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Photo of Kroger receipt is altered to show ‘BLM charge’ instead of change fee

July 24, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: A photo of a Kroger receipt shows the supermarket chain is charging customers to support Black Lives Matter with a “BLM charge.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This photo is “absolutely photoshopped,” a Kroger spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press. The original version of the photo shows a fee for the current nationwide change shortage, not a fee related to Black Lives Matter.

THE FACTS: On Friday, July 24, Facebook posts featuring a photo of a Kroger receipt were spreading quickly online.

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Along with a charge for 2% milk, the receipt in the photo appeared to show a “BLM charge” of 59 cents, rounding the charge for the milk up to the next dollar.

“Krogers charging you to support BLM,” read one post.

“This is getting out of hand,” read another, viewed more than 800,000 times in 24 hours.

But an internet search and a call to the company headquarters quickly revealed this photo is altered.

“It’s incorrect,” said Kristal Howard, head of corporate communications and media relations at The Kroger Company. “Absolutely photoshopped. It’s actually a dupe of another receipt that was circulating online earlier this week.”

The original photo of the receipt shows the 59-cent charge is a “change shortage” charge, not a “BLM charge.”

The federal reserve is experiencing a national coin shortage, a result of a decline in people spending cash at stores during the pandemic. 

Because of this, Kroger is short on coins and asking its customers to pay with a card, donate rounded-up cash payments to charity, or accept coin change on a loyalty card for their next visit to the grocery store, Howard said.

“Customers can switch their payment type (e.g., use debit or credit vs. cash), and through our upgraded technology, we can now load coin change to their loyalty card for use during the next shopping trip, provide coin change at a lane with coins available or round up their order to support The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, a public charity committed to creating communities free of hunger and waste,” reads an official Kroger statement on the policy.

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Misinformation has swirled around grocery stores and the national coin shortage in recent weeks, with some social media users falsely claiming the coin shortage was a government ruse to usher the U.S. into a “cashless society.”

Though the “BLM charge” on the receipt is bogus, Kroger issued a public statement in June including the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

“As a company, it’s our responsibility to better support our Black associates, customers and allies,” the company tweeted. “We know there is more work to do and will keep you updated on our progress, this is only the beginning. Black Lives Matter.”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536