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Wal-Mart iPod buyers find surprises

updated 12:00 pm EST, Thu December 29, 2005

iPod buyers beware

Some iPod buyers are not finding what they expected when they open their new iPods. At least two separate reports indicate that new "sealed" Apple iPod boxes, purchased from Wal-Mart, didn't include the popular music player--but instead contained something else its place. A woman and her son from Mililani, Hawaii were caught by surprise on Christmas morning as the boy opened a box which should have contained a brand-new fifth-generation iPod from Apple, but instead contained . According to the report, the woman claimed the box was sealed and that it didn't appear to have been tampered with when she brought it home from the Wal-Mart in Honolulu, her place of employment according to a report from ABC News.

Another Wal-Mart customer was also dissappointed when she opened her newly purchased iPod package. After opening a 30GB iPod box which was sealed with cellophane wrap, she discovered six AA batteries taped together--an effort to simulate the weight of the iPod. The woman, who contacted MacNN following her dismay, said she had purchased the iPod for her 12-year-old daughter from a Wal-Mart store in Des Moines. Ironically, she had opened the packaging to ensure the device didn't requires batteries.

"I was wrapping presents tonight and decided to check to see if the iPod needed batteries and what to my surprise when I removed the cellophane wrap, the package was empty, someone had packed batteries and taped them together--6 AA batteries--to give the package a similar weight and then they had cut paper and drew a screen and buttons on the top paper. What a disappointment! The closest store to try to get this replaced was 2 hours away."

by MacNN Staff




  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ... but not really 'news'.

    Furthermore, these kind of things can happen by the employees in the stock rooms (they have shrinkwrap machines, you know), or by the actual consumers out to score a second freebie (think about it...)

    Either way, not really 'news'.

  1. jcarr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2 for 1 iPods at Wal•Mart

    This sounds like the old, "two for one" scam.

    The cusomer is always right. How can they prove that there really was an iPod in the box? They can't. That's the point.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    <nelson muntz>

    Ha, ha!

    </nelson muntz>

    I think it's hilarious that some underpaid Wal-Mart slave stole the iPod and replaced it with an item of similar heft.

    That's what you get for shopping at Wal-Mart, you dorks.

    I wish more Wal-Mart employees would steal from their employer.

  1. :dragonflypro:

    Joined: Dec 1969


    employees…Not Hardly Just

    I hate to break it to the WalMart haters, but this a more a trick of retail scammers than stock room employees.

    Buy the iPod, take it home, surgically remove the device and repackage it with like weighted items, and reseal. Shrinkwrapping is easy to do with a hair dryer and cellophane.

    The reason they choose WalMart, Target, etc is product volume. Harder to track down a return to WalMart, etc versus say an Apple Store.

    Quick to judge, dimwitted WalMart bashing needs to be done elsewhere.

    And to support employee theft at any business, that is just daft. Please.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    usually management

    sorry dragonflypro, but I don't think you have your facts straight.

    While you are correct, such tricks on the part of the customer do exist, and are costly, they are dwarfed in comparison to the sheer volume of stealing that goes on by employees.

    I know this I worked in the corporate office of a Fortune 500 retailer, we studied the issue.

    And, furthermore I'll tell you something else...its pretty darn clear the main motivating factor is the low wages that are paid to assistant managers..(its usually management and not stock room employees too)...think about it stock room employees are being watched and fear being fired, assistant managers, are the ones who know the system and also don't get paid. Full store managers, are compensated enough.

    But, don't expect a lot to change, because I can tell you management has calculated the losses as a part of doing business and its still cheaper to take the losses, than to increase wages.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ps it cut off the rest of my comments somehow.

    I was going to say additionally, that corporate management doesn't regard any of this as being morally 'right' however. They may calculate the costs, but at the same time if they catch someone, they are fired.

    Sometimes prosecuted too, not usually (no profit in it), but just often enough to make people think its a possibility if they get caught.

  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if it is... employee, expect them to be caught. walmart has very sophisticated inventory control.

    also, it is very easy to note discrepancies between a home shrinkwrap job and a factory seal. any difference in the film used or the seal lines will be detectable.

    and, oh yeah, walmart is great. it keeps those people out of my stores.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    spy cams at WalMart

    The one and only WalMart I visited in southern California has 250 spy-cam spheres mounted all over the store.

    Tell me why, please.

  1. Gabriel Morales




    I disagree, ZinkDifferent... This is more news than those silly articles MacNN posts links too... This is like, an exclusive! Besides, what do you expect in daily Mac news?... seriously.

  1. kimbakat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    SAME THING at a Best Buy

    My brother's girlfriend bought him an Xbox last year..when they got back from vacation to open Christmas gifts..there was cinderblocks wrapped in paper put in place of the Xbox. She went to complain..and the manager at the Best Buy thought she was pulling a stunt. They started a yelling match.. He should've taken her information, done an investigation..and even do a criminal search on her to check her background....before he thinks she is a criminal...That is not how you treat customers when there is a serious issue like this happening. Maybe it was his being a likely 99% inside store job..or in transit job....when there is a criminal issue at hand...his response was improper.

    SO, I suggest for expensive OPEN THE PACKAGE in front of employees!!! or video tape the opening of expensive items as proof.

    She is out a $$$ because a store manager automatically assumes their clients are criminals! Stupid. But then again..he is a "Best Buy" manager. I guess you don't need an educated person to do that job.

    So educated citizens..beware of this scam! You will not be protected or believed in some areas.

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