That’s Wal-Mart Dumb!

I finally decided to go ahead and buy a laptop because I need one to be able to go to conventions and travel for business. After conferring with a buddy of mine who does tech support for a living and sells computers on the side, I decided to get a Dell laptop from Wal-Mart that I found online.

However, if you buy a laptop online, it takes them 7-10 days to ship the laptop to the store. So, I decided to head into my local Wal-Mart and see if they had one in stock — and they did.

One problem: Online, the laptop costs $628. At my local Wal-Mart, the cost was $798. However, I didn’t think there would be a problem because I had actually printed out the sheet with the price on it.

Unfortunately, the clerk I was talking to told me she wasn’t allowed to sell it to me at the online price. So, I thanked her and then went to a different part of the store (so as not to embarrass her) and had a manager called over to me. Then, I explained the situation. He told me the exact same thing: they can’t give me the computer at the online price.

This made me scratch my head because all that was going to happen was that I was going to go home, order the laptop, and then wait 7-10 days to have a laptop shipped to the exact same store I was standing in. That made no sense to me. Why should I have to wait 7-10 days to get a laptop from the same Wal-Mart I was already standing in, when I was there right then?

With that in mind, I asked the manager I was talking to what would happen if I came in with a sale paper from a local competitor advertising the computer I wanted for the Wal-Mart online price, $628. He said, “Yes, we would match the price of a local competitor.”

I said, “You realize that makes no sense, right? You’re telling me that you give me the computer for $628 if I had brought in a flier from a competitor, but you won’t match the price of your own online store.”

He agreed that it didn’t make any sense, but said there was nothing he could do about it — and that was that.

I guess I could have made a really big stink and demanded to talk to the manager in charge and then his district manager if that didn’t work, but it didn’t seem worth taking it that far.

Still, it was kind of surprising that Wal-Mart, an excellent store that normally excels at customer service, was doing something that unbelievably dumb.

PS: On yet another trip to Wal-Mart over the Christmas holiday, among other things, I bought a $.97 dog toy. When I got up to the register, bizarrely, it rang up as a $60 item. Thank goodness I wasn’t zoned out because the cashier didn’t catch it and if I hadn’t pointed it out to her, I might have thrown $59 down the hole without realizing what happened.

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