Yep, that is how I have been doing it lately. I go to other stores and am happier. I also find that prices are not really that much worse elsewhere but there are certain things where Wal-Mart wins on the price like the mentioned Mobil 1 oil deals. There is also a dog leash that is their store brand. It is much cheaper and better than the farm stores in town which is surprising. I always worry that they will change suppliers or lower the quality but it has been consistent. That same exact leash with different packaging is 4x more at the PetSmart store. Wal-Mart won’t stay in business on people who maybe come in once a month on a good day and only buy what is cheap though.
The other issue is the house brands and their quality. The dog leash is an outlier of something that is good. I bought a used car and it came with seemingly decent tires on it based on the tread and such. I knew nothing about Douglas tires being a Wal-Mart brand but these were terrible tires and they quickly got replaced after a close call that nearly killed me. They have other tires as well but are Wal-Mart only models even if they are a brand like Goodyear. I have had mixed luck with their Everstart batteries as well. The good news is that if you buy the yellow one with the 3 year free replacement, you usually never end up having to pay for a battery again. They NEVER seem to last 3 years. Some of the mechanics around here call then Neverstarts. The mentioned “winter” windshield washer solvent is yet another example.
I did recently have a good experience with the auto center. I needed tires and my car takes a somewhat odd size so I had to either wait for a tire store to order them or order them myself. Wal-Mart came up online as having them in my size and at the local store but they were the Douglas and I wasn’t getting that. They also had the best deal on decent tires. They could be shipped right to the auto center for no additional cost and I could pay for the mounting at the same time. I am gone a lot so am not around to sign for deliveries. I also didn’t want tires just stolen off my place if they left them while I wasn’t home as I hear package theft is a big deal these days. The service they offered was very convenient for me so I went with them and it worked out well. I have two complaints and suggestions as to how to make it better. One is that they don’t take appointments which would have been great for me. The other is that I wish they had better tires in stock as well but I can understand that is isn’t worth it is most of their customers want the cheap stuff.
I considered buying cheaper tires with a decent traction rating but a low wear rating. I figured out that it was more expensive to buy 30,000 mile tires when the mounting and disposal costs were factored in than a 50,000 mile tire.
I was careful to compare all the specs on the Mobil 1 to make sure it wasn’t a watered down grade and it isn’t. I also don’t think that their store brand oil is bad for the money either and would have no issues running it. Again, I can get the Mobil 1 for less money if I wait for the rebate and stock up. I always buy my allotment when that deal comes up.
My last issue with them is the whole “Wal-Mart mentality” as I call it. I service computers and electronics for a living and have pretty much cut out the demographic that buys their stuff at Wal-Mart. I used to try and sell computers but there is no way I could come close to the prices of a big box store. I have talked to the big box office supply store in town and they often sell computers as a loss leader and count on people buying paper, software, printers, ink, etc. to make up for it. The people who buy at Wal-Mart just want cheap. They don’t care if it won’t do what they want it to do very well as long as it is cheap. Companies make special models just for Wal-Mart. I don’t care if it Goodyear Tires or Dell Computers. They all have a spec number that is only sold at Wal-Mart and it is typically a cheapened version. I cater to businesses as well as the demographic that subscribes to Consumer Reports and shops at Costco. They are willing to pay for a better product and service to set it up correctly. In addition they are just a lot easier to deal with which is important for my safety and sanity.
I guess they have their niche but I choose a a step or two up from this type of product.