You either love Wal-Mart or hate Wal-Mart. Then there are those who love to hate Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart is a modern-day drug. No matter what happens in the building, if your experience is good or bad you always go back to do your shopping. Their slogan is “Save Money, Live Better.” It makes me wonder how the stress that results from a visit to your local Wal-Mart really helps you live better. The save money part is a joke.
As you are probably getting the feeling I am not a fan of Wal-Mart. At least not the one near my house. I have had so many bad experiences there I like to avoid it like the plague. Management doesn’t take complaints seriously because they know that they do not have to rectify the situation because regardless of the experience you will be back to spend money.
Earlier this year I had a return to make. The store opened at 6am so I went there shortly after that to beat the lines and do some shopping. It was a return of about $18 and I was going to put that money towards a $199 rocking chair for the nursery. I was approached by the greeter who informed me that they didn’t start processing returns until 7am. That I was fine with, I pointed out that this is something that they might want to post. The pharmacy and auto sections have different hours which are posted on the door. If you are going to open the store but keep the customer service counter closed that would be nice to know. He got rather rude with me telling me that they shouldn’t be taking back merchandise anyways and that they didn’t want my return. I was so furious with this I promptly left the store, I was in no way rude to him because I work in retail. I’ve been on both sides and I know that a pleasant customer is going to get further than a rude customer. I got in my car and drove 30 minutes to another Wal-Mart where I was greeted with a smile from their greeter, and they promptly returned my items and wished me a wonderful day. It was bugging me so much that I called the manager of the first store and I was told that the associate was probably just joking. He was rude and in a bad mood and he took that out on a customer. The manager didn’t care, didn’t offer to look into it or even call me back with a follow-up to the situation.
Today I went in for another return, which I had no problem doing however this same greeter was standing at the door complaining about everything under the sun. It was a real downer to begin my visit. I started the day in the clearance Christmas items. I try to buy my cards for the next year just after Christmas to get a deal. 50% off I can’t complain. I then filled my basket with some other very well priced items. I then proceeded to the electronics section. EA Active 2 for all systems has been lowered in price for a limited time, there are commercials all over the tv, and many retailers have dropped their price to $59.99 from $99.99. Their price was still $99.99. They checked the price to find it was priced incorrectly and their price was $78.88. I asked about their price match policy since I had my iPod with me and I was able to show the current price at many competitors. They had to check with a manager. The answer was no they could not price match any competitor unless I had a paper flyer in my hand showing the price. They would not check the internet, they would not accept the official apps of their competitors and they insisted that I had to obtain a flyer showing this price. I don’t believe this was a price drop that retailers knew about 6 weeks ago when they printed their flyers, and this often happens in retail. A company will drop the price of their product and then advertise it on tv and the internet however it is not printed in the weekly flyers. I politely told the manager that it was unfortunate and that I would go purchase this item elsewhere.
Best Buy was sold out of it so I went to Future Shop who had raised their price back to $99.99, they were happy to call Best Buy to verify the price and they matched it without a second thought. I would think that a company like Wal-Mart would have a better price matching policy. Especially since they advertise and promote that they have the lowest price and that they will beat any competitors price.
When I returned home and began to look at my receipt I noticed that some of the Christmas items didn’t ring in at half price as they should have. Is it really worth me returning to argue this to get what works out to be $4. If I had the energy and patience to do it I would but my time and sanity is more valuable than the $4. I could technically get the items for free because of the Scanner Price Accuracy Code. Wal-Mart is a retailer who participates in this, however they count on the fact that you won’t notice these things until you get home and just let it go. I should have checked my receipt before I left the store which I am usually very good at doing but this time I didn’t. I guess that mistake is going to cost me $4.
I have learned from my experiences that if you look around a lot of the time Wal-Mart isn’t that much cheaper than other places like Best Buy, Future Shop, Shoppers Drug Mart and the Superstore. However I wish that there were more competitors here in Canada as there are in the States. Stateside you have places like Target and Meijer to go to where here in Canada you have a few places and then there is Zellers – which I won’t even go there. I am surprised they are even still in business but that is a blog for another day.
It also makes me wonder if saving that $1 on an item is even worth the aggravation of entering a Wal-Mart. Unfortunately because there isn’t a real competitor to Wal-Mart that is an apple to apple comparison here Wal-Mart will continue to be that drug that we just can’t get out of our system.
Please Meijer’s or Target enter the Canadian market and save us from the evil known as Wal-Mart.