Walmart faces scrutiny after shopper flags odd detail in prices

The criticism surrounding Walmart’s  (WMT) pricing tactics is continuing to grow, as a new TikTok video accusing the retailer of being deceptive in its clearance section is gaining steam on the platform.

In the video, a TikTok user, who goes by Queen Tay, sparks debate about the word “clearance” after she revealed that Walmart’s clearance section contains items that have only been minimally reduced from its original price. 

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“Anybody else noticing that the word clearance is starting to lose its name?” said Tay in the video.

She points out examples of items on a clearance shelf at a Walmart location that have been reduced slightly, such as from $8.97 to $7.50 and $9.98 to $8.50.

“Usually clearance is like 40% minimum off, but that’s like the minimum, right?” said Tay in the video. “Like, normally, you see a lot better. What does $7.50, from $8.97, have to do with the word clearance?”

Tay claims that Walmart being deceptive about the pricing in its clearance section will do more harm than good for the company’s sales.

“If you’re gonna lie and say clearance, you’re diminishing the value of the word clearance,” she said in the video. “Then when they actually do have a good sale, nobody’s gonna come because it’s like the boy who cried wolf.”


Is this the “slashing prices” they were talking ab on the news this spring? Hmm #walmart #clearance #clearancehunter

♬ original sound – Queen Tay | thrifty creative

Many TikTok users took to the comment section under the video to dispute that the word “clearance” means a huge discount, while some disagreed.

“One problem is that clearance doesn’t always mean big markdown. it’s often an item that no longer has a place on the shelf. So they may only go 10-30% off,” wrote one user in the comment section.

“Clearance implies the price is going to drop more. If I see something for $40, was $49, I’m gonna wait and buy it when it drops to like $25,” another user commented. 

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“Clearance isn’t a sale. It means they won’t be carrying that product anymore, so once sold out, it’s done. That doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be extremely cheap right away.” stated a user.

“No they know what they’re doing. People will see the clearance tag and assume it’s a good deal compared to the other items or cheaper than normal and buy multiples,” wrote another.

There is a difference between when a retailer puts an item on sale and when they put it on clearance, and customers often mistakenly use the two terms interchangeably, according to American Retail Supply. 

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When a company puts an item on sale, its price is slashed in 5% increments, ranging from 5% to 50% off. When items are on clearance, stores try to get rid of them quickly for a number of reasons, and prices can be discounted at 30% off to start, which can increase over time.

The recent criticism surrounding Walmart’s pricing tactics comes after the retail giant was forced by a recent court order to face a class-action lawsuit that accuses the company of having “deceptive” pricing practices. The lawsuit allegedly found “numerous small discrepancies” between the prices Walmart advertises on its shelves and what customers are actually being charged at cash registers.

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