Comparing Target and Wal Mart

As someone pointed out earlier, a comparison simply means comparing two items; it does not mean writing a biased article with personal preferences in mind. So, here is my comparison of the two stores.

It has been said over and over that Wal-Mart has the cheaper prices. This is true in just about every department of the two stores. However, Target has many items that are usually deeply discounted. Also, when looking at higher priced items, such as electronics, both stores seem to have similar prices.

Item quality:
Target does seem to have more high-quality items. In general, it seems that Target caters to a more upscale audience. But, Wal-Mart is working hard to introduce more high-quality items into their stores. One example is the Metro 7 clothing line for women. While these clothes probably won’t be mistaken for designer items anytime soon, they are at least semi-fashionable compared to what people normally picture Wal-Mart clothes to look like.

Products and Services:
Hands down, Wal-Mart dominates this category. Up until the last five or so years, I don’t remember Target having food, besides snacks and candy. Now Target is expanding to include food products, pharmacies, and even musical instruments. Some areas even have a “Super Target” store. Wal-Mart has had “Super Wal-Mart” for many years. In fact, besides having Superstores, some areas are even opening “Neighborhood Markets,” which more closely resemble grocery stores than regular Wal-Marts. While Target is expanding their selection, it is hard to beat a store where you can get your eyes checked, hair cut, groceries, Christmas shopping, photos developed, battery changed, and in some cases play an arcade game all under one roof. And that’s just a third of Wal-Mart’s offerings.

Store Appearance:
Target has a much nicer appearance than Wal-Mart. Target does not use lighting quite as bright as Wal-Mart does. This gives the appearance of a more upscale store. Also, Target does not seem to rely on the intercom system as much as Wal-Mart. Understandably, Wal-Mart stores are usually bigger than Target stores, so the use of intercoms makes sense, but the intercom system contributes to a scattered feeling in Wal-Mart stores. Another important aspect of appearance is restroom cleanliness. Wal-Mart is severely lacking in this category. Many times Wal-Mart restrooms are out of toilet paper, commodes have not been flushed or do not work, sinks do not have hot water, and the entire restroom is too small. Not every Target restroom is immaculate, but they are usually much cleaner than Wal-Mart’s facilities.

Both stores have positive and negative aspects. There will never be a store that is perfectly clean, caters to every whim, and offers dirt cheap prices. It is important to focus on what is great about each store and ignore the negatives. Of course if the negatives are too much to ignore, you could always do all of your shopping online…