Target Charges $1.50 For Free Nalgene Bottle

Regular Consumerist readers are familiar with our exposure of Target’s absurdist pricing policies, and this is a particularly confusing example. Reader Rob in Minnesota noticed a nice promotion on a 3-pack of Brita water filters, which came with a free small Nalgene water bottle and a few packets of drink mix. Nice deal, but he couldn’t help noticing that the identical 3-pack of filters without the “free” water bottle cost $1.50 less. See a bigger picture and a twist to the story, inside.

Here are the filters that Rob found on the shelf. The filters without the water bottle cost $13.49, and the filters with the water bottle cost $14.99.

Meanwhile, after reading Rob’s email, I made my own trip to Target. There on the shelf were the same two items Rob had photographed, only the prices were different. Yes, the Target in Colonie, NY is charging customers extra for the privilege of not receiving a free water bottle. The package of filters without the water bottle costs $15.39, and the filters with the water bottle cost $14.99.

I’m confused. I guess I just don’t understand retail performance art.

UPDATE: Some readers requested the full-size versions of the original photos so they could read the shelf tag text. Here you are. Both were taken with Blackberry cameras, so quality is not great.

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