Walmart vs. Target - Price comparison

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Item #17 on the list was a bag of potting soil. 

A ten-quart sack of Supersoil was $2.97 at Walmart, easy enough. However, when I checked Target, all of the sacks were 8 quarts. It is tough to compare these prices, but because there wasn't quantity equality.

If you just compare the prices, Target wins, because their bags of Garden Place potting mix were just $2.49.

By price/per quart, Walmart wins, as they charged about 30 cents a quart, to Target's 31 cents.

But, a Target fan might argue, Walmart "makes you buy more", and that if you wanted volume discounts, you would probably just buy a two cubic-foot bag for $12 and pay just 20 cents per quart.

I think the fairest way to compare these two prices is to recognize a price curve that exists when retailers create package sizes.

For example, here is a package size/price curve for jars of mayonnaise. As the package size increases from 8 ounces to 128 ounces, the price drops from 19 cents to 8.5 cents per ounce.


To be perfectly fair when comparing the 8qt. Target bag and the10 qt. Walmart bag, I would have to generate a group of curves for different products and compare the slopes of their package size/price curves. I didn't do that. I also didn't buy that gallon jar of mayonnaise.

For potting soil, I'm going to call this comparison a tie.

Item #17 - Bag of Potting Soil 







The next item was 13 gallon kitchen garbage bags.

This comparison was also treacherous. First of all, the bags at Walmart were marked with two different prices - $2.94 and $3.58 for a roll of 90. When I checked out, they scanned at the higher price, but when I complained to the attendant, and she silently adjusted the price to $2.94. 

Target had the same brand, Ruffies, but only offered 30-bag rolls, scented bag rolls and 175 bag rolls. The 175 bag rolls were $4.99, so again I was left to consider the slope of the package size/price curve.

Walmart had the lowest price at $2.94, Target had the lower price per bag, at 2.8 cents, but they "make you buy more" to get that price. Again, I called this comparison a draw. The photograph is from Target.


Item #18 - 13-gallon kitchen garbage bags 





Item 19 on the list was a plastic colander.

Walmart's cheapest option was the aqua, blue and clear ones in this top photo for $3.66. 

Go ahead and try to read the colander prices on the shelf, but don't strain your eyes.




Target's cheapest plastic colander was this petite white one, priced at just $1.99.

If I had known that colanders could be found for such a cheap price, I would never have spent 2 years draining my spaghetti through an old pair of stockings.



Item #19 - Plastic Colander 


Target $1.67





Finally, the comparison ended when I found the exact same 5x7 bejeweled silver frame at Target that I had previously found at Walmart.

The price at Target was $7.99. See top photo.

After spending hours wandering the aisles, snapping pictures and checking prices, I wanted to determine the Walmart price accurately, and not settle for the "maybe $7.00" price I had penciled in. I drove back to Walmart to verify their price.





As if my quest had been overheard by the ghost of Sam Walton, I returned to Walmart to find the frame on sale for $2.94! That was a huge, $5 savings over Target's price.


Item #20 - Silver 5x7 picture frame 


Walmart $5.05



Please read the conclusion Walmart vs. Target - Price comparison.

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March 27th, 2005.  

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