12 Things You Shouldn’t Be Buying at Walmart
When it comes to certain items, the low price is just not worth it.
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To Walmart or not to Walmart?
It would sure be great to have a one-stop-shop where you could, in a perfect world, buy all of your day-to-day basic needs. But no store is perfect—whether because of prices, quality, or simply what a store offers or doesn’t offer, you’re instead best off buying some things from one place and others from another. This is certainly part of the reason online retailers like Amazon are so successful. One store where you can buy pretty much anything is Walmart. And while there are plenty of things you haven’t been buying at Walmart but should be, there are other items for which you may want to look elsewhere.
Walmart is a great destination for inexpensive name-brand food, and its grocery delivery service is an easy, convenient option. But when you’re on the hunt for quality organic food, you might want to turn elsewhere, smart shopping and personal finance expert Trae Bodge said. “Walmart is not known for its pricing on organic foods, so you might do better at a Trader Joe’s or Aldi,” Bodge added. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can also get discounts on some organic fare at Whole Foods. Aldi is notoriously reasonably priced—find out some more things you should be buying there.
Great Value brand food
Great Value is Walmart’s store brand, and there’s no alternative place to buy these products (except online). Bodge advised to just skip them altogether. She says that for what you get, it might actually be worth it to stick to name brands. “I’ve found that if you compare the quantities and unit sizes with the name brand, the prices are pretty comparable,” she explained. With the negligible price difference, you might as well just go ahead and buy the name brand, if only “so you don’t get the side-eye from your kids!” she said jokingly. Find out why Aldi’s groceries are so cheap.
Walmart is known for its cheap prices, but it still hasn’t cornered the market on affordability. Case in point: fragrances. While an $18 “Bonjour Beautiful” perfume sampler kit makes our list of awesome products you can only get at Walmart, Walmart is actually not a great place to get deals on high-end fragrances. Take it from Adrian Lauruc, a fragrance collector who runs FragranceSpotter.com. “Creed Aventus, a very popular niche fragrance, costs $635.19 at Walmart,” he told RD.com. “You can find the same product at online retailer FragranceX for $342.” For an overall cheaper example, Lauruc found a fragrance with a $204 price tag at Walmart for just under $109 on Amazon.
If you buy furniture from Walmart, you’re taking a gamble, according to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Most of Walmart’s affordable options [for wood furniture] are made of things like particleboard,” Ramhold explained. “Unfortunately, this often means these pieces won’t survive one move, let alone others, and they won’t be able to handle minor scuffs and scratches.” While the retailer’s furniture is budget-friendly, you risk having to spend more money in the long run to replace it. You can get far better deals on furniture at IKEA or Amazon. “For what you spend on some cheaply made pieces at Walmart, you can find decent alternatives,” Ramhold said. Find out some more things you think will be cheaper at Walmart—but aren’t.
Vitamins and supplements
“Vitamins are one of those products that can sap your wallet over time, so you’re better off buying your favorite brands in bulk when you can,” says Ramhold. “If you’re taking them regularly, you’ll save way more by stocking up at a warehouse store.” The same goes for supplements. Actually, in 2015, Walmart—along with other retailers like Target and Walgreens—came under fire for selling supplements that didn’t contain what they said they did. Many of the “herbal” supplements even contained additives like powdered rice and asparagus rather than real herbs. “The problem has likely been remedied since ,” Ramhold said, “[but] it’s still disconcerting.” Also, disconcerting? These crazy things Walmart employees have seen at work.
Great Value toilet paper
You shouldn’t forego Walmart as an option for toilet paper altogether, but Bodge advises against buying the generic Walmart Great Value brand just because it’s affordable. “Walmart’s Great Value brand of toilet paper is well priced but fared poorly in Consumer Reports testing,” she warned. In a Consumer Reports test of all of Walmart’s toilet paper options, the Great Value brand scored a total of nine out of 100. The reviewers said it “was neither soft nor strong, and it didn’t disintegrate well.” Granted, it looks like the most recent test of this nature was in 2015, so maybe Walmart has stepped it up a little since then. In case you’re wondering, White Cloud toilet paper fared the best in that test.
This one’s pretty simple—you can get gift cards for cheaper elsewhere. If you buy them at Walmart, you’ll pay exactly what they’re worth. But Ramhold points out that retailers like Costco often sell gift cards in bulk—you can get four $25 gift cards for $69.99 rather than $100, an option Walmart doesn’t offer. Of course, you may not need four gift cards, in which case a bundle deal won’t help. But Bodge says that you can still get discounted gift cards on sites like GiftCardGranny. The site also offers cashback deals on some cards.
When it comes to place settings like plates, glasses, and cutlery, Ramhold puts it pretty simply: “If you’re not worried about quality, odds are you can find cheap place settings at a Dollar Store, and if you are worried about quality, you definitely don’t need to buy the cheap pieces of dinnerware and flatware at Walmart.” There you go—no matter what quality of dishware you’re looking for, you’ll probably be better off somewhere else. But when it comes to cooking tools, a very affordable ten-piece set of basic gadgets actually made our list of things you should buy at Walmart.
Here’s another common kitchen item that you might want to bypass Walmart when buying. If you use kitchen appliances, like mixers and blenders, regularly, you should spring for higher-quality ones, says Ramhold. You could probably get away with using a Walmart one if you only use it once in a while, but if you’re a big-time cook using a Walmart product, you’ll likely end up replacing it sooner rather than later. So, for instance, “if you frequently mix batters, it’s best to skip the cheap hand mixers and stand mixers at Walmart and just go ahead and invest in something like a KitchenAid,” Ramhold said.
Yes, you will get a pretty good deal on tires at Walmart—but you can get even better deals elsewhere. Ramhold’s pick? Costco! “[Costco’s tires] tend to be excellent quality, and you can find great deals throughout the year,” she said. In addition, Costco will rotate and balance your tires for free—for the entire life of the tires. “That same service at Walmart is $12 per tire,” Ramhold said. We’re with her on this one—here’s more about why Costco is the only place you should be buying tires!
Gift wrap is an interesting beast, depending on how seriously you take your present presentation. Ramhold warned that sometimes wrapping paper from the Dollar Store can rip while you’re cutting it, and if you’d like to avoid that, maybe don’t buy it. But there are still some places that make better choices for gift wrap than Walmart, especially if you don’t go through it quickly. “I say opt for wrapping paper from places like Costco or Sam’s [Club], where you’ll get more bang for your buck,” Ramhold said. “I’ve had the same roll of reversible wrapping paper [from Costco] for the past several years… it was $10 for a huge roll and so worth it!” Find out some more things you might not want to buy at the dollar store.
A large electronic device such as a computer and television is expensive but that’s usually not the case at Walmart. But in this case the smaller price tag may not be a good thing. “[Walmart’s] house brands are very much a ‘get-what-you-pay-for’ situation,” Ramhold said. “That 50 inch [TV] set for $190 seems like an amazing deal for a 4K UHD TV—but the fact that it’s Sceptre brand might cause several shoppers to pause.” While the Sceptre brand isn’t horrible, it likely won’t last as long, or be as good quality in general, as a Samsung or other high-end electronic brands. So, those are the things that you might not want to buy at Walmart. But you’re welcome to buy these wacky—or brilliant?—products available there.