More Sales Insanity, This Time From Walmart
Sometimes this world really makes me wonder how even the smallest things got so weird and screwed up. I had already written about my adventure at Hobby Lobby. In this case, I was buying a movie set from Walmart.
It was recently my birthday, and my folks back in England sent me some money to buy myself something nice. I knew just what I wanted, too — the latest BluRay Back to the Future boxed set.
As it was released some time ago, I figured the price for this was now well below the initial price of $79.99. And sure enough, a little Internet browsing revealed it was as low as $37. The lowest prices were online, as they always are, but I saw that Walmart had the boxed set on sale for $39.99. Rather than waiting for a week or two to arrive in the mail, I figured I could pop in and get my boxed set immediately. Nice!
Here are screen shots from Walmart.com. As you can see, they’re a little confusing.
The first states that this particular boxed set is not sold in stores. Bummer, it’s the one I wanted. Then I clicked to the next screen and saw that I could have it shipped to a store.
But before I ordered, I talked to a guy in the office who said Walmart stores do carry that boxed set, and it must be a mistake. With the nearest store being 10 minutes from work, I popped in on my lunch hour to pick it up.
Sure enough, there it was on the shelf. Identical. But wait a minute. The price was $59.96, almost $20 more than the exact same product online.
I talked to a store clerk, brought up the site on my cell phone, and showed him that the same product was for sale $20 less online.
“Ah, but that version doesn’t include digital copies,” he said. “That’s why they’re different prices.”
I then pointed out that both versions include digital copies. It's the same exact boxed set.
He looked quickly between the screen and the shelf. He scratched his head. Then he said “Well, that’s the special price for ordering online. It will be delivered to you direct from Walmart’s warehouse; it won't come here.”
But then I showed him the “free ship-to-store” option, which basically means that it will be shipped straight to this store. And that’s madness, because it’s already at the store, right on the shelf in front of me! He then looked off into space, thought for a second, and said, “Sorry, nothing I can do; you need to order online." And he walked off.
So, Walmart, can you explain this please? Why do customers have to go through the process of ordering online to save $20 when the exact same product is in the store (even though your website lies and says it’s not) and ready to be purchased? Why take the time and trouble to ship a product to a store that's already in stock at that store?
It seems nuts that your customers who take the trouble to drive to the store must pay $20 more for the product than those who order online first, and then drive to the exact same store to pick it up. What’s the rationale here?
And when a customer shows you the differing prices, wouldn’t it be wise to discount the in-store product to match the online price? You’re getting the same amount of money for it, and you’re just making a paying customer wait a whole week (or two) longer to get an identical product.
Does anyone else have any stories that are just as confusing? Am I missing something here? So far, no one I’ve talked to from Walmart can offer an explanation other than “prices in store differ than prices online.”
I have purchased the boxed set, by the way. I paid the $39.99, and instead of choosing free site-to-store, I chose free shipping. Why? Because it’s easier for me, and it will arrive in five days less than if I pick it up from the store. The store that already has it! Why, I have no idea.
I don't know who is figuring all of this out over at Walmart, but it’s making my head hurt. Come on guys, and get this silly process straightened out, please.