Friday, April 20, 2007

Open boxes

I'm always deeply analytical whenever I go into any other store now, particularly another Wal-Mart, especially any of the other ones in town, because most of the other ones have competent management and ours is so ghetto and poorly staffed.

One night this week I went out hunting for a wireless router for my computer. Yes, I know, don't buy electronics at Wal-Mart. I'd say I handle a minium of four Linksys or Belkin returns any given day (although most of these are customer stupidity rather than defective workmanship). But really, I do get 10% off, and whatever I buy is going to be cheaper than Best Buy or Circuit City to start with anyway. And if I need to return it ... no hassle.

Anyway. I go to the "good" Wal-Mart, the one I send people to all the way across town and that involves an interstate and a toll road. When I go in, it's like heaven. There are plenty of cashiers and the door-greeter actually looks at me. I even see a cashier straightening out the candy bars and magazines while waiting on a customer to get to her register. I wonder why they don't send some of these girls over to our store?

I go to Electronics and try to find where the computer accessories are. I find what I needed and just had to sigh. There were probably four different types of wireless routers on the shelf. Only two or three out of the 15 or so for sale are in pristine condition. It's just depressing. Most of the boxes look like they've been through a war.

And here's my main complaint. If you're a consumer and you see six boxes of anything on the shelf but four of them are opened and two are in the shrink wrap, which one are you going to choose? If it's Wal-Mart, you better get one of the ones in the shrink wrap! Then there was stuff that was stocked wrong, such as wireless cards put in the router spots. (Another reason we take a lot of stuff back)

So I had to get down on my hands and knees in the middle of the aisle and start digging around on the bottom shelf and find a box still in the shrink wrap. The two brats that I think were shoplifting got quite a view of my rear. I guess I was bringing the sexy back!

One of the only types of routers they still had that was in the shrink wrap was $119. I wasn't too happy about that, but no way was I taking my chances with any of the open boxes. Plus they were sold out of $69 router. But I'm not sure I'd take my chances with that anyway.

So a word of advice. If there's one in pristine condition, take it. If it looks used, it probably is - ask for a discount and you'll usually get 10 percent. If you absolutely have to have it, make someone check it.

And when I went to pay, I swiped my discount card but it didn't go through because the cashier's debit reader was acting up. I handed my discount card to the girl on the register but she looked at me like I was crazy. I had to tell her what to do - "Hit TRANS DISC, swipe it through the top, hit total again, then run my credit card. Now give me the paper to sign."

Some things never change.


grundes said...

Wow, $119! That must be one mighty router!

/Likes Fry's

MavenofMoxie said...

Only two or three out of the 15 or so for sale are in pristine condition.

Yeah, pretty much seems to be the way with most WM merchandise. Annoying, isn't it?

"Ghetto" WMs are the only ones we have in this city & we have FIVE super centers, most within a 5-7 mile radius of each other. We're getting two more which will be strategically located no further than 2 miles from another WM. Lucky us!!! *insert eye roll*

Addison said...

We have Wal Ghettos everywhere in's so sad really..but where else you gonna buy a bag o' hurah at 3 am.

powercat99 said...

At our Wal-Mart, we have to defect out all the routers, wireless cards, etc. that have been opened. Not sure how much money we lose on it, but it saves us from having the same card returned over and over again.

Great tip on taking the time to dig for a pristine package. I would add this tip for clothes (if you dare buy clothes at Wal-Mart); NEVER buy clothes that have the little size tag popped off the hanger; those have been worn and returned and had who-knows-what done to them.

ExVee said...

That discount thing is really a store-by-store thing. Where I work, our Assistant Managers have been forbidden to discount anything like that - apparently waiting on sanctioned markdowns from the High and Mighty Home Office. On the other hand, we're already approaching a million dollars in shrink since the start of the Company Year, so maybe stores that aren't being bled to death by shoplifting can handle markdowns a little better.

Did I mention I found almost a dozen stolen Hot Wheels products during my zoning last night? :P

APK said...

You can get good quality G routers from CC or BB for under 50 bucks. Somethings even Walmart cannot do better on.

Anonymous said...

I found GameBoy Micros on clearance at a Wal-mart the other week. When I got to the car, I discovered the cashier had snuck an opened one into the bag.

I turned right around to return it. The girl behind the counter acted like I was such a snob for wanting an unopened one. When she called electronics, it went something like this:

"Yeah. Mm-hmm girl, he want a BRAAAAY-UND NEW ONE, dat ain't neva been opened 'fo" (as she rolls her eyes)


Adam said...

That happens to me so often too! The biggest thing now seems to be idiots who can't read boxes who are trying to hook up their XBox 360s. They buy the Linksys USB wifi adaptor thinking they are going to somehow be the first to discover an amazing, miracle, hardware compatibility.

But one question... 119$ for a router!?

Debo Blue said...

I'm astounded you paid so much for your router.

What's even more astounding is I don't know what a router is but if Grundes and Adam are concerned I am too.

Girl what are you doing w/that router:-)

MavenofMoxie said...

'Girl' a he but LOL, cute comment.

Anonymous said...

My wireless-N router was around $120. Hell of a lot faster than G, too.

Ol' Lady said...

*remember to keep your receipt* and you only have 30 days :o

Anonymous said...

You can only use wireless N if your laptop has wireless N compatibility. Most laptops are wireless B and G. A brand new one might be N but even though I would check. has the best deals on small electronics like this though IMHO.