Technology Bites: Wal-Mart Computers Fail on iTunes Gift Card Sale

This weekend I and my sisters are gathering to start the process of dealing with my mother’s house and belongings after her passing several weeks ago. I got the chore of running to the local Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies for the weekend this morning as well as the breakfast run. I had noticed that Wal-Mart was running a pre-Black Friday special on iTunes gift cards, allowing you to purchase a $50 card for $30 and since we have nieces and nephews who always include those items on their Christmas wish lists, I figured I’d pick a couple up while there. When I got to the store there was a line in the electronics department as they had other items (TVs, computers, etc… ) on sale, all scheduled for an 8AM start. It was very organized and at about 10 minute s of the hour employees came by asking what you were there to purchase. If you said an iTunes Gift Card they handed them to you (limit two to a customer) and told you that at 8AM any cash register in the store could give you the deal.

Many customers including myself then went off to do some other shopping in other areas and to get out of line. But no one counted on a glitch in the system that didn’t allow the advertised special to ring up. Apparently this wasn’t just a one store problem. When I returned to the Electronics Department the sales folk were still on the phone with field reps and with calls to and from other stores. It was really an interesting site. Many of the customers had come in for an advertised special on a TV or a computer but were taking advantage of that impulse purchase itch when they heard about the gift card promotion. So instead of simply ringing out their TV purchase they were standing in line as well.

Rain checks were issued and I’m sure it will all work out in the end, but it is got to be pretty insane when technology fails after you’ve think you’ve got things organized so well.