It has long been my feeling that even though I am willing to pay a "Target tax" ($1.99 for an item at Target instead of $1.87 for the same item at Walmart), that overall I save money by shopping at Target. This is for two reasons, no three reasons, no FOUR reasons:
1. Target has sales. Target's everyday price might be higher than Walmart's, but their sale price is lower.
2. Target has good clearances. Target's everday price might be higher than Walmart's, but their clearance prices are way, WAY lower.
3. Cheapness is partly reputation---not necessarily deserved reputation. The FEELING is that Walmart MUST be WAY cheaper because they have a carefully-constructed reputation for it and because they are SO unpleasant in so many ways, but an actual item-by-item examination reveals that some items are a little cheaper and some are a little more expensive and basically they're not cheaper. This is something I've been meaning to do a post on (comparing the prices at Walmart and Target of all the things I buy), but the research involved makes me feel like dying.
4. Walmart is a bunch of cheaters. The price marked on the shelf is lower than Target's, but the price that rings up at the register is not. Or, the item will be marked "20% more free!" but will ring up at a price about 20% higher than regular price. EVERY store (of COURSE including Target) makes errors at the register, but in general the errors even out: some are in the store's favor, some are in the customer's. Walmart's don't balance out, and this has been true at all three Walmarts I've lived near and shopped at regularly, in three different states.
ANYWAY. So it has been my opinion that Target costs me less money for the way I personally shop: that is, for the particular things/brands I buy, and for the things I buy on clearance, and for how unwilling I am to drag a cart full of children over to Customer Service to fix a bunch of 24-cent pricing errors.
But today I would like to add "The Example of the Luvs Diapers" as YET ANOTHER reason I think Target costs me less money and Walmart's reputation for cheapness is not fully deserved. Normally I buy all diapers at Target, the store brand ones for daytime and Luvs brand for nighttime. Today my mom and I were running errands and we needed to go to Walmart for yarn, and we weren't planning on going to Target, and I was nearly out of Luvs at home, so I thought I'd better get a box while I was there. I don't like giving Walmart my money, but I felt a little guiltily pleased to be "forced into" paying $15.97 for a box of Luvs instead of Target's $17.99.
Then I got home and OH WHAT HAVE WE HERE.
Allow a former math medalist to walk you through the math, or perhaps you can join me at the riveting conclusion in the next paragraph. Walmart charges $15.97 for 70 diapers, so to find the per-diaper price we divide $15.97 by 70, and the answer is 22.814 cents per diaper. Target charges $17.99 for 80 diapers, so to find the per-diaper price we divide $17.99 by 80, and the answer is 22.488 cents per diaper.
Per 100 diapers, Walmart charges $22.81 and Target charges $22.48. Target...charges...LESS. That's a pretty small price difference, and in fact I consider that "the same price." But the issue here is not that Walmart and Target have a similar price on Luvs; the issue here is that Walmart has their own package size, which is smaller than the standard but not enough smaller to be obviously smaller, and that they charge "less" for it. The impression shoppers receive---even MATH MEDALIST shoppers who notice prices---is that Walmart's prices are lower. Which would be fine IF THEY WERE. But I'm adding a fifth reason to my list:
5. Walmart has their own sizes on certain things. This gives the impression that they charge less, when in fact they are charging more.
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