I think Walmart has finally done me wrong for the last time...
BG: Last year we were not allowed to get in line for anything earlier than two hours before the sale time. This year they used a different format on Thursday for different items.
(1) Monday before Thanksgiving they had an ad for the Leap Pad for $39 at 8:00 am, at 8:10 there weren't any and there wasn't anyone in that department. The store was very busy and I went on to my office and got on the phone trying to find out if I could get a rain check . First they couldn't get anyone in toys to answer, then finally I got an uninterested young person; she was clueless about Leap Pads and would not give me her name, then I was transferred to Amanda. Amanda said she was the day manager and she really couldn't help me, her exact words, "too bad, so sad. Apparently, we only got a few of these, like maybe 8 and we don't give rain checks on Black Friday specials." I asked to speak to her supervisor and she said Chris wasn't available, who is Chris I asked, she said the store manager. Then I asked who was over him and she said no one -"really, I said, he doesn't answer to anyone? Is there a district manager?" You mean Kevin? I said, "Amanda, your lack of helpfulness is overwhelming, is Kevin the district manager?" Yes. Where might I find Kevin? Amanda said at one of his stores I guess. Well what stores does he have? His region she said. "Oh my Goodness," I said, "which stores are in his region?" I finally got a list of stores, thanked her and hung up. I am writing to corporate and anyone else that will listen to me. At this point it's not about the Leap Pad, it's about the uncooperative management. I got the Leap Pad online - same matching price.
(2) Their Black Friday deal had a 50" tv for under $300 (this was not in the 1 hour guaranteed special) that my daughter wanted in the Thursday, 8:00 pm sale. We got to the store about 6:45, there was no line and were told they sold out about 6:30. I said last year you wouldn't let us form a line more than two hours before the sale and this year you are already sold out?! She said we used wrist bands, after 5:00 you could ask for a wristband and then pick your tv up after 8:00 and we are out of wristbands already so we are sold out of the tv's. I said, I would like to talk to someone else, someone in management. My daughter and I (calmly and politely) told that person that last year we were only allowed to get in line 2 hours before the sale and this year they used a completely different format - starting 3 hours early. He was incredibly abrupt and said this year they decided to try something different. I very calmly said, "you know it would be helpful to shoppers if you would let the public know what format you are going to use in the future. No shopper should be expected to spend the day here because there is no consistency to the formats you use for these specials. There is a line for some things, there are wristbands for others and I bought a couple of items online this morning already" He never acknowledged my statement, just walked off. Later we ran into a friend and she said she threw a screaming fit a few minutes ago and they got her a wristband - so apparently fits work, civility doesn't (and there were more 50" televisions somewhere else
Some of the other sales in this same Walmart used a single file line until the item was sold out - it was different formats for different items - very frustrating.
Now this tv was not available online, in stores only. Two of the other items in that same sale ad, at the same advertised time, I bought online at 9:00 Thursday morning
- again, no consistency to their sales formats.
(3) Thursday evening when we got home I looked at their clothing sales (because you couldn't even get close to anything in that department in the store) and ordered 8 pairs of sweats and a couple of pairs of jeans at great prices. I checked out online and went on to bed. Yesterday I went online to check my account and find out when everything is going to be arriving at the store (couple of things not available for home shipping) and much to my shock and anger - none of the sweats or jeans are shipping, it shows the order as cancelled and out of stock! Agghhh!
I get that Thursday/Friday are a nightmare for the retail employees, there was a group pepper sprayed and a young boy trampled at another Walmart nearby (we have 4 within a 30 mile range). But some of these problems the retailer brings on themselves with this kind of inconsistency (I am not excusing the shoppers for their contributing bad behavior).
I like the wristband idea as opposed to ripping off plastic wrap and letting it be a free for all, I also like the single file line, I've never had any problems standing patiently in a line. Target shoppers lined up around the building and when the doors were open they allowed 20 shoppers to enter then paused and allowed another 20 in until they met what they consider their maximum capacity for safety. And there is no store in this area with friendlier, more helpful employees than our Target (well Home Depot is pretty close).
I live in an area where unemployment is still well under 4% (maybe closer to 2% even), if you want a job they are hiring everywhere. Wages are top dollar in my area ($12 an hour at McDonald's) so I feel like employers are forced to keep bad employees on right now, I hate it. But there is no excuse for management to behave this way.