I buy a lot of stuff online. Like, a lot of stuff. I have a really good idea what to expect as far as order fulfillment, shipping times, customer service inquiries, and return / exchange experiences. I’ve purchased from small one-man outfits cranking out custom brackets for mounting lights on motorcycles to e-commerce juggernauts. The size of the store doesn’t matter; sometimes the small operations give you great service, and sometimes they are run by douchebags.
The same goes for the big box joints, too — although until I tried Wal-Mart’s “Site to Store” shipping service I never had a good and bad experience from the same company.
Here’s how Site to Store is supposed to work. You buy something online at Walmart.com and have it shipped to a store near you. This is free and is particularly helpful for heavier shit, like furniture or a television.
For example, shipping this 37″ HDTV to me would normally cost $30 via ground shipping. However, if I choose Site to Store, it’s free. I bought a bookcase and chose Site to Store shipping, and expected to pick up my stuff in the 7 – 10 business days as spelled out on Walmart.com
It took twelve business days to get my order. Granted, two extra business days isn’t a big deal, but the Site to Store concept is new at my nearest Wal-Mart, and they only had one person running the counter. I waited twenty minutes for them to process another customer and then find my item in the warehouse. Wal-Mart is a social event out where I live, and there are always to ton of people there. It took me another ten minutes to check out. In contrast, I have purchased things online from Walmart.com and received my order in three business days.
In the case of the fictitious television purchase, it would be well worth your $30 to get the television delivered right to your door. Yes, you may save some money by using Wal-Mart’s Site to Store service, but even if it arrives within their estimate, do you really want to wait that long and then go to the store to wait some more?
Site to Store is not recommended.