says:

    @unknownheadfeelings: 100% AGREED. They’d have had drama to simply let the man have his purchase, then quietly and quickly pull the rest of the clearance items to inspect them. The fact that our dollar store had several items ring up 0.01 started a mini-frenzy for a few days, as old ladies and redneck women walked in asking to be shown the one-cent toys and flower pots.

  249. cde says:

    @greenpepper: What do you think this is, fatwallet/slickdeals? Besides, no way in hell those would still be on the shelf.

  250. Cupajo says:


    Hey, how about you chill the fuck out? I never defended the guy’s actions, but I’ve got *serious* reservations about the little ‘bait and switch’ the store employees pulled in order to get the device (which fucking belonged to the customer at that point) out of his hands. ‘Oh, yeah. I need to check something out on this.’ and then ‘No, you can’t have it back.’ Total and undefendable bullshit.

  251. creativecstasy says:

    One time I was at home depot using self checkout. My friend noticed silver sharpies, which usually cost $1.99, were ringing up at 1c. We bought all 20 on the shelf.

  252. Transient says:

    I enjoy the debate on this issue. I have a friend very much like Johnny. He loves to take advantage of everything that he can and is quick to anger when he’s confronted about dishonest behavior. He’s most defensive when it’s a “deal of a lifetime” that anyone in their mind questions.

    To some, morality is does not break a rule written in a book, what they are not caught doing, or an eye for an eye. To others, it’s more about that golden rule mumbo jumbo. When it’s interaction between corporations and people, rather than just between people, the split becomes considerably less clear. I know that I’ve acted on both sides of the fence.

    In this case: the guy knew something was up and didn’t hesitate. It’s the sort of self-indulgence that can make or break a life. I have a lot more respect for someone who listens to that pause and verifies their good luck than rolling it like a con artist. But was he legally wrong? Of course not.

  253. ralon says:

    I work at home depot as a cashier, this happens to me every once in a while. I have no idea why they throw the stuff away either but whatever. Usually if it is something that isn’t very expensive we will just give it to the customer.

  254. enjae says:

    I had the very same thing happen to me yesterday at Home Depot, only with an area rug. It was in the clearance section and marked down to $25, but it rang up as $.01. I questioned it, the cashier called around to a bunch of people, and finally one of the managers came out, explained that it excess inventory that had been discontinued and so couldn’t be returned to the manufacturer, told me it was mine to keep at that price, and thanked me for having the cashier double check on it. It was an extremely pleasant experience! And my $.01 rug looks great. =D

  255. racerchase says:

    Think of it like this, if the customer had been overcharged and not noticed, would the Manager chase him down to give him a refund? I think not! The man paid what the item rang up so it was his. If retailers were not so greedy there would be no such thing as self checkout. Unless there is a discount for using a self checkout do not use it. You are just costing jobs. You are not saving any money.