Lansing businesses not worried about item-pricing law

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By Jack Dalton
Lansing Star staff writer

Businesses in Lansing say they will not be affected by Gov. Rick Snyder’s call to repeal Michigan’s item pricing law last week.

Snyder explained at his first State of the State address last week that pricing individual items costs businesses more than $2 billion each year in materials and labor.

“In today’s world of scanners, barcodes and automated inventory systems, we are simply adding an undue burden on retailers and consumers,” Snyder said.  “It’s bad for business, and it’s bad for consumers.”

Jim Anderson, an owner of Oades Big Ten Liquor, 314 S. Clippert St., said his store will continue to put price tags on products, even if the law is repealed. “We do it as a convenience for our customers,” Anderson said.  “We’ll still mark everything.”

-Photo by Jack Dalton

Jim Anderson clearly price marks products to inform customers. Jack Dalton/Lansing Star

He said his store does not use scanning guns, and does not plan to.

“Prices flux so much, and maintenance for scanning equipment costs a lot,” Anderson clarified.

Gurpreet Singh, the manager at Lucky’s Food Market, 1900 Kalamazoo St., also said his store stickers each item for the customers benefit.

“A lot of people won’t ask the price of items, so they wouldn’t think of buying those things,” Singh said.  “It helps us because some workers don’t know the prices of everything.”

“The stickers are cheap,” he said.  “(Repealing the law) wouldn’t affect us.  We’d still mark the items.”

Elaine Morgan, an employee at the Gift and Bible Center, at 522 Frandor Ave. in the Frandor Shopping Center, said that the store would not necessarily benefit if the repeal goes through.

“We sell mostly books and bibles at our store,” she said.  “The prices are up to the publishers, who put the price near the barcode, so we only change them for sales.  It would only save a small amount.”

Evelyn Chambers, the manager at the ACO Hardwareat 600 Frandor Ave. in the Frandor Shopping Center, said the law affects her store only marginally.

“It would help save supplies … but we wouldn’t cut any jobs if the law is repealed,” she said.

Chambers said if the law were to be repealed, her store could offer better customer service.

“If I’m busy repricing 200 items and have to stop to help a customer, I could forget where I left off with the stickers,” Chambers said.  “It’s human error, and sometimes people think we are trying to rip them off.  When prices are taken out of scanners, they are always correct.”

ACO Hardware displays products to the right of a price tag on the shelf to help with their large number of elderly customers. Jack Dalton/Lansing Star

Chambers said ACO tries to make prices very clear and easy to find.

“We make them as shopper friendly and simple as possible,” she said.

She said in addition to individual stickers, the shelves are marked with a price tag and the products are displayed to the right of that tag.

“We have great customer service, so they usually know the price by the time they get to the register,” Chambers said.

While these businesses won’t be affected if the law is repealed, they did agree larger companies may have a different view on the law.

Evelyn Chambers has a very customer friendly pricing system. Jack Dalton/Lansing Star

“It affects stores like Meijer and Wal-Mart more than us,” Anderson said.  “We’re niche market.  I can’t compete head to head with those stores.”

“It wouldn’t affect us, but it would help other businesses,” Singh said.

Chambers said that the U-Scan stations at Meijer give them a hand up compared to smaller stores.

“Meijer has U-Scan stations all over the store, and those prices are always right,” Chambers said.  “We can’t install those here.”

She said that the larger chains may reduce employment, but her store would not cut any jobs.

“I still need someone for customer service,” Chambers said.  “I still need someone to put the product on the shelf, and I need someone to ring them up at the register.  No one is losing their job because of the pricing law.”

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