First, let me start by telling you about the challenge. I was asked by Walmart, to make a list of school supplies and buy the same list at Walmart, and the same list at a competitor store in my town, which is Kmart. The purpose? To see which store will cost less because Walmart claims the lowest prices around!
I openly admitted to the Walmart team that I had a feeling that Kmart would give them a good run for their money so I would be very interested (and shocked) to see the results myself.
I have two high school boys that don’t need much for high school when it comes to supplies. In fact, they only really need the basics so my shopping experience was short. I started by making the list of school supplies needed for the shopping trip. It consisted of:
- 4 – 1 inch binders
- 4 pkgs of dividers
- 4 pkgs of notebook paper (wide ruled)
- 4 pkgs of mechanical pencils
- 2 boxes of regular pencils
- 2 pkgs of pens
- 2 pkgs of highlighters
- 2 pkgs of their favorite pens
- 4 3 subject notebooks
- 2 boxes of crayons (for Truett)
I took that list and divided it in half and went shopping.
Walmart has their school supplies section setup like always. Bins in the middle of the major aisle as well as two whole aisles dedicated to back to school stuff. I headed over and grabbed every single item on my list, no problems. I get to check out, ring everything up myself because I’m using self-checkout (<–whoever thought of that is genius), and pay the total of $19.05! Heck yeah! UNDER $20 bucks!
Kmart had 2 sections of school supplies. One right when you walk in, with mostly smaller children type of supplies, and the other one. I headed towards the back. First of all, talk about slim pickins. I was immediately disappointed that they had very little but what they did have was out in the middle of the aisle in bins so I started rummaging through for the items on my list. I head to check out and I wait………and I wait some more……there are only two checkers and the lines are going out to the clothing section and curving around. 2 checkers on tax free weekend? Really? This is why I use self-checkout at Walmart all the time. Anyways, I finally get up there and watch the items pass through the scanner….with a slightly shocked looked on my face. I NEVER expected Kmart’s prices to be as high as they were. The grand total? $38.57 WOW! Shocked to say the least. I wanted to put everything back and head back to Walmart.
Walmart on the Left, Kmart on the Right
So let’s recap!
Walmart Back to School Shopping total was $19.05
Kmart’s Back to School Shopping total was $38.57
That’s a difference of ————————>$19.52
In case you’re wondering where the supply differences came in, here’s the breakdown of it. I couldn’t find a big box of regular pencils at Kmart so I had to buy 2 smaller boxes to equal Walmart’s one big box. I also couldn’t find any 24 count Crayola Crayons at Kmart (or any Crayons for that matter) so I had to buy the 16 ct Roseart ones. The mechanical pencils were in two packages at Walmart but could only find bigger pkgs at Kmart so I had to buy one big, to equal Walmart’s two. And finally, the 3 subject notebooks–Kmart only had one kind, Walmart had two. We chose the cheaper of the two at Walmart. Even if Kmart had a lower price on their 3-subject notebooks, they still wouldn’t have beat Walmart’s price. Everything else was the same.
I actually like our Kmart a great deal and was saddened by the high prices. I never expected to see almost a 50% difference. That is just crazy. It was very hard for me not to just walk right out of there after having spent less than $20 at Walmart but I committed to the shopping comparison challenge and had to complete it.
So my questions for you are: Where do you buy YOUR school supplies at? And how much do you normally spend on school supplies?
Disclosure: As many of you know, I’m a participant in the Walmart Mom program. Walmart compensated me for my time and efforts in tackling this shopping comparison challenge. Opinions are my own, always have been, always will be…that’s just how I roll.