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Scissor jack less than three dollars, obvious error

My Sienna scissor jack was very hard to turn. Yesterday, I was in Tehuacan shopping at Wal-mart. They had several scissor jacks, and there was just one a bit bigger, a one ton rated jack, in a badly damaged box.

After some thought, I decided for around $15 or $20, I’d give it a try. When I checked out, it scanned at 33 pesos, a bit over two dollars. I informed the cashier that was a mistake. She got a superior and they checked. They asked me what price I thought it should be. I said around 300 pesos or more, 15 to 20 dollars.

In a few minutes, the superior told me, “It will be 33 pesos.”

I accepted it. I don’t even know if will work, but couldn’t see anything wrong with it visually. A neighbor kid was with me, and I joked I wouldn’t mind 10 at that price. I do not know if they felt 33 pesos was correct, which it clearly was not, or if it was a policy decision to give me the database price.

Can’t go wrong much for $3. It’s probably retail economics at work. They’ll have a hard time selling it w/a badly damaged box, and the shipping/tracking costs of returning it won’t cover the $30 it would normally sell for. So it’s a win win to sell it to a customer for $3. From Walmart’s perspective, at least they got $3 for it. Better than a total loss.

I think this was the key to the markdown. I see this often. Nobody wants to pay full price for something that’s been subjected to unknown damage, so the store marks it way down to get rid of it.

The other issue is that it’s simply good business to respect the marked price even if it seems to make no sense. I’ve bought a few mismarked items for dirt-cheap prices because they were mismarked. I always tell the store, however, so they can correct the error. Legally they have to honor the erroneous price, but why beat them up for an honest error?

I tip my hat to you for being honest with them.

I worked at WallyWorld one Christmas season. Some of the stuff was marked down way,way below original price after Christmas just to get rid of it. At that time store managers could make the decision. Mark downs are more restricted now. Bentonville determines mark downs for new merchandise. But damaged boxes might be at the store’s discretion.

You are questioning whether something you think should be worth up to 300 pesos, that is being sold at 33 pesos in an error, correct? You brought it up with the cashier, it was checked and confirmed by a supervisor. So in their minds there was no error. Clearly a mind over matter moment. They didn’t mind so it didn’t matter.

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That is exactly why I took it at that price. Yes, it was a mistake, but with customers lined up waiting, I understand they have to make a decision and that was not the time to find a fair and reasonable price. Makes sense to me. the greater good said let him have it at database price and make a note to check it out later. I call it executive decision making.