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Individual Food Price Tags No Longer Required in Mass.

The law that went into effect Tuesday allows store owners to place scanners in the aisles, making shoppers do their own price checks.

Starting New Year's Day 2013, Massachuetts is the final state to abolish a law requiring individual price tags on food items.

Instead of having the prices marked on every item, as has been the law since 1987, grocery stores can now install aisle price scanners every 5,000 square feet that would display the prices of scanned items.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in July after earlier passing in the House and Senate with only two senators in session.

The bill, called "An Act relative to clear and conspicuous price disclosure," has beenstrongly supported for years by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, who argued that the current system creates less accurate pricing, lowers the level of service for customers and raises consumer prices at checkout. They pointed 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 said that 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, who lobbied against the bill before Patrick signed it. Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, wrote on the group's website in June, "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." 

Cummings asserted that price scanners have proven to be highly inaccurate, but the Retailers of Massachusetts say the opposite is true. 

What do you think? Will this change your shopping experience or expectations at all?

Peter January 02, 2013 at 03:24 PM
So this should mean food prices will come down. Store always complained about the additional cost of pricing each product. But as usual the consumer will not benefit from this cost saving measure that will ultimately put people out of work and still there will be price increases .
suzanlambert January 03, 2013 at 09:55 AM
I think that they can be very inaccurate according to whom puts in the information and the other downside to these machines is when they break down the store owners never fix them, so in the end, how do they help the public?

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