July 16, 2012
How many of you guys have seen the new commercials from Walmart claiming that their prices beat Publix by up to 20%. I will be honest, every time I see one it irritates me and makes me just want to scream!
There is so much missing from those commercials that I thought it might be a good idea to do a little test of my own and see who is really the winner in the price comparison of Publix vs Walmart!
In case you guys have not seen them, let me give you a quick summary of what you will see in the commercials.
They took several stay at home moms here in Atlanta and had them do a side by side comparison of the prices of specific items purchased at Walmart and Publix. The commercials show the ladies going through clean, well stocked Walmart stores. Overall it was a fun commercial that showed Walmart shopping in a very positive light. At the end, the results indicate that by shopping at Walmart the ladies saved on average 20% over identical items purchased at Publix.
Ok…before we even get into the price comparison – my first point of contention is the store represented in the commercials. I am not sure which Walmart they filmed in, but I think it is fair to say that the store shown is in no way a true representation of a typical Walmart store! I have been to various Walmart stores in my 30+ years and have NEVER seen anything similar. Clean, tidy and well stocked would never be used to describe any of the Walmart stores in my area. Chaotic, unkempt, and disorganized are more along the lines of a typical Walmart store. Somehow they also neglected to show the overcrowded small aisles, ridiculously long check out lanes and accurate images of their typical cashiers who most often look as if they would rather be poking their own eyes out than standing at the register. Yes…a little bit of drama – but c’mon, tell me it’s not true!
Now, let’s talk about the price comparison. In very small wording at the bottom of the Walmart commercial/website there is a notification that the “Walmart prices may include special prices and are good through x/x/12″. Spoiler alert - I guess I will be the one to break the news to you guys. Believe it or not, when you shop a store’s sale you will likely get the best price possible – tee hee!
What you see in those commercials is just a marketing ploy and is not quite the whole story!
To prove it, I sent out my own shoppers out to do a side by side comparison as well. I provided a list of items to four I Heart Publix readers who then shopped at their local stores to get pricing for identical items at Publix and Walmart. I had hoped to have Alabama results as well but that one fell through. While I was not sure what the outcome would be, I hoped that Publix would indeed end up the winner.
Guess what? Publix blew Walmart out of the water! You can see the full list of shopping items and corresponding pricing HERE. Here is a summary of the results -
South Carolina Results
Am I shocked that Publix won the savings battle? Of course not…I know that Publix sales can’t be beat. Note — that I said Publix sales. The shopping list that I gave the readers were all items from the Publix weekly ad/Publix Yellow Advantage Buy flyer. (Let me add since some folks seem to be confused… I PURPOSELY used a sale list. This was done on purpose as a way to show that when you shop the sale (as done in the Walmart commercial) you WILL get the best price possible.)
I will never understand why folks don’t understand that you have be a smart shopper no matter if you are shopping for a new car or a loaf of bread! Smart shopping requires a bit of planning and often some patience. Buying what you want whenever you want is not the best strategy in our current economy. How many folks randomly go out and grab a car without doing any planning? Probably not many I would guess. So why do so many people think it is smart to walk into a store willy nilly and grab whatever you happen to see?
I was thrilled to see that Publix was the winner of my little experiment. I would like to point out that all of the prices and comparisons were done without the use of any coupons whatsoever! Adding in the couponing options available at Publix takes the options for savings to a whole new level!
When you add in the fact that not only can you use manufacturer’s coupons but you can also use store coupons – Walmart can’t touch the savings you get at Publix. In many areas, Publix stores double manufacturer’s coupon up to and including 50¢ which means even more savings. No Walmart locations double coupons. So, even if you went through the immense hassle of price matching at Walmart you would not get the benefit of using store coupons or double coupons. Once again…Publix wins.
We have talked about the price comparisons. I also want to take a minute to point out that there is no mention of quality of service, quality of product or ease of shopping in those commercials. While price plays a very important role in grocery shopping, I think most folks would agree there are other factors to consider.
First, I am not going to pretend that Publix is not priced higher on certain items at certain times. It is likely that a Publix ribeye is higher priced than one found at Walmart. With that price difference you also get a quality difference. If you shop at Publix, you can get a ribeye cut any way you like it. That is because the meats are fresh and packaged in the store – you know you are getting the freshest meat possible. This is the case for every department at Publix including the bakery, deli and produce departments. There is a clear difference in the quality of products sold at the two stores.
No matter what Publix store you walk into you can see that they strive to make shopping a pleasure. The stores are clean and organized. The staff at the store are helpful and friendly – no other store can come close to the high level of customer service offered by Publix. You will find these high standards at every single Publix location! I think most folks who have stepped foot in a Walmart store will agree that cleanliness and quality of service is not high on the priority list at Walmart.
Finally, some folks will insist that the convenience of being able to get everything you need at one store provides a great level of value to the consumer. Personally, I don’t feel a strong desire to get my cheese and tennis shoes at the same store and have serious issues with what they consider value. Sure, I may save $3 but end up with products that may be much lower in quality. Are you really saving money when you have to replace the items that were initially considered a value? As a mom, I will happily spend that $3 to give my family quality products and save myself the ordeal of shopping at a store that is less than pleasant.
Now who is the real winner? If you ask me…Publix wins hands down!
Where do you save most? I’d love for you to share your shopping experiences. Where do you shop and why?
The data was compiled by four I Heart Publix readers. All shopping took place between 6/28 – 7/3. Product prices are from Publix & Walmart stores in Alpharetta GA, Lebanon TN, Orlando FL, & Greenville SC. As you guys all know I am not affiliated with Publix or Walmart. I thought it might be nice to add another stay at mom’s perspective to the mix