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November 23, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Walmart website search engine

WalmartJoseph Mori writes in:

While trying to find a raincoat for my wife I decided to give Walmart a try.

Instead of wading through the thousands of items they have, I figured a search could narrow down my selection.

I asked for a "long raincoat" under apparel but check out what the search found.


Maybe she wants those instead... Wal-Mart knows best.

Posted by: Tim at November 23, 2005 12:31 AM

also broken: having a trademark for "site to store".

Posted by: gmangw at November 23, 2005 12:38 AM

What's broken is that you were going to shop at Walmart.

Posted by: Chris B at November 23, 2005 12:50 AM

It does seem odd that it only returned 4 CDs. There are a lot more with those 2 words at

What is really broken of course is that you were considering walmart for your purchase.

Posted by: William Lefkovics at November 23, 2005 01:21 AM

Mall Wart- Your home for cheap plastic crap.

perhaps te search engine needs an old guy to say "hello" to you

Posted by: ron at November 23, 2005 04:56 AM

At quick glance, the term raincoat is part of a song title on the CD - so a fairly good/deep site search engine.

Also, if you choose the "apparel" dept to narrow your search, you would get a message that tells you that they don't sell raincoats online...but here are our matches in other departments.

Seems like fairly smart business.

Posted by: bob dodd at November 23, 2005 08:32 AM

Actually, I am amazed at all of you that noone as of yet noticed the search engine did not produce what I was certain it would of with the request made... "other" than average sized condoms.

Posted by: suchana at November 23, 2005 08:35 AM

Um... Just a note...

Joseph did not search in apparel. Look at the screen shot. His search was of the entire site. Not broken.

Posted by: Chaos at November 23, 2005 09:31 AM

Actually he probably did search in apparel, after you search it goes back to search Entire Site, probably to encourage you to use that if you didn't find what you were looking for.

Posted by: princess at November 23, 2005 10:14 AM

I just tried it. It stays the same for me.

Posted by: Chaos at November 23, 2005 11:50 AM

Chaos: way to accept mediocrity. It's people like you that gave us market dominance of Windows.

"Raincoat" will probably mean, literally, a raincoat 99% of the time on WalMart's site. Commercial search engines should be smarter than this.

Posted by: THX-1138 at November 23, 2005 11:58 AM

To all those who shop at wal-mart or even think about shopping there, you are supporting an evil corporation that helps to set minimum wage standards to keep poor people poor, and they are also responsible for exploiting child labor overseas and they help to infringe on our constitutional ammendments. Everything about wal-mart is broken so its website is technically not broken because it is only a part of a larger broken whole, and it only makes sense that the broken whole would require that all of its parts be broken, so for wal-mart their website works with the larger company structure-

Posted by: smartypants at November 23, 2005 12:20 PM

Broken. I tried typing in other random stuff, like basketball and socks, and the site seems to give some strange preference to CD's and books. So, yeah, it's a remarkably deep search engine, but shouldn't it give listing preference to an actual RAINCOAT instead any word in the item description? Who in God's name would search for The Best of Rod Stewart by typing in the word raincoat?

Posted by: Ron Mexico at November 23, 2005 12:48 PM

While we're into pointless name-calling, Smartypants is a commie.

Posted by: Bob at November 23, 2005 02:22 PM

I've tried WalMart's search before and it is the worst I've ever seen. It never produces results that are even remotely relevant.

It's not broken because something that is broken had to have worked once.

Posted by: J. Scott at November 23, 2005 02:29 PM

I prefer marxist- thanxs

Posted by: smartypants at November 23, 2005 04:49 PM

Smartypants, couldn't the same be said for almost EVERY large corporation in the U.S.? That's usually how they get to BE large corporations, if I'm not mistaken...

Posted by: ambrocked at November 23, 2005 07:18 PM

Yeah, yeah, screw the EVIL corporations.

I say we stop shopping at WalMart, and buying gas, and deodorant, and toothpaste and soap...yeah.

And after that...

I want all you stinky bastards to stay home and away from me.

Oh wait, you won't have gas in your car anyway.




Posted by: Mark "Puff" Anderson at November 23, 2005 07:29 PM

*I just tried it. It stays the same for me.*

Well aren't you just a lucky ducky? It didn't stay the same for me.

Posted by: princess at November 24, 2005 10:46 AM

Regardless of whether Walmart is evil or not, the results from the search engine don't match very well with the common expectation of what would be returned. This undermines the confidence of the consumer in using the search engine to look for products on the site.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at November 24, 2005 10:52 AM

fascism > marxism

Posted by: real_saddam at November 24, 2005 02:43 PM

Heck, IMO, any search engine that returns Leonard Cohen when it can't find what you're looking for is less broken than most...

Posted by: Kara at November 24, 2005 11:01 PM

What's the difference between a Marxist and a Marxian? (yeah, people really use the 2nd term)

Posted by: beckett at November 25, 2005 01:50 PM

Actually most of the commercial sites have freaky search engines. Try kmart, target, best buy, whatever.

Posted by: g guy at November 25, 2005 05:14 PM

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally,... while wearing my snappy, styish, hip, cool, all weather raincoat, available at your local Walmart.

Posted by: Ghost of Kurt Cobain at November 26, 2005 04:08 AM

FYI: The Rod Stewart CDs are listed because they include the song "An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down." The Leonard Cohen albums feature his classic "Famous Blue Raincoat."

Posted by: Hinha at November 26, 2005 11:44 PM

I agree with Smartypants. The whole store is broken. The search engine is probably more helpful then the Anines that work there. If I had a dollar for every time someone said it wasn't their department then walked away.

Only a week after our local store was opened the damn separater sticks on every aisle has come up missing. I think it's Wally's conspiracy to sell you more shtuff... sh** you didn't want. I always leave that store with things I didn't put in my cart or missing items because of this. I've gotten dog food, but have no dog. Window blinds, and live in the country where I can run around naked with the windows wide open, and my favorite a pregnancy test when I can't get pregnant. Try to go back and get the items your weren't given... what a laugh. You spend besides the trip back about another 30 minutes waiting in line and explaining yourself and leaving the store feeling like the gals at the counter think you were trying to get something for free.

I also hate how they don't sell a bunch of things a major competitor does because they say "space prevents us from doing so" but yet they have batteries everywhere and soap in 2 departments.

Also broken: the $80 compact flash card on a theft proof hook but the $150 card isn't and is on the next peg! Again... no help. Left store and went to competitor, got the same card for $30 less and with less plastic packaging.

I now shop at the competitor which is about 2 miles further from me and I pass Wally's to get there.


Posted by: Poindexter T Quakenfuss at November 27, 2005 02:32 PM

Mark Anderson:

>I say we stop shopping at WalMart, and buying gas, and deodorant, and toothpaste and soap...yeah.

>And after that...

>I want all you stinky bastards to stay home and away from me.

Wow. You just described France.

Posted by: kilroy at November 28, 2005 11:58 AM

You just have to know how these things work. I searched for 'Rod Stewart Greatest Hits, and the first item was a raincoat. Stay away from any store that has the word 'Mart' in it.

Posted by: Steve at November 28, 2005 04:05 PM


Of the Groucho variety, right?



Personally, I think there's a big cognitive dissonance if you're thinking raincoat and you get CDs (and you can't tell from the results that they contain tracks with the word "raincoat" in the name). I think most people would assume that Wal*Mart has raincoats, so their website should, too.

So, not broken per se, but certainly not well-oiled, shiny, and fast.

Posted by: Mary at November 29, 2005 01:09 PM

They must have changed the site, I searched and got this response:

"We did not find any matches for “raincoat ” in the department you searched, but we did find the following matches elsewhere."

I prefer when a search gives me unexpected results. I often search for vague information and the obvious choices don't always lead to the best path.

HOWEVER, man are you guys right! That search engine is horrible! I took keywords from a description of one item and did a search. Came up with one result and it wasn't the item that I was copying from.

That's when the Google "search site" feature comes in handy...

Posted by: kinda at December 2, 2005 10:01 PM

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