Friday, November 29, 2013

Walmart 1 Hour Guarantee - 2013

The short version:
Tried to use Walmarts 1 hour guarantee service completely sucked. No phone service, still had to wait in line 2.5 hours to pay for card so I returned the card and walked in Target the next day and walked out with same product in-hand. Someone at Walmart should have had a plan B.

The long version:
See below

What to know:
Walmart was offering a 1 hour guarantee on Thanksgiving Day 2013 for two main events 6PM and 8 PM and Black Friday morning at 8 AM if you met certain criteria.

Some things to know:

  • You must claim voucher by December 1st
  • You can't lose the credit (it turns into a large gift card)
  • In-store pick-up only
  • You may not get the exact same item you ordered

For a full list of "Details and Gotcha's" check here

My personal experience:
My wife and I made the conscious decision to go out on Thanksgiving Day for only one item because it was guaranteed and we could get it for on-sale and with $100 gift card to use for other gifts. So after getting home from our family dinner we decided to head out to Walmart at 15 to 6:00 PM to try to get their 1 hour guarantee card to have the ability to purchase an iPad Mini and get the $100 gift card to use for other gifts.

When we arrived at the Walmart (on North Avenue in Northlake, IL 60164) it was still a crazy zoo and people were already tearing into the 6:00 PM shrink wrapped isles of products that were denoted by balloons (GPS here, Canon camera, etc). One group had even taken it upon themselves to start opening an 8:00 PM deal and I thought we were about to see the national guard deployed. So we finally made our way to the "iPad Line" and began asking for what we needed to do. It appeared that with all the extra help that 1 out of every 5 employees actually knew what was going on and the others were just decoys wearing a Walmart smock attempting to direct people (very timidly). So from the beginning a frustrating process. Finally after 10 minutes a lady came around and issued us a "voucher" that we had to hold onto and pay for our product and the wait started. This process took of waiting and paying for our voucher took over 2.5 hours of waiting in line and watching another 8:00 PM sale happen. Which happened 5 minutes early according to my cell phone. But people had begun to arrive and find the shrink wrapped products and hold onto items "claiming" them until they were unwrapped.

Once we paid we were told that we needed to go home as the voucher indicated and register for our product and designate which store we wanted it shipped to. Our first big surprise was that the gift card was an e-gift card that we would receive only after our product shipped. The cashier clearly stated we had until December 1st to do this and at the time seemed like a long time away (this was Thursday November 28th). However, when I got home and tried to access the website I couldn't get one and had to wait for a few hours until I could get through. Second big surprise was that once I could access the website my receipt was not done correctly and did not have the required "Access Code" to register my iPad Mini. So my next two options were to call their support number 1 (877) 745-0190 which I tried to call (about 30 times) but I finally gave up because it was the same recording over and over and it didn't let stay on hold to get a representative or give useful information.

Finally I tried two more times on off hours at (2:30 AM and 5:30 AM) and still the same and decided to give up and wait until later in the day on Friday. So now that long time it seemed like we had seemed to be closing and the amount of time I already spent trying to get this product had swelled.

Well we headed out to hit a few shops on Friday as usually do on Black Friday (Toys-r-us, Target, Sears) and while we were at Target I happened to stop in the electronics department and low-an-behold they had 10 iPad Mini's left. We decided to put the whole Walmart situation behind us and leave the store with one in hand. Not only that we got a $75 gift card that we were able to use immediately on some other gifts we were getting for the kids. Another reminder of the difference in service and quality between Target and Walmart.

Afterwards we stopped at Walmart and within 10 minutes in line again I was able to return my $330 voucher. They did offer to fix the situation and print me a new receipt but it was beyond hope.

SO pie in your eye Walmart. Someone had a big idea that could have a been a huge holiday success or a big mess and I know which one my vote would be cast.

What I found out:

  • Sometimes the website was flaky you should use (worked better than the redirect)
  • Some stores didn't print the "Access Code" on the receipt and ask you to call 1 (877) 745-0190 which has a simple message and then hangs up (yes no answering service or putting you on-hold)
  • If you use the voucher you don't get your e-gift card until after your product ships
  • It was noted later that the fine print denoted that Walmart had the right to substitute similar products (would have been interesting if they tried to substitute an iPad Mini)
  • Walmart still seems inadequately prepared for the crowds and sales they promote on Thanksgiving & Black Friday (but very interested in profits)
The dude abides.


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