David Casts Stone At Goliath

Promo Magazine: Oklahoma grocer Super H filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores for using a scanner to collect barcode data from products on Super H’s shelves.
The suit, filed in Osage County District Court on June 13, alleges that Wal-Mart sent workers into Super H to check prices as Wal-Mart readies to open a supercenter nearby in August.
Super H isn’t worried about the price information; its real concern is other data the scanner may have captured, such as inventory and wholesale price. “We’re trying to get [the scanner] back and find out what’s in there,” said Super H manager Greg McNeil.
Police confiscated the scanner and still have it; a county judge granted Super H’s request that the scanner not be returned to Wal-Mart.
Skiatook, OK-based Super H is a single, independent store.
It’s not uncommon for retailers to check competitors’ prices. The real question in this case is whether a scanner can capture proprietary data.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.