Watch Out For Falling Rising Prices

Walmart’s little yellow smiley face must have taken revenge on the corporate overseers who make him slash through the aisles like a jaundiced deflationary Casper. More pictures and our tipster’s email, inside…
I was in the electronics department at Walmart the other night and noticed something interesting on the shelves. Several flat-panel TVs were marked with their prices in big bold text. In smaller text on the same tag was the previous price, which in several cases was lower than the current one. I snapped pics of a couple of the tags, and could have taken several more if I had been bored enough.

There’s really no wrongdoing here, I just found it interesting that Walmart would practically boast that the price had gone up, especially when they used to use the slogan, “Watch for falling prices.” Again, Walmart manages to fumble along obliviously through capitalism.

Though amusing, we do appreciate pricing transparency. Has anyone else noticed these fantastic tags?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Major-General says:

    Now you know how they compensate for the guy buying the plasma for $4.88.

  2. banned says:

    At least they’re being honest for a change

  3. legerdemain says:

    Having worked a couple of places and printed signs for a few companies, I think this is just incompetence at the store level. In most of the signing systems I’ve worked with, new signage would auto-print in the correct format, but when reprinting signage, you could print a specific SKU in any of the available signage formats. Making all of the formats available makes sense – there’s always some variance between the store design and corporate planograms that makes people at the stores adjust the layout. (i.e., your store was build with a column in aisle 12, right in the middle of a shelf full of peg hooks. You just have to massage the layout.)

    That means that you can print a “Was…now” tag in 8×10, even if the price didn’t go down. The system will just read the database fields, prompt you to insert the correct sign paper in the printer, then spit out signage. I think this store probably misprinted the original download of signs or rearranged the shelf, then just printed everything up all sloppy. I bet that type of sign belongs on a special preprinted color paper instead of the plain white.

  4. Havok154 says:

    When I used to work at CompUSA, they would print a was/is type of sign for new products. Since it was a new product, it didn’t have an old price so the machine would print the release date as a dollar amount. It was amusing to see “Was: $10507.00, Now: $19.99”. If that’s not a good deal, then I don’t know what is.

  5. Bay State Darren says:

    Maybe the product got a few dollars-worth better? Or there’s a secretly insurrectionist associate brick in the Wal.

  6. ConRoo says:

    Maybe it’s a scare tactic to get a paranoid buyer to purchase before the price goes up again. ;o)

  7. TechnoDestructo says:

    Damn you, supreme court!!!

  8. doodbugboodles says:

    Isn’t it a bit odd these aren’t printed on the normal WalMart paper?

  9. stpauliegirl says:

    Hee, the TV is on the Outdoor Channel, which is total redneck TV. I do kind of like the Ted Nugent show, though.

  10. d0x says:

    @legerdemain: That makes no sense because when you’re printing signs you cant edit the prices, all that stuff is done for you. Unless of course they made the sign in Word which they didnt because it has a barcode on it.

    this is a system error and not something that should be considered fault of the people in that specific store. of course they should have been smart enough to just not put those signs up.

  11. tcp100 says:

    It’s just a simple glitch; the guys throw up these pricing signs day in and day out, they probably don’t even look at, or even care, what the “was: ” amount is, as long as the big “current” price is right.

    Seriously; raising a price on a product by 3.8% and 2.8% is pretty low on the roster of reasons to dislike Wal-Mart. That, and there’s nothing dishonest about the signs. Big freakin whoop.

    The last few weeks of Consumerist posts have made me feel quite good; it looks like the Consumerist has succeeded in eliminating all serious problems with companies; as there has been little to nothing newsworthy to report! Good job, Guys!

  12. Bay State Darren says:

    @tcp100: It’s amusing, alright? Not every Consumerist article has to be a “Company X kills, eats customers”-level expose [I don’t know how to do an accent mark]. Look at the comments in most threads, people are here to have fun, not just lament [un-?]scrupulous[less?] business practices. Did the preview of this article look like it would be earth-shattering investigative reporting? You didn’t have to click on it. I’m not trying to be mean or start a flamewar, but lately every thread on an article of this magnitude has at least one whiner of this type. There’s still plenty of “Hah! Caught you redhanded, evil company!”-type articles posted on Consumerist and nobody’s forcing anybody to read these more jovial ones.

  13. levenhopper says:

    @Havok154: Isn’t that illegal for deceptive advertising?

  14. scargo says:

    OK, I think I may have found the reason for the prices going up. If this isn’t the case currently, I believe it we’ll start to see the effects by the end of the year. Here’s a link to an article that references a recent ruling by the Supreme Court that may have a negative effect on the pricing we see at Walmart and other discounters.


    The government appears to be trying to level the playing field so that big box discounters can’t just sell consumer electronics at super low prices just to get in you in the door, while the little guys go out of business because they can’t compete.

  15. ahwannabe says:

    @ConRoo: Hey, it worked for the housing market.

  16. Chicago7 says:

    This has been happening in the past year at the Treasure Island food store I shop at. Broccoli pancakes were $2.69 for the longest time. Then one day they were priced “ON SALE – $2.89!”

    To be fair, after the sale, they went up to $3.49, so I guess it was a sale if you went by what the FUTURE price was going to be.

    This has happened with several items at the Treasure Island in the past 6 months or so.

  17. sp3nc3 says:

    @tcp100: When I sent this tip in, I wasn’t complaining that they had raised prices or claiming that they were being dishonest. I just thought it was ironic that a company so proud of its low prices would inadvertently advertise rising ones. Ha!

  18. pissamist says:

    I’ve got to go to Walmart with a copy of this on paper, and get an ‘official’ response. This one’s way to good and too easy to pass up. If you already have an employee comment, please post it. I feel like Chandler (Friends), the time he tried not to be sarcastic, yet everything set up to be great one-liner material. I’m dying here..

  19. The Bigger Unit says:

    @Bay State Darren: alt+130 will give you “é”. Have fun with other combinations. You’re well on your way to typing the next great french masterpiece.

  20. mopar_man says:

    Seriously; raising a price on a product by 3.8% and 2.8% is pretty low on the roster of reasons to dislike Wal-Mart. That, and there’s nothing dishonest about the signs. Big freakin whoop.

    It would be nice if they raised the prices and actually gave it back to the employees. I would probably shop there if they did that. Odds are more in favour of lining the pockets of higher-ups though.

  21. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    I find it interesting that people act like all Wal-Mart employees hate their jobs and do crap work. I work for Wal-Mart in Electronics, just graduated college last week, don’t try to sell customers the most expensive items if that’s not what they want or need, and try to do my best work. I intend to stay there until I receive my graduate degree and most of my co-workers have been around more than a few years. Also, those tags don’t seem like the correct Wal-Mart paper for fact tags so I’m not quite sure what they were in fact trying to do there with using that type of paper or what type of tag they were trying to print. The information seems like rollback tag prints or save even more prints but that isn’t what is used for a simple price tag.

  22. synergy says:

    @d0x: Just because it has a barcode doesn’t mean anything. Can you tell barcodes apart?

    You can import one of these into Word and print it.

  23. says:

    Well, I found it ironic and amusing… lighten up, folks :P