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Getting ready for rock bottom prices in Oklahoma

As of Friday, Black Friday deals won't be bound by an Oklahoma law that restricted retailers from selling items below cost.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: October 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: October 30, 2013

Black Friday prices: how low can you go?

Starting Friday, Oklahoma law will allow retailers to sell items below cost. For the first time since the Truman administration, shoppers here can expect their first “true” Black Friday, according to the state Senate.

In holidays past, we'd see advertisements for super cheap televisions, toys and MP3 players, with the caveat that the listed price wasn't available in Oklahoma.

Why? The Unfair Sales Act, an Oklahoma law on the books since 1949, required retailers to sell items for at least 6 percent more than they paid for it. It was intended to protect small retailers from large competitors, who could use below-cost pricing to drive the smaller shops out of business.

The law has prompted several gasoline price-related lawsuits and made news in 2006 when it prevented Walmart from selling $4 generic prescription drugs here.

This year, the Legislature approved a measure that allows state retailers to sell most general merchandise at any price for up to 15 days in a row, up to 10 times a year. Groceries, drugs, gasoline and lumber will be subject to the law as before. The law takes effect Friday.

“The old law put Oklahoma stores at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states where retailers can legally offer better deals,” said Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, who authored the new law. “Now Oklahomans can stay here during major sales like Black Friday and take advantage of the same low prices that other Americans enjoy.”

Let the frenzy begin.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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