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Giving Walmart the Ol' Razzle Dazzle

Christmas shopping is in full swing, and more and more people are spending the bulk of their holiday budget at Walmart.

Walmart knows this, and loves every bit of it.  They're giving their stores more power to ad-match and 'win' the business, and you as a consumer can take advantage of that.

That... combined with employees that are either:

- Dim-witted, or
- Just don't give a fuck.

Either way, you win.

Case 1, I just recently purchased a new laptop.  It was designed to be my 'freelancing' machine (even though my customers aren't paying their bills like they're supposed to), so I wanted something with a good processor, good memory, and lots of space.

The machine I wanted was $700, but I settled for the $500 version.  Both HP's, both same-size screen, and the average person wouldn't be able to see the difference except in the price.

Walmart is full of average people.  They didn't have the $500 in stock, so I pointed to the $700 machine and asked them to do that one for $500.  I read off the specs of the $500 machine (the similar ones, at least) from their website, showed them what I was talking about, and they just assumed it was the same exact product, just priced wrong.  Did I defraud them?  No, but I didn't correct them, and got $200 off the laptop I really wanted...

Case 2 was a gift for my girlfriend.  She wanted a nook with a glow-screen.  Walmart had 2 deals going on:  One was a $30 giftcard when you purchased the nook WITHOUT the glowscreen, the other was $20 lowered price on the nook WITH the glowscreen.  (fine print specified which nook got the giftcard, which made it look to the glancing eye that it was $30 for any nook...)

It was almost midnight, when they close registers and managers are scrambling.  I took a picture of the display, because at the right angle, it looked like you were getting $20+$30 off the glowscreen nook.

I showed this to the cashier.  They were confused (AND training a new cashier) and called their manager.  I showed manager the picture, and as they were thinking about it three other cashiers demanded her attention.  She was being pulled in six different directions, ok'd the override, and I got a $140 nook for $90.

Could you call this taking advantage?  Perhaps, in a way, but I'm just stretching my dollar.  They have margin built in to ad match and negotiate down when needed, so why not make sure you're always on top?  And what's the worst that can happen, they tell you know and you end up paying for it anyway?

If you want to do something like this, do a little scouting first.  Find an employee that looks stressed, dumb, or one that looks like they hate their job (that covers about 80% of Walmart employees, doesn't it??).  They're more willing to buckle.  Secondly, time it during a busy spell when managers are few and their demand is high.  If it's a 24 hour Walmart, between 11:30 and midnight is perfect because they're closing out registers and usually short-staffed.  They don't have time to haggle and will often give you what you want.

Lastly, look for bad or confusing merchandising, like the 'boys vs boy's' ordeal I posted about before.  If they're advertising something that's incredibly similar to what you want, see if they can spot the difference.  Pictures on a smart phone work well, as they'd rather look at that than call back the toys or electronics department to verify the fine print. 

Good luck, and good shopping!
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12 witty retorts:

Out of Barnes said...

I used to work at Walmart and can tell you not all of their employees are stupid. To get the kinds of deals you got requires a manager's approval and the managers have a lot more on the line than the average hourly employee. Their main objective is to please the customer while still making a buck. Sometimes in order to do this they are paying the workers a lot less and the markup on some of the merchandise is higher.

Brandon from said...

It's capitalism at its purest form. One person wins, the business or the consumer. In this case, I've learned how to win.

Brandon from said...

80% rule. :)

And in my case, the managers were a nice mix of busy, stressed, stupid (maybe) and didn't care. I did my homework and timed it the way I did on purpose.

Josie Iraheta said...

Last year around Christmas time I made about a $30 purchase on I can't remember what. I paid with a $100 bill. Instead of the cashier giving me a $50 back with my change, she gave me back the $100. I didn't notice until I got to the car, and my baby was screaming at the top of her lungs. Times were tight and my hours had just got cut at work, so I called it a Christmas miracle.

Julie said...

I have a friend who works at Walmart and she has all kinds of interesting stories about her fellow employees.

Shock said...

I like this. You are not in the wrong. If retailers gave the ability to haggle prices, then we wouldn't have to resort to these types of strategies to save a dollar or two.

vicky said...

Bravo. I managed a score at the post office the other week -asked for 20x overseas card stamps and he only charged me for one stamp. I stood there for about a nano second before walking out the door. I figured the post office get enough out of me each year so this is their present to me bwahhhaaa

Chubby Chatterbox said...

I hope Santa doesn't read your blog or you're going to get a lump of coal in your stocking.

Squatlo said...

I'd rather screw Walmart by not shopping there, but if I DID shop with Merchants of Evil I wouldn't think twice about getting the most bang for my buck.

Brandon from said...

I don't remember the survey or the exact percentage, but the majority americans surveyed by this pollster said they wouldn't mind buying their health coverage from Walmart.


Brandon from said...

I just talked to my friend that used to be a manager at Wally World for years. He knows about this, tells his friends to do this, and basically summed it up, saying "They're still making money on that laptop, even at $200 off. Not a lot, but Walmart deals with so much theft (from customers AND employees) that this is still considered a 'plus' sale for them."

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...


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