HQ Notices Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Discovery, Fixes Problem

Hey, remember the Raiders of the Lost Walmart? Reader Joe sent us a picture of a comically obsolete thumb drive still on the shelves at his local Walmart, a stunning discovery in the field of retail archaeology. “We thought Walmart had the best inventory control systems in the world,” I wrote. “Perhaps not.” Then we heard from Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters. I was wrong–the inventory people are now on it.

Using the UPC code shown in the picture, the merchandising ninjas at Wally World were able to track down the item and the store where it was, as well as three other stores with the offending flash drive still for sale. The Walmart employee who got this rolling works in Pricing, and would probably notice out-of-whack prices like these.

She wrote in, thanking us (but mostly tipster Joseph) for bringing this to their attention.

Thanks very much for drawing attention to something that had slipped through the cracks in a NY Walmart store. We saw this article and reached out to our Merchandising associates in the home office in order to take care of this “dead merchandise”. We found that 4 stores still had this particular item in stock. The picture in the article was most helpful in allowing us to research the item (the upc was captured in the photo). We’ve taken steps to remove the items from the stores. Thanks again.

I’m really impressed with the honesty, friendliness, and competence of every Walmart employee involved in this situation, from the Electronics associate who originally explained the origin of the artifacts to the team in Bentonville who are reportedly fixing the problem.

Is this a pressing consumer issue? No. But I like to think that Joseph saved at least one person out there from getting a really crappy high school graduation present from a clueless and/or elderly relative. (“It’s one of those memory sticks that you can save all of your papers on! Look at all of the floppies it holds!”)

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Discover Cache Of Ancient Flash Drives


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  1. TheUncleBob says:

    Wow mystery Home Office employee… you should contact all the stores and help get rid of some of the “dead inventory” we’ve all got lying around.

    We just got a bunch of huge markdowns on winter clothes, but we’re still sitting on toys and back to school items from three or four seasons ago.

    Store markdowns are virtually non-existent. There was a day an age when store managers were actually allowed to manage their stores, take markdowns and get rid of this stuff.

    • TheUncleBob says:

      PS: I was in a store the other day that had NHL 2003 for the original XBox. Seeing their huge backlog of legacy and deleted Video Games, I didn’t even bother to take a mental inventory of what they had (although I did actually find one worth picking up… found another, but it was still $50 and not at all worth it for the age)…

      • some.nerd says:

        Every time I visit the Wal-Mart in my old hometown in central MA, I see they still have a copy of FIFA 2004 for the PS1, still marked at $39.96.
        FWIW, I didn’t even know they were still MAKING PS1 games in 2003/4. For the poor folks, I guess?

    • vliam says:

      Nearly all retail operations are being run in the same manner now. You gotta love being micromanaged from 2000 miles away.

      /or not
      //finally got fed up and quit that life

  2. Cat says:

    So, where are the thumb drives now? Because, for the right price, they’re still good for something.

    You know, I have an older 8mp camera that won’t take anything larger than a 512 SD card. I love the camera (Solidly built with a METAL body), but small SD cards are getting hard to find. I’ve been filling the 512 cards then dumping them to CD, and buying up every clearance priced small SD card I can find.

    • balthisar says:

      Why do you need so many cards? Dump them to the computer. I mean, when you say, “buying up every clearance priced small SD card I can find” it sounds like you never dump them to the computer.

      Now don’t get me wrong… I have about six cards myself, because my camera fills them fast on vacation. But when I return from vacation, I go through those photos. I’m not a pro shooter, but obviously you aren’t, either.

      Oh, genuine inquiry; I’m not being my cynical self, even if I might sound like it which I hope I don’t.

      • Cat says:

        I think of it as insurance, I’ve had a few cards break on me already. The camera is so well built it’s likely to outlast my 1 year old Canon.

      • humphrmi says:

        Cat is probably hoarding them because, at least in my experience, SD cards don’t last more than two or three years and he wants to keep the camera operational.

      • elangomatt says:

        I was working for a camera shop back when digital cameras first came out. We had one customer that came in at least once a week and bought a new memory card. After a month or so, we asked why she needed so many memory cards. Turns out she thought a memory card was like a roll of film, once it is full you can never use it again. She was pretty thrilled when we told her to just download the pictures to her computer and erase the memory card!

    • A.Mercer says:

      I had some neighbors who got into a business where they got these boxes from stores like Target and K-Mart and so forth. When the stores had seasonal leftovers, unsellable stock, broken items, and some returns, they did not just throw the stuff away. They put it all aside and it went into these boxes. People like my neighbors could bid on the boxes (not knowing what was in there). They would go thru the boxes and salvage what they could. They would then take the stuff to flea markets and sell for a profit. They actually did pretty good at it.

      I would expect Wal-Mart to have a similar setup. Heck, knowing how WM works, I would not be surprised if they cut out the middle man and just have their own team of people take the stuff to flea markets and sell it themselves.

  3. shufflemoomin says:

    They’re thanking the tipster and not wondering why their OWN STAFF, who had known about the situation for some time hadn’t alerted anyone? Interesting.

    • The Lone Gunman says:

      Who says they didn’t?

      My money is on the fact that someone did–but since only four stores were involved, no one was overly concerned about it.

      The other likely scenario is that the notification got short-stopped somewhere along the way. I’ve seen this in other retail operations where things fail to reach the home office.

      • HomerSimpson says:

        Or *more likely* somebody at the home office (or below) said “Nonono…MONEY to be made there! Can’t take it off the shelves…nonono!”

    • jerry101 says:

      ummm, probably because minimum (or near-minimum) wage Walmart employees either:
      A. Don’t care enough to report it
      B. think it’s funnier to leave dead stock on the shelf (I wonder if this item will still be here in a year or ten?) than to report it
      C. Find that reporting such things is too much work or otherwise not worth the effort
      D. Aren’t trained to do anything beyond a narrow range that is their job function, and this is outside their job function, so even if they want to report it, they don’t know who/where to report

      People who work at Walmart, in my experience, are pretty much worthless for anything beyond scanning, stocking, and retrieving items from locked cases.

      I’m sure there are many employees who could do more, but Walmart doesnt want it’s people thinking, and doesn’t pay them to think.

    • elangomatt says:

      I think the most likely scenario is that there is no process in place for a low level employee to report an issue like this. There probably is someone on the store level (managers) that could have escalated the issue, but do they really have time to deal with a piddly little ancient flash drive when corporate is shoving extended warranty sales %ages and store branded 24%APR credit card applications down their throats? It is a lot easier just to leave those items on a bottom shelf somewhere where they hope someone will accidentally buy it.

  4. HomerSimpson says:

    One SKU down, how many thousands more to go….

  5. techstar25 says:

    Is there a feeling worse than opening a gift from a relative and realizing immediately that they paid WAY too much for it?
    Let’s face it, someday we’re all going to be elderly and we’ll have trouble remembering the difference between brontobytes and yottabytes.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

      I saw my Mom bought a 2gb microSD card for her replacement Verizon phone, and I wanted to find that salesman and punch him/her, b/c I know she paid 3-4x what they really cost. My Mom texts, and that’s about it. She doesn’t play music or take pictures with her phone, so she didn’t need it. In addition, she already had one in the phone she was replacing, so they could have popped that one out. When someone I worked for bought new Verizon phones for her family, for what they wanted for 1 2GB microSD card, I bought 4 from NewEgg and everyone had extra mem.

  6. Traveller says:

    Having worked in a large operation as part of the IT team, (not retail, phone company), it is really frustrating how many people either don’t report problems or they don’t get reported up the chain.

    We had so many system enhancements thwarted because line level customer service didn’t want to change to the new systems and would back door unprofitable services we were systematically trying to shutdown.

    • JeremieNX says:

      In most companies, line-level customer service has little incentive or stake in operational processes. I’ve worked as a peon before knowing that any suggestion I make would never go anywhere.

  7. kcvaliant says:

    goodwork. This just means walmart is going to deduct the original costs of the items from the vendor if they are still around.

  8. kcvaliant says:

    goodwork. This just means walmart is going to deduct the original costs of the items from the vendor if they are still around.

  9. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    They removed them? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  10. smarty-pants44 says:

    At the store (a southern sporting goods chain) I work at, stale merchandise is marked down to $.01 to get rid of it. I’ve seen items as large as grills go down to a penny after theyve been sitting in our store for a while.

  11. FrugalFreak says:

    I just wanna know- What’s the clearance price since clearance is not much so anymore?

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Well, as of this morning, those onesies were still marked for Clearance at $3 (“Was $3″). Meanwhile, they had a fire sale on a 46” Samsung LED television.. Marked down from $1298 to $499. Needless to say, there aren’t any more of those available for purchase.