Earlier this week Wal-Mart announced that it will match prices on most of its products for shoppers who buy something between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 at one of its stores and then find it cheaper elsewhere. When customers find an item cheaper in a competitor's ad, they can bring in the ad and Wal-Mart will give the difference in the form of a gift card.


This policy is in addition to the existing price match policy in which customers can bring in competitors' ads or tell cashiers a competitor's price and ask it to be matched on the spot. Until now, a customer could not ask for a price match after a purchase, unless the lower price was at Wal-Mart. (Almost any major retailer will give you the difference if you buy an item at regular price and then it goes on sale within 7 to 14 days.)

Wal-Mart is to be commended for this policy, although I doubt that many shoppers will take them up on it. I don't think most of us have the time or take the time to keep our eye on prices after we've already purchased something.

There are a few items or situations where prices won't be matched at Wal-Mart. 

+Groceries, tires, guns, tobacco, prescriptions, optical, cell phones with service agreements

+Internet retailers' prices

+Black Friday ads

+Limited time (6 a.m. to 11 a.m., for example) or quantity (one Blu-ray player per customer, for example) ads

Still, the match does include layaway items and Wal-Mart's own Internet pricing. Even though you can't get a price adjustment credit if you see a lower price on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Wal-Mart is one of the few retailers who will match Black Friday ads on Black Friday. In other words, if Target has a Vizio flat screen TV for $300 in its Black Friday ad and you can find the exact model at Wal-Mart for $400, you can ask Wal-Mart to match, but good luck. Most retailers don't carry the exact models to discourage matching and comparison shopping.

By the way, Target also offers its own version of a price match guarantee. It will match a current competitor's ad but it does not currently allow competitors' price matching after you have already purchased something, as Wal-Mart's new policy allows. Check the policy restrictions online before you head out.

Does anyone plan to take advantage of Wal-Mart's holiday price matching policy?