A JC Penney worker in Florida was fired for disclosing the company’s deceptive sale prices on supposedly marked-down merchandise.
The Daily Mail reports, March 19, 2014, that last July, Bob Blatchford, a JCPenney custom decorating studio coordinator, appeared on the Today show to disclose how prices were nearly doubled before the same items went on sale at the original price.
Blatchford said: “I saw a lot of pricing teams going through the store, raising the prices, mostly doubling – towels and clothing. Then they would go on sale, and they wouldn’t always go on sale for 50% off. Not only was it a fake sale, but they were actually paying more than they would have been previously.”
Two days after his appearance on the Today show, JCPenney fired Blatchford, claiming he had breached “confidential business information” and was waging an “unbalanced vendetta” against the store. JCPenney also said the firing was to protect customers from Blatchford, a media attention whore who had confidential business and customer records. After Blatchford filed for unemployment benefits, the store contested his application.
Huffington Post found several examples of JCPenney sales prices that were higher than the original price. One such example was a stainless-steel kettle that had been $40, then it was priced up to $58 before it was “marked down” as a sale item at $39.99. In other words, the kettle’s “sale price” of $39.99 was only one cent less than the original $40 price!
While the price strategy Blatchford talked about is considered by many as an open secret, the store has filed a petition with the American Arbitration Association claiming Blatchford’s revelations on Today as “trade secret, proprietary and confidential business information.”
See also “JCPenney closes 33 stores, fires 2,000 employees,” Jan. 16, 2014.
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds.