Shopper Takes Walmart To Court Over $2 And Wins $100

The Pennsylvania woman who makes a hobby out of taking retailers to court over pricing errors has struck again. This time Walmart was ordered to pay Mary Bach $100 for repeatedly failing to correct a $2 error.

WTAE in Pittsburgh says:

On Monday morning, Wal-Mart decided not to fight Bach’s latest lawsuit, so District Judge Charles Conway ruled in her favor and awarded Bach $100 for being overcharged on a $2 purchase at the company’s Delmont store.

This is Ms. Bach’s second judgment against this Walmart. In May she won $100 after suing Walmart over some $5 pants that were supposed to be $3. Before that, she won a lawsuit against Kmart for charging sales tax on toilet paper.

She says the money isn’t important, (she always sues for the minimum amount) she just wants shoppers to be more careful and pay attention.

Murrysville Woman Beats Wal-Mart In Court Over $2 Error [WTAE] (Thanks, Tim!)
(Photo: genebob )


Edit Your Comment

  1. meechybee says:

    Money is not important? Hmmmm.

    I guess she truly believes that or she wouldn’t keep wasting taxpayers’ money and time hearing her selfish, ego-driven cases.

    • dmuth says:

      @meechybee: Um, how do you figure in the “selfish” and “ego-driven” part? She comes off more as a bit of a consumer advocate to me.

      Reading the article, it also states that she first alerted management to the problem and only filed suit after it was not corrected. It seems to me like she tried to resolve the issue using proper channels first, and only escalated it to the courts after that failed to work.

      • P_Smith says:

        @dmuth: Reading the article, it also states that she first alerted management to the problem and only filed suit after it was not corrected. It seems to me like she tried to resolve the issue using proper channels first, and only escalated it to the courts after that failed to work.

        This is yet another argument for a “loser pays” legal system. With certain wins like this woman is going after, making the companies pay the cost of their own screwups (instead of the taxpayers) will teach them a lesson.

    • coan_net says:

      @meechybee: I don’t know the details, but it sounds like she first tried to get the store to correct the error…. “…repeatedly failing…”

      After that, it sounds like a good way to get a company to stop screwing it’s customers. (not if lawsuit was first step, then not that good, but it does not sound like that.)

    • tc4b says:

      @meechybee: So, it’s OK for stores to overcharge? Is it a waste of taxpayer money to help keep them honest?

    • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

      @meechybee: Well, if it happened to her, it probably happened to thousands of others in her state. She is standing up for the rights of her fellow consumers, and hitting companies in the only place they feel things, their wallets.

      And how is she wasting taxpayer money? Wasting money is bringing frivolous lawsuits. The case was found in her favor. Also, she is about as ego driven as anyone on this site is who stands up for other people. Do you consider Ben, Meghann, et al. wasting Gawker money and selfish and ego driven?

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      @meechybee: Yeah, right- people should only sue for “important” things, and let corporations get away with the small stuff.
      It’s not a waste of taxpayer money to ask the courts to do what they were set up to do.

    • IrvCrapper says:

      @meechybee: I think a more diligent reader would understand her point, that HER money isn’t the matter. She could sue for more, but doesn’t. The nuisance alone costs WalMart money.

      Quit being a troll.

    • ideagirl says:

      @meechybee: This is exactly how these laws are designed to work–we can’t exactly call the sheriff of Wal-Mart, or send Wal-mart to jail, so we penalize them at the court level with money. If more people did this these stores would probably pay more attention to the law.

    • karmaghost says:

      @meechybee: Well, I don’t know what the costs were that she incurred for filing this claim, but I imagine she made hardly any profit at all after court fees and the like. I work at a grocery store part-time and I get angry at our own people when they can’t price things properly. I say, more power to this lady. She’s using the system to her advantage and she’s not taking any undue advantage of the courts.

    • Ein2015 says:

      @meechybee: I believe I’m justified in calling you an ignorant troll:
      – You clearly have not looked up the definition of selfish nor ego, thus you used them incorrectly.
      – The woman first tried to fix the problem outside of court, but behemoths like Walmart could care less.
      – Walmart sells TONS (literally) of toilet paper, so when they tax items they shouldn’t (such as toilet paper), this affects many people and should be corrected.
      – All of the other responses pretty much sum it up as well.

      • ngc6027 says:

        @Ein2015: And you obviously did not read the article correctly as this woman sued K-Mart for the toilet paper tax incident.

        • D-Bo says:

          @ngc6027: Or conversely you obviously don’t know what a typo is. Couldn’t you come up with anything substantial to add to the discussion?

          I say kudos to Ms. Bach for putting up the good fight and holding these corporations responsible for their egregious mistakes.

      • mmmsoap says:

        @Ein2015: – Walmart sells TONS (literally) of toilet paper, so when they tax items they shouldn’t (such as toilet paper), this affects many people and should be corrected.

        Especially since I’m willing to wager that Walmart was not actually passing along the tax that they were “accidentally” charging to the states in question.

    • XTC46 says:

      Considering the amount of money she is being awarded I have to assume she is doing it to be a pain to the company more than for the money. I mean 1 day off to go to court would cost me a lot more than she is being rewarded, and event at minimum wage, she would be taking a loss assuming it takes more than 1 days worth of work.

    • iammoses says:


      I don’t think it is a waste of time trying to keep the big companies honest. A company such as Walmart has the resources to be accurate, there is no excuse for the pricing diferences. Consumers must stand up for themselves and not accept being cheated out of their money.

    • ranchgal says:

      @meechybee: Did you actually read the article? Mary Bach isn’t some slob wasting taxpayers’ money. She is a consumer advocate for the AARP, with “consumer advocate” being the operative descriptors in the story. Kind of like the website “” you read and benefit from the information provided… for free. Mary Bach resorts to filing the minimum lawsuit only after the stores continue to “fleece” the customer after she has made the management aware of the price discrepancies. The little money awarded in the situation is not the point. This sort of negative publicity is what gets the large corporations like Wal-Mart to take notice. Duuuhhhh.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @meechybee: I take it that you’re unaware that you have to pay court costs when you take someone to small claims court? The ammout of the court costs is added to the settlement amount if you win..

    • brent_r says:

      @meechybee: Get a clue.

    • Kay Bee says:

      @meechybee: “wasting taxpayers’ money” Lulz. the plaintiff pays court filing fees. small claims is big fun. try it!

  2. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    I think going after more money isn’t necessarily the right approach…

    However, I also feel like after a Walmart loses $100 over a problem they didn’t correct, it serves as a reminder what can happen if they don’t monitor their prices right.

    • friendlynerd says:

      It’s the only language that corporate America speaks.

      Don’t speak cash? Can’t hear you…

    • eXo says:

      @LetMeGetTheManager: I disagree. Say they let the price mistake stick, more than 50 people will pay the extra 2 bucks. So the hundred they lost is easily paid for and then some by leaving the pricing error alone. Ultimately they make so much money they seriously are not going to care about “loosing” a $100 case.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @exo: I agree. It would be nice if more people knew they could / would put the effort into filing these suits.

      • wickedpixel says:

        @exo: you’re leaving out the effect of both the negative publicity. A percentage of consumers may decide to shop elsewhere as a result which would lead to a lot more money in the loss column than just the settlement.

        • LinkRacer says:

          @wickedpixel: The consumers who typically shop at Walmart have no “elsewhere” to go.

          • wickedpixel says:

            @LinkRacer: Kmart? Target?

            • eXo says:

              @wickedpixel: Here in Dallas there is no K-Mart, and Target has differentiated themselves by trying to be more upscale.

              target is more expensive, there grocery section is full of organics, their clothing is full of faux designer lines, and their home section is extremely over priced bathroom accessories. Now – I like target and all, but they just don’t compare to Wal-Mart. And the consumer base difference is STARK.

              the wal-mart next to my house is seriously ghetto, while the target is fairly upscale. Might as well put a train track between them, because wal-mart is definitely on the wrong side.

        • eXo says:

          @wickedpixel: There are people who hate Wal-Mart and will never shop there for any reason. And there are people who go nowhere else. There are very few ‘in-betweens’.

          What i mean is, few people who go to Wal-Mart purposefully pass another store out of loaylty to wal-mart.

          Their customers don’t shop their for customer service, knowledge, or anything other than low prices. Wal-Mart could put up signs saying, “WE HATE YOU – GO AWAY”. People would still shop there.

  3. Geekybiker says:

    You know if the pricing error was in the consumers favor it would have been fixed right away.

  4. johnnya2 says:

    Explain how itis a ‘waste of taxpayers money”? All courts CHARGE to file a suit, and if the plaintiff wins they are reimbursable. The fact is Wal Mart would end up paying that. If they do not pay she can actually go into a Wal Mart store and collect from the cash till.

  5. Micromegas says:

    People in America are inherently suspicious of the legal system, so I’m not sure if making a habit of litigation is a good way to raise awareness of a problem.

    Popular opinion is, as a general rule, against plaintiffs in civil cases. They’re seen as selfish, money-grubbing, and just out to make a quick buck without doing any work to earn it. That view is usually accompanied with a sense that whatever happened to the plaintiff was the plaintiff’s own fault.

    So, yeah, this woman should change her tactic if she’s trying to send a message about deceptive practices by retailers.

    • hegemonyhog says:

      @Micromegas: Given how stupid that view is, maybe we should, you know, work to change it?

      Also, is that actually the “general rule” of public opinion, or the general rule of a specific subset of people?

  6. Gokuhouse says:

    Well, I’m overcharged it seems like all the time and when I tell the cashier the price is wrong they act like I’m being a problem since they have to look the item up.

    One time while buying a weeks worth of groceries my wife noticed an overcharge on the receipt, we didn’t go back immediately as we were already 5 minutes out of town but we came back the next day and got our 5 dollars back on a bunch of lemons. Yes were were overcharged by $5 dollars on a bag of lemons, while the whole bag was only supposed to be a few bucks we were charged nearly 3 times the price for them.

    Here’s a tip for the OP, go for the maximum fine next time as this obviously doesn’t bother Wal-Mart and as pointed out already these small claims court judges cost money for the taxpayers too.

    • trademarked67 says:

      I know what you mean about the cashier acting like I am being a problem. A few weeks ago I was in a convenient store and walked by a display for candy bars which was marked 2/$1.00. I picked up two on the way by and headed to the checkout.

      The clerk rang the candy up at the regular price and said they were marked 2/$1.00 on the display. He asked what I was talking about and I pointed at the display in the corner of the store. He walked to the display, pulled off the sign and walked back to the counter. As he was ripping up the sign and throwing it away, he commented “God, 20 cents.”

      He gave me the new total, and because I am a smartass, said “you act like it is a pain in your ass to correct that.” He leaned over the counter, got in my face and asked what I said. I repeated myself and, still in my face said, “don’t you ever cuss me.” Hell, I thought he was going to try and kick my ass right there. Stared me down all the way to the car. One of these days my mouth will get me in trouble…

      • howie_in_az says:

        @trademarked67: I am upset that the words “I’d like to speak to your manager” didn’t come out of your mouth. Surely attempting to intimidate customers isn’t “corporate policy” at stores you patron, right?

        • trademarked67 says:


          Believe it or not, he is the manager at that location. I saw the owner when I was driving by one one of the other locations a few days later and pulled in to discussed it with him. The owner said he would talk to him, but I’m not holding my breath. After that I stopped patronizing their stores (there are 7 and they are convenient and, unfortunately, this is a relatively small town.)

      • frodo_35 says:

        I have had that happen to me also. The right response is you are right 25 cents is nothing so pull it out of your pocket and pay it. Then it something to them.

    • hegemonyhog says:

      @Gokuhouse: The only way this suit actually costs any additional money for the taxpayers is if it either requires the judge to work overtime (which is never going to happen) or if it pushes another case off the docket (which isn’t going to happen).

      Small claims courts are taxpayer resources there to be used by taxpayers. Saying we’re in the wrong using the resources that we pay to be there to be used is just asinine.

  7. Preyfar says:

    I have to applaud her for suing for the minimal amount… but at the same time I have to wonder how much personal time she spends scouring receipts, double-checking, triple-checking, etc. Seems like an interesting, yet time consuming hobby.

    Then again, it almost makes you wonder how often we get overcharged for simple items and never notice.

    • Ein2015 says:

      @Preyfar: It’s an inexpensive hobby… and if she enjoys it… then woohoo!

    • verdantpine says:

      @Preyfar: It really doesn’t take a lot of time to double-check our receipts. We take a minute to read them after leaving the store. Most of the time, they’re fine; if they’re not, we ask for our money back. Done.

      Then again, we actually use a budget when we shop – and we try to keep abreast of what things cost by writing them down. Kind of like the old school Depression “price book” housewives and householders were encouraged to have, only we use cookbook software.

    • heathenkitties says:


      I’m a single mom….I notice EVERY price that rings up….and have a crystal-clear memory regarding every purchase. I catch the “system” all the time screwing up. I don’t bag my groceries until AFTER everything has been rung up–and I’m not shy about questioning murky prices… no one else is paying the final tally except ME.

  8. rpm773 says:

    Is this the lady who was in front of me at the store the other day, berating the hapless 15 year-old cashier about the price of stale halloween candy?

    • Preyfar says:

      @rpm773: They’re right up there on the frustration level with the “value” minded consumers who try to argue discounts over a slight dent in a can of peas. =P

    • Ein2015 says:

      @rpm773: While I could very well be wrong and would stand open to correction… I have a feeling that this particular woman would NOT be arguing to 15-year-old cashiers but instead to management.

  9. Xerloq says:

    Contrary to popular belief, the judges, court reporters, bailiffs, etc, aren’t hourly and don’t sit around waiting for lawsuits.

  10. dreamsneverend says:

    I could never spend to time amassing a case like the OP has, it’s cool to know some people are that dedicated to having a retailer held accountable to the prices they give us.

  11. Outrun1986 says:

    Every time a store overcharges a customer and the customer leaves without getting it back they are making exta $ off you. I know a 30 cent overcharge may not seem like a lot but multiply that by several thousand people chainwide who buy the item and do not go back for the refund and it quickly turns into a lot more money. That is why every overcharge should not be taken lightly no matter how small the amount.

  12. billbobbins says:

    I went to Walmart 3 days in a row and bought a pound of ham which had a sign on the shelf for $2. I was charged $3 at the register. Each separate day the same manager would come over and give me the item free under their price-accuracy guarantee. It was only after the third time that the manager fixed the price on the shelf. Apparently they made more money on overcharging than they did on giving me 3 packages for free.

  13. zigziggityzoo says:

    I know in Michigan, there’s a law on the books that requires retailers to pay 10x the mispriced item Plus refund the difference, up to a measly $5. Fortunately, this means that if you buy an item that was supposed to be $1.25 and rang up at $1.75, you get $5.50 in bounty, for a net gain of $4.25 plus the item.

    Kinda sweet, but they should up the limit from $5, since it’s been that way for around 60 years.

  14. Scoobatz says:

    I give this woman a lot of credit for standing up on behalf of consumers everywhere. Good for her! I’m sure the $100 or so she makes with each win does not compensate her enough for all the work and documentation she put into assembling her case.

    As an aside, I find it amusing how many people get irritated at a customer in line at the cash register when they complain about the price of an item. Although the store made the mistake, the customer always takes the brunt of the blame because they are holding up the line.

  15. ohayou_kun says:

    She needs to find something better to do instead of wasting money on useless court cases to satisfy her oversized ego.

    • tc4b says:

      @ohayou_kun: You need something better to do than tear people down who are trying to make a difference, no matter how small. Alone, she’s fighting a losing battle. But what if a few dozen peole did this in every wallmart community? What did you do in terms of consumer advocacy today?

    • Kloud says:

      @ohayou_kun: You and the first commenter on this story should get together sometime.

  16. gggtur says:

    I used to live in Western PA, where this lady is from, so I have seen her on the news a few times. To those who suggests that she is an egomaniac trying to make a buck, you are stupid and dead wrong. She does it to stand up for consumer rights. Her lawsuit against K-Mart was for taxing items that should be. Now, tax on these items are not much, but it’s the principal that matters. Certain items were determined untaxable because they are staples people need to live.

  17. corinthos says:

    There is a KMart in Kentucky I went to once that I wish I could sue just because they ticked me off. They put all their prices up for the ad on sunday on saturday evening I guess. The prices had no dates on them. Got up to the register and 5 things were wrong. After I told them they told me after me showing them the sign, “oh those aren’t in effect yet”. Then don’t put them up. Manager refused to give the price.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @corinthos: Here’s a neat trick — contact your state Attorney General’s office. Send some cell phone pics for evidence. A couple of complaints about deceptive advertising gets KMart’s attention much faster than a disgruntled consumer at the register.

    • verdantpine says:

      @corinthos: Wow. You’d think such people would realize it’s in their interest to honor these prices… at least that’s happened to me at places like Office Depot, when they left sale signs up for an extra day. They give me the price anyway.

  18. LoriLynn says:

    So lame. How about knitting..that’s a good hobby. Or restoring vintage automobiles? Something productive like that.

  19. LoriLynn says:

    Hmm…I may have spoken too soon…sorry.

  20. tc4b says:

    I wish the Consumerist would do a feature on how lawsuits like this work. How hard is it to do? If every reader here filed just a couple of these a year, we might actually make some headway. I know, I took that song “Alice’s Restaurant” too much to heart. But I’d rather struggle in futility for good cause than just give in and bend over.

  21. resilient says:

    What a bitch, “money is not important?” yeah, you’re probably just trying to get some attention to yourself. I really dislike those people

    • tc4b says:

      @resilient: Yeah, how dare she advocate for consumer rights! GET HER!

      • resilient says:

        that’s not advocating for consumer rights. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, especially with huge chain stores like Walmart. She’s just taking advantage of their mistake to get 100 dollars, that’s the stupid.

        • nsv says:

          @resilient: It’s not a mistake if WalMart “repeatedly” makes the same mistake of overcharging. The first time, it might be a mistake. When it’s not corrected, it becomes profit.

          It’s much easier for WalMart to either fix the price in their database or change the sign than it is for this woman to take them to court. I appreciate the time and effort that she puts into this. I also think that if it takes more than an hour or two of her time (and it must,) she should ask for an amount that would be fair compensation for her time.

        • D-Bo says:

          From the article: “Though the $100 award is relatively minor, Bach said it’s not the money that’s important to her. She wants shoppers to be aware that mistakes can happen, so they should check to make sure that the advertised price is correctly scanned at the checkout.”

          So yes, she is advocating for consumer rights.

          From the article: “Bach said she sued because she alerted management about the error but the price scan was not corrected on her subsequent visits to the store.”

          So no, this is not happening “once in a while” nor is Ms. Bach “taking advantage of their mistake to get $100” nor is it “stupid”.

          Please spend more time reading the link and less time posting things that are just plain untrue.

    • madog says:

      @resilient: I’m sure the time and energy she spent planning a case and possibly hiring legal advice [?] and winning $100 netted her a sweet profit, you ignorant troll. If she won a million dollars, or anything more than THE MINIMUM amount allowed it would be something else to complain about her taking advantage of a system set in place to protect customers and do exactly what she did.

      I know people are stupid, but of all the people suing 50 million dollars over drycleaned pants or hot coffee or speed bumps this is one you can’t complain about. I know it’s tough for some of you people to believe in someone actually doing something good for a change, but try.

      Your the type who can’t believe anything you see and might as well claim this article was “photoshopped”.

  22. frodo_35 says:

    I wonder if they do this on purpose to up the bottom line. I suppose not we all know large corporations would never deceive us for profit. Yah Right

  23. TemporaryError says:

    Some of the comments remind me of Edward Norton’s line in Fight Club “If the cost of a recall is more than the cost of out of court settlements for the victims, we don’t do one (recall)”. Not word for word but you get where I’m going…

  24. MightyCow says:

    I’m not going to tell that lady how to spend her time, but I guarantee that if she were volunteering at some local non-profit with the time and effort she devotes to getting $100 from Walmart, she’d do a whole lot more good.

    • madog says:

      @MightyCow: Yes, because she would do a whole lot more at some local organization as opposed to trying to get the WORLD’s largest retailer with more than 7,000 stores which dominate in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and affects billions of people each year to change their shady pricing tactics. Yes, a whole lot more good than in her town that has a population of around 18,000.

      I’m sure she made a huge profit by spending her time, money, and legal fees to win a meager $100. Yes, you hit the nail right on the head. She needs to do something more constructive with her time.


    • verdantpine says:

      @MightyCow: How do you know she’s not doing both – volunteering with a group like UCAN, sharing her tips on doing such a lawsuit or getting a credit back in-store – and killing two birds with one stone?

  25. opsomath says:

    I think it would be great if more people did this. And went for more money. I know of several stores in my area where I have seen repeated overchargings, accidental or no. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they are accidental, but when I realize how much money they can make the store, I wonder.

    And for all the people who are inexplicably angry at this woman for going to court; she’s well within her rights and probably doing you a service. Chill.

  26. Corporate-Shill says:

    How many errors in her favor did she conveniently overlook?

    I personally find a lot more errors in my favor that I find in “their” favor. And my errors are usually much bigger than their errors.

  27. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    on the one hand, i applaud her for getting the retailers to fix the prices.
    on the other hand, how much time is being wasted for this kind of bullshit?

  28. caj11 says:

    Um, $3 for pants? What kind of pants are these? Are we sure this isn’t a Goodwill store and not Walmart (even for Walmart $3 for pants seems absurdedly low).

  29. ranchgal says:

    Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction for finding out the laws for retailers’ requirements for pricing errors in the state of Texas? I come across this situation often enough that I would like to know my “rights”. Thank you to any wise Consumerist readers who could enlighten me.

    In the last six months, I have tried the “I don’t have to show my identification to prove my credit card is mine since I signed it and you better check your merchant agreement with Visa” line that I learned about on this site. I enjoy the dazed and confused looks and comments I get whenever I don’t comply with whipping out my driver’s license to make a purchase with my credit card. However, I still don’t have the appropriate retort for the manager who says they are “only protecting my identity” and they don’t have to allow the purchase!

    • verdantpine says:

      @ranchgal: You could whip out the cell phone and tell ’em you’re going to call Visa/MC/Amex about their abuse of their merchant agreement right now…

    • stevenjj says:

      @ranchgal: I’m not suprised to hear about people being hassled for Photo ID when using their credit cards. Is is a common practice at many retailers that needs to be stopped. At the retailer I work for we have many issues with customers who are so used to the whole Photo ID thing that they refuse to sign their card or write “see ID” on it, and continue to argue with us to accept it even after we print off visa/mc/amex’s policy on signing their cards.

  30. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    AWESOME. They make consumers play by every single rule and pay every single fine; I say the more people who hold retailers’ feet to the fire over playing by the rules, the better!

  31. brent_r says:

    I applaud her for doing a good thing.

  32. EightIsEnough says:

    If you bought an item at Walmart and they UNDER-charged you at the register would you speak up and correct them?


    (Double standards are ok if it’s in your favor, right?)

    • verdantpine says:

      @EightIsEnough: Yes, I have and I would, and I think it’s nothing special. Same when I’ve gotten too much money back.

      Plenty of us believe in being honest, period, and it would bother us to take advantage, more than we would glory in getting an extra buck out of a company. Or maybe we’ve either worked retail, or own a business ourselves and are thinking of the Golden Rule. I’m not naive, and I’ve been given shitty service, but behaving honestly and with goodwill has generally worked out for me.

      I was at a cafe the other day and pointed out that I was only charged for one item, not two. The cashier thanked me for being honest and then said, “Forget about it.”

      • stevenjj says:

        @verdantpine: I agree with you. Mistakes happen both ways, sometimes in the favour of the consumer sometimes not. Rarely does anyone let our cashiers know when the price in the till is less then the price on the sign. However What makes me upset is people who are dishonest and take advantage of the system. At the retailer I work at by law we have to provide 10$ off the lowest ticketed price or provide the 1st item free if it is under 10$ and we have many people who come in on fridays (the day we change our prices for the new flyer) just to find the signs we have missed to get things for free.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well if your store is missing enough signs that enough people have noticed &/or word has spread so that “many people” are coming in on the days you change the signs, then maybe you should think about blaming your employees sloppiness and not the customers. And maybe they’re not doing it on purpose? People who shop the 1st day of the flyer are often people who make thier list by the flyer, so they’re most likely to notice the mistakes.

  33. Anonymous says:

    It costs a lot to file a small claim. She probably got $100 just to pay her back for court costs.
    I know in my county, it’s like $80 to just file a case! She must be doing this to prove a point, otherwise this could be expensive.