Local Wal-mart Offers Poor Notebook Shopping Experience

I spent part of yesterday in the East Bay of San Francisco running errands with my wife. She had to pick up something for a friend at Wal-mart and I naturally spent most of our time in the store in the electronics section. That’s where I came upon this display of notebooks hidden behind a plexiglass shield.

I haven’t shopped at Wal-mart in a really long time and I can’t remember seeing what their notebook displays looked like last time I visited one about two years ago in Pennsylvania.

I’m not sure if this is how all Wal-mart stores display their notebooks, but this store was a mess. Two netbooks were stacked on top of each other and the display was about as uninviting as you could imagine.

Customers can’t touch the computers since they’re locked behind plexiglass. The displays are all black because all the computers are turned off and unplugged. This means customers can’t play with them before making their buying decision. The Dell notebooks had giant stickers across the display

Worst of all, the sales associates didn’t seem like they were well trained at helping customers make wise purchasing decisions.

One lady I talked to said had asked a salesperson earlier for the cheapest notebook that her son could use for playing CDs and DVDs. She was directed to the “$300 Acer,” which I told her wouldn’t be a good choice since it was a netbook and didn’t have an optical drive.

When a customer decided to buy an HP Pavilion dv2 for $699 it took a sales associate more than 10 minutes to unlock the cage. As you can see in the video, there are several locks on the cage’s doors. Apparently, the keys for the various locks are on different key rings.

The local Wal-mart’s basically stripped any of the enjoyable or educational aspects of buying a computer out of the process.

Wal-mart might not be where I buy my computers, but this is concerning to me because it’s hard enough to buy the right computer in a pleasant environment. There are fewer and fewer stores where you can go in and play with computers before you buy them. I’m hoping that Wal-marts in your neck of the woods have better computer displays than we have here.