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Journal John Harrison's Journal: WalMart and the illusion of low prices 7

I have now entered WalMart three times in my life.

Before I go on I should mention that I really don't have time to be shopping today. I am moving today and tomorrow. I have other things to do.

Yet I was a WalMart today at 4:10 am. The prospect of a $378 laptop was too much to resist. There were about a hundred people in line in front of me. Assuming that they didn't all want a laptop I figured that I would be ok.


First, the line got mysteriously thicker as time went on. There were easily 300 people in front of me when the doors opened at 5:00 am. This does not include the people that stood in the parking lot and simply sprinted at the door when it opened. What kind of jerk do you have to be to do that?

Second, they put the laptops in the grocery area. At least this is what I was told. I never saw a laptop box. I went to the electronics area which was a mob scene but lacked laptops for some reason. According to a helpful WalMart employee, the laptops were gone from the grocery area before I got into the store anyhow.

Now if you claim to be selling a sub-$400 laptop but can't/won't sell anywhere near as many as people want then you really aren't selling such laptops. You are simply claiming to. Maybe if they offered rainchecks I would believe them, but they don't and thus I am convinced that it is a scam. Classic bait and switch.

I walked out of WalMart at 5:10 am vowing to never return. Unless they will give me a raincheck, which isn't going to happen.

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WalMart and the illusion of low prices

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  • what are you, some kinda rube? If you want a cheap laptop look for sales the saturday before/after X-mas while stores are trying to get rid of their stock, and look for deals online as laptops go end-of-life, or buy used. Those deals that are too good to be true are infact too good to be true, and most likely are sub-standard pieces of equipment that will break/malfunction shortly there-after. Do you really want a $400 paper weight?

    Day after thanksgiving is the wrong time to go to a store. I need to go
    • Actually, I am hoping that the rumours of a new iBook in January are true and that it will cost significantly less than the current model and run Windows/x86 Linux easily.

      Also, I have a nice laptop (Thinkpad T40) from work and an reasonable Mac desktop. This was to be a 3rd computer that my wife could use to access her Windows-only intranet (yes, stupid I know) when I am gone/busy. It didn't have to stand up to heavy use.

      I am also glad I didn't get shivved. There was a fight up ahead in the line. I wasn
    • If it's a SuperTarget, you might be okay, due to the fact that A) they're having a 2-day sale and not specials and B) the grocery side is off to one side of the store, on the opposite side of Electronics & toys, where most of the crazies would be. Q-tips are in health and beauty, next to grocery. About...E28 or so. ;)

      And yeah, get your queue-teeps at Costco. (Not Sam's Club, they 0wnz0red by Wal-Mart) We have enough right now to clean the ears of everyone in our suburb and still have some left over to

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant