TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Habits

Re: What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Habits

Dave VanHorn (
Sun, 21 Nov 2004 19:22:38 -0500

> Earlier this year I went to Walmart to get something, and used my
> debit card to pay for it. When I got home I checked the computer and
> there were *three* identical charges instead of only one. I called
> and went back to Walmart, all they would say is 'not our problem, we
> did not swipe you three times, we only swiped you once. The problem
> got corrected in a couple days, but Walmart never admitted to any
> part of it. PAT]

Normally, this sort of thing is caused by not using transaction
sequence numbers in the packets. Terminal sends a packet, host acks,
the ack gets corrupted into a nak, and the terminal re-sends. The
terminal eventually gets a good ack, and thinks it's only done one
transaction, but the host sees multiple identical transactions, and
believes they are independent.

Adding a sequence number makes finding dupes trivial.

This is not probably something that WM has any direct control over

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What you say is true, but I have been
in other stores when the same kind of problem came up, and they at
least apologize for any confusion and offer some free gift or
coupon for the trouble. Not Walmart though.

Our Chamber of Commerce has a thing called 'Main Street Gift
Certificates'. They sell them to you in any denomination wanted, and
they are redeemable at almost any store in town. They are great to
give as gifts when you do not know what to give the other person, or
they can be used for food at several restaurants. The redemptor turns
them in to the Chamber office less a *one percent* administrative fee.
Walmart, which refuses to belong to the Chamber of Commerce also
refuses to accept those gift certificates; I guess they do not feel
they should have to pay the one percent administrative fee charged
the redemptors. PAT]

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