- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2014

Speedy checkouts at a D.C. Wal-Mart allowed English-speakers to carry more items through the express lanes than those who speak Spanish.

At least that’s the way it appeared for a little while Monday.

Signs at one of the District’s two Wal-Marts were found to have disparate information in English and Spanish, telling shoppers in English they could use the lanes to purchase 25 items or less, while informing customers in Spanish they had to keep purchases to less than 20 items.

The discrepancy, first reported by Buzzfeed, was pointed out Monday morning on Twitter when a customer took a photo of a sign at the Wal-Mart store on H Street Northwest. The sign said in English that the speedy checkout was for “25 items or less” and in Spanish for “20 articulos o menos.”

But just as the photo was beginning to incite a passionate reaction among outraged social media commentators, Wal-Mart officials at the company’s corporate headquarters in Arkansas stepped in and took responsibility for what they described as an “honest mistake.”

The Spanish language sign had the correct numeral for the fast checkout line, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said.

“It was an honest mistake that was made there locally,” she said. “Those signs are with decals so we were able to switch out the decal.”

Wal-Mart opened its first two of a planned six stores in the District in December. It was unclear if the incorrect signs were up the entire time or if they were changed at some point since the store’s opening.

“We haven’t received any other complaints from customers,” Ms. Whaling said.

Ms. Whaling could not say how many signs had the incorrect number, but she said all signs with two different numbers had been changed by late Monday afternoon.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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