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 walmart.com.
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 walmart.com, 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?