So last night the news broke that the best thing about HP spinning off or selling their PC business and discontinuing development and support of WebOS was that it meant massive discounts on the item, to the tune of just $99 for the 16GB HP TouchPad and $149 for the 32GB model. As you can imagine this set the internet on fire late last night as folks dashed off to try to pick up a device that at $400-$500 was way overpriced but at $99 is absolutely a steal and thus the saga began. Going to all the usual suspects online, Best Buy, Amazon and the like customers have found mixed results. If they got there in time to some places they might have managed to get one, but for the majority of folks they are either being met by the old prices or by “Out Of Stock”. HP themselves also has the new prices though they are sold out. That is only half the problem though.
A lot of sites have notices that say “Available In Store Only” or something to that effect. So many people got up this morning and are heading out to try and pick up the devices in store and are being met with confusion. I can personally attest to the fact that while Walmart has the HP TouchPad listed at the $99 price online (now out of stock), they are not honoring that price in stores as I found out this morning. My colleague Travis Wilson was told the same thing where he was and thus the frustration continues. You have consumers coming in to buy a device that is advertised for a certain price and being told the price is “online only”. The issue is that there is nothing on the websites that say anything to the fact. On Walmart.com, they may be side stepping it by having a note that says “prices my vary by store”. That is an understatement. To me I can’t understand it at this point, NOBODY is going to be stupid enough to pay the old prices for the devices at this point, so they will eventually drop the price in store and sell the tablet at the new prices. For folks like myself that went in early, we essentially miss out. At some point, at each of these Walmart stores they will get guidance to sell the tablets at the new $99 price and they will and whoever happens to walk in at the right time will get a hell of deal.
We also have unconfirmed reports that folks arriving at Best Buy stores are being told that every Best Buy store has sent their entire HP TouchPad inventory back to HP, though we have no official confirmation. The trouble with conflicting guidance in cases like this is that it frustrates customers and in lots of cases they feel like they aren’t being told the whole truth. I have no doubt that there will be more than a few cases of store personnel at every retailer “holding” a few of the devices for friends and family too. This is a mess and it doesn’t look like it will clear up anytime soon.
So anyone been able to go in a store and pick one up? I don’t mean to beat up Walmart in particular they are just who I have had personal experience with. Have you had a similar experience someplace else, if so speak on it.