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?