Peoples Drug Stores said yesterday it has changed its corporate mind and won't keep a 1983 Oldsmobile one of its pharmacists thought she had won last month in a door-prize contest for lottery ticket sales agents at the D.C. Lottery's first million-dollar prize drawings.
Instead, Peoples president Sheldon W. Fantle said the firm will sell the car, probably for about $12,000, and split the proceeds into three equal shares, with $4,000 going to the pharmacist, Sharon Jackson, $4,000 to the 13 other employes at the downtown store where she works and $4,000 to the United Black Fund.
"The history of this company has been one of community service and fairness to our employees and customers," Fantle said in a press release. "We have now made our decision as to the disposition of the car and we think it is the fairest possible to all concerned."
Jackson, who originally was told by Peoples that she would get a $100 consolation prize instead of the car, said yesterday that she is "very happy" with the new settlement.
"I feel the way the matter was resolved was very good," she said. "What better Christmas present than for all three of us to have a piece of the pie."
Jackson was the only representative of the Peoples store at 10th and F streets NW who attended the D.C. Lottery's elaborate prize drawings on Nov. 23. She walked away with one of the two door prizes given to lottery agents, a $13,890 top-of-the-line Cutlass CS Brougham with power windows, locks and seats and an AM-FM cassette radio.
Jackson, 36, thought the new car would replace the 1974 Chrysler with 86,000 miles on it that she had just purchased the night before the lottery drawing.
But after determining the rules surrounding the drawing clearly gave the car to the company, as agent, James Schwarz, Peoples' corporate secretary, announced that Peoples would keep the car, since it, not Jackson, is the registered lottery ticket agent at its D.C. stores. Schwarz said Jackson, a 14-year employe of the drug chain, would get a $100 check.
Many people who read a Washington Post account of Jackson's role in the drawing and Peoples' response, or heard about it later on local radio or television stations, called the drug store's corporate offices to protest. One group of 48 Peoples' customers in Fredericksburg signed a petition saying they would not buy anything from Peoples "until this matter is settled in Ms. Jackson's favor."
Joseph A. Pollard, Peoples' vice president for advertising and public relations, declined to say how many calls the firm received, but said it was "enough to know that people knew of the story."
He said that Fantle became involved in discussions about what to do with the car after the company received the protesting calls.
In yesterday's statement announcing the sale of the car, Fantle chided The Post for what he described as a "mis-implication" by the newspaper that Jackson "had won the car" and said that as a result Peoples had been "subjected to some unfair criticism by a number of its customers . . . ."