Mother of three Asheria Brown from Florence, Kentucky, found that the black version of the Kid Connection doll set was 56% more expensive than the white version. Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) had to apologize for the pricing error.
According to ABC-affiliated WCPO-TV, the price discrepancy took Asheria Brown’s oldest daughter by surprise. Brown said: “She picked out the white one, with all-white little babies in the store. So I went home and went to Walmart.com, and found one set in white and one in Black.”
She was shocked to realize that the black version of the doll was $14.97 more expensive than the white set, so she took a screenshot and then told the local TV station, “There are 7 black babies and there are 7 white babies, but one set is $39.97, the other is $25.”
Walmart issued an apology after WCPO contacted the retailer, which read: “We lowered the price on a select group of toys, including only one of these dolls, to help drive sales.”
“Unfortunately, we overlooked the impact these changes would have on similar items. This was an unintentional error and we sincerely apologize to anyone it may have offended,” the statement clarified.
Not The First Time
Back in 2014, a father of a 6-year-old girl complained to the TV station when he found that a black Barbie was two times more expensive than a white Barbie at Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT).
The father said at the time, "When my daughter asked the question why is the black doll more expensive than the white doll, I really didn't have an answer for her.” Target issued an apology and deemed the issue as a web pricing error —it later committed to pricing both versions of the same toy equally.
Dr. Sabrina Thomas of Duke University asserts: “The problem, I believe, when we look at these discrepancies in pricing is that toy manufacturers do not produce black dolls in proportion to the number of people in the human population.”
Because black dolls are less common and are usually handcrafted, the price difference can be even higher, she says.
Walmart is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.