VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A Vancouver woman said she bought an iPad Mini 4, but found a bag of flour in the box instead of an iPad.
“I paid $400 for flour,” said Sharleen Nelson.
On Sunday, Nelson visited the Walmart store on North Hayden Meadows Drive in Portland. She said a salesman helped her select the iPad, which she paid $399 for.
“He used a key to open the cabinet, looked like there were two of them,” recalled Nelson. “He pulled one out and that's the one I bought.”
Nelson got home, opened the sealed package and saw the bag of flour.
“I thought this was a new packaging thing. I didn't know what it was,” said Nelson. “This thing turned out to be a bag of flour.”
At first Nelson was scared, then her fear developed into anger.
“I thought, what if it's that anthrax?” Nelson said. “I was so mad. I don’t have $400 to just blow!”
A closer look showed someone had cut a hole in the cardboard liner inside the box. The plastic the box was wrapped in was not like the wrapping used on most Apple products. Instead of a soft cellophane, it was stiff plastic wrap that made a loud "crinkling" sound when touched. The same plastic material was used to wrap the flour. The iPad instructions were still in the box, but Nelson wondered if a cookbook might have been more appropriate.
“Bake a cake here, we have a nice little bag of flour,” she joked.
Nelson took the packaging back to Walmart. She said a store manager took photos and filed a report with Walmart’s corporate office. On Friday, the store gave Nelson a full refund.
KGW asked Walmart if this would impact how they conducted quality control. Walmart’s media relations department issued the following statement:
"Our processes will not change due to this specific situation, but we always appreciate when our customers bring these situations to our attention and are happy to quickly resolve the issue."
In 2012, a similar report popped up in Texas. A customer there said they bought an iPad from Walmart, only to find a stack of writing pads inside the box.
“I mean, it's ridiculous,” said Nelson. She hopes customers will pay extra attention to what they buy, especially during the holidays.
“Who would have thought I had to open something right inside the store,” said Nelson. “What if it was a present?”