By next Thursday, Massachuetts could become the last state in the union to abolish a law requiring individual price tags on all food items.
Instead of having the prices marked on every item, as has been the law since 1987, grocery stores could install aisle price scanners every 5,000 square feet that would display the prices of scanned items.
The bill, called "An Act relative to clear and conspicuous price disclosure," has been strongly supported for years by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, who argue that the current system creates less accurate pricing, lowers the level of service for customers and raises consumer prices at checkout. They point to an Emory University study that reports consumer prices are 10 percent higher when "antiquated item pricing laws" are in place.
Furthermore, the advocacy group says, Massachusetts grocers are hurt by the competition with border states, which do not have laws requiring individual price tags on all items.
But the law is not without its critics: “We hope that the Governor realizes the importance of the current price disclosure law to consumers, and at a minimum that he amends this anti-consumer bill to be more protective of the shopping public,” Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, wrote on the group's website.
Cummings claims that price scanners have proven to be highly inaccurate, but the Retailers of Massachusetts say the opposite is true.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Deval Patrick said he is reviewing the legislation and has not yet made a decision regarding it.
What do you think? Will this change your shopping experience or expectations at all?