Lowe's Holds Sale, Underestimates Demand For 90% Off KitchenAid Stand Mixers

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s went on Facebook and invited all of its friends to a totally awesome pre-Black Friday party late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Like all really fun parties, too many people showed up and things got out of hand. Which is to say that the doorbuster item, a KitchenAid stand mixer at 90%, sold out quickly, and took the store’s entire site down with it.

Lisa explains the situation from a deal-seeker’s point of view:

How’s this for idiotic. Lowes has a Facebook page with something like 200,000 fans. They are doing Black Friday preview sales, and tonight offered up a KitchenAid stand mixer (retails for around $190) for NINETY PERCENT OFF – but ONLY to the first 100 people who completed checkout. The code was posted; and a vast majority of people couldn’t even get TO the checkout page, the site kept crashing and wouldn’t load. A few people (myself included) even had their browser crash, and their computer slow way down.

Deanna wrote:

[The party] was more of a B**chfest than anything :)

Waited up and extra hour to have one coupon code in 30 minutes and their site crashing after about 2 minutes.

Oh well, nothing is free and I just lost a hour of my time.

Lowe’s, for its part, posted an apology on their Facebook page shortly after the party:

Fans, we hear your frustrations and would like to make it up to you. We were looking forward to this promotion, too. The rush to the site simply knocked it offline. We will post here Friday how we can carry out this Black Friday promotion in another way.

Did any of the dedicated deal-seekers out there in Consumeristland finish the transaction before the site went down?

Comments

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    My mother owns one of these mixers, and they are fabulous.

    Excellent lack of foresight, Lowe’s IT. :P

    • TheFinalBoomer says:

      TO be fair, I would not be surprised if someone in the business had this “awesome idea” and never bothered to check with anyone. Happens where I work all the time/ Tells a customer “sure we can do thet! 2 weeks? you bet!” THEN goes to us in IT and we say, uh, no, thats not possible.

      • JoeDawson says:

        That makes perfect sense… any competent IT department for a major corporation should have been planning for increased traffic weeks if not months in advance to make sure the infrastructure wouldn’t collapse… its not like its the early days of the internet, there is plenty of past experience to work from.

        • Donathius says:

          Why would they want to pour those kinds of resources into a single promotion that only the first 100 people can take advantage of?

          I work for a university where our student portal routinely slows to a crawl for the first two days of any given semester (since so many students can’t seem to plan ahead). Yeah, we could spend an additional $100,000 on server capacity, but why in the world would we want to do that so that one site has better performance 6 days out of the year? That’s not even close to being cost effective.

          • MauriceCallidice says:

            So, you’re cool with providing very poor service during the time period when the system is in highest demand, and presumably most needed?

            • howie_in_az says:

              I very highly doubt an IT manager would sign off on $100k for 6 days.

              Moving the entire infrastructure to cloud computing, where VMs can be added when the load requires it, now that’s something they’d sign off on.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Well, yeah! Lowe’s had no idea what they were doing, offering a top-shelf product at 90% off. They should do like Wal-Mart, get a whole bunch of really cheap LCD TV sets and offer them at $100 off the going rate, then watch the resulting melee from the security cameras in wherever they have their management bunker.

    • ARP says:

      Yep- they’re practically heirlooms.

      I think people romanticize them a bit because they’re one of the few products still out there that are really built to last. They’re sturdy (and durable) as hell and their motors will run forever.

  2. Beeker26 says:

    If the offer sounds too good to be true it probably is. Caveat emptor and all that junk. Sorry, but I stay far and clear from stupid stuff like this cause I know it never ends well. Same with black Friday. Sorry, but I won’t go anywhere near a store that entire weekend. I don’t care what they have on “sale”.

    • georgi55 says:

      Best and most of blackfriday deals can be had online

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      That’s kind of a non-sequitur. This was an online deal that had no strings attached. No bait and switch, no getting you into a store only to find overpriced TVs left. Assuming you could actually get to the website in time, this would have been an awesome buy. Hell, I would’ve gone for it, and I probably bake four times a year (although my girlfriend would get more use out of it).

      I’m kind of annoyed by the OPs. They are out, literally, two minutes of their time, for a deal they were extremely unlikely to get even in the best of circumstances. One minute for Lowe’s to time out, one minute to press Reload and try again, and that’s all.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      I wouldn’t say “never ends well”. 100 people were probably lucky enough to get one of these mixers for about $19. That is a steal.

      For those that didn’t get the deal, no harm no foul. Nobody got hurt and everybody that didn’t get the deal still doesn’t have something they didn’t already have.

  3. georgi55 says:

    “We will post here Friday how we can carry out this Black Friday promotion in another way.”

    Simple…First 100 people who post reply get coupon code messaged.

  4. nopirates says:

    i suspect that this actually went down EXACTLY how lowes wanted it to

  5. chrisexv6 says:

    Dont know if anyone noticed, but Lowes site is horrible on a good day. Ever since they did their redesign its been much slower than before.

    Add in a mad rush to get an item and Im not surprised this is the result.

    • mga says:

      +1 Navigating their site is so slow. Who ever was in charge of the website design needs to go back to school. Or they need to find a new/different vendor to design and run the site.

  6. lvixen says:

    I think all of the retailers who plan to do anything HUGE online should sit down and have a serious conversation with their IT department first. There are many, many instances of this happening in the past. I think the goobers who come up with these ideas don’t understand how much traffic their websites can actually handle. It could also be as another commenter stated, it went as planned. I don’t see a major retailer (or small one for that matter) shooting themselves in the foot with customer satisfaction, especially in these tough economic times, which is also probably why it went down in 2 minutes instead of 10. LOL

  7. pop top says:

    If they honestly believed that this kind of sale wouldn’t crash their site then they are either idiots or are lying. Kitchenaid mixers are like precious, precious gold in the kitchen. They’re awesome, reliable and worth every penny if you bake a lot. There’s no way they didn’t know that having a NINETY PERCENT OFF sale would be this popular.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I think, if I could of done an interwebs beat down to get the sale, I would of! That’s a great bargain! No bitch gonna get in MY way of getting a kitchenaid mixer!!

      • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

        Argh. Sorry, but this is a massive pet peeve.

        Now “could of”, but could’ve. Not “would of”, but would’ve. Short for could have and would have. Could of and would of are word combinations that make absolutely no sense at all, they’re complete gibberish.

    • aja175 says:

      They probably had no idea their website could crash. Marketing types rarely consult with IT before throwing promotions out like that. Their server nerds probably heard about it first by their alerting going crazy

    • balthisar says:

      >> Kitchenaid mixers are like precious, precious gold in the kitchen. They’re awesome, reliable and worth every penny if you bake a lot.

      Which is every good reason that I paid retail (well, online retail, not brick and mortar retail).

      On a more serious note: maybe their IT infrastructure sucked, but there were only 100 of these specials available. It’s kind of like a lottery. If you’d been one of the 100 lucky ones to get a mixer at a great price, it’d be a cause for joy. But why is it that if you weren’t lucky enough to get one, suddenly “it’s unfair” and “Lowe’s sucks” and Lowe’s website gets the blame for somehow slowing down someone’s computer? You lost. Get over it.

    • webweazel says:

      “Kitchenaid mixers are like precious, precious gold in the kitchen. They’re awesome, reliable and worth every penny if you bake a lot.”
      I bake like a fiend, it’s one of my specialties. I have a KitchenAid, and I’m planning on tying a rope to it and using it as a boat anchor. It’s a pain in the ass in so many ways (scraping the sides and adding ingredients), and doesn’t work in ingredients from the bottom worth a shit. I still have to use a hand mixer almost all the time. I cannot fathom how other people love these things so much.

      • pop top says:

        Well your one experience is obviously not what other people go through at all since they’re so popular. My mom uses hers all the time and loves it. I’ve used it and never had a problem with it either.

      • Etoiles says:

        I am literally the only person I know who didn’t put one in her wedding registry. My mom just got one for Christmas (well, 11 months ago I guess) and likes it almost as much as she liked the mixer she got for her wedding in 1977. But I can’t stand them. I love baking and am in fact very good at it but I got a (KitchenAid, heh) hand mixer and that’s really all I need.

        • Bibliovore says:

          Their hand mixers are great, but their stand mixers are fantastic if you do anything that requires a whole lot of mixing — for instance, my favorite cheesecake recipe has over 20 minutes of beating for the various bits, and not having to hold on to the mixer during that time means I can instead be prepping other ingredients and the pan, cleaning up, etc. For me, that’s very valuable, as is the added power of the stand mixer that lets it handle a 10-cup-of-flour triple batch of gingerbread cookie dough.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:
      • falnfenix says:

        get a beater blade. best attachment EVER for the issues you’ve just mentioned.

        PS: you’d still have to scrape the bowl with a normal stand mixer.

        • webweazel says:

          Yes I would, but here is the comparison:
          The bowl on the KA is so small at the top, and mine doesn’t have the tilting head, so I have to wiggle the spatula in, scrape it from whatever angle I can manage while getting batter all over my hand, turn the mixer on and off quickly to move the blade to get to another area. Otherwise, I’ve got to pull off the blade, drop it in the batter, and pull off the whole bowl. Like 5 times when I’m making something. It’s a stupid setup.
          I used a stand mixer growing up. The top of the bowl is much bigger. I could scrape the sides and bottom WHILE IT WAS RUNNING.
          The only thing the KA has over a stand mixer is strength in making thick bread dough. That’s it.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        and there’s yet another reason i love my vintage dormeyer stand mixer – it’s got a beater height adjustment screw that makes sure whatever bowl you are using, the beaters go where they are needed.

  8. Taliskan says:

    They did a test run of the sale this past Wednesday night. It suffered the same problems – site crashing, the store saying the item in unavailable even though it showed in stock, etc. They posted later on that they hopefulyl worked out the issues. I am glad I didn’t stay up late for this. I had a feeling nothing would be resolved in time for their promotion.

  9. dgm says:

    At least nobody was killed.

  10. davidsco says:

    Why anyone still wastes time with these BS promotions is beyond me. NOBODY gets them, yet EVERYONE gets frustrated, wastes their time, and the moron retailer gets you to buy other things anyway. Stop supporting this practice and you won’t be disappointed

    • Taliskan says:

      As someone who has received huge discounts on many promotions like this, and in particular from Lowe’s, I would have to disagree with your “nobody gets them” theory.

      • rdm says:

        Agreed. I got a stand mixer from them 2-3 years ago for about $115. At the time the retail was about $300. I still love that deal even though it was nowhere near as good as this one :)

    • George4478 says:

      The site crashed, people didn’t buy anything. How again did this fit into Lowe’s nefarious plans to make a fortune on the ‘sale’?

  11. crazydavythe1st says:

    Idiotic? So the OP didn’t get a $19 stand mixer and she’s pissed? The sense of entitlement is ridiculous. Did she expect there to be thousands of them in stock and expect that it would be easy to order one?

    Here’s a foreign concept for some – many “deal” type websites brag about the idea that their servers go down over their sales. I’m lookin’ at you, Woot. You can get mad all you want about their IT department or unpreparedness, but in reality it would be costly to guarantee that the website would stay up regardless of server load.

  12. Coyote says:

    Now they know exactly how I feel every time I miss out on the BoC from Woot!

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Every time a business does this, this is the result.

    How can these people not actually learn from …..anything.

  14. yurei avalon says:

    Dang, wish I had known about it, I want one of these for when I move out on my own. Too bad, if I had known I could have used my time space continuum machine to beat everyone else out on the coupon code.

    Oh wait…. duh!

    *jumps into machine, goes back to last night*

    bawahahaha!

  15. Minj says:

    This is just part of the deal seeking game. Sometimes you get the bull. Sometimes you get the horn.

  16. Remmy75 says:

    Before people go bashing IT, as an IT professional we are sometimes the last person to find out that stuff like this is going down. We are the ones who are blissfully asleep and get a call at midnight cause something went down. Only to find out the business is sending 10x the volume your way, and had you bothered to pick up the phone and call me during the day to ask if this is a good idea, we wouldnt be having this talk at 1 AM.

  17. Grungo says:

    Lowes IT Manager: Holy crap! Where is all this traffic coming from? Our server can’t handle this load.

    Lowes Business Manager: Oh yeah, that must be our Black Friday sale.

    IT Manager: You can’t just run a sale like that without telling us. We have to plan for that traffic and add extra server power.

    Business Manager:

    IT Manager: It’s like holding a massive promotion at a brick and mortar store, but not staffing extra cashiers. Except worse.

    Business Manager: But you have computers!

    • sprybuzzard says:

      I wonder how many thousands of times that conversation has taken place.

      • Remmy75 says:

        As i said in my other post, it happens more times then us in IT like to admit.

        Some people just think that computers and software have no limits cause its a machine.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          You left out that it happens because Management, often on both the Business *AND* IT ends, is filled with clueless idiots who only manage to blunder through each day due to the diligence of their underpaid administrative assistants.

          Frequently, Business *DID* notify IT. They notified the CIO who then failed to notify any of the people who actually work for a living.

  18. Bob Lu says:

    I think amazone did it right. A couple of years ago (I don’t remember seeing the same promotion last yer, but I didn’t pay much attention on the last black friday sale for some personal reasons) they has this promotion that you had to vote for the deal you wanted and if the item you voted won, you could enter a lottery for the privilege to be buy it.

    It was a lot of hoops to jump but it eliminated the necessity of being the first 100 who check out

    • yzerman says:

      Amazon did run into the same issues the first year they tried to do this.. they learned the best way was a lottery that then gave you a a guaranteed invite for the product.

  19. jetsaredim says:

    Tried for it. Couldn’t even get the item into my cart. No biggie. It was a little frustrating to not even have what seemed like a “level” playing field. I do know someone who got all the way to checkout and then her cart went empty mysteriously. It was definitely poorly executed, but nothing to get too upset about.

  20. deadandy says:

    Sounds like Woot every time a Bag o’ Crap comes up for sale.

  21. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    I must say that even though I already own a pretty snazzy Kitchenaid mixer, I am totally lusting after the Ruby Red one with the glass bowl… it looks like kitchen jewellery!!

  22. daave says:

    Lowes.com is constantly crashing on regular days in mid afternoon. this is no surprise to me

    • Keep talking...I'm listening says:

      This. I can’t tell you how many times on a normal day I have tried to purchase something for pickup later on Lowe’s website to have it come to a screeching halt.

  23. NotEd says:

    So Lowes had a Woot-off and the Bag of Crap took the site down?

    Welcome to the Internet.

  24. mistersmith says:

    TigerDirect does this all the time too, except they do it even worse: they don’t post how many are available at the crazy price. Nerds get together and figure it out, they’re usually selling 3 or 4 at the discount to a page with thousands of followers. It suuuuuuuuuucks.