Chances are if you love Target—who doesn’t?—then you also love their app. Cartwheel, shopping lists, no need to take my wallet into the store. Sweet!
I thought so, too.
UNTIL I heard that they’re taking advantage of all of us suckers who actually walk in the door.
It turns out (Thanks for the heads up KARE 11!) that when you download the app and they ask to use your location for the convenience of locating the closest Target, they’re also using that information to charge you up the yang for things you knew you wanted because of the price you saw on the app, miles (or mere feet) away from the store.
Talk about betrayal.
During a 2-month investigation, the news agency found that prices jumped on some items anywhere from $2 to $148, in a matter of just a few inches. They called it the “Parking Lot Price Switch,” and it’s hella rude.
Professor George John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Marketing Professor George John says this:
“That particularexperiment reveals so many interesting facts about our retail environment,” said John. “Somebody at Target programmed in an algorithm which says someone who is 50 feet within the store is willing to pay more. The most reasonable explanation is that you just revealed your commitment to buying the product, you're in the store, or in the parking lot. If you are further away, you haven't quite committed, so I'm going to give you a juicier deal. That's why the price went up when you got closer to the store.”
Target says they’ll price match if you show them the price you saw on the app, but make sure you get a screenshot before you go in, because the price could change the minute you pull into the parking lot.
Price match or not, I am not pleased with Target's sneaky ways. Not pleased at all.
The good news is, you can stop the price-jump phenomenon by switching off their location tracker in the app. And while you’re at it, check the rest of your settings, too. Really, nothing is private anymore.