Contracts – Offer and Acceptance – Newspaper Advertisement as Offer to Sell
Defendant store published two newspaper advertisements offering for sale on successive Saturdays limited numbers of fur pieces for one dollar, “first come, first served.” The initial advertisement offered three new fur coats “worth to $100”; the second, inter alia, one black lapin stole “worth $139.50.” Plaintiff was the first person to appear at the appropriate counter on both days, but defendant each time refused to sell him the advertised furs, asserting a “house rule” that such offers could be accepted only by women. Plaintiff sued for contract damages. As to the offer of the coats “worth to $100,” the trial court held that the value of the coats was uncertain and disallowed plaintiff’s claim. No such defect existed, however, as to the offer of the $139.50 stole, and judgment was entered against defendant for $138.50. On defendant’s appeal, held, affirmed. Since the advertisement was the only evidence of the coat’s value in the first offer, the trial court properly disallowed plaintiff’s “speculative” claim. With respect to the stole, however, the advertisement contained an offer, that was clear, definite and explicit, and left nothing open for negotiation. By being the first person to appear as requested and by tendering the price, plaintiff accepted the second offer and was entitled to performance. Assertion of a restrictive “house rule” after acceptance was ineffective. Lefkowitz. v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, (Minn. 1957) 86 N.W. (2d) 689.