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So This Happened When I Tried to Price-Match at Walmart…

March 29, 2014
by Steve Gillman
Contributor

I was ready to face the cashier and ignore the irate customers behind me. Sometimes saving a few dollars means not caring too much what others think. In other words, I was ready to force Walmart to honor their “Ad Match Guarantee” policy.

Seeing my fistful of advertising flyers, the woman at the register sighed, gave me a dirty look, and said nothing as she scanned my groceries.

Then I stopped her for a moment. The customers behind me rolled their eyes as I explained that the rest of my items were advertised for less at other stores and I wanted those prices matched.

The sign announcing the “Ad Match Guarantee,” was right there above her register, where I had seen it for at least a year. But if the cashier’s reaction is any indication, it was rare for a customer to actually make Walmart live up to their promise.

 

How Does Wal-Mart’s Price Matching Work?

This was the first time I had tried it. Sunday morning the newspaper had ads from several stores, each with one or two great sale prices for things my wife and I normally buy. But who wants to drive all over town?

I circled the items and got online to read the fine print on the Walmart website. I discovered that it was actually a pretty good deal. They’ll match the price found in local store ads of the following types:

  • Any store ad that has a specific item for specified price.
  • Any ads that specify the price a customer pays using a customer loyalty card.
  • Buy one, get one free, or “BOGO” ads, as long as they have a specified price. This would be a BOGO ad that says, “Save $2.69,” for example.
  • Ads for fresh produce and meat items, as long as Walmart offers the same unit type. So if there is a per-pound price, and they sell the same thing by the pound, they’ll match the ad price. Or, for example, if oranges are advertised for 40 cents each and Walmart sells them by the piece, they will match that.

 

My Results?

They make it clear that customers are not required to bring the ads to get the prices matched. Still, I brought all of the ads, which were from several different stores. It just made me feel more comfortable. I tried to show them to the cashier, but she wasn’t really interested. She just wanted me to tell her how much I was going to pay for each item so she could figure out how to ring them up and get me out of there as quickly as possible.

The buy-one-get-one-free offer for “Dutch Country” whole wheat bread was easy enough, although she rang it up at Walmart’s $2.49 price. The ad price was $2.99 for the first loaf, so I believe she was supposed to charge $2.99 for the two. I had a BOGO ad for Progresso soup that she ran through with no problem, although that ad did not mention the price and, as I later noticed, the fine print on the Walmart website does say that the price has to be mentioned in the ad in order to match any buy-one-get-one-free deal.

Then she came to the bananas, and she was stumped for a minute. When you enter the code for bananas and the register shows 3.72 pounds at 49 cents per-pound, how do you discount the right amount to make them match the other store’s sale price of 29 cents per-pound? After a few tries she found a way to ring them up properly (I hope). When it was all done my credit card failed on the first try, to the annoyance of both the cashier and the customers in line. Fortunately there was no problem on the second try. I felt as though next time I should announce to everyone there, “Can I have your attention please. I’m going to buy a bunch of stuff using the Walmart Ad Match Guarantee, so you might want to avoid this line for a while.”

Was it worth it? Well, I got onions for half the price I normally pay. I bought the $1.68 celery for just 99 cents. In total, I paid $13 for the items I bought using the price match guarantee. They were all things we regularly buy, and we would have normally paid $22 for them. So I saved $9 (a 41% discount) for a few minutes of my time. Do I feel bad about putting the cashier through this? Not really. I’ve been through her line before and she is always having a bad day in any case. I might go dig through the Sunday newspaper ads right now to get ready for the next round.

Your Turn: Have you ever tried to price-match at Wal-mart? What was your experience? Tell me in the comments below…

by Steve Gillman
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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