Monday, November 06, 2006

Christmas merchandise

Look for penguins at Wal-Mart this winter. I don't know if they got in bed with the people making "Happy Feet" or not, but in addition to Santas, reindeer and pine trees, there is a cute penguin slapped on top of anything that can be made in China, put in a box and sent into the U.S.

Plates, bowls, stockings, salt shakers, buckets, tins, chargers, anything with a surface - the penguin look is HUGE at the Wal-Mart for Christmas. Thanksgiving doesn't even matter anymore. All the Halloween merchandise got thrown into a big bin or on a rolling rack and pulled into the middle aisle in front of Register 15. All the candy got dumped into buggies and lined up from Register 5 - Register 14.

All that Christmas junk went up in Lawn & Garden starting on Halloween night. Oh my god -- you should have heard the howls from people wanting last-minute costumes. Where were you going dressed as Freddy Kreuger at 11:30 p.m? A quickie disembowling? Or were they using your knives at a bris? Kreuger +1, please RSVP by Oct. 15 and indicate choice of kosher entrees

And all the Christmas merchandise - and the rumors about the Black Friday sale items - are starting to come in. And I didn't hear anything come out of the big Nov. 5 sale this this weekend. There will probably be a super-cheap laptop computer this year - something under $400 - that will be a 5 a.m. - 11 a.m. item only. And major-cheap flat-screen TVs. SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS PEOPLE!

A lot of employees are really angry because we usually get a special holiday discount of an extra 10% (above our employee discount) on one item - AND ONE ITEM ONLY - and some people would choose a big item, like a computer, a big-screen TV, an XBox or a stereo and put that on layaway and pay it off over time.

At our store, we usually got those before Black Friday, so that associates use them for their Christmas shopping. Well, not only is Layaway out of the picture this year (no items can be put on Layaway after Nov. 18), but we've been told that the 10% off slips won't be coming until Nov. 30. Which means that associates cannot take advantage the discount AND the Black Friday sales.

Black Friday is always nasty. Associates made it worse last year by demanding that managers hold merchandise for them until they could pay for it.

Anyway. Another word to the wise, Wal-Mart always price-matches, but we've been told that customers must bring in either the sale paper or circular from the competing store. The prices in the Target circular will be matched, but not the price with the special Target "coupons." Wal-Marts also DO NOT PRICE MATCH OTHER WAL-MARTS or

In other news, there is allegedly a pilot program going on in the Dallas & Fort Worth area Wal-Marts where you can order items and have them shipped to your local Wal-Mart. If this catches on, I expect this service to take over the space where Layaway was. But I think it may only apply for certain items - I don't expect that you can order candles via, for instance - but I could be wrong. It will probably work the same way that JC Penney's catalog division works. Any Texas readers out there who can comment on this?


Nicholas Weaver said...

REI has done this for a long time. And it will probably even apply to candles.

why? Because much of the stuff doesn't have to be shipped at all. With a good estimate of inventory, you can have someone on the midnight-8am shift pull the items and put them in a bin.

And when something DOES have to be shipped, you put it in a box on a pallet, with all the OTHER stuff going to the store as well.

As a bonus, the additional labor required can be done during the graveyard shift, which is where you want to transfer all the senior people you want to have quit on you.

Woody said...

Haven't heard about the order online and have it shipped to the store...I'll check it out.

antic hue said...

A couple of things. The shipping to DFW stores has been happening for at least a year, but only because the warehouse is in the DFW area. It's not very likely that it's going to expand beyond that area anytime soon.

As for the Black Friday ad, rumor is that they are going away from door-buster items, so the only laptop we are likely to get is the current one in the Nov1 tab. Now, this is only a rumor and I could be wrong, but seeing as how Wal-Mart got some rather bad press over the fights and near-riots last year, I wouldn't be surprised if they do go to less-expensive items with more stock on hand of each. I'm sure we'll know soon enough.

-antic hue

Nicholas Weaver said...

One other thing: Sears has done this for a while as well, but with a twist: its actually hooked up into store inventory so its "buy online, pick up immediately", and indicates whether what you want is in-stock and which sears it is at.

Which is VERY useful when buying tools etc.

Likewise, Best Buy has also been doing this for a while too.

cryrevolution said...

hmm yeah i knew best buy did it...thats cool that walmart will be doing it as well. :)

cryrevolution said...

oh and i must say as well, looooove your blog. this is the first time commenting, but i have it saved on my favorites at my work computer. its hilarious...keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the ship to store option available a lot on and I'm from Michigan. I think this is already a national option. Head over to and check it out, free shipping site to store. If you can't get it to show try doing an LCD TV or something similar.

cortana said...

My local wal-mart has decided to go SuperCenter, it seems. They're moving all their stock and moving the store - TODAY, on Election day. Not the best day I could have thought of, definitely.

Also, to get room, they moved to a newly built building, not more than 1/4 mile away, basically just across the street. I can't really understand the logic in that one.

Anonymous said...

The ship to store option is available in a few select areas and only certain stores in that area. Walmarts in California North of Fresno have that option. It's not yet available in Southern California. There is a list on the website - I think there were no more than 8 areas nationally.

Chelsea said...

I'm from Texas and have used the Wal Mart ship to store. It's been around for quite awhile, I think...I'm pretty sure my parents used it a year or two ago. Anyway, basically, by ordering through, you can have the item delivered to the store. This is great 'cause shipping charges don't apply to items shipped to the store.

You can't have ANY item shipped, but each item has a little indicator (a green check mark thing) that says whether it can be shipped to store. So, it does depend on the items, but it is available on a lot of items.

Anonymous said...

It's called Site-to-Store (abbreviated S2S). And it will be replacing layaway. They come in through directs now, but will come on Wal-Mart trucks at some point.