LEFKOWITZ v. GREAT MINNEAPOLIS SURPLUS STORE

86 N.W.2d 689 (Minn.1957)

[The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store published the following advertisement in a Minneapolis newspaper:

SATURDAY 9 AM. 2 BRAND NEW Pastel MINK 3-SKIN SCARFS Selling for $89.50

Out they go SATURDAY. Each ......... $1.00

1 BLACK LAPIN STOLE . . . Beautiful, worth $139.50........$1.OO FIRST COME FIRST SERVED

Lefkowitz was the first to present himself on Saturday and demanded the Lapin stole for one dollar. The store refused to sell to him because of a "house rule" that the offer was intended for women only. Lefkowitz sued the store and was awarded $138.50 as damages. The store appealed.]

MURPHY, JUSTICE.......The defendant relies principally on Craft v. Elder & Johnston Co.. . . On the facts before us we are concerned with whether the advertisement constituted an offer, and, if so, whether the plaintiffs conduct constituted an acceptance. There are numerous authorities which hold that a particular advertisement in a newspaper or circular letter relating to a sale of articles may be construed by the court as constituting an offer, acceptance of which would complete a con tract. . . . The test of whether a binding obligation may originate ii advertisements addressed to the general public is "whether the fact show that some performance was promised in positive terms in return for something requested." 1 Williston, Contracts rev. ed.) § 27. The authorities above cited emphasize that, where the offer is clear, definite and explicit, and leaves nothing open for negotiation, it constitutes an offer, acceptance of which will complete the contract. . . . Whether in any individual instance a newspaper advertisement is an offer rather. than an invitation to make an offer depends on the legal intention of the parties and the surrounding circumstances. . . . We are of the view on the facts before us that the offer by the defendant of the sale of the Lapin fur was clear, definite, and explicit, and left nothing open for negotiation. ... The defendant contends that the offer was modified by a `house rule" to the effect that only women were qualified to receive the bargains advertised. The advertisement contained no such restriction. This objection may be disposed of briefly by stating that, while an advertiser has the right at any time before acceptance to modify the offer, he does not have the right, after acceptance, to impose new or arbitrary conditions not contained in the published offer. . .

Affirmed.

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