Wal-Mart Ship to Store

Wal-Mart gets a lot of negative publicity, but one thing that they get right is Ship to Store. You buy an item on WalMart.com, choose to have it shipped to a nearby store, and pick it up when it arrives at the store. The shipping is completely free.

I keep waiting for more stores to follow Wal-Mart’s lead, but there hasn’t been a big rush to offer this service. Sure, some stores will offer free shipping on purchases over a certain amount or with special coupons – but I’m unaware of other stores offering free shipping to a local store for absolutely anything purchase through the store’s web site. We recently purchased a forty pound item – I shudder at how much the shipping would have been on this item through another vendor.

I’m really confused about why more stores don’t offer this. This is a golden opportunity to have people walk into your store. When people walk into a store, they usually spend Monday. Wal-Mart also smartly locates the Ship to Store counter way in the back of the store – so that you have to walk though several aisles of merchandise in order to pick up your item.

How does is work? Wal-Mart is nice enough to explain the process on its web site. Your item is first sent from a warehouse to a distribution center. Then, it is loaded on a truck that goes to your local store. Thing about this for a minute. There’s already a truck going from the warehouse to the distribution center. There’s already a truck going from the distribution center to the local store. This means that the marginal shipping cost for Wal-Mart is very low.

Target Pricing

My wife really likes Target, so we end up there quite often. One thing that annoys that crap out of me is unit pricing of some items. The particular item that is the target of much of my ire is Charmin toilet paper. Regardless of which size is on sale in a given week, the 30 pack ALWAYS costs more per roll than at least one of the smaller sizes. I once asked a worker if they were aware of this. Yep, they were aware of it. Nothing they could do, since prices are set by corporate.

I’ve run into the same problem with bottles of ranitidine (generic version of Zantac). Some times the unit price of the larger bottles would be almost twice as much as the smaller bottles. With respect to ranitidine, the issue of “we can’t control what corporate does” reared its ugly head. Target was out of the store brand ranitidine for literally months on end. For those who aren’t aware, this is an extremely common medication. When I asked when they might be getting a shipment, the employee told me that they didn’t know – corporate just sends them a shipment, with no input from the store! So I went to Wal-Mart and grabbed some of their store brand product.

Last week, we had to pick up some Goldfish (the crackers, not the animals). On the end cap, they were prices at $3.49. Within he aisle, the exact same box was priced $3.29. Guess which price rang up on the register? Yep, you guess it, $2.59. With a cart full of items and a two year old that need to needed to get home before bed time, we didn’t point out the discrepancy. We’re not exactly sure if this was some sort of unadvertised sale … or if the correct price was $3.29, or perhaps $3.49.