Tag Archives: walmart

The Thrill of the Hunt?

saveWhen it comes to groceries, do you experience the thrill of the hunt? Trekking from store to store, tracking down that bargain, snaring it, bagging and tagging it, taking a photo with it, and so on? Whatever, man. No judgment here!

But if you’re like me (i.e., a DUDE) the answer is “No”. I have one store for the weekly haul, and one store for the quick, one-or-two-item grab without the 3-mile walk. I barely think about the fact that there are at least 4 other grocery stores I could visit, not to mention the CVS’s, Dollar Stores and Big Lots that have grocery items now.

They say that people generally only know the prices of 4 items, and I can’t even claim that! So, this news from Walmart is interesting… Starting last month, Walmart began testing the “Savings Catcher” in Atlanta, Charlotte, Lexington, Dallas, Huntsville, San Diego and Minneapolis. You go to the website, enter some info from your receipt, and it scans the prices of the different competing stores near you. If it finds a lower price at, say, Kroger, it sends you an e-coupon for the difference. It may be for 27 cents for one item, but for a $100 receipt, or for a whole month, it could add up.

It’s just a test for now, and only in a few cities but, if you want to learn more, visit the Savings Catcher site. So, what do you think? Would you give up the thrill of the “bargain safari” and let the computer do the work? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Steamin’ Hot Cashout News!


Hey, check it out! Your cashout options just expanded AGAIN. Starting this week, you can choose to cashout with a Starbucks eGift Card. Just go to your Member Home page, click on Cashout Now, and choose Starbucks. Or, pick any of our other cashout options: Amazon.com gift card, Walmart gift card, Sam’s Club gift card, PayPal or boring old check! The Starbucks option should be available beginning this week.

In other news, Live Now! survey announcements on the Member Home page – once only available to folks who linked their Facebook and MindField accounts – are now available to everybody! Back when we were getting up and running on Facebook, the link was a good way to promote it. Now, the link is just a thing that most people do anyway, so why not take down a barrier? Convenience, right? Remember, Live Now! announcements – just like email invites – use your member profiles as a starting point in the qualification process. That’s why we encourage you to keep those profiles fresh!

We hope you enjoy the new features. Now, can I get a latte to go?

Walmart Sneezes

“When GM sneezes, America catches a cold.” This is something people used to say back when General Motors was something more than a pension fund that made cars. Basically it means that when an economic engine like GM is having troubles, it’s a sign of bigger problems.

This came to mind earlier this week, when Bloomberg noted that “Walmart Executives are Sweating Slow February Start”…

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February Month-to-Date sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Walmart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my 7 years with the company.” Bloomberg.com

Worse, this crappy February comes after a crappy January, which had a different Walmart executive asking, “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”

So, what’s the deal? Well, the payroll tax went up, tax forms were late going out, and tax returns will also be late going out. Gas prices in my neighborhood have gone up about 35 cents since the New Year. They are still arguing over the Fiscal Cliff in Washington. So, it’s a crisis in confidence, paired with an actual pinch in spending money.

So, looking at the old example, you can certainly see how these negative economic factors would cause people to put off buying an $18,000 car from GM. But Walmart? Where a can of corn is 48 cents and my last pair of shoes was ten bucks? Yikes!

So, what do you think? Are you seeing smaller crowds at Wally’s? Are you tightening your belt? What things are you cutting back on or delaying? Let us know and, despite it all, have a great weekend!

New Year’s Cashout News!

new cashout Hey gang! Exciting MindField Online cashout news for the New Year!

We are excited to announce two new cashout options! Starting in first week of January 2013, you will be able to request cashout with a Sam’s Club or WalMart Gift Card. Just click through to cashout and you’ll see the icons listed among the options available.  Both options will require the same $5.00 threshold as PayPal.

Yay, more options! Happy New Year!

Walmart vs. Amazon

As they say, business it business. But it sure seems like Walmart has an axe to grind with Amazon! Last month, Wally announced they were no longer carrying Amazon’s Kindle. Now, they are going to compete with Amazon’s experimental same-day delivery.

Called Wal-Mart To Go, the service costs $10 regardless of the size of the order. The products will be shipped from the company’s stores, not from a warehouse or distribution center. Wal-Mart began testing the same-day service last week in Philadelphia and northern Virginia. It added Minneapolis on Tuesday and will add San Jose and San Francisco later this month. The trial will last through the holidays. Wall Street Journal

Amazon has been doing the same-day thing in 10 cities for a few years now. Amazon has about $35 billion in online sales each year, about 7 times Walmart’s take. BUT, Wally’s $5 billion is about 1% of their total sales. So, that kind of capital allows them to experiment to find ways to compete with the established leader Amazon.

Analysts say that Walmart is going to need that cash flow to make it work…

 “It can be three to four times the cost for the retailer to pick items and pack them from a store versus having a really efficient, automated process back in a distribution center.”  Wall Street Journal

So, what do you think? Does this sound like a good move for Wally? Or should they stick to what they know best and leave the online fulfillment game to the recognized leaders? Read the article, and have a great weekend!

The Return of the Return of Layaway!

Last year we blogged about how a bad economy and the credit crunch were leading to “The Return of Layaway” in your favorite stores. This year, there’s a new twist.

Same lame economy, but now it’s an election year. I heard on the radio that Wal-Mart is worried that with politicians buying up every moment of commercial time, they won’t be able to do the kind of advertising they need to make a profit at the Holidays. So, one thing they are doing is improving their layaway program to get your attention.

So, in addition to starting the program much earlier this year…

Walmart will refund the $15 fee to open a layaway account after customers make their final payment, and it will no longer charge a cancellation fee to customers who fail to finish paying for the item.  USNews.com

Other stores like Kmart, Sears and Toys R Us are joining in the fun, too. You can read all about it here.

What do you think? Were you planning to use layaway this year? Would this tempt you to? Let us know. And have a fun, SAFE Labor Day weekend!

(photo: fh.ext.wvu.edu)

The Return of Layaway

Until recently, layaway was on the “endangered strategies list,” replaced by increased use of credit and gift cards. So why bring back this dinosaur of a payment practice? It’s simple…our economy. With banks being more cautious, consumer credit lines are withering.       Harvard Business Review

Everybody remembers layaway, back in the days before they gave out credit cards to anybody with a pulse. I remember layaway as that cruddy window in the back of the store, where you stood in line with your mom and all the other bored kids and their moms, sweating to death in your big old parka and getting nauseous from all the cigarette smoke. Good times.

Anyway, layaway is back in a lot of stores, but Wal-Mart is really making some noise. Their plan is probably pretty typical. Specifically…

 it kicks off on 10/17 and runs through 12/16. …an item has to cost at least $15, and the total minimum order is $50. [It is] limited to toys and electronics (and most cell phones aren’t eligible), and it applies only to in-store purchases. You have to put down at least 10 percent of the cost of the total order when you put the items on layaway…you don’t get charged interest on deferred purchases, [but] the layaway program isn’t free: Walmart is charging a one-time non-refundable $5 service fee for the service, and you’ll get hit with a $10 fee if the layaway order isn’t paid in full and picked up or canceled by the end of the day on December 16.  Consumer Reports

So, what do you think? Will you be taking advantage of this or other layaway programs? If you do, put me down for a Lost in Space robot, a Six Million Dollar Man doll action figure and an Evel Knievel dirtbike!