# What's up with Walmart

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#### les

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I've stopped by my local Walmart several times over the last few months. While they have rocket kits, including the new ones (I picked up the Crossbow SST), they have not had engines in a long time. They also do not have launch pads or controllers (and the new kits require you get these separate). They do not even have shelf space allocated for these items.

I happened to be out of town (by 180 miles) and had a chance to visit another Walmart. This one also had kits but no engines, pads, or controllers.

I have sufficient pads & controllers, and there are several other places in town where I can get engines and such. My concern is the new person who sees the rocket, reads the side print that states you need all this other "stuff", finds that Walmart not does carry that "stuff", so they just put it back. A potential new rocketeer has a "failure to launch" before they even leave the store.

I've seen many posts of people getting great "clearance" deals from Walmart.
Has Walmart dropped carrying engines?

What are other people seeing???
Thanks
Les

#### dwmzmm

##### Well-Known Member
There's three Wal - Marts near my house; two of them carry engines and one
doesn't (don't know why). Two have four of the new kits on the shelf, one only has one. One (that I know of) has the Moon Mut (or whatever it's called) that does have a launch pad. So I guess each store has a different mix of products.

#### jimzcatz

##### Boss, Carolina Rocket Mafia
Local zoning people. Maybe??

#### Peartree

##### Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
The problem with motors (more specifically the absence of motors) at WM seems ot be more systemic than local. This has been brought up several times on YORF and IIRC one of the folk with connections to Estes (possibly Mike Dorffler) said that the problem should be fixed soon but could not go into any more detail than that. Apparently patience is once again required.

##### Well-Known Member
No. Mike did not say the problem was systemic. he said that ALL Estes products have been delayed by the new Federal toy testing laws. The first batch of kits passed and has been delivered to virtually all Wal-marts in the USA that carry rockets. The motors situation is supposed to be better very soon. Not sure if it was testing of the motors or the igniters or the packaging that held them up.

This is also why they had the insane clearance deals in the last 9 months - to flush the supply system of all older product.

You will not be seeing very much in the way of plastic parts in the future. I did not say "zero", I said not very much. you will see LOTS of balsa wood.

Complete details are on YORF- or as complete as the folks who actually work at Estes can reveal. Everything else from a non-Estes source is either made-up-speculation or "wild fantasy" as the Estes folks have described it.

The problem with motors (more specifically the absence of motors) at WM seems ot be more systemic than local. This has been brought up several times on YORF and IIRC one of the folk with connections to Estes (possibly Mike Dorffler) said that the problem should be fixed soon but could not go into any more detail than that. Apparently patience is once again required.

#### Peartree

##### Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
No. Mike did not say the problem was systemic. he said that ALL Estes products have been delayed by the new Federal toy testing laws. The first batch of kits passed and has been delivered to virtually all Wal-marts in the USA that carry rockets. The motors situation is supposed to be better very soon. Not sure if it was testing of the motors or the igniters or the packaging that held them up.

This is also why they had the insane clearance deals in the last 9 months - to flush the supply system of all older product.

You will not be seeing very much in the way of plastic parts in the future. I did not say "zero", I said not very much. you will see LOTS of balsa wood.

Complete details are on YORF- or as complete as the folks who actually work at Estes can reveal. Everything else from a non-Estes source is either made-up-speculation or "wild fantasy" as the Estes folks have described it.
To be clear, I did not say that MIKE said the problem was systemic. All I recall Mike saying was that whatever the motor problem was (and he deliberately didn't say what it was in the posts that I read) it should be fixed soon.

What *I* said was that the problem *seemed* to be systemic, as in *not* localized but system wide. Your statement would confirm that the problem is not local but indeed system wide, therefore... systemic.

#### Pantherjon

##### Well-Known Member
I concur..I think it is systemic..Their much ballwhooed inventory control system at its best I suppose..Also doesn't help when the clerk rings up 2 of the same item even tho you have 2 DIFFERENT items of 1 each..Like what happened tonight when I got a Taser Twin and a Crossbow..She rang it up as me getting 2 Taser Twins..I told her they were 2 different items..But she just didn't want to scan the 2nd box..

#### Winston

##### Lorenzo von Matterhorn
The many local Wal-Mart supercenters in this area have also had for quite some time a problem obtaining any engines at all according to conversations I've had with their employees. And when rocket kits sit on the shelf and there are no engines to be had near them, those kits don't sell. And when those kits and the rocket engines that are not in stock don't sell, the inventory computer program flags them as an item to be _dropped_. And that is exactly what is happening.

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#### AKPilot

##### Well-Known Member
To be frank, I think even Wal-mart's figuring out some problems with Estes. I lay better than even odds that model rocket kits will disappear from Wal-mart shelves within the year.

As has been pointed out, it's even hard to find a starter set nowadays, and the mish-mash of motors and/or rockets doesn't compliment what they stock. Sometimes they'll have motors, and other times they'll have rockets. Sometimes we get lucky and both are in stock together.

I've said it before I'm not anti-Estes, per se, but I'm a realist. I hope they can turn things around and come into Wal-mart's favor, for all of our sakes.

#### Winston

##### Lorenzo von Matterhorn
To be frank, I think even Wal-mart's figuring out some problems with Estes.
As I said in a post above, it's not about anyone figuring out anything. It's about no motors in stock resulting in no motor OR rocket sales resulting in the rockets and motors ending up on a computer generated list of items to drop. That is exactly what has happened in two of the Walmarts here according to the personnel I've talked with in both stores. Individual stores can choose what to carry and what to drop. It's not a company-wide policy.

#### Patch

##### Member
Wally World just raised the prices of their engines a dollar. I thought they were supposed to go down?:y:

#### Pat_B

##### Well-Known Member
Our WM had motors late last year for $4.97. They later marked them down to$3.97 and the same display of motors sat there for a few months without any sales. I made an offer of $1.97 to the mgr to buy the whole box of 40 something motors and she told me to check back with her. I followed up too late and all the motors were gone. They've since NOT restocked them despite there being a price tag of$4.97 on the shelve even though they got all the new Estes kits. It's been over 6 months now, so there are obviously problems with something. Perhaps Estes can't supply them at this time?

#### Winston

##### Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Perhaps Estes can't supply them at this time?
WM wants bottom dollar wholesale prices from everyone they deal with and they have the volume power to get it. However, if Estes has production or lead content certification process issues and has chosen to give priority to retailers that will accept a higher wholesale price, they're killing their WM business because, as I said, individual stores will drop Estes rockets entirely because of their inventory control program's recommendations.

Also, as I'm sure must have been discussed here in the past, the motor packs sold at WM are different than anywhere else I've found and include some recovery wadding with the motors. So, not only does WM demand low wholesale prices, they must be demandiing extras, too. I can see how Estes might want to give priority to Hobby Lobby and Michaels if they have a supply problem, but they may be shooting themselves in the foot as WM stores will drop Estes rockets and motors due to low sales as a result of no available motors.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I have seen both kinds of packaging for Estes motors at Walmart - with and without wadding. That is, when I could still find them there. In the last several visits to WM in which I actually saw Estes motors, they were in the regular packaging without wadding.

MarkII

#### BobH48

##### Well-Known Member
I just saw engines in my local Walmart last weekend. That was the first time I've seen them there in over a year.

They were marked \$5.97 and there were A8-3, A10-3T, B4-4, and B6-4.

##### Well-Known Member
I cleaned out a local Wal-Mart of their B6-4 stash tonight, but they had some A8-3 and A10-3Ts as well. I was starting to worry because I haven't seen motors locally.

#### peter_stanley

##### Well-Known Member
Our local Walmart only ever has C6-3s and C6-5s, and they have been 6.97 for a while. The nearest Toys R Us though has odd motors you never find locally, like B6-0s.

#### Night Tripper

##### Active Member
Walmart's distribution has always been hit or miss.

Besides model rocketry, I also collect 1960's & 1970's era GI Joes. Back in 2004, Hasbro released a 40th Anniversary collection. Nearly 30 different GI Joe sets were to be released thoughout that year. Walmart carried them all. However, not all of their stores had them in stock. The Marine Medic, a Walmart exclusive, was never carried by any of my three local Walmart locations. And many other GI Joe collectors in other cities were reporting them stacked up in the aisles and some already on clearance.

I just don't think Walmart concerns itself with niche markets such as our hobby. Hobby and craft products have been on the decline for a while. For those that build plastic models, when was the last time you saw model kits, paints, brushes or model glue at Walmart?

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
...Hobby and craft products have been on the decline for a while. For those that build plastic models, when was the last time you saw model kits, paints, brushes or model glue at Walmart?
The first Walmart in my area, which opened about 9 or 10 years ago, had a really decent model-building section in the Toy section. Lots of Testor's enamels, Model Master and Boyd's paints, Testor's airbrush systems, hobby knives and saws, racks full of all kinds of replacement blades, other useful hobby tools, and of course, shelves stacked with model kits. The rocketry stuff used to be right next to it. And then, all of a sudden, about three years ago it all disappeared. No traditional model-building stuff of any sort.

The last time that I was in a Toys 'R Us (which was the first time in several years), I scoured the store looking for the model section. And you know what? It didn't have one! I also couldn't find footballs, baseballs, bats or gloves, roller skates or even ping pong equipment there, either. At least 80% of all the merchandise in the store was electronic - nothing that would ever give a kid any reason to get off the couch and exercise anything other than his or her thumbs. This was a store that was at least 30 years old, and I had been to it on many occasions over the years. I spent an hour there, roaming the aisles searching for something - anything - else, and I never found it. With all of the flashing lights, the computerized jingles and the bing! bing! bing!, it was all I could do not to scream after awhile, and I eventually stormed out of there, totally disgusted. That was two years ago, and the memory of it still infuriates me whenever I think of it. Really .

There is a special place in Hell for whoever runs that company. :hot:

MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I have seen both kinds of packaging for Estes motors at Walmart - with and without wadding. That is, when I could still find them there. In the last several visits to WM in which I actually saw Estes motors, they were in the regular packaging without wadding.

MarkII
I have never, ever seen Estes motors at any Wal-mart in the USA without the wadding (except the A10-PT packs). They all have the wadding and 4 igniters because WM does not sell wadding or igniter packs. Since all the product comes through the same distribution system, this is semi-interesting.

Could a customer have taken some regular packs of motors (from a Michaels or other retailer) and returned them to WM for a store credit or exchange? They have the same UPC.

#### GlennW

##### Well-Known Member
There is a special place in Hell for whoever runs that company. :hot:

MarkII
I don't know about that. They have to sell what people will buy there, not what the management would like them to buy. Retail operations have to be more customer driven than ever before to stay competitive. Also, with the proliferation of large scale sporting goods stores in the last couple of decades, that is what people think of when they want the athletic stuff that the toy stores used to carry. It may also be regional. At my local Toys R us they have bikes and some sports stuff, not just electronics.

Glenn

#### foose4string

##### Well-Known Member
It may also be regional. At my local Toys R us they have bikes and some sports stuff, not just electronics.

Glenn
Ditto. They usually have very a nice selection of bikes for kids. There is also an isle or two for skateboards, scooters, assorted balls, etc. Some things geared for outdoor use are often seasonal items... same as any dept. store. For instance, I'll bet you have a hard time finding a water gun or wiffle ball set at a Toys R Us in NY or Michigan during the month of December, but they are probably standard items in July.

#### Winston

##### Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Since all the product comes through the same distribution system, this is semi-interesting.
I found it strange that all of the Walmarts on the north end of town where I live couldn't get motors from their warehouse and, as a result, were dropping both the kits and motors while all of the Walmarts on the south end of town had no problems at all getting plenty of motors. What I found out is that there's a dividing line where stores will either get their stock from a warehouse to the south or one to the north. So, weirdly, the motor stocking problem seems to be due to unexplained differences between what different warehouses stock. So, here's a possible sequence:

1. A possibly limited motor supply is being sent to warehouses where the demand (sales) is the greatest thereby preventing certain warehouses from getting an adequate supply.
2. Stores using that warehouse can't get motors which kills both their motor and kit sales causing their inventory control program to recommend dropping the items which they then do.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I have never, ever seen Estes motors at any Wal-mart in the USA without the wadding (except the A10-PT packs). They all have the wadding and 4 igniters because WM does not sell wadding or igniter packs. Since all the product comes through the same distribution system, this is semi-interesting.

Could a customer have taken some regular packs of motors (from a Michaels or other retailer) and returned them to WM for a store credit or exchange? They have the same UPC.
If I ever see a pack of Estes motors at a Walmart again in my lifetime, I'll have to check on this. Looking at the packs left in my stash (which is starting to get rather depleted because I haven't been able to buy motors at Walmart), many do not have price stickers on them, so I cannot say for sure where I bought them. My sources for Estes motors in the past few years have been Walmart (the majority of my motors), Michael's (the largest group of the rest) K-Mart (a few, when they still carried them, mostly A10-PT's), and a few hobby shops (motors at the large and small ends of the line - D's, E's and 1/2A6-2's). The K-Mart packs and the hobby shop packs are clearly identified by their price tags. I don't recall if Michael's puts price tags on individual motor packs or not; I know that Walmart does not. So I can't completely settle the question by referring to my motor stash (I just tried). I have unmarked packs of motors with the wadding packs (obviously from WM) and unmarked packs that do not contain wadding. I pretty quickly stopped buying motors from Michael's when I realized that they were much, much cheaper at the Walmart at the other end of the shopping plaza. Just about all of my 13mm 1/2A's and 1/4A's came from Michael's, though (as did my one BOFP), but these aren't the packs that are at issue here.

MarkII