The right way involves showing up prepared with valid prices from competitors and walking out with a great deal. The wrong way involves showing up with an expired circular and going on a profanity-laced tirade that gets you arrested.
That’s my takeaway from a story about a former professional wrestler and Walmart price-matching enthusiast who is now banned for life from every Walmart store on the planet after an incident where the retailer refused to match a competitor’s price.
Drop the circulars and step away
According to a report  by local ABC affiliate KNVX, Joe Cantrell went into a Walmart in San Tan Valley, Ariz., and asked a cashier to match a price on Christmas tree ornaments that he’d found in another store’s circular. (Oddly enough, this appears to be the same Walmart that was the scene of a bomb scare  earlier this year.)
Cantrell did this a lot; he claims that he averaged two trips a day to Walmart before the ban and had been avidly price matching for four months. But this time, the cashier was fed up and refused to honor the match on the grounds that the circular he was using was expired.
While Cantrell denies threatening anyone, all parties seem to agree that Cantrell freaked out over not getting the price match. (A pro wrestler with anger issues? Weird.)
The next time Cantrell showed up at the store, he found three deputies waiting for him. They cuffed him, served him with a court summons and gave him a written notice letting him know he was banned from every Walmart for life.
“I was handcuffed and humiliated and embarrassed in front of everybody,” Cantrell told local KNXV.
Walmart claims Cantrell’s ban is a result of a profanity-laced tirade that left the cashier feeling “physically threatened,” and not for coming back to price match too often. Cantrell denies making any threats and was released by the deputies shortly after, but still faces charges of disorderly conduct.
Price-matching is great for noncrazy people, too
If you’re not familiar with price-matching — and you should try it, it’s glorious — it boils down to a store saying it will match a competitor’s low price on an item. Sometimes the store designates which retailers count as legitimate competitors, or places other restrictions such as requiring that the price they’re matching be offered in a local brick-and-mortar store.
Lots of stores offer price matching. According to data from online coupon site DealScience.com , more than 20 percent of big box stores offer some sort of price matching. Here are some of the big ones:
- Best Buy
- Fry’s Home Electronics
Some stores go a step further, offering employees leeway to drop as much as 10 percent below the competitors’ prices if customers haggle, including Best Buy, Fry’s, Home Depot, and Lowes, says Brandon Hunt, co-founder of DealScience.com.
Also, it’s important to note that a smartphone is generally a more powerful ally in your quest for the perfect price match than colorful phrases like  “I’m going to mess this mother f_ _ _ker up” and other sincere promises of physical harm that Cantrell allegedly employed.
Some stores will match Amazon’s usually ultra-low price then and there if you pull it up on your phone, Hunt says, and as an added bonus, retailers like Kohl’s, Gap, Sears and Bed, Bath and Beyond have active mobile coupons you can access on your phone over 90 percent of the time to net you more savings.
Hunt says he was able to engineer a nice Amazon price match at Best Buy using his smartphone and even included some photographic evidence, and our own Brandon Duncombe recently netted $108 off a DSLR camera thanks to the policy.
What do you think? Was Cantrell booted and hit with trumped-up charges because of excessive price matching, or is Walmart going around arresting innocent price matchers to avoid giving out excessively awesome deals? Do you price match?
(Photo: Walmart Corporate )