Sometimes, Rarely, Walmart Will Price-Match Itself

Retailers that have an online presence generally don’t price-match their own websites. As illogical as this seems (especially for big-box stores that have in-store pickup options) the policy is the policy. Except sometimes there is a way around it. That’s how John saved $8 at Walmart–by making the store price-match its own website.

I was in Lowe’s and remembered to look for a ladder since I didn’t have one at home, and my wife and I are looking to do some painting. At Lowe’s they had a 6 foot aluminum ladder for $56. I pulled out my phone and looked on to find that they had a 6 foot aluminum ladder for $35. It was out of stock online, but the store finder told me that they had some in stock at my local store, so my wife and I drove across town.

When I got there, I found the price to be $43 – still cheaper than Lowe’s, but $8 more than the price listed online. I found an associate in the Do It Yourself department, and she explained that prices online were sometimes different than prices in the store, and that it said so on the website. I pulled my phone out and scrolled to the bottom of the page, and sure enough, that’s what it says. Even so, it upset me that I drove all the way across town to save money, but I wasn’t saving as much as I thought. Sure it’s only $8, and that’s $13 cheaper than Lowe’s, but I have now spent gas and time to go across town to Walmart only to be stiffed for $8.

I asked to speak to a manager. After ten minutes, the associate finally showed back up and called the manager, who told the associate to give me the same “the online price can be cheaper than the store price” speech. I said, “look, I’m not asking you to price-match Target or Lowe’s, I’m asking you to price-match YOURSELF. is run by Walmart, so I’m asking you to give me the price YOU say you can sell it for. Besides, it’s out of stock online, so I can’t get it there.”

I guess the manager heard me, because he told the associate over the phone to give it to me for $35. Again, I only saved $8, and it took me fifteen or twenty minutes, but it’s the principle.

Had the ladder been in stock online, John could have ordered it, had it delivered to the store for free, and only had a few days’ wait for his ladder. Instead, he gets the lower price on the ladder that the store already has in stock.

(Warning: this example is not applicable in all big-box shopping situations.)