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WM claims only a "few" messages, article claims we don't matter


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#1 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 7:59 am

I posted this in the main WM thread but thought it deserved its own thread. This is from an article on CNet today:

With a short notice sent to a handful of Web sites last week, the largest retailer in the world put a damper on the biggest shopping day of the year for die-hard bargain hunters.

For those who trawl the Web hoping for any edge in finding the best price on the most sought-after item on their holiday shopping lists, finding Black Friday ads ahead of time helps them plot out a retail attack. Tracking down the best bargains available on the day after Thanksgiving has become a game for both shoppers and the site owners, who race to see who can get the ads bearing the lowest prices online the earliest.

But Wal-Mart Stores isn't sharing Black Friday fans' fun. A note sent to about 10 Web sites from a Washington, D.C., law firm on behalf of the retailer warned of "criminal penalties" if any of the sites post any of Wal-Mart's Black Friday advertisements prior to November 19, four days before Black Friday. So far, Best Buy and Circuit City representatives have said they won't be taking legal action if their ads show up on the Web too soon, according to Reuters.

"Over the last couple years it's been kind of an arms escalation between the Web sites and the retailers," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD Group. "Three years ago it was just a few token Web sites and nobody cared. But the last couple years they've been aggressively soliciting people to find these ads and send them in. Retailers have threatened lawsuits, and since most of these sites are small operators or a single guy and can't really stand up to that kind of (legal) pressure."

So far, it appears Wal-Mart's threat has worked. Many Black Friday sites have said that they will comply, though they're not happy about it.

In fairness, while it seems like Wal-Mart is being a spoilsport, the retail giant's ire is understandable: The ads are a valuable part of its pricing strategy, and when its competitors know of Wal-Mart's price-slashing plans early enough, they can alter their own prices midstream. Plus, the ads are copyrighted information, whether we like to think of them that way or not.

It's no secret that Wal-Mart is able to offer some of the best bargains in the retail business. So why should the biggest retailer in the world be concerned with a few one-man Web sites? "In general, Wal-Mart's competition knows that Wal-Mart is going to be the most aggressive guy out there, this year they know that as well, they just don't know (for example) the specific notebook model that will be $199," said Samir Bhavnani, analyst with Current Analysis West.

By sending the notices, Wal-Mart is admitting that it (and most other retailers) can't keep a lid on its holiday prices thanks to the many different entities (printers, publishers, and others) that have a hand in creating the Sunday circular ads. So when all else fails, bring in the lawyers.

Wal-Mart did not send this type of notices last year, said company spokesman John Simley. While the company has had communication with some Black Friday Web sites before, never has it taken action this early. But Wal-Mart executives want to make clear what's out of bounds before the ads head to publishers.

"The idea is by the time you send a cease-and-desist letter (which some retailers have done in the past) it's already too late," Simley said. "This really is to prevent that from happening in the first place."

Every major retailer has a Web presence now too, which complicates the price-slashing game among retailers even further. "Nowadays you can be a lot closer to the point of sale because of the Internet" and still react, said Baker. "You can do Web-only specials, you can try to drive people to your Web site (to) buy online and pickup (merchandise) in the store."

Messages posted to the forums on GottaDeal.com, another Black Friday site, show many shoppers vowing to call and e-mail Wal-Mart to voice their displeasure. Some like commenter "christib327" couldn't understand Wal-Mart's decision. "I think this is crazy and will also be sending an e-mail. Honestly, the early release of the ads is what gets me excited and out there. Wal-Mart is usually at the top of my list to shop BECAUSE I've seen the ad early and can get my game plan together."

Simley said Wal-Mart had received a "few" feedback messages from customers about the Black Friday legal notices, though he refused to characterize the nature of the responses.

Also, Black Friday Web site fans aren't necessarily the best customers of the retailer anyway, Baker said. "They go to cherry pick a couple things really cheap. That's not going to make a lot of money (for retailers) in the short term or even long term." And though they would say otherwise, the Web masters behind those Black Friday sites are probably "overestimating" the importance of their sites in driving customers to stores, he added.

In other words, people are going to shop anyway. So in the long run, even if some customers are displeased, clamping down on its intellectual property is not only Wal-Mart's right, but it likely won't hurt it at the register come the day after Thanksgiving.

"This is America, nothing has an effect on shopping," Baker said. "Truly the biggest impact on Black Friday is the weather."



#2 shopping mom  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:16 am

Maybe when Black Friday comes they will see a difference in their profit line and that will make them listen. I don't think they will care until then. I will email again but does anybody believe they are hearing us at all??

#3 migirlfriday  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:42 am

I don't believe they are hearing it, or if they are they just don't care. It was the same with the layaway issue.

#4 AndreaInNC  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:46 am

They are Walmart - they don't care - they don't have to.

#5 christib327  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:48 am

Oh geez, at first glance, I thought it said "Slimey".... LOL

Stinkin' Walmart.... :mad:


Hee Hee...Well.....we could all call and say "May I please speak to Mr. John Slimey....oh, sorry, I mean Mr. John Simley please"

#6 Kay1996  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:52 am

WOW what a ballsey response!! I was truly offended by that response! To say that my sales makes no difference is crap! Even if I "Cherry Pick" there is the rest of the year that I shop there and that they have said that....I truly will not be shopping there anytime soon!

#7 miller205  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:55 am

As I stated in another thread WalMart is dead to me...this just cements it. I feel the very tone of their comments about BF Forum Shoppers is condescending and quite arrogant considering it is coming from a store that has the reputation for being the largest representative of tacky, greedy, white trash america in the entire world. I never shop at WM on BF and don't intend to again, particularly after this. I will say that they make a big point in the article of saying that WM undercuts everyone else in the BF prices. Yes, they do but if you want brand name Laptops at great prices most BF shoppers will know that for a little extra money you can have a Toshiba laptop at Circuit City or Best Buy and at the end of the day know you got quality and a warranty for your money.

#8 Incantrix  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 8:59 am

Wow.....just wow! Why don't they just get rid of sales papers all together....that way no one could ever "Cherry pick" I have so many things I would like to say but am not feeling very eloquent at the moment.

#9 Gporter34  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:00 am

I am so pissed tht they have the b*lls to claim that we don't matter! Screw them. I am so THROUGH with WussyMart. I went to three different stores yesterday just to get everything I needed because I wouldn't be caught dead in that rat trap. Our's was remodeled last year and it's as dirty as ever. I would sh*t myself before I would ever use those nasty restrooms.

#10 wyntyrose  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:04 am

Sent Slimey an email line was busy for phone call. LOL, are we bogging down the systemt. I really find what he said offensive. I would say many on Gotta deal and other websites are searching and planning so as to make the most of their bf budget. Well my budget is going to other stores not only for BF but all my shopping needs.

#11 DramaQueenLucy  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:18 am

I will not shop at Walmart anymore at all I am done I can't believe how offensive walmart is in that article.

#12 christib327  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:22 am

Yeah, I think it's offensive too. Most people on black Friday, faitful website followers or not :), cherry pick. And I don't ONLY buy black Friday sale items when I'm out that day. I spend my entire day shopping and buy lots of other stuff too. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. Yeah, slimey knows how to draw in sales doesn't he? Jerk. The fact that he even mentioned our "masters" :D overestimating their importance is telling me that they're really not. He probably thinks it will make all of us little people stop our crusade...lol....I'm guessing he'll be regretting that statement.

#13 Bunniq  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:23 am

Well the article made me realize the following... Wal-Mart does not want or need my money, and I have no desire to spend my hard earned money with them. Reason for edit.... Just told hubby about the article, but he had heard about it from another supervisor. A memo has been sent to supervisors and managers that all gift cards, that they buy to give as incentives, will come from Target.

#14 immortaljackwest  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 9:44 am

Also, Black Friday Web site fans aren't necessarily the best customers of the retailer anyway, Baker said. "They go to cherry pick a couple things really cheap. That's not going to make a lot of money (for retailers) in the short term or even long term."


Hmm... I spend most of my holiday shopping Money on BF. Many times this can be quite a lump sum. This year I am planning a budget over a grand. Guess Walmart doen't really want it.

#15 6digmans  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:02 am

WOW ! that is really sick and wrong to say we don't matter, we are the ones who keep the company "alive". seems they don't need us so we should "really" not go there again. I wish I would of read this before I came back from WM. coarse I did not spend much 10$ but still. We need to thank the other chains for not being like WM is and let them know we will shop at there stores from now on

#16 LUCINDA574  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:05 am

I just fired off an email to mr simley, good to know walmart doesnt want my everyday shopping money because I shop on Black Friday and come here to get a heads up on the deals....I told him that to!

#17 lennon2004  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:06 am

They seem to be good at making friends...
"Why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?"

#18 nikkilugi  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:09 am

I just emailed Mr. Simley as well. What a dunghead!!

#19 6digmans  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:13 am

I decided not to waste my time emailing that clown at WM. He is doing that to fire us up and he does not want the world to know the truth so he comes out smelling like a rose. I went ahead and as nerdie as it is I sent a email telling other retailers that I was now going to be there customer and was kicking WM to the curb for good. wonder if i will hear anything back

#20 Uberfemme  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:29 am

the Web masters behind those Black Friday sites are probably "overestimating" the importance of their sites in driving customers to stores, he added.


Anybody remember what BF was like before everybody was on the internet? And people like Baker probably don't understand how this "internets thing" works. You see, word of mouth travels faster online than through any other form of communication. Most of us don't just post to Gottadeal. We go to other online forums like non-BF message boards, Usenet, mailing lists, MySpace, Blogs, etc. etc. We don't tell 2 friends. We tell 2,000 friends and they tell 2,000 and so on. That's the viral voice of the people.

In other words, people are going to shop anyway. So in the long run, even if some customers are displeased, clamping down on its intellectual property is not only Wal-Mart's right, but it likely won't hurt it at the register come the day after Thanksgiving.


Yes we will shop anyway. But we don't have to shop at Wal-Mart as consumers have proven again and again. How was your performance last year, Wal-Mart? What's this year's plan?Try to sell more agressively priced crappe that no one wants to buy? Jeez. Wal-Mart is their own worst enemy.

#21 mghtymth27  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:30 am

I went ahead and as nerdie as it is I sent a email telling other retailers that I was now going to be there customer and was kicking WM to the curb for good.
wonder if i will hear anything back


Nerdie or not, I did the same thing. I also sent emails to Walmart as well.

#22 Incantrix  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:38 am

Speaking of Nerdie - this has hit G4TV.com....

#23 zooskoo  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:48 am

All I can say is "Thank you, Walmart". I always made Walmart my first stop on BF. Always got there early and packed my cart while waiting for the "garbage bags" to be removed from the special sale items. Since my voice doesn't matter, I will plan NOT to shop at Walmart, so thanks for saving me money on the things I always buy while waiting that I didn't really need. I will even be able to sleep in a little longer since I won't be going to Walmart first. I USED to do my grocery shopping at Walmart, but since my voice doesn't matter, I will not do my grocery shopping at Walmart any longer, so Thanks, Walmart, for saving me from the annoying intercom that is twice as loud as anywhere else. I often skipped some of the stores I would have liked to shop at on BF, since I had purchased most of the items at Walmart, so Thanks, Walmart, for allowing me to shop at stores I usually miss on BF. Maybe the few thousand of dollars I spend annually at Walmart won't matter, since the only people who complain are the BF BARGAIN shoppers. I don't care if Walmart changes their mind--I am offended by the fact that they don't think my voice or opinion matters, so the line on BF at Walmart will be at least one person less, regardless of what their ad says!

#24 wyntyrose  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:53 am

All I can say is "Thank you, Walmart". I always made Walmart my first stop on BF. Always got there early and packed my cart while waiting for the "garbage bags" to be removed from the special sale items. Since my voice doesn't matter, I will plan NOT to shop at Walmart, so thanks for saving me money on the things I always buy while waiting that I didn't really need. I will even be able to sleep in a little longer since I won't be going to Walmart first.

I USED to do my grocery shopping at Walmart, but since my voice doesn't matter, I will not do my grocery shopping at Walmart any longer, so Thanks, Walmart, for saving me from the annoying intercom that is twice as loud as anywhere else.

I often skipped some of the stores I would have liked to shop at on BF, since I had purchased most of the items at Walmart, so Thanks, Walmart, for allowing me to shop at stores I usually miss on BF.

Maybe the few thousand of dollars I spend annually at Walmart won't matter, since the only people who complain are the BF BARGAIN shoppers.

I don't care if Walmart changes their mind--I am offended by the fact that they don't think my voice or opinion matters, so the line on BF at Walmart will be at least one person less, regardless of what their ad says!


:gdyeahthat:

#25 delectable79  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:54 am

Can you say TARGET?;)
Freebies...The only addiction that I'll admit to!!!

#26 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:54 am

Keep in mind that some of these quotes are from the WM guy and others are from the industry analyst (who also is clueless). Be sure to read the article closely before you accuse one or the other of saying something they didn't.

#27 cre8kos4u  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 10:58 am

WM is accusing us of doing what THEY do each and every year. They benefit from the early release of competitors ads. What about the flyers that have been given out the past 2 years undercutting other stores? What a double standard. Target, here I come!!!

#28 happysunshine28  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 11:12 am

Baker doesnt know what he is talking about, bargin hunters are like the postal service weather wont stop us.

#29 jamieva  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 11:14 am

Just reinforces why I am not a Walmart shopper and never will be again. Everything else be darned for the pursuit of the almighty $. Walmart does not care about their customers one bit no matter what they say. You are just a number and they figure if a small number get mad and don't shop they will build a new WM where they aren't now and draw in thousands of new customers. They are not a customer focused company at all.

#30 starshiphome  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 - 11:14 am

Actually, I think I have a better message to send them:

Dear Wal-Mart: I am one of those people who do not like your threat against a website that gives you the opportunity to reach literally thousands of potential customers at no cost to your company. Therefore, from this point on, I will buy nothing from your stores at regular price. I will be happy, however, to snap up any loss leaders you advertise that are actually a great buy. But not a pencil, item of clothing, box of detergent, or anything else at your 'everyday low price' will be added to my cart. Just think of me as your own personal local cherry picker helping to lower your profit margins.

Ruth




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