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Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots [1953] 1 QB 401 Court of Appeal

Boots introduced the then new self service system into their shops whereby customers would pick up goods from the shelf put them in their basket and then take them to the cash till to pay. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain brought an action to determine the legality of the system with regard to the sale of pharmaceutical products which were required by law to be sold in the presence of a pharmacist. The court thus needed to determine where the contract came into existence.

Held:

Goods on the shelf constitute an invitation to treat not an offer. A customer takes the goods to the till and makes an offer to purchase. The shop assistant then chooses whether to accept the offer. The contract is therefore concluded at the till in the presence of a pharmacist.
 
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