Can This Be True Of Wal-Mart?

Bruce Nussbaum

I print this comment about cameras and digital products sold by Wal-mart by a reader because it is so astounding. Please send in any of your own experiences. And Wal-Mart execs, I hope you are taking notes and making changes in the way you do business. The clock is ticking.

Here goes:

">Here's a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of making a purchace at walmart or sams based on price comparison.

I wanted an inexpensive digital camera for my daughter. After finding one with the basic features I wanted, I went to sears, target and walmart to check prices. All 3 stores sold the a camera with the exact same model number. Sears -$119 target -$109 walmart - $99 . I bought it at the manufactures online store but when the camera was delivered it DID NOT have all the features that the Sears and Target salesperson had shown me (couldn't get help at the Walmart store). I contacted the factory store and asked them if perhaps the one I got was an older version of this camera since the model number on the unit was the correct. The customer service agent apologized and said I must have gotten one of the "WALMART" cameras. These units were manufactured just for them with the same model number but with reduced features. So while the price was a little lower at walmart, the value was worse since it was a stripped down version.

When I told this story to some friends, they were surprised because they had similar tales. One had purchased a computer printer and couldn't get some of the features she wanted to work. When she called the factory, the first question they asked her was if she bought the printer at SAMS. When told that she did not, they were able to guide her through her set up problems. At the end, however, she asked them what SAMS would have had to do with it. The answer: that model, when sold at SAMS, was a stripped down version without the features she wanted.

Another friend wanted a computer. Being a very tech-savvy consumer, he heavily researched all the different model numbers on the brand he wanted so he could compare prices across the different Chainstores. WalMart and Sams were similar BUT slightly unique numbers, which his research led him to believe had inferior internal components, stripped down software and were loaded with WALMART spyware. I cant comment on the veracity of his technical observation - just that he felt that the general public was being misled into thinking they were a better deal than they really were.

This is just one of many reasons why my entire family and circle of friends now boycott Walmart."

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