This Wal-Mart In St. Louis Is Moderately Corrupt

I would guess that, especially compared to most guys in their 20s, I tend to have a more favorable opinion of Wal-Mart than most of the population in general. I consider Sam Walton’s life to be one of the best “stories” in American history—a man that got ripped off by his landlord running a Benjamin Franklin Five & Dime store risked it all to start his own enterprise, to the mockery of Sears and the banks from which he sought his original capital (incidentally, Sam Walton eventually went on to own the bank that denied him a loan).

I love the fact that Wal-Mart’s growing profits over the past forty years have made young men and men rich, and have provided retirees with the kinds of annual boosts in income (thanks to Wal-Mart’s growing dividend) that have allowed them to spend their retirement years eating lobster and crab instead of ramen noodles. Wal-Mart has paid countless billions in taxes over the past forty years that have been used to build our nation’s infrastructure, fund our military, and help provide an education for our kids in schools. Despite its demonization, I get that Wal-Mart has done a lot good.

But I am much less sympathetic when a company with a rich history turns around and engages in corrupt business practices. When I visited the Wal-Mart in St. Louis by the Highway 141 and Manchester Road intersection this past summer, I would regularly find items moderately on sale ($1.24 items going for a $1.00), and that kind of thing. But then, when I’d get to the cash register, I would find that Wal-Mart would try and charge me $1.24. Because I’m a big enough nerd to pay attention to $0.24 differences, I usually correct the cashier, get it fixed, and then go about my way.

My problem though is that this business practice has a particularly scheming nature to it and that Wal-Mart is trying to capitalize on the customer base by generating emotional goodwill by customers thinking they are getting a sale price (a couple nickels or dimes off, whatever it may be) but then, when it comes time to pay, they slip the old price in there and do not do anything about it.

I’ll give you the example that inspired this post. Recently, Wal-Mart had a sale on Sprite—selling it for $1 rather than the usual price of $1.38. I grabbed the two-liter and went to the checkout, where the machine tried to charge me $1.38. I pointed out the problem to the cashier, got it fixed, and then went along my way.

And here’s what bothered me—Wal-Mart doesn’t actually fix the price of the stuff that is mismatched. I went there again tonight, and encountered the same problem all over again. The giant cases of Sprite are advertised as on sale for $1. See picture below.

Here is the $1 sale price that I saw advertised.

Yet, when I go to pay, they try to charge me $1.38. I got the guy to fix it to $1, but it’s the practice in general that bothers me; it’s so sneaky to just try and take a couple of nickels and dimes from customers here and there. I only get a few items and I use self-checkout, so I have a realistic chance to catch these things. But if you are standing in line with a couple kids, and buying 30+ items, you’re not going to notice the extra nickels, dimes, and quarters that Wal-Mart squeezes out of you by charging you the original price when you think you are getting it on sale. It’s been happening to me for a while at this location; going forward, I’ll take a picture and make a post of it each time while I’m still in town, so hopefully they’ll get this corrupt business practice fixed.

sprite2

Here is the pic from my recent Sprite stockpiling spree, where a manager had to come and manually void out the $1.38 entries and change them to $1.00. Of course, as of 10:30 P.M. on 1/7/2014, people buying the on-sale Sprite for $1 still have to pay $1.38 unless they point it out to the cashier. Sometime in the next couple of days, I’ll visit this location again, and do a more comprehensive post on other “for sale” items that don’t get appropriately discounted.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

6 thoughts on “This Wal-Mart In St. Louis Is Moderately Corrupt

  1. dividendstockfish says:

    Hey maybe talk to the manager. Maybe they don't know that someone didn't put it in the system correctly. Just talking to a cashier doesn't mean the problem will go to upper management. I don't think Wal-Mart is doing this on purpose. I have never had this problem there.

  2. Mom_ov4 says:

    They (WALMART) used to be better.  In fact, in Charlotte,NC several years ago, their
    store policy hung from a large blue sign several feet from the ceiling tiles as you walked thru the double doors entering the store 
    that stated their policy, but not many people seemed to notice. However, “I did.” It was also posted on a blue sign below the area where you signed your checks,
    but most people were in too big of a hurry to read that, BUT IT SAID THAT IF AN
    ITEM SCANNED INCORRECTLY FROM THE SHELF PRICE YOU WOULD EITHER GET THAT ITEM
    FREE OR GET $3 OFF YOUR TOTAL ORDER.   Well, I called them on this
    numerous times, they would go check the item, and see that it was indeed
    scanning incorrectly, and I would get it FREE or $3 off my order.  This applied
    at the major grocery store there too (Harris Teeter). However, it oftentimes it seemed that neither
    Walmart, nor the grocery store would clue their cashiers in on it, and they
    would make a scene and act like you didn’t know what you were talking about.  I
    felt like it made them keep themselves honest on their pricing. I always try to
    make sure that I can see the scanner as the items are being scanned to make sure
    the prices are what they’re supposed to be, and I do use ‘Add match’ as this was
    another of their policies, that you could bring an add in from anywhere and they
    would match it. They still do use the 'Add match'. I remember very vividly that once when I was at Harris Teeter, and I
    brought this to the attention of one young man who was a cashier, he said,
    “Lady, you’re not at Food Lion, or Bi-Lo,” to which I responded, “Son, I KNOW
    WHERE I’M AT, AND I KNOW YOUR STORE POLICY. CALL THE MANAGER AND ASK HIM/HER. He
    was being really cocky, and yes, I had a line of people behind me, but it was a
    matter of principle and I was tired of the stores trying to, what I felt like was to  ‘cheat their
    customers’ and the manager came and said, ‘YES, THAT WAS INDEED THEIR POLICY,
    GAVE ME THE ITEM FREE, AND APOLOGIZED FOR THE CASHIER’S ATTITUDE, AS I TOLD HIM
    WHAT THE YOUNG BOY HAD SAID.   I wouldn’t have done that, if he hadn’t acted so
    rudely.  This also happened at Wal-mart once, and the cashier said, “how come
    she’s knows this (meaning me) and I don’t?” To which the manager said, YOU TELL
    ME, IT’S (AGAIN ON A BLUE SIGN) BUT ON THE CASHIER’S MONEY DRAWER. (guess they
    aren’t taught to read it.) Afterwards I learned that this was because stores are allowed to have a
    “certain percentage of error” in their pricing, but a lot of stores were
    averaging a lot worse than that and the FTC was, at that time, trying to make
    them accountable.  THEY STILL SHOULD BE DOING THIS.

  3. scchan_2009 says:

    I have a friend that works at major US grocery chain (comparable with Walmart) and he has similar opinion – not necessary just tricking with price, but sometimes the store manager will try to ask their employees manage the stuff on the shelf that you will expect from the Jungle (the novel) – like not removing expired products deliberately or putting melted ice cream or other frozen products back into the freezer after a refrigeration system failure.

    Any major discount or grocery chains have thousands of managers that even the guy at HQ wants to do business that it is impossible to micromanage every single store to behave properly. The thing is if individual stores preform well, the store manager gets all the credit and the bonus. Cashier makes a charge error or expired food caught on the shelf? Employees fault (manager may even get credit for "catching" the misbehavior).

  4. reader1234 says:

    Tim,

    Are you running out of post ideas?

    You know, mistakes happen. Employees have 20 things to do, and sometimes things might get lost in the paper shuffling. It happens and has happened in every store – but that doesn’t mean they are corrupt.

Leave a Reply