Target and Walmart blame technical error for pricing discrepancy between white and black Barbie doll


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The Independent Online

Target and Walmart, two of America's biggest retailers, have come under scrutiny after customers noticed Barbie dolls were priced differently depending on their race.

Discount retailer Target blamed a glitch in the system for the discrepancy after a Cincinnati father spotted the African American model was priced at $49.99 - twice as much as the white doll sold for $23.49.

After noticing the difference, the customer, Warren Johnson, who was looking for a Christmas present for his six-year old daughter raised the issue with a manager who agreed to lower the price, but the incident left him distraught.

He told Cincinnati news station WPCO: 'When my daughter asked the question “Why is the black doll more expensive than the white doll?" I really didn't have an answer...It kind of rubbed me the wrong way.”

Target then issued a statement blaming the discrepancy on a system error and said both dolls should have reflected the same pricing. Both dolls are now being sold with a for $20.99.

The controversy didn't end there.

Walmart was also accused of pricing their dolls differently depending on their skin colour with the African- American doll selling for $11.87 compared to just $9.88 for the near-identical white version.

The retail giant said the discrepancy responded to an intended pricing error and later added it would make up the difference for customers who bought the more expensive African-American Barbie with gift vouchers, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

“It is our policy to price like dolls of all ethnicities the same. We will ensure the pricing is corrected,” it added.