I got their Black Friday ad in the mailbox a few days ago and saw in their All Day Friday pages that they were going to have video games on sale for $7 and $10. I had the bright idea of staying up late and getting there at midnight to take advantage of the deal, and to hopefully beat the crowds. I got there and the parking lot was pretty empty (big difference from last year, when I got there at 5 am and had to park in the shopping center next door… yes, I’m one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers!).
There were already lines forming in electronics for some of the 5-11am deals, but all I wanted was a couple of Nintendo DS games.
The nice lady in the electronics department informed me that they weren’t allowed to sell anything until 5 am…. wait, what happened to the All Day Friday deals?! Doesn’t Friday start at 12 am? Apparently not at Wal-Mart!! I talked to two managers and both told me the same thing: all day Friday deals start at 5 am. Even pointed out the small print in the ad, where it said all day, and that it was already Friday.
Electronics-lady told me that she was going on her break and would try to find out if there was a list of the games that were going to go on sale, but when she came back, she said that there was no list. All the games would be brought out on display cases, though, and would be set up somewhere in electronics. By that time I figured that I might as well hang out until 5 am (yes, I know, crazy!) and walked around the store and gathered up a few other things on my list. Got a book, too, and went back to electronics and waited. And read.
I wasn’t the only unhappy customer, and more and more people came in, looking for the All Day deals, with the same argument as me, when they were told that they had to wait until 5am. They didn’t even allow people to purchase anything at the regular price before 5 am!! They had ONE register open, and it looked like the only things you could buy were food items (nice of them to let me buy a bottle of water!).
Later one of the other customers who was waiting for video games, too, told me that they had brought them out and set them up near the produce, but took them back after people started taking items off the displays. That’s right, no one was allowed to take anything off the display and put it in their cart!!! If someone did, they were told they had to put it back. They even had employees stand guard to make sure no one grabbed anything. That worked out OK at first, but after 3 am more and more shoppers came into the store, and more and more displays were set up. They didn’t bring the video games back out until about 4:15 am, and by 4:30 am they couldn’t stop people from taking them anymore. Yeah, I wasn’t about to stand by and watch, and grabbed what I came for! I had a deal with another shopper, who was camped out at another item I wanted to get, that I was going to look for the video games that she wanted, and she was going to grab one of those items for me. Worked out well, too! Unfortunately the two games that I was looking for were not included in the sale (figures!).
So, it was either false advertising, or Wal-Mart is actually in some parallel universe where Friday starts at 5am.
They REFUSED to price match other stores, too (like Toys R Us) even though their ad said “Our stores will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product”. Their reason for not matching the price? The store is more than 10 miles away from Wal-Mart. NOT that they have this “rule” in writing anywhere! I hope the lady who tried to get a price match, DID!
Then there was the line for the Nintendo DS Lite…. that turned into two lines back in electronics…. and someone at the front of the store decided to form a third line there without telling the electronics department and then handing out the DS Lites at the front of the store, leaving all the people who were camped out for more than 5 hours back in electronics without a product! Glad I wasn’t in line for one of those or I would have gone postal!
From now on Wal-Mart can keep their Black Friday deals and shove them! I’m going to Target!