One shop's April Fool's day joke...what do you think of it?

Sounds like you handled it well. They seriously fucked up. Whoever approved this campaign should be severely reprimanded, possibly fired.

Certainly in the UK (or England and Wales, at least). You have to have advertised something for a set period at a given price before advertising the reduction.

But I suspect the underlying silliness of the promo would do more damage in itself than prosecution.

Why is everything an overreaction around here? Should they be sued into oblivion as well?

To me is seems like they made it very clear what was going on, the “hot guys” were an obvious joke and you couldn’t buy the bag without being clearly told the 50% didn’t apply either. There is absolutely nobody hurt in this scenario and you need to be overly sensitive to take offence at it.

Yeah, although I think it only has to have been on sale at one branch at the higher price for 28 days

Recognizing and questioning something that is illegal is hardly an overreaction. Advertising something as 50% off and then switching it to 20% off is both false advertising as well as bait-and-switch.

IANAL, but I think the usual standard is whether a reasonable person would or would not be able to make an informed decision. Obviously, the two guys is the joke part, and no reasonable person would assume he or she would be getting them as part of the deal.

However, being told that something is 50% off and then switching it to 20% off is flat-out wrong, as is raising prices on something just to put it “on sale”.