With more and more people doing their holiday shopping online (because it’s generally cheaper and faster and doesn’t require driving anywhere), the nation’s largest retailer is doing what it can to encourage consumers to head to Walmart. Earlier today, Big W announced it will offer price-matching on purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, even after you make your purchase.
It’s not just drug stores that have boosted prices for grocery items, but also campus dining options at universities. Reader Bryan Carroll wrote an article about them for his school newspaper at Stonybrook University, The Statesman. On average, he found the food items from the campus commissary were a whopping 42 percent higher than local grocery stores.
In a perfect consumer world, perhaps brick-and-mortar stores would price-match their own websites. Perhaps front-line employees would be permitted to use their own judgment once in a while. In this perfect world, it definitely would not be cheaper and easier to purchase an item for in-store pickup on your smartphone while standing in the store.
Lynn has been using Terminix four times a year for five years, but after Lynn’s recent experience on the phone with them, no longer. At the center of the dispute is a $3 increase in the service. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not really about the money. It’s how they treated Lynn when our reader asked about it. And that, my friends, is how you lose a customer who has been with you for half a decade.
Last week, we showed you the sign at one Best Buy store that openly stated it would not match prices found on BestBuy.com, flying in the face of the company’s stated policy. We subsequently received numerous e-mails from Best Buy staffers saying they had been ordered to not price match, but to tell customers to order on the website and arrange for in-store pickup. After that story was posted, BB HQ sent out a directive to staffers, laying down the law on this topic.
Well, that was fast. The reader and Best Buy employee who wrote in earlier this week about the threat of termination being used to make employees generate more credit card applications from customers. (Or, as the headline put it, “cram credit cards down customers’ throats.”) The tipster wrote back in to let us know that management in this particular region has backed down. While offering credit applications is still an important part of the job, working twelve shifts without persuading any customers to apply is no longer grounds for automatic termination.
Reader B. is a Best Buy employee, and has a moral problem with a new policy. This policy may just be at B.’s store or in that district, but it’s still annoying. Employees have been told that they can no longer price-match BestBuy.com. They can, however, help the customer place an order online for in-store pickup from inside the store, then wait around for up to half an hour. This seems inefficient at best to B, but sounds familiar to us.
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.
Leigh made the most of her idle time while waiting in line to buy a dishwasher at Sears. On a lark, she pulled up the product she was going to buy at a nearby kiosk and found it was listed $145 cheaper online than she was about to pay. She confronted the salesman, who was stunned by the price difference but gave her the lower price.
There are only a few more days until we get Thanksgiving out of the way and can start worrying about what really matters — Black Friday. And Walmart has come out swinging in the retail battle for your holiday shopping dollars by announcing that it will offer price-matching.
Tony tried to get Walmart to drop its price for a car stereo by getting the store to price-match the item, which he found for much cheaper online. His Idaho Walmart, which Tony says has signs outside declaring it will “match any price,” turned him down flat, saying the ad needs to be printed in a newspaper.
Gerry and his wife tried to buy a pair of sneakers that the JCPenney website had listed on sale. While other products were marked “online only,” this particular pair of sneakers was marked “also in stores,” so the couple assumed that the price would be the same. Naturally, the store’s employees refused to see the logic of this argument.
Reader John says he went to Best Buy to get a washer/dryer set. When he asked a salesman to price match another retailer (there was a large sign on top of the machine saying they would price match), he says he was told a) he’d have to actually go buy the washer/dryer set at the other retailer and bring back a receipt b) even if he went and did that, Best Buy might not match the price because Best Buy doesn’t need John’s business. Really?
Phill tells Consumerist that he saw a pricing error on cereal at his local Safeway, and brought it to the attention of store employees. In the process, he tried to invoke Safeway’s price guarantee. After all, if the cereal was marked 28 cents per pound (instead of 28 cents per ounce, as it should have been) why shouldn’t Phill be able to buy it at that price? Yet the store employees would hear none of it.
Reader Aaron was trying to buy a toilet from Home Depot, but they, like other retailers, would not price match their own website — that is until Aaron told them he would just go to Lowe’s and have them price match Home Depot’s website.
A class action lawsuit has been filed in Illinois against Best Buy. The suit’s claims? That the company has an official policy against price-matching their own web site. You don’t say. That claim of a special Intranet site to prevent price-matching against the chain’s Web site sounds familiar. So do most of the suit’s allegations, for loyal readers of Consumerist.
I wrote a (hopefully) humorous money-saving book called Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets. The New York Post called it “required reading” Sunday, although not everyone’s a fan.
Received my new Kindle today, same day I heard about their price drop to $299. Obviously I wanted to see if I could get some cash back. Did their customer callback and got a call as soon as I hit OK. CSR said the shipping cutoff for a partial refund was July 8th and that they’d be crediting me $60 in 2-3 days.