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Customers Irate About Missing $

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Crowds lined up early
RALEIGH — Throngs of customers showed up before thedoors opened at Fred Anderson Toyota Saturday morning, lured by anewspaper ad promising the sale of 1,000 cars for a mere $99 each.Trouble is, the dollar sign was missing from in front of the 1,000, apoint general manager Pat Murray tried to explain to irate people allmorning long.

Many didn't believe it was a simple error, as he claimed. Some signeda quickly written petition that will be presented to the N.C. ConsumerProtection Division Monday morning.

For his part, Murray says the dollar sign was inadvertently left off bythe Houston-based advertising agency his company uses, so that the copythat went to newspapers offered 1000 cars at the bargain price. Murraysays the dollar sign would have given the correct meaning -- that carsworth$1000 would be sold for $99. And he had but sevenvehicles being sold at that price.

Murray discovered the error in Friday morning editions, and during theday tried to adjust broadcasting copy to ensure that the correct messagewas sent. Still, loads of would-be buyers came to his dealership, some ofthem driving long distances. When they couldn't find the thousand cars atthe rock-bottom price, tempers flared.

The seven people who managed to buy a bargain car are happy.

The crowds who drove back home in the same cars in which theyarrived are mad.

And Murray probably still has an Excedrin headache.