Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walmart v/s Target

I normally shop online as much as possible.  Other than perishables, I try to shop as much as possible all online. It saves times and aggravation of ever crowded stores. Crowd did not use to be this much back when I lived on east coast. On the west coast in California - may be because of high population density-stores are really crowded. Hell of an experience.

From time to time, still need to hit these stores for some urgent purchases. I used to go to Walmart for most of the times. Their prices are the best. But, they just don't seem to understand that it is not only the price that matters but also the ambience. Materials in Walmart stores are so densely shelved and haphazardly organized, it takes way too much to find what you want. Store personnel are not very easily accessible and many do not speak decent English. Shopping at Walmart in California is like entering hell. There is so much crowd that you bump into some cart or some person obstructing your way every step. By the time you clear all that it will take 2-3 hours to finish shopping for a few simple items. Ever since I moved to California, occasional visit Walmart has been mind-numbing exercise. Los Angeles area Walmart stores are the worst due to extremely high population density. Bay area Walmarts are little better but still it sucks to shop in person at Walmart. Online is okay.

For a change, went to Target today after not finding a couple of items at Walmart. What a refreshingly pleasant experience. Aisles are so spacious. So many cash registers. Much fewer people. Overall a refreshing experience. I am going to give up on Walmart at least while I continue to live in California. May be I will revisit them if and when I go back to the east coast. On west coast, with this much population density and their densely packed stores really drive me crazy.

Some practices at Walmart also drove me crazy today. For example, I wanted to buy a few cartridges of Mach 3 shaving blades. With great difficulty found them. They were in a locked cabinet. Looks like people steal them so they keep it locked. Wasted 15 minutes to find a store personnel to have it opened for me. She came, opened the cabinet, took out the 12 pack I wanted and then just left mumbling something. Looks like she wanted to ring that in right away. Before even I could realize she had vanished with the cartridges I wanted. May be she was waiting for me at some cash counter and I did not find her. Neither I wanted to ring that in right away as I had few more things to buy. What a pain. So, did not buy it there. Bought it at Target. No such stupid rule over there. Mach 3 were right there. Just picked them up and paid at the counter.

I normally shop a lot at Firstly I use Visa card for almost everything. So every time I spend $2500, sends a gift certificate for $25. It is like 1% cash back. Not bad. Then I just go and buy most of the things at Amazon.Com. Prices are probably cheapest online. also works with several other stores and you are bound to find the best deal. For clothes, if you know your size well, is the best place. Returns are a breeze. Stuff is good. Prices are one of the best. Choices are also very good.

Anyway, Target got me as their customer for now. Walmart- good bye for time being. Fix your stores first and then we will see. Till then shopping at Walmart is something I won't even consider.


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