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Wal-Mart's holiday price match? Ho-ho-hum

The retail behemoth announced a new price-matching policy for the holiday shopping season. Let's look at the fine print.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 25, 2011 11:00AM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyMost retailers don't make headlines when they announce a new price-match policy. But most retailers aren't Wal-Mart, the king of retail.


Wal-Mart announced Monday that its famous price-match policy was getting a makeover for the holiday season: From Nov. 1 to Dec. 25, the retailer's policy will be retroactive.


Before, the store would only match a competitor's price on the day of purchase, but now a customer can discover a lower price at another store after the fact and then go back to Wal-Mart and get a refund for the difference. The deal is good on all purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 when you bring in proof of the competitor's price by Christmas.


A look at the fine print in Wal-Mart's policy turns up some important stipulations. First, if you want to do a retroactive price match, you won't actually get the difference in price in the form of cash, but as a Wal-Mart gift card. Also, the policy won't apply to limited-time and Black Friday offers, so if you were hoping to hedge your Black Friday bets by going to Wal-Mart, think again. And certain product classes, including groceries, plants, gas, guns and optical items, don't qualify for the offer. Post continues after video.

The store is catching up to competing retailers with similar retroactive price matching. As we found when we rounded up the retailers with the best price-match policies, Target lets customers bring in a competitor's ad up to a week after purchase and get a credit for the difference.


Likewise, Best Buy gives its customers a window of either 14, 30 or 45 days (depending on the class of product), Staples gives buyers a 14-day window and Sears has a "price-match plus" policy that gives you 14 days to bring in a competing offer and the store will beat the price by 10%.


Wal-Mart's new price-match policy will surely be welcome news for the holiday season, but shoppers should know that in many ways it still falls short of the competition.


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

Oct 26, 2011 6:38AM

And the whining continues! Jeez people, this is as good a deal as anybody out there, but Sears, and their prices are so high they NEED to give you 10% extra when you catch them at it. America created Wal-Mart when all you cheap azzes out there decided you couldn't spend the money to buy a great quality American-made........whatever!  DEAL WITH IT! If you want to put Wal-Mart out of bizness, start demanding high-quality AMERICAN MADE products, and then BUY them, dammnit!

Ya'll are pathetic little whiners. But what do I know? I am an immigrant (Legal, from Holland), who flies an AMERICAN flag on my house every day, rain or shine, who came to your beautiful country (that you are flushing down the proverbial toilet every day) because it is the best place in the world to live. Too bad all of you are ruining it. Now get lost! Go get your Starbucks coffee and sit in your eclectic little realm of....stupidity, and shut up!

Oct 26, 2011 7:58AM

  To Michael, I'm not trying to hide behind my nickname for my benefit. My mother has worked for Wal-Mart for over 20 years and I don't want to cause trouble for her. I also worked at Wal-Mart for 2 years in the '90s.

  My mom is seeing her coworkers who have worked at Walmart for 20 years or more being fired for false reasons. She has also been writtten up for things she didn't do. They are trying to create a paper trail to get rid of associates who they feel they pay too much.

  I am not saying Walmart is all bad. Still, trying to force people out who have been loyal to Walmart is a very shameful practice!

Oct 26, 2011 8:18AM
Way too much hassle for me - plus standing in the long lines at the customer service desk at Walmart which you already have do - do to the lack of employees working - no thanks.  To me, that headache and time lossed waiting, it is worth paying a little bit more somewhere.
Oct 25, 2011 10:53PM
Why is it that on December 20 at 6 p.m. the Wal-Mart in my town had 5 of its 33 lane open, with line that took nearly an hour to check out...they had the self scans shut down as well! I hate Wal-Mart!
Mine is always like that ---30 registers - 5 open and 3 of those are 10 items or less....
Oct 25, 2011 10:41PM
As an example, they Walmart will sell a bottle of laundry soap for $2.98 beating the next store by 10 cents but be careful, Walmarts 2 ounces less in the bottle.  They can have the manufacturer or orders them to make an exclusive product so they can never be undersold on that particular product because no one carries the exactly the same.
Oct 25, 2011 8:52PM

IF you have the money to burn, you can kill the competion. lets not worry about peoples jobs to save a dollar. I have shopped there myself.  i have found better buys on certain products at freds and local stores.  wallmart to me isnt the same store it started out as.                                                                                                                


Oct 26, 2011 9:31AM
Just return the product to Walmart if you found something cheaper, it's that's simple. No need to read their fine print.
Oct 25, 2011 9:21PM
  Like them or hate them, when a EF 5 tornado comes through your town, you well better hope you have a wall mart.   I live in Joplin Missouri.  7,000 homes destroyed last May.  How many of your mom and pop's can bring in enough stuff, to put everyone back on their feet in less than two days.  Do you have any idea how many tooth brushes, mattresses, chain saws, toilet paper, etc, that is.  Wall Mart can and will flood your community with everything needed.  Mom and pop can't, FEMA can't, Ben and Jerry can't, Starbucks can't.   So, live in the land of BMW's and rolex watches if you like.  But, when it hits the fan, Wall Mart beats anything form Tiffany's, Nordstrom's, or the US Federal government! 
Oct 26, 2011 8:54AM
we live in some tiney two bit town and either have to deal with wal mart for everything as the only other grocery store in town burned down or drive 90 minutes in any direction to shop anywhere else. The quality of stuff in wal mart has really deteriorated, the produce is lousy and the meat stinks. Heaven help you if you actually find something that you do like because the minute you buy it and like it they suddenly stop carrying it.  Wal mart sucks.
Oct 26, 2011 7:10AM
Walmart is dropping chunks of the health care insurance for their employees - shame on the retail giant!  And this tactic sounds really creepy, too - I know some folks really, really feel Walmart is the greatest.  Times are tough.  Problem is, Walmart's tactics concerning their customers - and even other retailers - go out of their way to be unfair!  Something is really wrong here - I make a point of avoiding Walmart!
Oct 26, 2011 8:51AM
Buy NOTHING if you can...

Boycott all this China CRAP made by CRIMINAL Private sector company's!


Oct 26, 2011 3:31AM
Wal-Mart will graciously price match this lovely holiday season by giving you a Wal-Mart gift card. Where is that any kind of Deal??? You buy an item in their store, then later you find it cheaper somewhere else. NOW you have to go back to ...Wal-Mart, stand in their Customer Service line, then you get your turn,where you get that warm fuzzy feeling from the "friendly" person behind the counter, then they have to get a Manager for approval, then they hand you a gift card that you will turn around and spend in their store. Then another week later the new item you bought goes on sale and the wheels go round and round... Sound like more of a hassle than a deal.
Oct 26, 2011 12:49AM

Wal-Mart fails to honor the "spirit" of its supposed price match.  Technically, Wal-Mart has specified that it will price match from printed ads or sales papers of its competition.  However, competitors often have lower-priced items that are NOT advertised.  I had bought some items at Wal-Mart, and the next day bought additional product at Target because I needed more.  The price happened to be much cheaper at Target (but was not in Target's sales flyers).  So I attempted to get the price-match at Wal-Mart, and brought in my Wal-Mart receipt along with that day's Target receipt clearly showing the product description and price.  Wal-Mart flat-out refused to match Target's price, so I just returned the items to Wal-Mart (and later bought still more at Target).  The reason given by Wal-Mart's employee for the failure to match the price was because it "wasn't advertised," although obviously Wal-Mart had proof of the lower Target price on the Target receipt, and could have even called Target to verify the price had they wanted to bother doing that.


Bad Wal-Mart, bad! 

Oct 26, 2011 9:28AM
Wal-Mart will match any other store price, but not their own on-line price. I found an item at the store for $199, the on-line price was $139 ... $60 bucks cheaper, they had two of them on the shelf in the store but refused to sell me one at the on-line price ... because, as I was told several times "We don't compete against ourselves" ... well ... isn't having two prices for the same product competing? .... Soooooo .. I ordered it site to store ... they paid someone to load it at a warehouse, and paid for a truck to deliver it to a store where they already had two of them, and paid someone to retrieve it for me when I went to pick it up, and sold it to me for $60 dollars cheaper than the two that was still sitting on the shelf .... They really have this stuff figured out.
Oct 26, 2011 7:45AM

You know I just shop for the best price. If WalMart has it fine, if someone else does or its cheaper online then that's where I will go. I don't like rebates or price matching or any other kind of gimmick.

If Walmart or anyone else wants my business then they need to offer their best price. I don't care to spend gas money going back to a store to show them I could have bought it elsewhere for less.


Oct 25, 2011 10:09PM
OK... let's stick to the issue.  The article is about price matching.  I personally can't stand the price matching policy.  I was at a Walmart recently and found myself behind two ladies, with few other register options, who were purchasing cartloads of groceries that they were price matching.  We're not talking about price matching a couple of things. These ladies were asking for this to be done on every single item.  I wanted to hurt something.  It took freaking forever to get out of the store, a whopping 45 minutes in line.  I hope they send anyone who uses this new holiday option to the customer service line.  I have to admit, the next time I had to shop, I went to Dominicks!

Oct 26, 2011 1:21AM
But this is exactly where WalMart shines!  Their PR people have created a mindset in customerland that is unbeatable!  The average WalMart customer is so sure that by just being in WalMart that they are getting the best price, that they don't look anywhere else.
Oct 26, 2011 12:21AM


Wal-Mart treat their employee's very badly.

Everything from no breaks to gender bias, and now eliminating and or not offering affordable health care for their employees.


Shop elsewhere.

The money the Walton family saves by refusing to provide health care for Wal-Mart employees goes straight to programs like those run by the Koch brothers to further deprive the rest of us for things such as Social Security, Medical-Medicaide, etc.


Oct 26, 2011 12:01AM
But you must remember it has to be an exact product match. Many manufacturers special label items for Wal-mart. So a tv at Wal-mart and Target may look exactly the same but will have different model numbers. Therefore not be a "like for like" comparison.
Oct 26, 2011 1:02AM

Please...WM isn't any worse than any other major retailer. Get a grip.   They do business just like every other store out there. 
Hate to break it to you..but Target and Kmart and every other "Tom,Dick and Harry" retailer gets thier merchandise from overseas. Get over it...all the major companies that make any and everything out it's not WM doing's the company supplying the goods. So bitch at the Black n Decker, Sunbeam, Rubbermaid...etc...that don't have factorie to produce products in the USA.
WM's insurance is just like every other insurance offered all costs to damned much.
Gone are the days of great coverage and reasonable prices. What can I say...if Drs and hospitals and drug companies didn't try ripping off the'd all be great.
WM Associates are paid a fair required by if you don't like the wage scale...complain to your he sit on his over paid fat **** and blow smoke up your butt!
Do I agree with all WM does???? HELL NO!  I think they have turned things over to the bean counters that don't know squat about what they are doing and they are the ones running the stores into the ground,

I have a friend ..who has lost a child..and his insensitive, ignorant, stupid, cold hearted BOSS told him he need to get over it. REALLY...I don't think it's thier  place to make that judgement. They are also holding him back from being promoted...stating he is his boss has no medical degree to be making these statements,

So ...yeah.. I have my issues with WM....and I'm sure SAM does as well.


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