Wal-Mart announced earlier this week that it is getting serious about “one stop shopping.” It is simplifying its price match policy so that customers no longer need to bring in competitors’ ads to have prices matched. In other words, smart shoppers who used to do all of their shopping at Wal-Mart with ads from Cub, Rainbow, Target and Menards can now leave those ads at home, provided the customer knows the prices and asks for the price match.
I can’t think of the last time a retailer on this scale made such a consumer-friendly announcement. What this means is that Wal-Mart cashiers are essentially taking our word for it when we ask them to match a price without proof.
“We want to error on the side of the customer,” said Bloomington store manager Scott Rothi. Not so fast, say Wal-Mart customers who have contacted me from around the country. The "exceptions" are starting to pop up. Ursula Welch in Thomasville, Alabama said that she has had problems with cashiers refusing to match because a competitor is outside its local zone, Kristin from Orlando said that cashiers and managers are still requiring the ad for proof of the match, and Katelyn Rustin from New Richmond, Wis. said that the Wal-Mart said it took three employees to sort out her requests for matching.
I don’t know how well Wal-Mart has trained their cashiers, but let’s hope it’s better than when Target instituted a price match policy a couple of years ago. Readers told me stories of cashiers and supervisors gathering in a huddle, debating whether an item was match-worthy.
Wal-Mart has stated its ad match guarantee policy online at www.walmartstores.com/download/4752.pdf.
Here's the official list of what Wal-Mart will and won't match.
Wal-Mart will match the following: Buy one, get one free ads with a specified price (buy one at $2.49, get one free), items that require a loyalty card for the discount to apply (Rice Krispies for $2.99 with card), fresh produce and meat items when the price is offered in the same unit (pound for pound, each for each).
The discounter will not honor ads where a price cannot be determined, internet prices, misprinted ad prices, ads from outside the store’s local trade territory, items that require an additional purchase to get the ad price (Buy Tostitos for $3 to get salsa for $1), items that require a purchase to get a competitor’s gift card (Buy Purina dog food and get a $5 gift card to Target), BOGO ads with no actual price given, going-out-of-business or closeout prices, percentage off (all mascara 40 percent off) and competitor’s private label promotions (Target brand ibuprofen for Equate).
Will you be a "secret shopper" for the cause? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 612-673-7633 and let me know your experience with a price match at Wal-Mart.
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