Price Tags on Grocery Items

One thing I noticed in Massachusetts, it that there are price tags on items at the grocery store.

Price Tag

I didn’t really think much about it, but when I got home- I noticed that it wasn’t on all items, just some items. It was on items from Shaws (like in the picture above- which is where we get most things) and at Whole Foods. When I ordered groceries online, I didn’t notice it as much. When I got a few items from Target, I know that the cheese had a price tag on it. So what’s the deal with this?

I did some research and found that Massachusetts, along with Michigan are the only 2 states that require grocery stores to price tags on items (see here).

The Division of Standards regulates and monitors this, called Accurate Scanning and Pricing- and will fine stores $100.00 for any item that scans higher than the lowest advertised, marked or shelf tag price. Ok, so why are price tags required on only certain items? Exemptions, of course- it’s the government.

I pulled up the law (thanks to my 2010 summer Law class) and the exemption list is long, but here are some:

snack foods such as cakes, gum, candy, chips, and nuts if offered for sale individually, weigh less than three ounces, cost seventy-five cents or less, and are located at the checkout area;

gallons and half gallons of milk; eggs; frozen food products;

soft drink bottles and cans; provided, however, that items are fully and accurately price marked at their regular shelf location and the seller maintains a list of such items as required by section one hundred and eighty-four D;

While researching, I found a few articles about trying to get a bill passed that would allow grocery stores with price scanners within X number of feet to be exempt from pricing each item, as long as stores guarantee workers will not lose their jobs once scanners are installed.

It seems like a waste of time and money to me. But it is somewhat handy to see the price tags on items.



  1. Ms. Christianson would be proud!

    In the San Antonio Whole Foods the price tags are located on the self below the item (like Louisville) but they’re digital! Much greener and more time efficient!


  2. Sending Hugs & kisses your way. Just got back from Fla. beautiful in the 80’s. came home hit snow in Nashville. Freezing here. Love you to.


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