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Policy RE: Honoring Competitor Ads

Posted Fri December 1, 2006 2:28 pm, by Kelly K. written to Walmart

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I have always been told- and have seen posted in stores- that WalMart honors competitor's ads. So I went to a somewhat distant WalMart today (the ones nearest me are always slow to stock new items, but that's another issue), and found some My Little Pony items I wished to purchase my daughter for Christmas. Kmart has My Little Pony on ad this week, so I selected more items than I would have normally. I had a copy of the ad in my car, so I went and got the ad and showed it to the cashier. She refused to honor it as the items I selected were not the exact representative ones pictured with the written description in the ad (which clearly stated "ALL My Little Pony"). Fine- I went to the nearby Kmart and took one of the sale signs off their shelf, and brought it back with the items, the Kmart sale brochure and my receipt to the service desk, so that they could adjust my total. They refused to honor it, as the sale was for 10% off. The service assistant said that they refuse to honor all sales that are for percents off or BOGOs. Since all stores that I know run their pretty much all their sales as percents off or the occasional BOGO, this effectively means WalMart refuses to honor any competitors ads as they claim to- that this is essentially a bait and switch. And no, it's not made up for by the item being cheaper at WalMart- at least in my town, they sell this item at the same price as Kmart (and Target)- they just usually have a better selection than Kmart.

STOP THE BAIT AND SWITCH! Isn't this flirting with illegality?
If they refuse to honor competitors ads as they claim to (and it NEEDS to be an all or nothing thing), then they need to run ads in newspapers and hang NOTICEABLE signs in their stores saying that they no longer honor competitors ads. Like I said, it needs to be all ads or no ads, no in between- but if they're shortsighted enough to keep things as they are, than they need to post terms in big, noticeable signs near the entrances and registers. The policy needs to be changed, whatever they decide- right now, they're luring you into the store with what they've advertised then refusing to honor it, knowing you'll likely buy the stuff anyhow- and that's bait and switch pretty much.
For myself, I'd like the courtesy of the 10% of my MLP purchase being credited back, but that's not the most important thing (it's only about $3.50). Apparently customer satisfaction is not the goal here (the service assistant was pleasant and often said she wished she could help, FWIW). Most of all, AMEND YOUR POLICY!


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by S. Brown Posted Wed December 6, 2006 @ 8:12 PM

I don't get it - - the toys were on sale at Kmart, so why not just buy
them there instead of stealing a sign and making a big stink at
WalMart about price matching? This is not "bait and switch" and no -
- customer satisfaction is not the goal at WalMart.


by eydie Posted Tue December 5, 2006 @ 9:52 PM

walmart says they will match a sale price. For example, if ABC
Cornflakes are on sale for 2.00 at the local PriceChopper, Walmart
will sell ABC Cornflakes for the same price. However, Walmart says
they will not honor what they call "gimmick" pricing which is what
they consider this situation. you are making a mountain out of a
molehill. Buy the darn things at Kmart. Return the sign you stole
along with a written apology. That was really stoopid.


Yeah, I'd forgotten about that... by Tina N Wed December 6, 2006 @ 9:15 AM

yes, by eydie Wed December 6, 2006 @ 11:35 PM
by Donna McIntosh Posted Tue December 5, 2006 @ 5:03 PM

I understand your frustration. Walmart has not been completely
honoring the matching ads offer for some time.

To me, sometimes its just easier to pay the extra money somewhere
else, than to shop at Walmart. Besides poor customer service, you save
yourself the extreme aggravation of crowds, no parking, and limited


by MommyG4 Posted Mon December 4, 2006 @ 10:19 PM

much like the return policy. Next time ask yourself, is it worth the
hassle? Most of the time, NO. Save yourself more time by looking
through the ads and seeing who has the better price.

My mother works at WalMart and they have to be extremely careful that
the items are exact to give the comp price. It just seems like it is
much easier to shop at the other store rather than cause more trouble
with WalMart.


by Jeffrey Posted Mon December 4, 2006 @ 2:26 PM

Enough has been said about the OP stealing signs, the misuse of the
term "bait and switch," and Wal-Mart policy on price matching (on %
off sales).

So, I'll try to give insight into those that ask about "why price

(1) In some cases, people PM because the store with the better sale is
far away or otherwise inconvenient. This is not the case here, since
the OP went to K-Mart, anyway, to take the sign.

(2) In some cases, you can get a better price for combining a PM with
a rebate, additional sale, or bonus offer. For example, Best Buy may
be offering a product for $100. CompUSA sells that same product for
$110. However, CompUSA is giving a $30 rebate. So, you go to
CompUSA, get the BB PM, and then get the $30 rebate. Net price is
$70. Some stores have put an end to this by denying you a store
rebate if you get a PM. Ever use fatwallet.com? People post
"schemes" all of the time to get items for free by combing a PM with a
rebate with a coupon with...

(3) Similar story with % off sales. Suppose K-Mart charges $20, but
has a 10% off sale. Suppose Wal-Mart has the same item on sale for
$18. I've seen people go to Wal-Mart and ask for 10% of the $18

(4) Some stores offer an extra 10%. So, suppose that K-mart sells the
product for $20 and Wal-Mart for $21. If you buy at K-Mart, it's $20.
If you buy at Wal-Mart (with a 110% guarantee), it's $20 (the K-Mart
price) minus 10% of the difference ($1) or $20-$0.10 or $19.90. Here,
the extra 10 cents may not seem worth it, but there are times when the
extra 10% can be big money.

(5) As someone said, it's about being loyal to a favorite store. Or
wanting to avoid a less favored store. I'd rather go to Target than
K-Mart, simply because my K-Mart isn't too clean, has crowded aisles,
and... well... I don't shop there often enough to know where things

(6) The hunt. Some people get a charge out of demanding their PM.
For real.

(7) Bonus points. While most of the stores that we talk about don't
have bonus programs, some might. For example, I belong to the Best
Buy Rewards club. I'd rather buy things there than Circuit City,
since CC doesn't give me points.

(8) You've been banned from a store and aren't allowed to go back.

(9) You already went to the store with the sale and they don't have
any left. I think this is one of the most common reasons, especially
with people who are so willing to go to the sale store to steal

(10) The store with the sale is crowded. I'd rather go to a store
that's not crowded, because the prices are higher, and get my PM.

In the end, PM is about making customers price checkers. While all
the big stores try to be competitive in their prices, it's impossible
(short of corporate spying) for Wal-Mart to know what the price of
every item is @ K-Mart. So, they make the customers do it.

One day, one of the big stores is going to stop advertising prices.
Instead, they'll say "just bring in an ad from anyone else and that's
your price."

Remember, the store that advertises the best price is no longer the
store that gets the sale. If you want to make the sale, you don't
need low prices. You need to bring people in.

I'm going to open a store that charges high prices for everything.
However, we'll match anyone's price, as long as you can prove it.
That way, we'll sell some stuff at inflated prices and, at worst, at
the prices we'd have charged anyway had we discounted in the first

Waffle irons? $1000. Oh, Wal-Mart is selling them for $20. OK, for
you, $20. For Martha, who doesn't read the ads, $1000.


by tickytack Posted Mon December 4, 2006 @ 12:51 PM

Oh, for God's sake, why didn't you just go to Kmart to buy the darn

I mean, seriously - you were willing to go there to steal a sign,
weren't you?


I agree w/ you by natalie t Mon December 4, 2006 @ 1:33 PM

by tea_granny Posted Mon December 4, 2006 @ 10:56 AM

I could never understand the demand for price matching.

If you want it for a certain price, go to that store.

Some people claim it's because they want to remain loyal to their
regular stores, but honestly, they aren't helping by demanding the
stores lose money by allowing lower prices on items, simply because
another store is offering that sale price.

You had no right to take that sign from the K-Mart store.

Also, look up the actual meaning of "Bait and switch".
It is the one of most wrongly used terms I have seen on this site.
Plain and simple, bait and switch is an illegal tactic in which a
seller advertises a product with the intention of persuading customers
to purchase a more expensive product."

This does not apply here.


by Alley Posted Sun December 3, 2006 @ 7:40 PM

I've personally never heard of WALMART meeting other store's prices.
and you Stole the sale sign? the additional sale was 10% off? thats

by Nicole F Posted Sun December 3, 2006 @ 2:39 PM

I stopped reading once you said you took Kmart sale sign.

See, I work as a person that creates and puts up those type of signs.
(for Sears, but we are basically the same company now.)

Do you honestly know how much of an inconvinence it is when a customer
takes a sale sign from where it is supposed to be? I know it's just
ONE sign, but still, it throws everyone else off and creates more work
for us. We can get in trouble if management goes through an area and
sees that something is not signed.

Please, remember in the future to leave sale signs alone. At least,
you could have asked an employee at K-mart if you could have the sign.
I have given people sale signs before and quickly made new ones. If
you just take without asking, we can't do that and the merchandise
sits there unsigned until someone gets in trouble.


by vzjackl1 Posted Sun December 3, 2006 @ 11:00 AM

OK, so you WENT into KMart, too look at, and ultimately steal, the
sale sign...... Why did you not just make the purchase AT KMart???

by p d Posted Sun December 3, 2006 @ 12:40 AM

Don't you realize you STOLE the sign?! Amazing.


by Gino Version 1.2 Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 11:05 PM

Whew! I think you should seriously reconsider rewriting this letter
after reading all the other posts. You've gone way and above what was
needed to try to prove your point by stealing shelf tags and sales
signs from a competitor as your proof of their price, when all that
would have been needed was the ad from your car.

Walmart has every right to make exceptions to their price match
policy. (things like different style or model numbers, specials,
percentage off, bogo, intermediate price drops or closeouts to name a
few)because few other stores "roll back" prices on a regular basis.

Clearly you want them to change their policy to get your 3.50
back...or to get a model they had in stock that K mart didn't carry,
or this wouldn't be an issue at all.


by gb Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 9:21 PM

You actually wasted your time going to Kmart and stealing their sign?
Why for the love of all that makes sense, did you just not purchase
the Pony stuff at KMart? If you came into my store and stole a sign, I
would have you arrested for theft. It takes all kinds doesn't it?


by Tina N Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 8:03 PM

Walmart has never honored "percent off" ads. There has to be a
specific price.


by jennyluvsgames Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 5:17 PM

it was illegal to take a sign out of a store or damage it in anyway.
Maybe I'm wrong though. Anybody know for sure?


I don't know, by Prefect Zachary Sat December 2, 2006 @ 11:38 PM

He did commit fraud if he by Tina N Sun December 3, 2006 @ 10:55 AM

by Nayda Badillo Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 1:07 PM

Not bait and switch. Just your confusion.

Walmart has never price-matched "percent off" items. Nor does it
price-match twofers or rebates, etc etc.

I always price-match, specially on my groceries, saves me tons on gas
and aggravation of having to go from store to store getting sales
items. I don't have problems because I know the policy.

Dont' get upset. just ask the employees they are more than willing to
explain what you can price-match and what you can not.


What I find weird by jennyluvsgames Sat December 2, 2006 @ 5:15 PM

by MA Loper Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 10:45 AM


I am so sick of OP's throwing that into complaint letters in the hopes
of browbeating companies into seeing it their way.

Bait and switch ONLY refers to specific instances where a company
entices a customer into their store with the promise of s particular
item at a particular price which they either don't have, never had, or
never intended to sell at that price. Then when the customer is
checking out, they substitute another item of greater value and try to
coerce the customer into buying the more expensive item.

Radio Shack was doing this on Black Friday this year. They advertised
the Motorola Bluetooth headsets on sale for $9.99 yet ALL the stores
in our area we stopped into were out within 10-20 minutes of opening.

& when you asked about them, the sales staff informed customers (and
we HEARD them say this) that the 9.99 headsets were all junk and we'd
be "MUCH better off" to purchase the more expensive headset for
$39.99. But even that incident isn't blatant bait and switch.

You didn't get bait and switched, WalMart did nothing illegal. YOU
didn't understand the terms of their price match and that is NOT their

If you had the time to run up to KMart to fetch the display to bring
with your ad, you should have just bought the items there.

Again, no discount/sale/rebate worth having is going to be easy and
just handed to you. They aren't going to post every detail in big
letters for you, no one has to explain anything to you and you should
pretty much bet on there ALWAYS being some kind of catch.

You'll have to work for it and if you aren't willing to jump through
every little hoop, you lose out - PERIOD!


Breathe! by Nayda Badillo Sat December 2, 2006 @ 1:04 PM

It's all those momma hormones by Starlight22203 Sat December 2, 2006 @ 4:34 PM

by Harleycat Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 9:57 AM

Most retailers will only price match a specific item being sold for a
specific price at another retailer, not percentages. Look at it this
way, the MLP items were 10% off at K Mart. K Marts original price is
$10 so 10% off is $9.00. WalMarts everyday price is $8.50, why should
you get an additional $.85 off of Wal Marts price when it is already
$.50 less than K Marts sale price.

I'm sure if you ask for a copy of the price match policy it will say
exactly that. They don't need to amend their policy and it's not bait
and switch.


by mary jo Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 8:19 AM

This has never..EVER made sense to me. If you KNOW you can get it
cheaper at Kmart then GO to Kmart and buy it! I am not sure why that
is so hard to do.

It never ceases to amaze me. I used to work in this party store and
people who consistantly bring in the ad for our competitor and want
their sale prices. They got mad when they found out we didnt price
match. They would pitch a big fit and refuse to come back.
Ok...whatever. The rub? Our competitor was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET!
Why didnt they just go there to begin with?!?! (as an aside I just
wanted to point out that I use the word competitor loosely as we were
both party stores but they were different. I guess you could say the
store I worked in was a bit more higher class maybe. We carried a lot
more stuff that just party supplies.)

Anyway, here is the point. If they are cheaper somewhere else...go
there! The money you could have saved (I am assuming the issue HAS to
be that Kmart was further away...why else would you NOT go there) was
used up in going back and forth. And lets not forgot the hassle and
stress you heaped upon yourself.

Also, seeing as how you dont run the company or sit on the board, you
dont have any right to tell them how they can run their company. They
have ever right to enforce any rule they want to regardless of if you
like it or not.

And lastly...dont ever...EVER...go to a store and REMOVE THEIR SIGNS!
How rude!!!! I cant believe you did that!! Who do you think you are?!
How silly to buy them at one store, go to another and rip their signs
down and then RETURN to the first store and demand they refund your
money. OMG! The insanity involved in that! Why did you even buy the
ponies at Walmart when you KNEW you could get them at Kmart cheaper?
Then you GO to Kmart to take down their signs when you could have just
gone there in the first place and bought your ponies and been done
with it!

Geesh! A little commen sense goes a long way.


We get this every day... by Tina N Sat December 2, 2006 @ 8:47 AM

I have been in that situation myself. by mary jo Sat December 2, 2006 @ 12:36 PM

I agree on most of your post by jennyluvsgames Sat December 2, 2006 @ 5:12 PM

I dont do price matching. by mary jo Sat December 2, 2006 @ 6:34 PM

Mary by Chris M Sun December 3, 2006 @ 8:33 PM

No Mary here. by mary jo Thu December 7, 2006 @ 7:11 PM

I don't either. by Tina N Mon December 4, 2006 @ 11:15 AM

The problem with that... by Banrion Sun December 3, 2006 @ 5:46 PM

by Chris M Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 7:37 AM

It makes PERFECT sense for Walmart to do this and it is not bait and
switch. The point of price match is for you to get the best price,

Let's look at this example:

Walmart Price = $10.00
K-Mart Price = $14.00

If K-Mart ran an ad for 10% off, should you really get 10% off of
Walmart's price as the match? Walmart is ALREADY cheaper that K-Mart
in this case and would be discounting even deeper yet.

So, as a general rule, I have NO problems with this policy. Now, if
we assumed that K-Mart's ad was better described as this "10% off -
Sale Price $9.00, Reg Price : $10.00", then I would argue that this is
specific enough to get Walmart to price match down to the $9.00.


by General58 Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 4:33 AM

"STOP THE BAIT AND SWITCH! Isn't this flirting with illegality?"

ummmm...last time I checked, not giving a customer service wasn't


by Starlight22203 Posted Sat December 2, 2006 @ 2:17 AM

But when I think price match I think a widget is on sale at KMart for
$2.50. It's $3.00 at Walmart but they price match so I can get it for
$2.50. When you start adding in percentages you are "percent
matching" and that would make no sense. Say when not on sale at KMart
a widget is $2.75 and Walmart prints an add saying that all widgets
are 50% off and say KMart will percent match (not saying they do...
hypothetically) and I take the ad to KMart... they now have to sell
widgets to me for $1.38. That would be taking advantage of the
system and would put many of companies out of business especially when
you start talking about more expensive items. Hey, that whatever is
$300 at WalMart and the same one is $400 at BestBuy... BestBuy has it
on sale for %20 off and Walmart will percentage match... At BestBuy
the new price is $320 but at Walmart... the new price is $240...
Seriously that would damage places. I shudder at the thought of
ANYONE thinking percentage matching is smart...


Dudette by CandyPickletoes Mon December 4, 2006 @ 12:47 PM
by koz Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 11:40 PM

A bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the fraudster lures in
customers by advertising a good at an unprofitably low price, then
reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not
available but that a substitute good is. The goal of the
bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute
good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait,
or as a way to recover sunk costs expended to try to obtain the bait.
It suggests that the seller will not show the original product or
product advertised but instead will demonstrate a more expensive


just curious what exactly their price match policy is - but as upset
as you are - I don't think this is a bait and switch. Just curious -
how much gas did you use driving back and forth??

by Prefect Zachary Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 10:28 PM

""Fine- I went to the nearby Kmart and took one of the sale signs off
their shelf, and brought it back with the items, the Kmart sale
brochure and my receipt to the service desk, so that they could adjust
my total. They refused to honor it, as the sale was for 10% off.""

Would it not be easier to buy the product at Kmart, since it is
cheaper. I mean even if they did give you the lower price you
probably would be wasting gas money going back and forth.


by RedheadWGlasses Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 8:00 PM

Just how much were you saving by buying these toys at one store, where
they likely were pretty cheap, as opposed to the other store, where
they were slightly more cheap?

Was it worth the effort/energy/time/gas/etc. stealing something from
Kmart in order to prove a point to a discount store?


Agreed by Firebrat Tracy Fri December 1, 2006 @ 9:44 PM

Exactly by `~`Leanne`~` Fri December 1, 2006 @ 9:52 PM

There's only one reason.. by *Brenda* Fri December 1, 2006 @ 11:02 PM

Ahhh by `~`Leanne`~` Sat December 2, 2006 @ 7:10 AM
by Banrion Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 5:58 PM

Ask for a copy of the written price match policy. Almost everyone who
price matches excludes what they call "Gimmick" ads. These are ads
that do not specify a specific product or price (ie % off or BOGO).
The reason for this is because Kmart may not have the same base price
as Wal-Mart and by giving you the discount they would not be price
matching, they would actually be going lower than you could get it for
at the original retailer. The fact that you went to Kmart and
vandalized their store to steal a sign does not matter. Price matches
are also subject to availability at the advertising retailer. So if
the toys you picked at Wal-Mart are not in stock at Kmart they are not
subject to price matching.


Thanks for giving a more technical explanation... by Venice Fri December 1, 2006 @ 6:20 PM

by Venice Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 4:44 PM

My daughter was a huge My Little Pony fan, and I have so many items
stored away for my grandchildren. It's nice to know kids are still
enjoying these toys.

I thought Walmart did away with the price matching, but in any event,
it's really not up to you to say, "it needs to be all ads or no ads,
no in between", as I believe the store has the right to enforce
policies under it's own terms and conditions. You were told that the
price matching policy does not include percentage discounts or free
items, which seems reasonable to me.

I realize that you probably went to Walmart because they have a better
selection, but it would have been easier to just buy whatever you
could at KMart without having to haggle over the price. Like you said,
the savings was insignificant.

Considering Walmart is not exactly known for it's customer service, at
least the service assistant was pleasant and regretted not being able
to help you.

I hope your daughter enjoys her new ponies.


by Brennie Posted Fri December 1, 2006 @ 4:21 PM

Why in the world would you go all the way to KMart to get the sign
that proves you deserve a price match at Walmart instead of just going
to KMart and buying the item at the price you wanted in the first

I understand that you were trying to prove a point, no matter how
childishly, but you would have proved it better by purchusing the toys
at KMart and effectivly refusing to shop at a store that obviously
does not honor it's promises.

For the record, I do not believe that this is the full story. I'll bet
that Walmart had a perfectly good reason for not honoring the price
match and I for one would like to hear what it is.


Kmart by Prefect Zachary Fri December 1, 2006 @ 10:29 PM

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