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All I wanted was to purchase some hash browns at the listed menu price of 2 for $1.49. The computer rang up at $2.00 and the cashier said there was nothing she could do. I asked her to call the manager and when he arrived, I explained that a business must honor an advertised price. This wasn’t a sale price or a mistake. This was the price on the menu. He also said there was nothing he could do.

What happened next?

I was in the drive through line and told the manager that I would just wait there until he could sell the hash browns at the listed price. The cars were starting to back up. It was only a 50 cent difference but here I was in my Take Up Code shirt with my own prices listed right in the open for anybody to see. I explained again that a business cannot charge a higher price for goods or services than what is listed on signs or on a menu.

He said that he would have to call the police if I did not move. By this time, the line of cars was getting very long. I told him to please go ahead and I would just wait right there. He took out his mobile phone and started dialing, then walked away. He came back a short while later to close the window and lock it. I could no longer see how many cars were in line.

For me, it was the principle of the price difference. I kept thinking how bad it would be if at the end of one of my lessons, I told a student that the price would be $20.50 when I was wearing a shirt that plainly said the price was $20. How would you feel to look at one price but asked to pay a higher price?

At Take Up Code, we’re always looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction and one of those ways is to clearly and simply state the price. We’ll never try to change this policy or add on hidden fees. It’s just not worth it.

Was it worth it for McDonald’s?

I don’t know if the police were called or not because before they could arrive, the manager opened the window and told me that he would sell me the hash browns at the listed price.

Imagine for a moment that McDonald’s took a different approach to this. How could they have raised their prices without causing any problems? And in fact raised their prices and made people feel good? What if they had changed the listed price on the menu first and continued charging the lower price for a couple weeks? That would have created good will and positive feelings.

Or what if the manager would have just agreed to the listed price right from the start? Not as good definitely but that’s a whole lot better than threatening to call the police and following up by dialing on the phone.