$99 HP TouchPads Still Available – A Report From The Field

HP’s sudden and dramatic price drop on the HP TouchPad tablet has caused quite a run on stores.

As of early this morning, online stores that had dropped the price on the HP TouchPad to the $99 price are reporting sellouts. Even stores that still had it listed at the regular price were reporting no inventories.

So, Sure Start News hit the field in search of the HP touchpad. Our local stores here in St. Augustine include Walmart, Kmart, OfficeMax, and Staples.

Our first stop was at Staples. At 10 o’clock in the morning, to our surprise, they were clueless about the price drop. They had plenty HP touchpads on the shelf. Both the 16 GB version and the 32 GB versions. But they were at the full pre-sale prices. When we asked if they would ring up at the $99 price, our clerk looked confused. When told that HP had lowered prices to $99 and $149, he looked at us very suspiciously. When asked to ring it up to see what the register said, he did so and confirmed that it was selling at the full price. When we asked to see a manager, he said that would do no good, the price was the price. He also stated that if there is a discount, it will probably appear on Tuesday, as that’s when their clearance prices are updated.

So there the HP touchpads sit, unsold, until perhaps Tuesday. Though we suspect at some point before then, they may get an update.

Unsuccessful and frustrated from our experience at Staples, we went across the street OfficeMax. OfficeMax reported that they had pulled the HP touchpads from their shelves. We don’t know if that means they will sell them later or if they are being returned to the warehouse. However, we were advised by an employee at OfficeMax not to get the HP TouchPad because the Web OS system is being discontinued. We pointed out that, heck, for $99, who cares?

Walmart was our next stop. They had three of the 32 GB versions on the shelf. However, they apparently were not available. The sales clerk said they had sold all their 16 GB versions for $99, and several of the 32 GB versions for $149. But their system would not let him sell the remaining 32 GB versions at $149. The remaining three rang up at the full price of $499. That there was nothing he could do about that.

So we ran down the street to Kmart. Which said they had no HP touchpads, and from the look on her face, I don’t think they ever did.

So, not to be defeated, back to Walmart we went. The same story was going on, and together with another customer, we pursued the HP touchpads that were on the shelf. It took about an hour of discussions with the sales clerk, the assistant manager (who, with a smirk, said several times that they would not sale these for $149). Eventually she met with the store manager, and it was finally worked out. According to them, of the three remaining HP touchpads, one had been ordered online for pickup, the other two simply were not listed in their inventory.

However, they finally did do a manager over-ride, and sold the two remaining 32 GB HP TouchPads to us and the other customer for the $149 price.

—update—

At 11:15 AM our local Staples is reporting that they have now updated the pricing and they have them available in store.

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.