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A “Black Day” For Walmart – Website Glitches Causes Havoc And Major Losses

By Boaz Berkowitz
Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 3:28 PM EST
Views: 601

Being well connected with the deal hunter community, I was quickly tipped off about something unusual happening earlier today.  I started rapidly getting “deal alerts.”  They were popping up one after another in quick succession, but all for the same store – Walmart.com.  That isn’t so unusual in and of itself, being that retailers sometimes have major, store-wide sales.  But these alerts featured suspiciously low prices, prices so low as to be laughable.  Treadmills, electronics, computers, toys, you name it, were being sold for as much as 90% off retail.  Even Black Friday doesn’t get that good.  Clearly something was wrong over at Walmart.

True, I’m trying to run a company, but this smelled like a good story. I went to check out some of these unbelievable deals but it was as if I was playing a cat and mouse game with Walmart.  A user would post a great find, but as soon as I would click on the link, the item page would be taken down.  This happened over and over again, though in my defense, I was trying to do this on my smartphone with a spotty connection.   Even so, time and time again, I read of others having great success, such as

  • Purchasing dozens of new hit video games like Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, Pokemon and others which normally go for around $60 each, for $18.

 Pokemon.jpg      

  • Giant, high end big screen TVs normally thousands of dollars for only a few hundred:
      http://slickdeals.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2290956&d=1383731023
  • A $200 Lego set for $10.99

     
  • A fully loaded, Acer computer system, which normally sells for close to $1000, for only $151

And the list goes on and on.  It was entertaining seeing all the people brag about their conquests.  Those with the most success selected in-store pickup.  But many orders selected for shipping slipped through as well. Such as this order for a motherboard and solid state drive which sold for $20 each instead of their usual $260 and $200 respectively.

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Disclosures: None. 
I would like to thank my friends at
Slickdeals.net for providing many of these photos and experiences.

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Micro Blogger 8 months ago Member's comment
Unbelievable! Wish I had known about this.
Phil Davis 1 year ago Contributor's comment
This will be difficult for Walmart to come back from. Someone will be losing his/her job for sure.
Kirk Lindstrom 1 year ago Contributor's comment
Big difference between Walmart and the airlines. I heard many got trips for next to nothing when some airline had a similar pricing issue and they honored the tickets.
Boaz Berkowitz 1 year ago Author's comment
While I generally support honoring price mistakes, I believe it was harder for Walmart to do so in this situation. Airlines with available seats often end up selling them at a fraction of the cost anyway. That's because the plane flies whether it has empty seats or not. There's a negligble increase in cost/each additioanl passenger. So as long as that extra passenger is paying something, the airline still makes money. In Walmart's case, items were sold far below cost. Walmart took a huge hit.
Danielle Keats 1 year ago Member's comment
I've read that stores like Walmart can make as much as 80% of their year long revenues during the holiday season. Can Walmart really recover from such a debacle? Seems to me that they lost millions before the holiday season even managed to kick off. I see now all these items are sold out both in store and online so they can't even sell more if they wanted to.
StockHound 1 year ago Member's comment
I can't believe I missed this!!!
Ilene Carrie 1 year ago Contributor's comment
Hi Boaz, Was this at just one Walmart or many or all of them? Thanks.
Boaz Berkowitz 1 year ago Author's comment
It was nationwide at Walmart.com. But since people all over the country purchased items for in-store pick up at their local stores, it is likely every Walmart in the country was affected.