Retail Multiple Personality Disorder Strikes at Walmart

Reader Jeff is confused. He wants to purchase a laptop from Walmart. Upon Perusing his website from home, he saw a nice Acer Netbook for under $300. Of course, upon walking into the store, he was confronted with a slightly higher price. Luckily, he talked to the nice customer service representative and quickly price matched the in store item to the online price and Jeff walked out a happy customer.

Nah, just kidding.

Seeing that Walmart stocked this model, went out to a B&M store, as I wanted to make sure that a laptop this size would suit my needs. I was met by a gruff sales clerk who was obviously unenthusiastic about the prospect of opening up a display case and getting the laptop out to sell to me. I did notice the instore price was $348, $50 more expensive than the online price. As we are walking over to the register, almost as an afterthought, I ask him, “You’ll match what you sell ths for online, right?”

Him- “Absolutely not. We do not honor online prices.”

Me (flummoxed) “Maybe I wasn’t clear. I’m asking you to honor the price that your own website, walmart.com, lists for this exact product, not a competitors price.”

Him- “Well in some cases we will match a competitors price, but not our own.”

Me- “Wait, do you mean you’d want me to pay the final price with shipping that the website shows?”

Him- “No, we will not honor our website price. If you want to buy this, it will be the store price.”

So, I haul off and walk out, along the way stopping by the front desk to confirm that indeed, this is not a rogue clerk, this is Walmart policy.

So, I went back home, found the model I wanted (that walmart sold) for the price Walmart offered, from a different online retailer.

This really ranks up there as one of the dumbest store policies I’ve heard of. I understand that stores sometimes have different prices online VS. in store, and part of that reason is the fact that in store requires a lot more fixed capital in location, services personell, etc.

Still, not only is this the first time since the inception of the internet that I have had a store refuse to honor its OWN price, Walmart’s logic makes no sense to me.

Best Buy got into some trouble a while back for confusion between their in store prices and their online deals. Has anyone else run into problems like this? If so, how where they solved?

Comments

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  1. concordia says:

    Isn’t Walmart’s failure to honor its own online prices old news by now?

    Also:
    >He wants to purchase a laptop from Walmart.
    As they say, “Well there’s your problem.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    At best Buy I wanted the AC/DC Live at Donnington Blu ray. It was about 5 dollars more than the website. I asked the cashier about the difference. I did not even look at the price on the shelf. They PM the website on the spot, http://www.bestbuy.com

  3. Anonymous says:

    At best Buy I wanted the AC/DC Live at Donnington Blu ray. It was about 5 dollars more than the website. I asked the cashier about the difference. I did not even look at the price on the shelf. They PM the website on the spot, http://www.bestbuy.com

  4. jklug80 says:

    You pay more in stores than online. This is typical. A lot of B&M shops don’t honor their own online prices because there is a greater expense in keeping the physical site open. You also get easier returns (take it to a store versus shipping it back) and if it is defective they swap it out on site.

    • GMFish says:

      @jklug80: “You also get easier returns (take it to a store versus shipping it back) and if it is defective they swap it out on site

      Yeah right. That’s exactly what they want you to believe. The fact is that retailers will find ways to get out of accepting returns.

      [www.topix.com]
      [digg.com]

      Buying locally means you have to pay more and waste gas and time driving to get it.

      • Plates says:

        @GMFish: Unless you take the subway.

      • katoninetales says:

        @GMFish: It depends on the retailer. Some of them don’t make any hassle about returns in stores, especially if you have a receipt (Walmart is famously easy to make returns to), and you can usually return the items to a store as well as online. The overhead is still lower for online purchases, so items sold online are sold more cheaply than in the stores. I don’t know of any stores that price-match their websites.

        The retailer where I work can’t price-match the website on in-store items, which has become more of a headache since they added an option to reserve in-store items from online, but our ship-to-home ordered from the store prices sometimes match the website’s prices.

      • TaterTom says:

        @GMFish: Both those links are concerning GameStop, and the first is a thread started by an uneducated buyer in two respects. He didn’t find out the specs of the product, and didn’t ask about the return policy.

        A saying I’ve heard more than once is that Walmart will take back dirty diapers. They’re notoriously lenient on returns. That’s the number one reason I shop there, despite their tendency to illegally detain paying customers. Some examples:

        Free car batteries for life after purchase of one.
        Air mattresses used more frequently than intended.
        Hard drives

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @jklug80:

      Yep, absolutely.

      And if the item is prone to damage during shipping, the vendor has already checked the goods before sending them to the sales floor.

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    IIRC, Best Buy got in trouble because they were pretending the kiosks at the physical store were showing the actual BestBuy.com website, when they really weren’t. Not because the price on the website was different than the price in a physical store.

  6. xwildebeestx says:

    1. Wal-Mart, why?

    2. We’ve covered this extensively, online prices are always lower than in-store prices because you’re not paying for the “privilege” of having to deal with Wally-world’s friendly and cheery associates.

    • ccbweb says:

      @squatchie44: Actually, on the Walmart website that doesn’t appear as an option for the $298 Acer netbook. You can only get it shipped to home.

      There’s also a note on the page that says “Not Sold in Stores.” There are several models that are noted “Not Sold in Stores” and several that are noted “not sold online.” Is it possible it’s a different configuration/model?

  7. squatchie44 says:

    That just stinks…although, you could buy the laptop online and ship it to the same store, and then pick it up and avoid the shipping charges.

  8. copious28 says:

    Target also does this. Prices online may not be the same store pricing AND other stores may not be the same as other stores. I have never bought anything that I first priced online, but they said on the site that in store might be a different price.

  9. RonDiaz says:

    This has been WalMart policy since the internet was invented, they do not price match websites, including their own. I am pretty sure WalMart has ShipToStore now, so just do that and there you go.

  10. pb5000 says:

    I had this issue with Wal-Mart refusing to match their own online price. Customer service really argued with me about too. Walmart.com and amazon.com had the same item at the same price and needless to say I went with Amazon.

    • samurailynn says:

      @pb5000: Yeah, it happened to me too. Wal-Mart said they don’t match their online pricing. I asked if they would prefer that I walk out and buy the product from a different retailer altogether and they said yes. So I did. Costco had the product even cheaper than Wal-Mart’s online pricing, so I guess I should be thanking Wal-Mart that they sent me off in search of it somewhere else.

      • TaterTom says:

        @samurailynn: Now come on… if you worked at the prestigious establishment [pff] that is Walmart, wouldn’t you WANT a complaining customer to just leave? The clerk/manager/whatever doesn’t get any kickbacks for saving you, and it’s not like fast food, where they can just “run a batch” on your burger when you reorder it.

  11. Wrenae says:

    This is the Petco policy as well, by the way. I worked there for a couple of years. The corporate offices did not allow us to match their online price, ever. If we did make an override to make the customer happy, we got in trouble.

    Yes, it’s a stupid policy. They told us that lower prices increased traffic to the website, and the website was cheaper to operate than a b&m store, ergo… no price-matching.

    You can have the convenience of immediate purchase or the cheapness of the internet, folks, but not both.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @Wrenae: Agreed. It just bothers me when people that have do not understand a website and retail store are two very different creatures when it comes to operating costs and therefore, prices are typically a little higher in store.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Wrenae: Odd…Petsmart not only matches their own online price, but they’ll match Petco’s online prices!

  12. scoobydoo says:

    Fry’s has been like this for years, and only recently started matching their site – IF you placed the order online for instore pickup.

    It sucked to find a great deal online, with no way to get it at the local store.

    To me, all the companies that have such a split between their online and B&M sales are the ones that added online as an afterthought – the stores still treat the online portion as a bit of a hassle…

    • revmatty says:

      @scoobydoo: Actually, they’re treating the B&M stores as the hassle. More overhead, more employees (the biggest expense, add to that the fact that low level clerks are the number one perpetrators of internal theft in the retail world), etc. So you pay more for shopping at the physical store. Which makes perfect sense to me. What does NOT make sense is ‘ship to store with no shipping charges’. WTF?

    • coren says:

      @scoobydoo: It’s not price matching if you just pick it up in store, it’s a convenience feature

  13. aguacarbonica says:

    Yeah…I thought this was common practice by a lot of companies and well known by now.

  14. hewhoroams says:

    this is standard wal mart policy, because their prices are extremely regional. I dont like it, but it sort of makes sense.

  15. Corporate_guy says:

    It’s pretty dumb because they have free site-to-store shipping. So you can order it online and pick it up in the store for the online price with no shipping cost. But you cannot buy it in the store for the online price.

    I also would not doubt if site-to-store = we give you one from in-store stock and just send an extra to replace that stock.

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @Corporate_guy: Site to Store products are not replenishments of in store stock. That is why you have to wait for the product to show up. Even when they do Site to Store, the same reasons for the product being cheaper online apply. Online goes through more volume than an individual store, and therefore needs less profit from each individual product; online sales require much less employees, even when the product is shipped to the store; products in the store are more likely to have been sitting on the shelf long enough to have been purchased at a higher cost to the store; Site to Store money goes to Wal-Mart and not that individual Wal-Mart store.

  16. dizzie386 says:

    This exact same situation happened to my husband. He found a Dell Inspiron 13 at Walmart.com for one price, and in the store it was $50 more. It was the exact same model, even with the same specs.

    Customer service told us they wouldn’t honor the online price and if we wanted it for that price to have it shipped “site to store.”

    We both found that funny considering the laptop was already in the store.

  17. Plates says:

    It is always good to deal locally. I have dealt with both B&H and J&R and the price in store seems to match the price on their website.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      @Plates: Another happy J&R customer here, although for me it’s the opposite of local–I live in California. But I buy from them whenever I can because they have never jerked me around.

  18. kateblack says:

    Barnes & Noble does it too — worse, they do it with their instore computer terminals designed for customers to browse.

    At holiday time, I picked up a photography book that I wanted to purchase for a friend. Their computer said it was $27 & change. When I got to the register, the cashier said it was $40.

    [search.barnesandnoble.com]

    Their instore terminals quote the online price, with the 10% member discount.

    If they’re going to be underhanded, I’m going to leave empty-handed.

  19. greyb1 says:

    When I wanted to buy LOST Season 4 on DVD from Walmart and it was more expensive in the store than online, I bought it online, did the free ship-to-site shipping option, waited a week or so, then went back to the same store and picked the item up. It was a huge pain, though. And everyone at the store was baffled by this ship-to-site shipping that I mentioned. I got the impression that almost no one ever did this. It took some patience, but I was unwilling to give Walmart extra money.

    • Mari Walker says:

      @greyb1: It’s pretty rare at the store I work at. I almost never see customers back at Site-To-Store. Hell, we have meetings back there.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        @Mari Walker: Does the pickup area for that have its own dedicated area? Did they put it where Layaway used to be? Cool.

        I just assumed you had to go wait in line at the service desk.

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @greyb1: It’s still a relatively new program and only a few people are trained to do it.

    • TaterTom says:

      @greyb1: How exactly is that a “huge pain?” The whole affair costs you five minutes online [about the time it takes you to read and post a few comments here], a trip to the store [which you made once, and are likely to do again for other stuff], and less money.

  20. chilled says:

    Bought a $348 Acer from Wallyworld a year ago…been a great machine for the money…highly recommended…

  21. Anonymous says:

    In my understanding. Walmart only matches B&M stores’ prices. So that would not include any website, including their own. The B&M stores with a price match that I’ve been to all have the same limitation. An associate at the Walmart near me said the two are managed seperately and actually compete with each other to a degree. She was very nice when she told me that, by the way.

    If you really want to get it there, order it online, ship it to the store (free) and pick it up. Otherwise, there is a large list of on-line sites more than happy to meet your needs/wants.

  22. Rob Weddle says:

    If you insist on shopping at WalMart, Site-to-Store is your friend.

  23. Xerloq says:

    Walmart actually calls this out on their site. It seems that B&M stores match only other B&M stores in their sales region, not online stores – even their own.

    I spoke to a regional manager once who gave me a line that the B&M stores actually are separate entities from the .com site, and they don’t ‘compete’ in the same regional area, and therefore don’t pricematch.

    [www.walmart.com]

    Are the prices online the same as store prices?
    We strive to provide you with the lowest prices possible on Walmart.com as well as in our stores. However, sometimes a price online does not match the price in a store. In our effort to be the lowest price provider in your particular geographic region, store pricing will sometimes differ from online prices. Our local stores do not honor Walmart.com pricing or competitor advertisements from outside of a store’s local trade territory.

    Please Note: Prices shown on Walmart.com are online prices only. Products that are shown as available in your local Wal-Mart store may have a different price. We are able to show you availability for select products in your local store in the Electronics, Jewelry, Baby, Pharmacy and Home departments. At this time, the Toys, Sports, Entertainment and Apparel departments do not have the local store availability feature.”

  24. gamabunta says:

    Not trying to make excuses for Wal*Mart but wouldn’t you be able to do that ship to store option, not pay the shipping fee, and end up with the laptop for the online price?

    It sucks that they won’t match their own prices. I doubt that complaining is going to make a difference. These assholes are like the Comcast of retail. They get so much business that losing a customer or two doesn’t hurt their bottom line.

  25. lotussix says:

    best buy will match their online rates.

    i bought a computer there and the NEXT day it was $50 less. as long as you are within their return policy, they will give you the difference.

    i walked in, talked to cs, they verified, and gave me back my $50 ($53.50 with tax) back in cash as i paid with my debit card.

    i walked back to the monitors and decided to get a 20″ widescreen because i was glad that they did it.

  26. rafcabezas says:

    I recently was shopping for a GPS. OfficeMax.com listed the one I was looking for $50 dollars cheaper than everybody else. Rather than ordering online, I went to the B&M.
    I got there, and the store price was the same as the competition (no $50 discount). I asked the clerk if they would price-match against their own website, and they said yes; so I went ahead and bought it right there and then. Needless to say, I was a happy customer.
    All stores should have this policy.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Near where I live Best Buy is rapidly becoming one of the only places I can get the computer and electronic parts same day for my IT job. I repeatedly run into this issue where they have something “for sale” but it is online ordering only, even when I confirm that the item is actually in stock at the store.

  28. OULAXER11 says:

    Still not sure why people shop at Walmart…

  29. Anonymous says:

    We found one of our son’s Christmas gifts cheaper online than it was in the store…so we used the “site-to-store” delivery. When we went to pick it up, the lady at customer service couldn’t understand why we choose site-to-store when it was already in the store. Well, it was about $15 cheaper online!

  30. bobpence says:

    Um, this also appears to be the practice of Borders, which has separated its website from Amazon, and at Barnes & Noble. At least at Walmart you can Site-to-Store most stuff with no charge. Last time I did so — and I did not use the new and ill-conceived Site-to-Stoe Express — they actualy UPS’d it to their store. So much for the legendary logistics of WMT.

  31. GC says:

    @jklug80: @jklug80: It’s still bullshit. If the store price is higher, then the website should spell that out on each item. Is being able to find out the price of an item for sale in a store on the internet too much to ask?

    • jklug80 says:

      @GC: I thought common sense was that internet stores are cheaper than b&m. Yes its cheaper online, but you have to pay shipping too. Best Buy’s deal was different and should have been criminal.

      I HATE Wal-mart with a passion, but I have to defend them on this one. Buying something in the store will cost more and people know that. If you don’t like it then buy it online and use the ship to store option so shipping is free. If it isn’t available then have it shipped to your house and pay shipping.

      • supercereal says:

        @jklug80: I don’t get why these stories keep popping up. Online stores have lower overhead, and thus can offer lower prices.

        I also recall many people over the years pointing out that the online and b&m stores, even for a single retailed like Wal-Mart, are different entities. As such, they can have different stock, different availability, and different prices. It seems kind of absurd to think you’d automatically get a price match.

      • KCChiefsFan says:

        @jklug80:

        I just don’t get this logic. Wal-Mart is not a franchise business. It’s a corporation. The same amount of profit is made whether or not a product is sold for 100 dollars online, or 100 dollars in store. ALL costs associated with keeping the physical store open are paid for in full by Wal-Mart corporate. Money you pay to buy something online at Wal-mart.com pays the salaries of everyone working in a brick and mortar wal-mart location the exact same as if you walked into a wal-mart and made the purchase there. In the same way, this person could have bought the item online, and selected in store pickup, and received that price without any hassle (this is what others have done at Bestbuys unwilling to price match with their own site. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work just as well at Wal-Mart). You mentioned this, but you completely neglected any reasoning as to why someone should have to pay more in store for the same product the exact same company is selling online.

    • PølάrβǽЯ says:

      @GC: When you have 4,000 different stores and they all have different prices, well yes, it is.

  32. adamczar says:

    Something similar happened to me before I knew about the whole online/retail difference, even for the same company.

    I was shopping around online for a TV series on DVD. I didn’t want to wait for shipping so I thought I’d find the cheapest price and go get it in person. It was significantly less at Walmart. Went in, blah, blah, blah, “no, sir, we can’t match that price.”

    It was the first and only time I asked for a manager, who I had to go back and forth with for about 5 minutes who finally caved and matched the price.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I can understand charging a higher price in-store (though I disagree with the practice), due to the increased overhead. However, it seems there should be some limit on how much the price can differ.

    I went on BN.com to buy a DVD box set as a Christmas gift. With the member discount, and a coupon, the price came out to somewhere around $140, better than any other retailer. It was listed as shipping in 1-2 weeks (not in time for Christmas). However, there was also an option to see if the item was available in a local store. Seeing that it was, I requested that they hold it for local pickup. When I went to purchase it in the store that night, it rung up at a price of $300! Granted, there was a note on the site that in-store prices may differ, and I was willing to pay for the convenience of getting the DVDs immediately. But more than double the price? Even without the coupon or discount, the price was $100 more instore. How can they justify that? (I wound up leaving the store, annoyed that they had wasted my time, and bought the set on Amazon for ~$20 more than BN.com)

  34. Outrun1986 says:

    This is Toys R Us’s policy too. I am sorry but I cannot agree with this policy. The website has the store name on it and is using the same branding as the store, the same logos and everything, so its very reasonable to think that the website is connected with the store. Yet the website is supposedly separate from the B&M store, it just doesn’t make sense. In this day and age retailers really need to step up and match their own website’s prices, no wonder why all retailers are crying uncle at the state of the economy, they offer no customer service whatsoever.

    At the very least, they should have a warning about this in the store, and put it in a place that you can actually see it, not jumbled with all the return policy text that is vague and you cannot understand anyways. Or accompany it by a “price not valid in stores” statement when online on the product’s purchase page and in checkout, so that I don’t go to the store and expect to get the item for the online price.

    When shopping online with most stores the only time you see the warning is when you look in policy text that you would not normally look in while shopping online.

    When I go to a website I expect the store price and the website price to be the same especially if there are no warnings that tell me otherwise. I also assume that pretty much every other consumer expects this as well.

    I wanted to buy an item at Toys R Us, they had probably 50-100 of this item in stock, and I can tell you that it has been sitting in the store for more than a year with not one sold. The item was 4.99 on the website vs. 19.99 in the store. The store would not honor the online price, they were quite rude about it too. You would think they would sell just one at that price to make a customer happy and to move a severely outdated item, but no.

  35. boxjockey68 says:

    Listen Jeff,
    Here is what you need to do, & do it as fast as you can. Take that laptop back and get your money back & go somewhere else. We found ourselves in a pinch, I had 2 important clients waiting for finished product & my computer died so went to walmart. Got a laptop, finished projects, all was fine. 3 months later I decide to do a computer backup, it says there has been a complete restore done so I can not do a back up…..it is a freaking used computer sold as a new one.
    Seriously, if you buy electronics at walmart, you MAY say that you are the victim of fraud..
    go get your money back!!

  36. Eric Rhoads says:

    The disconnect between a B&M retailer and their online presence has always been an issue. One of the worst offenders to me is Home Depot. Their online store won’t even accept Home Depot gift cards. It’s a real drag when someone gives you one as a gift and you realize you have to drive several hours to find a Home Depot to use it at since the online store won’t accept gift cards.

  37. Sparkstalker says:

    I’m not surprised at this…it happened to me a year or so ago with Guitar Hero 3. Walmart.com had it for $50. Since we were out, I ran in the store…it was $80. So I went home and ordered it online…

  38. RobertW.TX says:

    The moral of the story is if you like the price you see online just order it. You’ll save gas, headaches, and possibly the tax depending on who you are buying from.

  39. Tate Struve says:

    You must also remember some states Like wisconsin you can not sell item for under cost. I’ve see many Tv deals that are $150 more in wisconsin than IL or MN because fo this stupid law.

  40. ceilingFANBOY says:

    The associate working in electronics could have used the connection center kiosks that they have to show the customer on the website where it explicitly says that stores do not price match the website and then offered to help the customer place an order online with site to store shipping.

  41. ManiacDan says:

    I was told at a Sports Authority “The website isn’t even run by the same company, we don’t even share product IDs.” I was trying to buy an air hockey table, and apparently the brick and mortar stores don’t even have them in their system.

    Since I was already sick of their stupidity, I didn’t press it further, but I did call and attempt to order it over the phone (the website was broken, of course) and was told the same thing.

  42. Matthew Tatum says:

    Say what you will about Circuit City, but they were the one place that price matched their own website. I was able to get The Orange Box for $25 because of them.

  43. mykie says:

    I bought a set of tires from Walmart about a year ago, and the guy sold me on a price guarantee from any of the other competitors in the area INCLUDING Sam’s Club (who had the cheapest price).

    Also, isn’t Site-to-Store shipping free?

  44. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to buy a shirt from walmart that I saw on walmart.com for $7, it’s $10 in the store…this makes no sense, but I haven’t made any real effor to talk to anyone in the store about it..

  45. wildhare says:

    The reason for this is simple and common in retail outfits, they are competitive from store to store, and from store to online/catalog sales. Most retail websites have their own sales divisions separate within the corporate structure.

    An individual store is always judged by it’s sales figures, so if they were not allowed to compete for sales with online by corporate that would be both a point of bitterness I am sure for store managers, and annoying for clerks who are looking to meet possible sales quotas. Maybe not at Wal-mart, but perhaps Best Buy.

  46. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    The Walmart bashing may be reasonable or fashionable, but there is a reason they are a very successful retailer. Overall, people find good value shopping at Walmart–especially during these hard economic times.

  47. TheUncleBob says:

    Walmart’s policy is to match local competitors.

    Walmart.com is neither local nor a competitor.

    • coren says:

      @TheUncleBob: I disagree.

      It’s as local as I am – I can access it from home or even within Walmart and purchase from it.

      And according to Walmart, it’s a separate entity, and therefore trying to sell the same merchandise as a Walmart store – that’s competition if you ask me.

      • TheUncleBob says:

        @coren: When you can walk into your computer and walk out with merchandise, then it’s local.

        Until then, it’s no more local than a mail order catalog or having Grandma in Florida to pick up something for you. Hey, I can call Grandma from my home or from Walmart and have her purchase things for me!

        So, it’s a separate company within Walmart. Just like Sam’s Club is. Walmart doesn’t match Sam’s Club prices either.

  48. Anonymous says:

    what people do not realize is that there is overhead to pay at stores. if there is a deal online it’s the company passing the savings on to you becuase they aren’t paying rent on the store or the employees. god i hate hearing people whine becuase they saw somethign online and went out of their way to drive to a store instead of ordering and get pissed because they don’t understand business 101.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Walmart never matches its online prices. The online portion is a different entity inside a giant corporate behemoth. And each store is its on entity when it comes to profits. All of the employees in that store have their profit sharing tied to a the amount of money their individual store makes. Price matching the lower online price (which is lower because it has way less overhead and has a different structure then a B&M store) would cut into the money that THAT PARTICULAR store’s employees get.

    And besides, it would be dumb to price match someone they are not competing with.

  50. unpolloloco says:

    Solution: go home, buy online with “ship to store”, pick up from same clerk that initially refused PM

  51. aristan says:

    I work for the web division of a Small Company. Our store prices rarely match our online prices… here’s a couple of reasons:

    1) Vendors: Our Online division is required to meet certain price points on certain brands. Brand X may require that all websites have their product at a certain price, no matter what.

    We have one brand that sets their MSRP to $600 dollars, but requires everyone to sell the product at $400 online, and then will make us put it on sale at $300… even though $300 would be nearly 100% profit. The B&M stores will sell it at $250 all the time, simply to move thru it quickly while still making a decent profit.

    ‘Luxury’ Brands and Electronics brands are notorious for this.

    2) Competition: We sell against a lot of different people online, far more than we sell against in the real world. If no one is selling the product in your area and there’s demand, of course you’re going to sell it a comfortable profit. If you compete against the entire world… well, you’ve got to cut profits to move units.

  52. jaharton says:

    My town has two Wal-Mart stores that are around 5 miles apart. The prices are different at both stores and they do not match prices. Another Wal-Mart about 25 miles away has even higher prices on certain items.

  53. Anonymous says:

    This just happened to me today at Wal-Mart while I tried to buy a digital camera. I missed ordering it online in time to get it for a birthday so I had to run to the store. The manager, after taking 20 minutes to argue with me, did adjust it to the online price (1 time only!) as a courtesy. The problem with this is that multiple times in the past 6 months I have had Walmart price match their own website without a problem. I guess their “policy” changes daily?

  54. AT203 says:

    I recognize that by B&M, you mean a “brick and mortar” i.e. physical store.

    However there is an electronics store called B&M and I would hate for them to get bad publicity from this posting, when they are uninvolved.

  55. Andrew Young says:

    You guy realize that Diesel costs money?(Trucks that ship products.) People don’t work for free(Yes, you would think they do by the morale of some workers.) So basically you are paying shipping and labor costs.

  56. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Former Wal-Mart employee here.

    Their policy is to match their COMPETITOR’S prices. Their OWN website, as well as other Mal-Mart stores, are NOT their competitors.

    Makes perfect sense, really. If they were going to price match their own stores, then they might as well make the prices the same in every store. And then we’d have to get into a lengthy discussion about cost of living in different areas, yadda yadda.

    So, to recap kids, Wal-Mart matches their competitor’s prices. And they don’t compete with, well, themselves.

  57. coren says:

    Well, and this isn’t exactly the most honest thing, if I need something and can’t wait for them to ship it to the store, I’ll buy two, one online via site to store, and one in store to use right away. WHen the other comes in, I’ll just return it on the receipt from the first purchase.

  58. chadraytay says:

    For starters, everyone needs to take 10 seconds to look up the notebook, which does not have a free shipping option. Secondly, the website specifically says that the price will be different in stores…

    And last but not least, if you’d just pick up a newspaper with a current flier you’d see the stores are dropping the acers to 298 in store next week…

  59. P_Smith says:

    I would suggest that the next time anyone is tempted to buy from Wank-mart or anywhere else know for bait-and-switch tactics, they do two things:

    1) Print a copy of the web page, the URL included.

    2) Don’t attempt to deal with a low level flunky or a minimum wage know-and-do nothing. Get the store manager and deal with him directly to avoid the headache.

  60. Jesse Mazur says:

    the solution i always use when this happens is to take out my trusty iphone (any web accessible phone will do), go to the website of the store that im in, purchase the product at the online price, select in store pickup, and then go right back to the same ‘helpful’ clerk and tell them i’m there to get my in store pickup for said item.

    not only do i get what i wanted at the price i was looking for, but i also get the last laugh! gotta love technology!

  61. jklug80 says:

    @KCChiefsFan: If a Wal-Mert isnt making a profit it goes out of business. According to your logic if we all shopped online Wal-Mart would keep its stores open. It DOES cost less for Wal-Mart to sell an item online versus in a store. It doesn’t have to ship the item to the store, pay someone to open the box and warehouse it, then pay someone to move it to a shelf. Then it has to pay someone to ring it up on the cash register and then someone to keep the store clean.

    All those people work for ALMOST nothing, but not quite free.

    • KCChiefsFan says:

      @jklug80:

      No, according to my logic, people are shopping at wal-mart.com right now, and wal-mart stores continue to operate just fine. The money you spend at wal-mart.com goes towards keeping the brick and mortar stores open in the same way that buying an item in store does. If a store is underperforming, it’s going to close anyway, and no 5-10 dollar price hike on an item compared to the online price, and a refusal to price match, is going to fix that.

      wal-mart.com competing with wal-mart stores on price is a joke. They are the same company. By having cheaper prices online than in store, they are stealing business from stores. If I could do site to store, and pick up my item for ten dollars less than I could get it in the store, why wouldn’t I? It would cost Wal-Mart even more money to ship that item to the store for me to pick up than it would for them to just sell it to me for that price in the store.

      This type of price discrepancy isn’t there to keep stores running. It is there in hopes that the customer is too oblivious to look online and find the real price. If they refuse to price match an item for the few people that do notice the scam, then they deserve to lose that persons business.

      Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about the health of wal-mart. A wal-mart can do just fine even if sits right across the street from another wal-mart, and right next to a target. It’s that big. I’ve never, ever, seen a wal-mart go out of business due to underperformance. On the contrary, I’ve seen them continually move into larger and larger retail spaces due to being so prosperous.

  62. infwego says:

    And here I thought my experience was a crazy one!!!! I was looking to purchase a new Garmin GPS Unit. When I went to Walmart.Com I found that they wanted $298.00, a seemingly good price compared to other retailers. Well, I happen to be somewhat impatient so I started calling around to the local Walmart stores to see if they had it in stock. The first call went to the store closest to my house and they didn’t have it. So I called the 2nd closest store and after battling with the Operator just to get transferred to Sporting Goods (Not Home Electronics Lady!!!, a Sales Rep did confirm that he had one to sell. Then he proceeds to tell me that the cost for this device is marked $499.99. Can you hear the screaching brakes????? So I proceeded to tell the Sales Rep that their Website was listing this unit for $298.00 (I did confirm that the unit had the same Walmart SKU# as the one on their website). I asked if he would match their price on the website and he replied “I’m not sure”??? So I asked to speak with the Store Manager. After going over the details with the Manager, he too advised me that they would not price match their very own website. I asked him why he wouldn’t match the price and he responded “it’s against our policy, it says so on the website, just look”. I then asked “why would you and Walmart be willing to let a customer go spend there money elsewhere in a situation like this”? His response, “it’s against our policy, it says so on the website, just look”. So needles to say I went over to Best Buy of all places and they price matched the Walmart.Com price. Go figure???

  63. Tankueray says:

    Was it the exact same model? I was looking at these before Christmas and most B&M Walmarts sell the 120GB 3-cell version for $298, same as the online price. Some stores in larger areas had the 160GB 6-cell model in-store for $348, but if you weren’t in a larger area you’d have to order that model online for $348. After using a friend’s Aspire One, I went with an MSI Wind. Looking at the website, it seems that the 160GB version is now $398, so I guess they could have raised their prices after Christmas. When I was in one of my Walmarts last week though, I did see the 120GB model in-store for $298. “Prices may vary by store.”

  64. Bog says:

    First mistake – going to Wallmart.