'That is the true magic of Christmas': Anonymous man pays off every item in Walmart layaway

For many families, layaway is how the holidays happen, helping those who don’t have the funds to purchase an item outright, or lack the credit to buy it immediately. It’s those, of all people, who will appreciate this recent act of kindness most of all.

An anonymous person paid off all the layaway items at a Walmart in Derby, Vermont, according to WCAX. With just days before Thanksgiving and the official kick-off to the holiday season, it was likely a blessing for many families.

A customer, Julie Gates, was picking up a package at the store on Thursday when she overheard the secret Santa asking if he could pay for someone’s items.

“I don’t even think if I can find the words to say,” she told the outlet. “He came up to the man in front of me and said, ‘Either I am going to pay for it now or I am going to pay for it later.'” 

He then turned to Gates and said, “Why don’t you run and get what you want now and come back here.” She was skeptical, but she did as he said and when she returned, he was still there.

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5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees
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5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees

Making assumptions about the services offered at your local store

Walmart does offer product care plans and a trade-in program that allows shoppers to exchange devices for gift cards.

But one Walmart employee of nine years told Business Insider that it was a mistake for customers to just assume "we have an electronics repair facility here."

If you're in doubt, it's best to skip the wild goose chase and try calling ahead.

Failing to plan out your shopping trips

Shopping for a big holiday weekend blowout?

Well, just assume that everyone else is following suit.

An associate of 12 years told Business Insider that it was a mistake to wait "until the last minute to shop," especially when it comes to busier times of the week or year.

The employee added that some shoppers fail to understand that "they aren't the only people that will show up. So, yes, there will be lines at the registers. Plan better — plan early."

A Reddit poster who said they worked in the electronics department at Walmart noted that Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays typically garner the biggest crowds.

Skipping an important return hack

A Walmart store manager told the savings-oriented blog The Krazy Coupon Lady that there's a way to return products ordered online with less hassle.

If you end up ordering an item on Walmart.com that you don't actually want, you can return it through the chain's mobile express returns system.

"You just get a QR code from your Walmart app, bring your item to the store, skip the line, and scan your QR code on the credit card machine," according to The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Being mean to Walmart associates

A Walmart employee of 15 years said that "being mean" to the employees at Walmart is probably the biggest mistake a shopper can make.

"If you are nice to them, they will bend over backwards to help you," the employee told Business Insider.

That means acting courteously and not threatening to "contact management or the home office" when something goes wrong that's outside of the employees' control, according to an associate of 11 years.

"Unfortunately, there is a bad stigma surrounding Walmart employees," former Walmart employee Crystal Linn wrote on Quora.

They added that customers sometimes buy into that bias and treat the associates as "ignorant high school drop-outs."

"I even had a woman ask me once, 'Do you even know what an electric can opener is?' after I showed her where the handheld ones were located," Linn wrote. "Not everyone is like this, of course, but it seems that the large majority have this idea in their mind that anyone that works at Walmart is trashy. The way that people treat you because of that really wears you down."

Forgetting to check for markdowns

Want to save some money on your next Walmart run? Watch out for the prices.

Specifically, keep an eye out for price tags ending in 0 or 1.

According to an interview with a Walmart store manager on The Krazy Coupon Lady, a pricetag ending with a 0 or a 1 denotes a "final markdown price." Meanwhile, the store manager told the blog that prices ending in 5 "are the first markdown price."

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The man had paid for Gates and everyone else in line. Gates estimated that the people in front of her had eight or nine-hundred dollars worth of layaway items.

“This can’t be, who can afford to pay for everyone’s layaway? And he said ‘Santa Claus can,'” Gates said. But his kind gesture wasn’t just for the people in line. On Saturday, the outlet reports the layaway storage room was filled from the floor to the ceiling with items, and now they’re all paid off.

Tammy Desautels was one of the individuals who had her items paid off. “It was kind of surreal when they said no balance due,” she said. “Then it was really a reality.”

Walmart is unable to disclose how much the man spent, but his kindness goes beyond gifts. For Desautels, it’s one less thing to worry about. For many families, the extra money will mean heat through the cold months, food or other necessities without giving up a magical Christmas.

“Really have a feeling that there is hope for mankind or whatever. There’s still good people out there,” said Desautels.

“I get goosebumps thinking that — that is the true magic of Christmas, that’s the Christmas spirit walking among us,” Gates said.

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