A Tale of Two Box Stores

So today was a Sunday like many others for us. We had a few items to pick up and we set out to take care of that. Little did we know some of the roller coasters we would encounter both good and bad. We left the house and headed to Douglasville. Stopped at HarborFreight Tools and got me a few things for some projects here. After that we headed to Bed Bath and Beyond but they hadn't opened yet (it was 11:00 and they dont open till noon here on Sunday)so my wife suggested we go to OfficeMax as she needed a chair to go with her new desk.

Office Max
We got there and luck coincidence they have a furniture sale going. We looked around for a while and my wife decided on a chair after trying several out. She grabbed a sales associate who had helped us find something else in the store a bit earlier and asked him to check if the chair was a part of the sale. He left and came back a few mins later and let her know it was. After a brief discussion she decided to get it. She asked the associate if they had any in stock and he went to check. When he returned he indicated the were going to physically check around. We watched them (the associate and a manager) check the store.

After a brief period he returned to use to let us know that they did not have one in the store but that they could order one (in store) and have it delivered to our home. Hoping to get one that day, my wife decided to look at the selection again. After a bit more searching she decided her original choice was still the best chair for her needs, so we went up front to check out. When we tried to check out the woman who was checking us out could not search for nor order the chair so she called the manager.

After conferring the manager told us it appeared they could no longer order this chair, so she excused herself to go to her office to contact another local store. Success! They were able to find one and would be happy to transport it to our local store for us to pick up the next day. We thought this was a terrific outcome and an example of optimal customer service effort!

While at Office Max I had noticed a neat digital video camera the Kodak PlaySport ZX5. When I got home I did a little digging and found out that not only does it produce good video, it is waterproof to 10feet. The wife and I thought it was pretty cool so we started fishing around for a good price. My wife found that WalMart had it for $109 on their web site.

So we called our local store to check availability. The guy put us on hold for a bit but came back and said they had 2. I was about to get off the phone when my wife reminded me to ask how much. Which I did. $159. I was not wholly surprised, so I asked if they would match their web site pricing and the gentleman said no, but that if they offered store pickup on the web site we could order it on the site before 6pm (it was 5pm) and we would get a notification when it was ready to come pickup at the $109 price. So we got off the phone and ordered it. The confirmation email my wife received said that the item would be available till 20:55. We waited to get the confirmation we could come get it and waited and waited some more.

Finally at 9:00pm my wife called and asked why we hadn't gotten our confirmation. The new guy she was speaking to put her on hold. He cam back about 7 mins later and said they didn't see our order and they also did not have the camera we were looking for in stock. I was livid but my wife maintained a cool head and told them we had called and confirmed the camera was available earlier before ordering, then the guy on the phone said well it didn't matter because ordered after 6pm didn't allow for pickup till the next day. We told him we ordered a little after 5 so we were to be handled that day. He grumbled hang on let me go check for the camera again. After another 6 or 7 mins on hold he came back and said why yes we do have 2 in stock and they just hadn't been binned properly(whatever that means). He said if we could print the order and come down I could pick one up. Which is what I wound up doing. But what a hassle.

So why doesn't WalMart match their own web prices but will let you order on web and pickup in store? Likely because when they price match in store they dont get any marketing data like they do from the website. Whatever the reason they have again proven why I hate shopping there, when it comes to WalMart shoddy service, polices, and operations cant be made up for by the the prices. As a matter of fact this has angered me enough to write my elected representatives to start to apply pressure for truth in pricing in Georgia. Here it is law that if the price is on the shelf or the item then it must be sold for that. Well its my opinion that if its advertised on the website for a price it should be required of them to sell it for that price inside their brick and mortar store. I am going to request my representatives begin working on legislation stating just that.