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[US] Walmart - 4204 City Mine $39.97

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  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^As a matter of principal, I would go back and show her the receipt =)
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ As if
  • cbaker1974cbaker1974 Member Posts: 150
    As someone who works in IT for a huge retailer, the problem with realtime inventory is that it's only as good as the people who are putting it in, or taking it out (the employees). Manual adjustments happen all the time on items...a broken scanner at a checkout, a return that is put back on the shelf but not scanned back into inventory, items put in the wrong location, etc. Walmart is making an investment into RFID tags to help determine item position/etc. in a store, but its not perfect yet.

    Upgrading these inventory systems is often a multimillion dollar initiative spread out in phases. They are complex and frontloaded all the way back to distribution centers, onto stores, and up to the central datacenters....think about the hundreds of millions of transactions that are processed and then think on how each one has to be perfect and well-formed to reconcile centrally. Even a system that was 99.999% reliable would have a 1 failed/malformed transaction out of 100,000 and those add up.


    So...lots of reasons why inventory isn't perfect :) In the next couple of years though this will be a big focus effort, as all the retailers are getting tired of Amazon grabbing some of their market share. Everyone mostly has the buy online pickup in store, return online purchase to store, etc...but the next step is for them to use their stores like warehouses and give instant access to online purchases, which is something Amazon cannot do. This is really hard though because a store is not a warehouse...warehouses don't have customers running around in them messing them up constantly.
    dragonhawk
  • Little3piggiesLittle3piggies Member Posts: 40
    Don't forget, if your WM is out of stock, get a raincheck!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @cbaker1974 - wise words, and you're correct on all points...

    Did you know... Amazon does not have a system of keeping all of one kind of item together in the warehouse, it is completely random. 1.5 billion items in a warehouse, and only the computer knows where everything is. A DVD might be next to a toy that might be next to a computer part, none of which have anything to do with each other.

    What you have is a computer that plans out a "pick" for a person's cart of items that have been ordered, and does it in order to reduce walking and searching, the warehouse worker just walks to shelf 423, row J, item 14, scans it, if it lights up green and beeps once, puts it in their pick cart.

    If their system ever crashed and the backups failed, they would be totally up a creek without a paddle.

    But you're right, customers don't walk thought the warehouses, and they do lose stuff, but they can pick the next time and things do get found and put back into the system as well.

    RFID tags are probably the solution, with each store having a real time location on every item in the store, will help, but that costs money and even then, doesn't get around every problem.

    It is a big challenge, but the rewards are large, so they will try.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,175
    My Target price matched the deal tonight with the ad that I gave them. I didn't bother going into the Walmart next door to see if they still had them in stock.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    And Amazon bought Kiva, the robot company, so that in some warehouses, a robot does the picking. (Look up the Kiva videos on YouTube. They're little orange robots that somehow manage to be kinda cute.)
  • dragonhawkdragonhawk USMember Posts: 633
    @cbarker1974 conveyed the points much more eloquantly than I ever could

    @LegoFanTexas I am sure on the other end there is an automated system that arranges the delivery from suppliers to the warehouses to maximize storage space.
    What you explained sounds like a very efficient storage system Amazon developed / acquired. If they can actually generate profit out of that system...

  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Whoa, Amazon just dropped the mine 22% I assume to compensate. Hopefully its just for this week.
  • cynthilinacynthilina Member Posts: 188
    Got 2 yesterday at 39.97 in Glendale Arizona
  • Zeldafanatic15Zeldafanatic15 Member Posts: 106
    Finally got a Mine set price-matched at TRU. The Wal Marts and Targets around here were out of it. First TRU was about to price match it, but the manager said no at the very last minute because she saw a corporate e-mail they recieved Sunday that the price is a mistake in the Wal-Mart ad. The lady who helped me first felt bad and made sure the manager gave me my ad back, because she was about to keep it, and the lady told me not every TRU may have seen the email.

    Second TRU I went to matched it, but had to get the manager because they had to override it since the discount was more than 50%. I had to convince them that it was the same set, they didn't believe it since, according to them "It's $110 in our system" even though she had the Wal Mart ad in front of her, I had to show her the name on the box and how the pictures are the same.
  • kim43235kim43235 Member Posts: 165
    I tried two TRUs and had no luck with them. They were fully aware of this set not to price match with walmart. Interestingly one of them told me that she would get fired if she did price match. So for those who had TRUs price match, you jeopardized their careers :) Thankfully I was able to get two from Target though.

    BTW, amazon warehouse deal has them two in stock for $67.95. It's not hot price compared to $40+tax but you get at least some decent discount here.
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    I got one yesterday from Target with price match with no issue. I went back today to get another and got the last on the shelf. The associate today did a double take when she scanned the box and said "this can't be right" then disappeared to talk to a manager for five minutes. She came back and did the price match though. I almost feel bad for Target....almost.
  • stoneboistoneboi Member Posts: 42

    Bobkov said:

    Booo TRU.

    It would be interesting to try and count up how many units were bought by people in this thread.. just to see what kind of impact this mistake has had on Walmart, Target and TRU

    Frankly... It is a rounding error...

    Even 3 sets per store times 3,000 stores... That is 9,000 sets. Assuming they were all sold for this price and that Walmart lost $30 per set, that works out to $270,000.

    That sounds like a lot, and perhaps it is, but it also made a lot of customers happy and bought good will.

    All for 7 minutes worth of profit (yes, Walmart makes about $300,000 in profit every 8 minutes)
    pocket change to walmart...or rather pocket shillings...
  • dragonhawkdragonhawk USMember Posts: 633
    Peeking at TRU holiday catalog, guess what will be on sale for $89.99 starting on 10/28 ? This is most likely the main reason TRU cannot price match Walmart. Selling it for 39.97 now would have drained their supply right before the sale date. Perhaps Walmart WAS trying to steal TRU's thunder by offering it at lower price a week before the sale. However, Walmart most likely meant to print $89.97 as evidence by the price at Walmart.com on Sunday.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ I'm pretty sure the more likely reason they didn't honor the price match was because they decided the financial impact outweighed the good will with customers it would have achieved. Not carrying enough stock of an advertised item is a risk for customer satisfaction, but who is going to complain that they don't have any product to sell for $90 because they offered it at $40 instead?

    P.S. The Walmart.com price has been 39.97 for most of this week: http://www.walmart.com/ip/LEGO-City-Mining-The-Mine-Play-Set/21095578
    So it matches the printed advertisement, and the in-store price when scanned. So how exactly is this a price mistake? Or more to the point, how can TRU use that as rationale to deny the match?
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    I just laugh how the whole ordeal made TRU's price matching policy so pitiful.
  • dragonhawkdragonhawk USMember Posts: 633
    edited October 2012
    @rocao,
    The impact of price match is very limited to people who see the Walmart ads and know about TRU's price matching policy. Most likely only small portion of TRU clientele base is in that group. So, TRU target clienteles who plan their shopping using Holiday catalog starting next week (most profitable for TRU) would complain due to product not in stock. The advertised price is 60% off RRP, good enough to clear the supply of any price matching competitors (see Target).

    I checked walmart.com price when I learned about this on Monday morning and it was still showing $89.97. The website prices are usually pretty consistent with the print adds for a deal this good. Obviously I did not go to the stores and check scanned price.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,952
    I suspect TRU used the rationale that if that Gandalf set was so off, then the Mine which was next to it was also off.

    It is a big point, though, that the Mine at Walmart did ring up as 39.99. There was nothing one had to do, other than find a set and buy it.

    I do not believe this was an intentional sale at all, but that Walmart did honor their prices. (If it was an intentional sale, then I can only imagine between this and the sales earlier in the month, how much that may or may not mean for future sales this season. )


  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Agree. Even 30% off would have raised some eyebrows. And opened some wallets.
  • jdylakjdylak Member Posts: 281
    Not only did it ring up at the register, it was tagged on the shelf as such price. If it was a print error, which it was not, it would have made it harder to get the set at the price. When I told my wife about it, she said don't bother going. She figured they would have a notice by the set stating the print error.

    On a side note, did anyone else notice at the same time other sets drop in price? There is your 2012 Christmas clearance sets if you want to know in advance.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Saw no other drops, and all the tags i saw for 4204 said $89.xx
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    edited October 2012
    Saw a red tag sticking out and reads "As advertised" for $39.97 the other night.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    edited October 2012

    @rocao,
    The impact of price match is very limited to people who see the Walmart ads and know about TRU's price matching policy. Most likely only small portion of TRU clientele base is in that group. So, TRU target clienteles who plan their shopping using Holiday catalog starting next week (most profitable for TRU) would complain due to product not in stock.

    If, as you say, the group of customers seeking a price match is small and TRU's goal is to have enough stock for their entire customer base, their stock should not be exhausted so easily from a price match. This is especially true because AFAIK TRU will only allow the purchase of one item at the matched price per customer.

    Taking your rationale further, do you think there would be a moratorium or quantity limit at the regular TRU price so that it would be in stock for the holiday catalog period? I think they would happily sell out at regular price if they could. TRU restocks weekly during the holiday period.

    I still contend the refusal of a price match is more likely due to the price discrepancy. If you were asking for a price match that was just $5 off, do you think there would be the same refusal? If not, doesn't that indicate that the price is a reason?

    And if price is the reason, the way they seem to be getting out of it is by saying it was a price mistake. But if the set is advertised in print for $40, ringing up at that price, and obtainable, what authority does TRU have to decide it is a price mistake?

    Arbitrary decisions like these are one of my many complaints with price matching policies. The standard criteria is not easily met:

    - Product must be advertised. So they're price matching a very small portion of merchandise, and neglecting items that are priced lower everyday and not part of a sale so likely wouldn't be advertised.

    - Items must match exactly. This seems like an obvious requirement on the surface, but it is a commonplace practice these days to have retailer specific model numbers with little to no product variation. Sometimes it's as little as a color variation, and other times there simply is no discernible difference. This isn't the case with LEGO, but often true of electronics.

    - Item must be in stock. I understand they're protecting against a store having very limited stock, but that's rarely the case in practice aside from 'doorbusters', which are routinely excluded from price-matching anyway.

    - Store must be in proximity. I've had price matches denied because the store simply isn't close enough by some arbitrary mileage criteria, even though the store is considered in the region.

    So if the stars align and all conditions are met, for a store to still use flimsy reasoning -- such as in this case -- to decline a price match underscores how much lip service these policies often are. Thus, I take them to task because it's disingenuous to plaster "low price guarantees" all over the place and then so rarely make good on it. And of course, I'm doing it on principle, because if all the conditions are met, why wouldn't I just go buy it at the competitor? (end rant)
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ Totally agree. I haven't even bothered to look at TRU at all lately. The time taken to figure out "if" there is even a real deal to be had is just not worth it. And even if I did figure out a deal, I really don't want to jump through all their hoops to make it happen. There are just too many other alternatives.

    Consequently, I won't be buying any non-Lego toys this season from TRU either because of the bad taste in my mouth. And let's not even get started on their so called "rewards" program.
    Miles
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Also, with the exception of one location with attitude, I will continue to be a regular customer of Target. Sometimes it took a little while for manager approval, but in the end the people honored their policy and did so with good cheer :) Also, any company that enacts a "price-matching" policy does not do it naively. They fully know that there will be some losses here and there, but calculate on the whole they will come out ahead -- either by good will, continued patronage, or new customers.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Amazon giveth, and Amazon taketh away . . . so much for quick flipping some mines . . .
  • cbaker1974cbaker1974 Member Posts: 150
    gmpirate said:

    Also, with the exception of one location with attitude, I will continue to be a regular customer of Target. Sometimes it took a little while for manager approval, but in the end the people honored their policy and did so with good cheer :) Also, any company that enacts a "price-matching" policy does not do it naively. They fully know that there will be some losses here and there, but calculate on the whole they will come out ahead -- either by good will, continued patronage, or new customers.

    I had another good experience w/ customer service today at Target...they are definately one of the brick and mortar leaders. I wish they had BOGO1/2 sales like TRU though :)

  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited October 2012
    .
    rocao said:


    So if the stars align and all conditions are met, for a store to still use flimsy reasoning -- such as in this case -- to decline a price match underscores how much lip service these policies often are. Thus, I take them to task because it's disingenuous to plaster "low price guarantees" all over the place and then so rarely make good on it. And of course, I'm doing it on principle, because if all the conditions are met, why wouldn't I just go buy it at the competitor? (end rant)

    Totally agree. Additionally, I would assert that it's not only disingenuous, but probably false advertising in violation of civil procedure (law) in many states. Unless TRU has some privileged information indicating Walmart really did make a pricing mistake, the assertion by TRU that it was a price mistake is a flat out lie. And it would be easy to prove that lie if someone were able to obtain a copy of the supposed corporate correspondence by TRU instructing stores not to price match because of Walmart's "price mistake".

    Unfortunately, I'm guessing most of us do not have the time, money and/or inclination to bother pursuing any meaningful litigation against TRU. So, this type of trickery will probably continue unpunished as it often does. Ah well, at least we can occasionally get some halfway decent deals with the BOGO50.
  • legomasonlegomason Member Posts: 190
    nkx1 said:

    Ah well, at least we can occasionally get some halfway decent deals with the BOGO50.

    Now they're only BOGO40 :(
  • jdylakjdylak Member Posts: 281

    Saw no other drops, and all the tags i saw for 4204 said $89.xx

    Here, the X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Ewok set, two Sponge Bob sets, two Ninjago, and Helm Deep all dropped. Helms dropped $10 as did Tie Fighter. All others dropped $5. There will be your Dec 26th clearance.

  • dragonhawkdragonhawk USMember Posts: 633
    @rocao, take a breath man.. it is just a price match policy ;)
    rocao said:

    If, as you say, the group of customers seeking a price match is small and TRU's goal is to have enough stock for their entire customer base, their stock should not be exhausted so easily from a price match. This is especially true because AFAIK TRU will only allow the purchase of one item at the matched price per customer.

    Taking your rationale further, do you think there would be a moratorium or quantity limit at the regular TRU price so that it would be in stock for the holiday catalog period? I think they would happily sell out at regular price if they could. TRU restocks weekly during the holiday period.

    I still contend the refusal of a price match is more likely due to the price discrepancy. If you were asking for a price match that was just $5 off, do you think there would be the same refusal? If not, doesn't that indicate that the price is a reason?
    ...

    Not a good example. Again, we are talking about 60% rrp which cleared up stocks at Target within 30 miles from me. Put it this way, which of these scenarios is more likely ? People driving 30 miles to get a The Mine for $84.99 ($5 off) or driving 30 miles to get it for $39.97 ($40 off). Plus, these people are most likely not the main target clientele for TRU.

    Also, the price cut was done the week before TRU's supposedly big sale event. Even when they get shipment once a week, had TRU honor the price match, there was a big chance that the The Mine would be gone before the sale and there was not enough time to re-order and re-ship.

    A good example would be next time Walmart advertise a price that is equivalent to at least 50% off rrp and TRU does not have any sale event planned the next week.

    I am not arguing that price point is not one of the factor in TRU's decision. However, I do think that one of TRU's main reasons is to guarantee product availability at least the first few days of their sale event. They want to keep their loyal customer base (read: profitable) happy. If that infuriated (small) number of customers that most likely was not going to shop there anyway, then so be it.

    ...
    So if the stars align and all conditions are met, for a store to still use flimsy reasoning -- such as in this case -- to decline a price match underscores how much lip service these policies often are. Thus, I take them to task because it's disingenuous to plaster "low price guarantees" all over the place and then so rarely make good on it. And of course, I'm doing it on principle, because if all the conditions are met, why wouldn't I just go buy it at the competitor? (end rant)
    AFAIK, local store manager's discretion is one of the common price matching criteria. In other words it is arbitrary. For example, there are 2 Targets in my area with different price matching policies.

    In general, I have been happy with Walmart's price matching policy for the grocery type items. It is easy to have flyers from 3-4 area grocery stores and pick up their sale items at the same price at Walmart. It makes Walmart a convenient one stop shop.
  • MilesMiles Member Posts: 51
    gmpirate said:

    ^ Totally agree. I haven't even bothered to look at TRU at all lately. The time taken to figure out "if" there is even a real deal to be had is just not worth it. And even if I did figure out a deal, I really don't want to jump through all their hoops to make it happen. There are just too many other alternatives.

    Consequently, I won't be buying any non-Lego toys this season from TRU either because of the bad taste in my mouth. And let's not even get started on their so called "rewards" program.

    Well put. You just summed up my entire feeling on this matter. TRU just simply isn't worth my time.

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ I know you don't mean any offense, but it's a mistake to equate writing a lot to being in a state of agitation. I'm not in need of any extra breaths.

    It's speculation on both our parts, so we won't be able to actually prove our point. But if TRUs primary motivation was to ensure availability, it would have been simple enough to state that as a reason. Instead, they labeled the Walmart ad as a price mistake according to reports of the TRU internal memo, which would indicate the core of the issue was the price at which it was offered.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    I think, in the end, it really doesn't matter what their reasoning is for not doing it. Either a company has a price matching policy or they don't. Unless "specific" exclusions are listed in the fine print, they should honor their policy. If they do not want to be on the hook for an excessive discount, simply state that in the policy. I, for one, would not take issue with it as long as its stated "up front".
    dragonhawk
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    I'm kind of surprised everyone is making a big deal about this set. There's nothing really striking about it. I think it's terribly overpriced at $99. $80 probably should of been RRP. It uses a lot of BURPS so parting it out doesn't make a lot of sense. My son only has middling interest in it from the pictures I've shown him. I know he'd rather have the police station which I've seen as low as $65. I picked one up, but I'm considering trading or ebaying it.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ Don't think anyone is, rather it's just been a discussion about price matching . . . To me, its just a great price for some Lego.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    edited October 2012
    ^^Its not a great set for me either, but that percent number was seductive at 60% off. Anything at or above 40% will have me reaching for the wallet and posting a thread on Brickset, regardless of set or theme.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ Well, between this thread and the "wanted" thread, there's been a lot of discussion and interest, which is what mathew's point was. And the reason, of course, is 60% off MSRP makes it very easy to overlook the flaws of a set.

    I agree that it's not the greatest set, but the yellow crane bucket and slotted train tracks are reminiscent of some great town sets like #6542 Launch & Load Seaport, so that wins points with me.
  • JenniJenni JapanMember Posts: 1,384
    ^ And some kids want it, for whatever reason mine is very interested. But then she's a big fan of BURPs and boulders that can open and have treasure inside.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^^^ - Agreed... Almost any boxed LEGO set for 60% off is worth looking at, regardless of what it actually is. Even really overpriced sets become "deals" at that discount. :)
    Penkid11
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,175
    My son had been eyeing this set ever since it came out. I told him the only way I'm getting the set is if it was on sale... Well this weekend we finished building it and he loves it. A lot of play features, but definitely not worth $100, although Target was selling it for $90. Felt more like a $70 set.

    It could have been a Christmas gift, but he was with me when I bought it at Target. Oh well I'm sure Lego Super Heroes next wave will be more impressive.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,952
    For a child that likes construction vehicles, I think this has playability. I can stretch to $40 for my nephew for Christmas, but $65 for a discounted police station is too much for a set for him for Christmas. This will be his biggest set he has ever had, and it should be a good and fun build for him. This set being $40 was thus a good deal for us.

    In regards to parts, this was my first attempt picking up a set specifically for parts for us. This may not be the set to sell parts, and the parts may not be too exciting, but I can say it has been very useful for us for the extra parts. In particular the big cliff parts, rocks, larger flats. I now have a ski hill. My son likes the conveyor belt and gold pieces. With as much as our spare Legos have been utilized this past month, this was a very nice addition for spare parts and the pieces have been highly utilized already by 3 kids and me.
    I snuck the pieces into our bins. My astute 5 year old, though, asked me where the mining pieces came from. ;-)

    I think like anything it just depends on your needs. This set at that price will be 'eh' for some and great for others.
  • JenniJenni JapanMember Posts: 1,384
    ^ We haven't opened ours yet so I forgot the conveyor belts. Every LEGO Club meeting we've gone to has had many creations involving the conveyor belts, star wars ships and mad scientist labs are all apparently better with belts. I don't remember many in the Friends beach houses but my daughter's house was made up mostly of the BURPS from that meeting. It's a good parts set for kids. I'll have to suggest the ski slope to her.
  • jdylakjdylak Member Posts: 281
    I think it is an awesome set for playability. I think I might make a project and make the mine even deeper. Might look kind of cool.
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