Welcome to Your 99.99 Cents Only Store
As you are well aware, the 99 Cents Only store was awarded Best Dollar Store honors that year.
But now, in a shocking development, 99 Cents Only stores are being sued for really being 99.99 Cents Only stores.
"If they call themselves 99 Cents Only, it should be 99 cents," Santa Ana lawyer Dan Callahan reportedly says.
The two class-action lawsuits he has brought against the chain claim unfair and deceptive business practices and deceptive advertising. A demand that 99 Cents Only be more clear in its advertising and unspecified monetary damages are being sought.
The store's chief executive Eric Shiffer has countered 99 Cents Only has done no wrong and that every effort has been made to make customers aware of the extra .99 cents, including posting it on signs around the stores.
In the store's defense, the added .99 was announced two years ago pretty widely, including via Bloomberg News.
Then again, being a proud 99 Cents Only store shopper--Lord, how I miss our offices being a 30-second walk from the one near 17th and Main streets in Santa Ana--I don't recall my fellow patrons being Bloomberg News consumers.
It wasn't like the lady in front of me buying a dozen AAA battery packs had a Wall Street Journal tucked under her arm.
Shiffer explains the extra almost-a-penny is required to cover rising costs to operate. How much does that add to the 99 Cents Only bottom line? Up to $12 million supposedly.
In these times of low-price guarantees, Joan Storms, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, may have summed it up best in the Los Angeles Times:
"As long as they offer the best value in the marketplace," she says, "then who cares?"