Why I {Now} Rarely Shop Wal-Mart

Posted by Marianne Thomas | 2/22/2009 06:00:00 AM | , | 7 comments »

Once upon a time (two moves and four years ago), we lived in a little town in Illinois with no Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store.


I know, I know - you're wondering how I survived!

In all seriousness, even though I clipped coupons during that time period, I did so only occasionally and didn't use any sort of strategy to maximize my savings. If only I had known then what I know now....! ;-)

I was fortunate to have both a Save-a-Lot and an Aldi's in our town and the neighboring town; I did quite a bit of shopping in those two stores. But I also shopped at our town's Super Wal-Mart out of sheer necessity.

I didn't mind shopping Wal-Mart, but whenever we visited family back here in Ohio, I'd shop a bit in Kroger and remember just how much I missed the deals. I was very when we finally made it back to Ohio in 2004; Kroger and I have been like peas and carrots ever since!

Now, I shop Wal-Mart once every two or three months and only for the best coupon matchups, like this one:

(4) J&J Buddy Soaps, $0.97 ea

::$1.00/1 J&J Buddy Soap, RP 01/04

(4) Ludens Cough Drops, $1.22 ea

::$1.00/1, RP 01/04

(2) Kotex Pantiliners, $1.00 ea

::$0.75/1, SS 01/11

(3) Schick Disposable Razors, $1.97 ea

::$2.00/1, SS 02/08

(2) Beggin Strips, $2.24

::BOGOFree, SS 01/11

These were great deals worth stocking up on, but there are several reasons why shopping Wal-Mart just ain't my bag (oh, the puns!):

*Wal-Mart does not double coupons like Kroger or Meijer. This means that to get any serious deals, you'll need high value coupons, generally $1/1 or higher.

*Wal-Mart's coupon policy limits the number of coupons per transaction to (40); Kroger has unlimited coupons per transaction.

*Wal-Mart's register system is now asking for confirmation on each high dollar value coupon, something I noticed last night. For several of my coupons, the register stopped and a message like this came up: Is the coupon value correct? The cashier could not continue until she pressed yes or no after visually verifying the coupon. The net result? A situation where the cashier gets hurried and flustered and your coupons don't get properly scanned (which happened to me last night).

*Customer service. Kroger rocks on this, IMHO but Wal-Mart is still lagging in this area (in my personal experience in several towns where I've lived). When I have an issue with a coupon at Kroger, I simply chat with the customer service desk and it's resolved quickly and efficiently. When things go wrong with my coupons at Wal-Mart (like last night), I don't even bother trying to get the transaction corrected because it can take more time than I have to spare...and sometimes there's simply too much confusion about coupons on the Customer Service side.

I'm most definitely Kroger-biased and I know that I'm fortunate to have a Kroger to shop; I do well enough when I do shop Wal-Mart, but I'm very glad it isn't my sole "big" grocery store any longer.

What's your experience with Wal-Mart? Are you lucky enough to consistently do well shopping there? Any hints you'd like to offer? Please share in a comment!

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  1. Patricia @ From Wags to Riches // February 22, 2009 9:28 AM  

    Haha. I only go into WM for the Kotex and Buddy Bars :)

    I used to go there often, when I first started couponing and didn't realize that my Gerbes (a Kroger store) could provide cheaper items. These days, I don't bother even browsing through the WM coupon match-ups.

  2. Sarina // February 22, 2009 11:46 AM  
    This post has been removed by the author.
  3. Sarina // February 22, 2009 11:58 AM  

    My feelings on Walmart are very well documented ;)


    I still check all the deals though and if I have enough to get there I will take advantage of their price matching policy and try to get all my stuff in one place. My Albertsons doesn't double coupons and my Safeway weekly inserts haven't started coming yet. If it's a deal at King Soopers I will usually go there, unless the coupon is too large or there is none at all available.

    (sorry I can't have typos live on forever)

  4. Cricket // February 22, 2009 12:10 PM  

    I haven't been in a Wal-Mart in months. And I so have not missed it...ours was always out of stock of everything that I really wanted to get, crowded, beyond dirty, and everybody who works there seems to be miserable and intent on making anyone who walks in feel the same. Honestly, just the parking lot would get me all angsty, and I still had to go in and actually shop. I keep thinking that I need to just bite the bullet and keep tabs on WM deals and go back, but it's farther away than any other stores that I get better deals at, so it's hard to get motivated... Great post! :)

  5. Frugal Jen // February 22, 2009 1:49 PM  

    There is only one wal-mart I will shop at period. It is in a very nice area and I prefer it to the Kroger. We go early Friday mornings (9:30 am) the same lady checks us out every week and she takes her time and sometimes sneaks coupons in for me :)

    The kids always get free cookies, stickers and fruit so they behave very well, they all know us!

    Yes I know this wal-mart is very rare, most of them are dirty and crazy!

  6. Marianne Thomas // February 22, 2009 6:09 PM  

    Great comments everyone - thanks for sharing!

    If I have to drop into Wal-Mart for other stuff, I'll scan the deals but that's about it.

    I do, however, like shopping Wal-Mart online through Ebates; their clearance on kids clothes is always really low-priced and I just have it shipped to my local WM so I don't pay shipping. That's one definite positive that WM offers.

    Groceries & household stuff, though...I'm happy to stick with Kroger.


  7. Diana // February 23, 2009 4:07 AM  

    I couldn't wait to read this post because I feel the same way! I haven't been in Walmart in months even though it's right next door to the other stores at which I shop because of the terrible customer service I received the last time I used coupons. And just like the other women who posted, I feel like the employees hate their jobs. It's a miserable experience to walk into a Walmart these days.