Price Matching in the 21st Century

Some stores need to seriously update their price matching policies for the 21st century. Before i go on, let me be clear, I am not talking about expecting brick and mortar stores to match an internet vendor. I am talking about matching another store I can physically go to. Or in one case, matching it’s own internet pricing.

Recently I was shopping at a Best Buy, and saw a Blu Ray for a decent price, but knew I was going to Target in just a minute. The Target is about half a mile from the store I was in. I have always found target to have pretty good sales on movies, so I decided to wait and see what they had. Target was priced higher.

An employee happened to be standing by the display, so I asked him if they price matched. He said yes, but you have to show them the ad. I pulled out my iPhone and headed for the Guest Services desk. On the ay I pulled up best Buy’s website (with local pickup) saw that I could show that the movie was in stock half a mile away. And to my surprise the movie was priced even lower on the website.

I could buy the movie from my phone for less, and go pick it up half a mile away. I approached the desk. I explained the situation, and asked if they would price match. They aid they had to see a paper ad so they could know that the price was valid right now. I showed the lady my phone, explained that not only was it valid, but I could purchase it right there with just a few touches of the screen. She said store policy was a paper ad.

I was polite, but I did question that. I had proof in my hand that the price was valid. I explained that since the competing store was so close and the price was different enough, I would go there to buy the movie. They would lose a sale. She said they could not override the policy. So, I left, and went back to Best Buy.

But here was another issue. If I bought online with store pickup, the movie was cheaper. I decided to just drive over, see what they would do. If need be, I would step away from the counter and buy it online while in the store.

I went right to the customer service desk. Had the movie scanned and then showed the man the online price. He immediately said they would match their own website. But he did not change the in store pricing. Why would Best Buy sell things for in store pickup at a lower cost? If I did in store pick up I have to tie up more staff to get it. Someone to see the order, go get it, and then I must go to the customer service desk to get it from a presumably higher paid employee. But if I just bought it, I would likely only interact with the cash register clerk.

Weird, but I got the movie at a great deal.

Later, because I had a gift card there, I went to Walmart. I had check the price of another movie on their own website. So I was surprised to find that the movie was priced 10% higher in the store. I approached the cash register, explained the issue, showed the lady their own website. She said that if I was trying to match Target or another store, she could price match it. but they were not allowed to price match their own website or even another physical Walmart store. I just stared at her. She knew it didn’t make a lick of sense, but that was their policy: match competitors, but don’t match their own pricing.

It’s probable that this kind of thing has been the practice of these companies for decades. But with the ability check competitors, or even their own, prices in the palm of my hand… they should really rethink their approach to price matching. I do not expect Best Buy, Target, or Walmart to match an online store, but I do expect them to match their own website, and competitors in the area. Or they should expect more people to simply go buy the better deal.

It makes me think, what does the church need to change in the changing culture? What are we still doing because of tradition and lack of evaluation that frustrates people?

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