Monday, December 05, 2011

8/88 | INXS #1 “Calling All Nations” Tour, The Spectrum, Philadelphia

Last night saw me sitting about two sections away from an electronics-littered stage in the heart of Philly awaiting the coming of a star rock band – INXS – an English (what else?) rock band boasting a sting of recent hits. Sitting beside me for a 20 minute span was Paula Dengler, a girl I’d recently asked out and come to really like. We could barely talk to one another over the din before the rest of the group showed up (brother Todd and Jen Simon) and within minutes the crowd started to cheer in anticipation.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

5/2/88: Exeter HS, notebook #1, p. 1: "Sportive self-expression can be prized because human nature contains a certain elasticity and margin for experiment, in which waste activity is inevitable and may be precious: for this license may lead, amid a thousand failures, to some real discovery and advance. Art, like life, should be free, since both are experimental." -- "The Life of Reason," George Santayana, Page 172

Beginning today, posting 420-character entries from my notebooks to Facebook and archiving here, dating approx. 1988-1994, during my high school (Reading, PA @ Exeter Senior High School) and college (Kutztown University) years. Most entries written in/around Reading, Lancaster, Kutztown, PA.

WalMart on TV: "We match prices."
In NC: "We DON'T match prices, even less so when you order from us online at a given price for in-store pickup locally. isn't WalMart, technically." HUH?

Today I tried in vain to place a simple order with WalMart for in-store pickup, using to set up the transaction.

What I got instead was several hours of my Sunday wasted by a company who's website seems to be blind to in-store stock levels, and the manager of the Cary, NC store offering a litany of excuses which stand 100% at odds with WalMart's current TV ads.

Here's the steps that lead to my disappointment:

1. Visited, found the item I wanted to buy, then completed an in-store pickup order for my local Holly Springs location. The website said all three items were in-stock, and I'd be sent a text message when they were ready to pickup. Here's the checkout screens:

2. A few minutes later, I got an email saying all was well, verifying the price of the items and their in-stock status.

About 30 minutes later, I got another email:

WalMart's own internal stock system doesn't know which items are really in stock?! Cancelled the order.

Note that the in-stock immediate pickup price for the items was $119.98, and the order was tallied using this price.

3. Deciding to try my luck at my nearby Cary, NC Walmart store in-person (the website saying there were some in stock), I walked through the door and hurried to the bike section.

Sure enough, there were three waiting for me! The price was posted at $149.99, but no matter. "At WalMart, we'll price match!"

I borrowed a cart, loaded up the three scooters, and headed to the checkout. I had copies of my email orders and the website price on my phone, ready for the cashier to complete an identical in-store pickup transaction, this time in Cary.

4. After asking the cashier to price match, he said he had to call over his manager. This seemed odd to me, since in the TV advertisements the cashiers in each line having the power to match, without an ad in hand, by voice alone. Even showing him my emails and the online price wasn't enough.

Manager "Frank" appears, and I walk him through the story. He immediately denies the request. Why? Walmart stores "never honor prices at We're totally different companies." Huh?

I tell him that I placed an order for in-store pickup from Holly Springs, and that the lower online price was honored. Only Walmart's incorrect stock system caused my order to be cancelled. I said I'd be happy to place the same order via any Internet terminal in the store and use my credit card online, which would make the Cary pickup request identical to the Holly Springs request earlier in the day.

Frank walked me back to the rear of the store and allowed me to do just this, all with his help...

Note the three items, in stock, ready for me to buy.

5. Together, we found the items via their online kiosk, went to add the three items to my cart that were ALREADY in my REAL LIFE cart NEXT to me, and the site said this:

Looks closely. says the items are out of stock online, and OUT OF STOCK at the CARY, NC store. Clearly, they weren't and aren't, they're right here next to us!

Still, he wouldn't budge. Despite the facts being right in front of him.

The facts: Walmart does not price match with anyone, even themselves, when stock and facts are right in front of management's face. Their ads are deceptive, and management's zero tolerance for living up to WalMart's TV promises ads up to a bait and switch. Frank saying: "Pay me the higher price and ignore my company's promises to match printed prices and our own in-store pickup system."

Color me a disappointed North Carolina WalMart shopper, and you'd be hard pressed to get me to recommend or visit any local WalMart location until management and their webteam/local managers get on the same page of their pricing and customer policies. Wall mart, Kmart, sears, price match, guarantee, bait, switch...