Has Walmart Finally Beaten Target?

Though the final numbers are not yet in, the analysts are predicting an unusual win this holiday season for Walmart:

So what has turned the tide for Wal-Mart?

Johnson traced it back to strategy changes that the retailer made in January.

Wal-Mart hired a new advertising firm, Martin Agency, ranked by Advertising Age as one of the top five agencies of the year in 2006. In the same month, the company named Stephen Quinn as chief marketing officer.

Said Johnson, “Quinn used to be CMO at Frito-Lay. Industry insiders say he has a very strong marketing mind.”

Wal-Mart strengthened its branded electronics offerings by introducing Dell computers to its stores in June. In September, Wal-Mart discarded its staid “Always Low Prices” slogan for a new tagline – “Save Money. Live Better” – in time for the holidays.

“If you make a promise like that, you have to deliver it in your store,” Johnson said.

Industry experts said Wal-Mart backed up that theme by being the first to aggressively slash prices on thousands of toys in late October followed by a round of early discounts in November on some of the year’s hottest electronics.

Target chose not indulge in an early price war with Wal-Mart.

Analysts said Wal-Mart appears to have outperformed Target on grocery purchases as well, which account for a big chunk of both retailers sales.

“There’s a real sense of urgency at Wal-Mart. The stores had that festive feel and look in early November,” Johnson said. “In some Target stores I visited, the level of service varied from indifference to non-existent.”

And here we thought “that festive feel and look” was annoying. Shows what we know. Here’s another interesting observation:

“This holiday season Wal-Mart really outmaneuvered Target in service,” Buxbaum said.

“As a merchandiser, you can’t ignore the customer experience. The level of helpfulness in Target stores is approaching Home Depot territory,” Johnson said.

Really? Can it be true? Is Target really as awful as Home Depot?

How Wal-Mart stole Christmas [CNNMoney]
(Photo:meghannmarco)

Comments

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  1. Big Tuna says:

    Not even a scorpion sting in the face is as awful as the Home Depot…

  2. MissPeacock says:

    Perhaps because we tend to expect so little from Wal-Mart in terms of service to begin with, even a tiny bit seems to be a huge improvement.

  3. warf0x0r says:

    Good god there must be some awful Targets out there. In Minnesota (at least where I live) its the exact opposite Targets CS is great where as Wal*Marts is probably the worst I’ve ever encountered.

  4. etinterrapax says:

    Hmph. Perhaps if a sense of urgency strikes you as a good thing. I like Target’s indifference. I barely Christmas-shopped there at all, so I suppose my experience with it during the holiday season didn’t sway my good opinion of it. They still got me out of there without waiting in line at the register, and that’s what really counts.

    And I’d be all set to bag on Home Depot, but when we were in the plumbing aisle looking nonplussed and contemplating hiring a plumber, the guy came along, showed us a $17 solution to our problem in five minutes, and earned our undying gratitude. Now if we have further leaky pipes, we know exactly what to do. And we don’t need anywhere near that much help in a Target, where the most anyone could demand of the staff is to unlock the jewelry or electronics case, which they have always done, and promptly.

  5. hn333 says:

    I rather shop at Target, at Target I don’t have to wait ten minutes to check out. It really pisses me off that walmart has 30 checkout lanes and only has ten at a time open.

  6. Manok says:

    @warf0x0r: that’s because their HQ is located there.

  7. DrGirlfriend says:

    I have been to Targets in 3 different states, and the customer service at all of them was pretty terrible. No one was ever around, and if you could flag someone down they did the absolute minimum they could in order to get you to go away.

  8. SovietBear says:

    I was at a Target yesterday (St. Louis). I picked up an end table and a cheap plastic shelving unit, but neglected to get a cart because I only thought I was getting the table.

    I set my items on the counter and got an eye roll when I told the cashier I was going to move 5 feet to my right and grab a cart. After my transaction (and a second eye roll when I handed her a gift card), she called out ‘I can help the next person’ with all of my bulky possessions still on the counter. The next person in had to hand her items through the legs of my table until I could get my cart ready to go, then i had to invade her personal space to get it.

    Shoddy experience all around, but their cheapo furniture is much nicer than Wal-mart’s.

  9. calvinneal says:

    I live in Michigan: The Walmarts here are the worst. Filthy disgusting places where many of the workers are those who are umemployable elsewhere. Bad breath, terrible manners etc. The targets are great!!

  10. suburbancowboy says:

    At Target a few weeks back, I had to wait 25 minutes for someone to get me a microwave off of a high shelf. It was on sale, and they had none left on the floor, but dozens of them up high. I am standing there with a guy for 15 minutes while he is trying to get someone to bring over a ladder. When it finally came, the guy looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested he bring some more down, while he was up there, so nobody else would have to go through this again.

    That said, I will never ever set foot in a Wal-Mart, unless there is a revolution and we are burning and looting all of their stores. How the company can use a slogan like “Live better” is beyond me. The company drives down wages, and causes more jobs to go to China than any other company. Any informed patriotic American would go out of their way to avoid shopping there, or at Sam’s Club.

  11. allthatsevil says:

    Nothing will ever get me to set foot in a Wal-Mart, and I’ve always loved Target, but I must admit their service has been declining lately. There are three within a close radius to where I live, one of which opened about a year ago, and it would be impossible to choose which one to go to based on customer service.

    I was given gift cards for Christmas and my birthday and I will be using them online. I’m super excited about a Super Target opening a block away from me, but I hope the management trains their staff better than the other ones nearby. There’s no excuse for the way they ignore and condescend to customers.

  12. Buran says:

    Why did Target lose their shirts? The fact that they sold boxes of rocks as ipods might have something to do with it.

  13. bsankr says:

    @hn333: ten minutes? that’s express! average wait time when i go buy groceries is 20-25 minutes.

  14. hn333 says:

    @bsankr: Thats pretty sad

  15. Brie says:

    @allthatsevil: Speaking of SuperTarget…

    I live in the SF Bay Area and have had ONE bad CS experience in almost 20 years shopping at various Targets. That said, there are no SuperTargets here so when we traveled to Texas last year I was excited to visit one. It was about 8 PM, and the store was clean and well-lit, and the bakery section was comparable to some Safeways. My husband reached for a clamshell of muffins and somehow detached the shelf it was sitting on. CRASH went the faux-wood shelf along with several clamshells of muffins. We looked around, wide-eyed and instantly sorry, expecting employees to come running.

    No one came. In about 90 seconds we went from “Oh crap, we broke your shelf” to “Um, hello, we broke your shelf and there’s stuff everywhere… hello? hello?” *crickets* We finally mcgyvered the thing back together ourselves, stacked the muffins on top and went on our way.

  16. jasezero says:

    The most I’ve ever waited to checkout at a Target is around ~10 minutes. Even during a really busy time. Walmart, I’m there for an extra half hour. And lots not mention how bad Walmarts are for small businesses and the economy as a whole. I’ll gladly buy my products at Target thank you very much.

  17. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wal-Mart hired a new marketing firm? I can’t recall ever seeing a Wal-Mart TV commercial or even a billboard ad. I only see their weekly circulars in the local paper.

  18. ekthesy says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:

    As a former Richmond ad exec, I cannot stand the fucking Martin Agency, (also HQed in Richmond). Six years ago, no one had ever heard of them, but they came up with those awful Quizno’s ads with the dead rats and the talking baby and suddenly they’re the next coming of David Ogilvy.

    Truth is, they’re full of the same chachis that inhabit every ad agency. However, they so enjoy their ability to make money hand over fist with terrible creative. The GEICO cavemen are also particularly egregious.

    Obviously I have some professional and personal animosity towards these jerks, but objectively, their execution is juvenile and effective only to the point of being buzzworthy, which they consider more valuable than actual marketing.

    Look for the next series of TV spots for Wal-Mart to feature “Jiminy Glass, the man with an ass for a face and a face for an ass!” or something highbrow like that.
    /rant

  19. rachaeljean says:

    Ever since Target changed their return policy, YES Wal-Mart beats them!

    I fully understand how they promote suburban sprawl, drive out local businesses, and treat their workers like crap. That being said, shopping at their store DOES save me money. I buy pet items, toiletry items (only what I can’t get in bulk at Costco), and some dried goods things there (produce & meat from Trader Joe’s!).

    Maybe someday, after the recession is over, I will be able to afford not to shop there.

    I’ve tried boycotting them several times over the past several years but keep coming back because the prices are unbeatable.

  20. tande04 says:

    I can’t ever think of a problem that I’ve had at a Target. People ask if I’m finding everything, answer my questions if asked and generaly seem to be on the ball. That seems to be true of the ones in the surrounding areas too.

    The Wal-marts here still drive me nuts. I thought that the blue shirt tan pants thing would make it a little better but if anything it almost made it worse here. Almost no one is in a blue button down that would denote some kind of uniform. Its all blue print Ts with (or a shirt that just happens to have some blue). Can’t ever get any help anywhere and when I do I come away thinking I would of been better off without it.

    The worst was at the start of the holiday season when the aquadots recall happened. I was in Wal-Mart on a Wii scouting trip and walked by the toy section where they had an endcap display of aquadots. Couldn’t find anyone in toy to tell about it, went to electronics, not any better there (employees seemed to be avoiding me) so I went to the podium and the front which I where I always assumed the managers were. I asked for a manager, assuming the girl there was one, but she had to call one in.

    While I was waiting (which was a loooong time) the podium person asked what I need. I told her about the aquadots and the recall that had been all over the news the last couple of days and she looked at me like I was crazy so I pulled it up on my cellphone to show her and just got a “huh”. Once the manager showed up I told him about the toys, again surprised he hadn’t heard anything that had had been plastered all over the news and we walked back so I could show him. I asked if he’d gotten an e-mail or seen the recall because by that point I was even starting to second guess if I’d heard the news correctly.

    We got to the end cap and he grabbed one of the scanners from an associate in toys (where was she hidding before?) and told me that it wouldn’t scan if it had been recalled. When it scanned through I was a bit anoyed ’cause I thought my good deed was going to go unheeded, a bit confused because now I’d checked the story on my phone serveral times and was quite sure that they were indeed the recalled toys (even mentioned in the article that wal-mart had a register block on them), and even a bit concerned (for whatever reason) that I was, in fact, wrong about the whole thing and was wasting everyone’s time and possibly costing Wal-mart sales (still don’t know why that popped in my mind).

    He went ahead and pulled them all because he said that it would be easier to put them back on the shelf if they weren’t the right ones and he didn’t want anyone to get sick if they were recalled. Once I got home and pulled it up on a full browser I was 100% sure I’d been right.

    I hadn’t done any of that for fame or fortune. I’m not really sure why I bothered in the first place. I think more then anything I was just surprised with all of the national news coverage that even if the e-mail or recall notice got lost in the “mail” (or the pile of other recalls from this year) that no one else had said anything yet. Still the thing that finaly pissed me off about the whole thing was that on the local news that night they were talking about the aquadot recall on the local level (had target taken them down, k-mart etc.) but when they got to Wal-mart the store had said that they never carried the product in the first place.

  21. MBZ321 says:

    I really don’t know what retailer is better anymore. Walmart I am able to check out pretty fast, but on the other hand, there are usually items thrown all over the place, and there is always shady people hanging around the parking lot. Selection is poor in a lot of areas.
    Target is always packed, there are never enough cashiers, but the store is much more “friendlier” and cleaner.

    Maybe i’ll just stick with Kmart…at least there the store is always empty :P

  22. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I’m so glad we have Meijer where I live. It’s got low prices, decent service, and clean, well-stocked stores.

  23. It’s nuts that anyone would go there because of marketing.

    It’s still staffed by monsters and human ashtrays and other mutants of society.

    They still wont open more than 5 of the 9073457 registers they have.

    They will not ever repair the shopping carts because they know it’s going to get broken again by some lady too busy changing her baby and subsequently leaving a used baby diaper in the parking lot to stop her cart from rolling directly into the side of your car.

    It’s still not actually less expensive.

    IT’S STILL WAL*MART and nothing has changed.

  24. kingdom2000 says:

    I still prefer Target. Better service, better stuff, cleaner store, and generally the prices are about the same overall. Also speed. I can actually run into a Target and get something real quick. You can’t do that at a Wal-Mart. Wether its 1pm or 11pm, its always a 10-15 minute wait to buy your stuff at a Wal-Mart.

    Its like the their formula for ideal number of cashiers in any situation is 1. Doesn’t matter what Wal-Mart I go to, people actually want to do self-service just so they can get out faster…so of course the self-service is closed most of the time. I think the theory is the longer it takes for people to get through the line, the more people spend.

    Really though if it looks like it will take longer to buy the stuff then it took to get it and get in line…I just leave without buying.

  25. Nick says:

    The decision for me comes down to the fact that the WalMart stores around me are filthy and their employees are incompetent. This summer, a WalMart opened less than 1/2 mile away from my house. Two months after it opened, I stopped by–there were shopping carts and garbage strewn across the parking lot. Half of the parking lot lights didn’t work. Inside, the isles were full of items that people had thrown on the floor, and various shelves were falling off, spilling their contents on the floor. There were employees playing football in the aisles, and there were loads of screaming children running everywhere (at 11:00PM). Basically, it was chaos, and exactly like every other WalMart in my area. That was the last time I’ve been there (or to any WalMart).

    Compare to the Target that opened at the same time, but a mile further down the street. The store is bright and clean, the employees helpful (overly so, at first), and they had nifty all-plastic shopping carts and ergonomic shopping baskets.

  26. Posthaus says:

    On the note of Walmart store filth (the kind that probably helped kill K-mart’s reputation around here)…I always took it as a bad sign that at their newer store buildings, they forgo tiled floors all together and just instead stain and seal the concrete. I suppose in the end it’s cheaper and more durable (and can go a bit longer between cleaning and buffing), but making your store seem more like a warehouse (or worse yet, Home Depot) doesn’t goad me into wanting to shop there.

  27. Mojosan says:

    My local Wal-Mart (Marlton, NJ) recently remodeled and hired tons of new staff.

    I (begrudgingly) went in there at 8am on a Saturday morning a few weeks back because I needed a cheap tripod for that morning.

    I was surprised to find the place spotlessly clean, neat, and with a great deal of staffinc in place. Especially in their electronics section.

  28. goodkitty says:

    I don’t have anything meaningful to say about customer service but about the original article’s quote of “Save Money. Live Better”, how come Wally kicks people out whenever they try to live in a Wal-Mart? Isn’t that hypocritical? :)

  29. LucyInTheSky says:

    is this the beginning of the apocalypse or something? walmart actually doing something better than target? wtf?

  30. akalish says:

    I live in NYC, where many major retail outlets have staff that are rude (i.e. ignoring customers), not helpful (i.e. refusing requests for help, not knowing anything about anything in their store, etc.), and prone to speaking very-heavy-ebonics so it’s difficult to understand them. This is true for the Wal-Mart in White Plains, NY (there is none in NYC) and every local Target and Kmart I’ve ever been to. The one exception?–>Home Depot. Home Depot in NYC and Westchester absolutely rocks. Helpful, friendly, knowledgable people. But if I can, I order all my Target/Walmart stuff online so I don’t have to deal with their employees.

  31. scampy says:

    @suburbancowboy:

    Exactly right. I refuse to go to Wal-Mart until they stop selling cheap ass Chinese made garbage and start selling a lot more name brand QUALITY made in the USA items. I think the only thing they sell made in America is Dell PCs and they only carry the cheapest of the cheap that Dell makes.

  32. scampy says:

    @rachaeljean: You do realize that the meat at Wal-Mart is cut and packaged and sometimes frozen before it ever gets to the store which means it will never be fresh like the meat you get at a butcher shop or quality grocery store that cuts it fresh daily

  33. forever_knight says:

    @tande04: reminds me of the time when i was at Costco looking at their ibuprophen tablets in plastic jars (2000 to a jar!). all 10-15 of the units up front were already EXPIRED by a month to several months. some unclever bastard was pushing them forward, onto unsuspecting idiots that don’t check that kind of thing. i threw all of the expired ones behind the shelving. fuck them!

  34. forever_knight says:

    p.s. i love reading the excuses people give for reluctantly shopping at walmart. it’s just like the southpark episode. people CAN’T stop going to this place.

    my favorite is when brother in law complains about the lack of good paying jobs but then mindlessly goes to walmart for everything under the sun.

  35. rdm says:

    Yes, walmart is awful here in Dallas, too. I avoid it as much as possible and head right for Super Target.

  36. twoback says:

    Interestingly enough, I love Super Target, but I find the regular Targets here in Florida somewhat old and dirty. The EXACT opposite is true of Wal-Mart. I absolutely HATE Super Wal-Mart. The store is too big, crap is spread all over the place, cleaning stuff on one side, groceries on the other. They always have 50 checkout lines and only 2 are open. The stores are always open 24hrs, and because of this, there are pallets of merchandise in every aisle, and you have make a mile long detour just to get to the other side of the aisle.

    We, however have an original non-super Wal-Mart by our house and I love the place. Its always quiet, well stocked and well staffed and I can always very quickly get what I need and get out. There are always at least 5 registers open, even at 11pm at night.

  37. forgottenpassword says:

    You know… I have always been kind of intimidated by target. I have always felt out of place there. Where as I have felt ok in walmart.

    Target always seems like a place where uppermiddle-class snooty housewives shop & walmart seems like a place where real, hardworking average people shop.

  38. littlesparky says:

    I have not shopped at a Wal-mart for over ten years.
    Anything I want is at Target, K-mart and the local grocery store. Wal-mart is not cheaper. They merchandise for impulse buying. They threaten their vendors with less shelf space if the vendor doesn’t trim their prices on certain items. Who really beleives that a one gallon jar of pickles can be produced for less than $4.00? And how many of us really need a one gallon jar of pickles?
    Sam’s idea was small five and dime type stores. He promoted buy America. Now greed has taken over.

  39. etinterrapax says:

    @forgottenpassword: If by “snooty housewives” you mean “people who don’t think it’s okay to pee on the sales floor,” then I agree completely. Because that’s exactly what happened at the last Wal-Mart where I worked, and it contributed fairly directly to my decision never to work or shop there again. I don’t need to be surrounded by trash or other people’s bodily fluids to feel good about shopping anywhere.

  40. rachaeljean says:

    @scampy: Yes, I said I DONT buy the meat there. Just boxed/canned goods mostly.

    Also, you said that the only thing Made in America Wal-Mart sells are Dell PC’s…uhm no. Those are most definitely NOT made in the USA. More likely a handful of several southeast Asian countries.

    Also, folks, Target sells a LOT of the same stuff as Wal-Mart… and a lot of stuff made overseas as well. :) Just sayin’.

  41. scampy says:

    @rachaeljean:

    Well technically the insides of a Dell are made in Asia but they are assembled in the US at least hehe

  42. yikz says:

    I grew up in Minnesota. I’ve been a Target shopper my entire life. For those that don’t know, there are 3 types of Target out there:

    Targhetto. This is a Target that doens’t get the attention it deserves. When snow falls, this Target will instantly be sold out of snow shovels, jumper cables, and anything that might be winter-related.

    Target: These are the run-of-the-mill stores, they’re consistently nice, but not memorable.

    Target Boutique (in this instance, target is pronounced tar-zhay). This is a fantastic Target. Walmart can’t hold a candle to these stores. They’re fantastic. Employees, service, selection, quality, availability of sale items. These stores can do no wrong. Store #1 in Roseville (now a SuperTarget) is one of these. The SuperTarget in Apple Valley, MN is also fantastic store. There are others. But those 2 stand out.

    Walmart invaded MN roughly 15 years ago. I’ve been to Walmart and Target all over the US. 95% of the time, Target is better than Walmart for service and quality of shopping experience.
    While some stuff is cheaper at Walmart, I think that many people forget that Walmart will carry an inferior product and sell it for cheap. If I’m buying cat litter, that’s fine. But if I’m buying t-shirts, I’ll go to Target and pay the $1.00 difference and get the fantastic tagless Hanes T-shirts.
    I’ve bought stuff at Walmart and wished I’d driven the extra 3 miles to go to Target and get what I should have bought to begin with. Walmart carries a lot of junk.
    Walmart stores are dreary, messy, and the employees dress like the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean. They wear anything they want, including pajamas or sweatpants, as long as they wear that blue vest. It’s really bizarre.

    Target, the stores are clean. The employees are wearing khaki’s and a red shirt. The parking lots at Target are safe, well-lit, and you won’t find Cousin Eddie and his 1975 RV camped out in the parking lot.

    Supertarget, the food is better. The produce, meat, and bakery departments are better. The furniture and home stuff is nicer at Target.
    Walmart has cheap oil changes. I like that. They have lifetime tire rotation. I like that. I can run down and get a fishing license at Walmart, pick up a box of shotgun shells, a box of clay pigeons, and Walmart has a garden center with good prices on plants. The Walmart Supercenter near my house is open 24 hours. Supertarget is open til 10pm. The employees at Target will actually say hi, can I help you find something. The employees at Walmart are helpful, but you have to go hunt them down.
    Lastly, Walmart does have self-checkout, but they shut it down after 10pm. ?? So if you have a cart full of groceries, they go down to 2 cashiers at 10pm. You could be in line for a long time. You’d think that 1 person watching 4 self-checkouts at Walmart would be better than shutting them down and going to just 2 cashiers and making everyone rot in line! I’ve walked away from a cart full of groceries after 10pm because I was tired of waiting in line. I drove 4 miles into town and found an actual grocery store that was open 24 hours. Target, the bakery department will give out cookies to my kids. Walmart doesn’t do that, but Sam’s Club does. My kids love going to Target.

  43. DrWebster says:

    @yikz:

    I live less than a mile away from the Roseville SuperTarget, and a few miles from the Shoreview one (formerly a Target Greatland, I think it was one of the SuperTarget pilot stores). I completely agree, they both rock. Yeah, it kinda sucks that they close at 10pm, but I’ve never had a customer service problem there. In fact, one employee went out of the way just the other day to help me find something, and even shared some useful info to help me in the future (if the item you want is not on the shelf and you see a grey sticker next to the shelf tag for it, that means it’s sold out of the store but more are on order).

    But like with all other chains, stores in less-wealthy neighborhoods are generally in worse shape — ever been to the one on Lake St. and Hiawatha? Definitely a Targhetto.

    Either way, the best Wal-Mart on the planet doesn’t stand a chance compared to even a regular Target.

  44. Trojan69 says:

    The cleanliness and layout of the Super WalMarts is no worse than Target. Each do a great job maintaining brightness. Each have very wide aisles.

    The difference is in the standard-sizes. Target blows WalMart away.

    I usually do not shop at a standard Target, but did the week before Xmas. The lady in fornt of me had a terrible time trying to get the POS (carp payment capture machine) terminal to work. The cashier remarked that the unit had been giving her trouble all shift. Then I used it and the friggin’ thing ate my card!

    The supervisor’s station for the cashiers happened ot be right next to this counter and the supervisor was there! (I know, never happens) Anyway, I told her the POS terminal was grossly malfunctioning and the cashier said it had been since the beginning of her shift. I asked her what she planned to do about this – perhaps she would close that register and open the one immediately next to it? The tool replied she “might” get to the problem at some point, but that the cashier hadn’t complained. So, I asked the cashier to repeat to the tool what she had said before. I asked the tool again her plans.

    “I have other things I need to get to,” she replied without looking at me.

    Bottom line – they’re all alike.

  45. kingdom2000 says:

    “You know… I have always been kind of intimidated by target. I have always felt out of place there. Where as I have felt ok in walmart.

    Target always seems like a place where uppermiddle-class snooty housewives shop & walmart seems like a place where real, hardworking average people shop.”

    Oh man, whoever posted this, thanks. I had a great laugh reading it. I can’t decide if I should feel sorry for the person though or not but hopefully they don’t vote.

  46. arirang says:

    I hate to say this but the local/relatively new Walmart is my new favorite store — w/caveats of course. I primarily buy clothes for my kid but very, very selectively. If you look carefully at some of the George toddler clothes, you’ll realize that alot of it is of similar if not identical fabrication to “higher markup” brands. Yes I know that Walmart drives labor costs down, has unfair labor practices etc. But you’re telling me that Polo Ralph Lauren didn’t pay $1.00 or so for the very same kiddie polo shirt that they retailed for $40? Could it be the very same factories?

  47. katoninetales says:

    I’ve never gotten great service at Wal-Mart. Recently, I wanted to buy a second GH controller for XBox 360, and could get no one to answer the phone, then it took over an hour waiting for a manager to get the controller out of some lockdown area. There is no local Target, but I shop at Fred Meyer over Wal-Mart.

  48. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Wal-Mart. Root of all evil. How can they beat Target? EVERY Target I have ever been in (Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri…) has been consistently clean and well stocked. Granted most Targets are newer than some of the Wal-Mart’s out there, but I can’t say the same thing about Wal-Mart. I’ve been to as many Wal-Marts as Targets, and on the whole they can be dirty and disorganized.

    I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but generally if you want to shop at Wal-Mart, you will be putting up with loud babies and Dads in Wife-Beater T-Shirts…… Not that Target is immune, but they seem to somehow avoid this with their “No Mullet” policy.

  49. theysaidwhat says:

    I’ll take Target any day of the week, Better merchandise, shorter lines, helpful employees, etc.

    Walmarts are generally messy, have no employees other than the ‘greeter’, and a lot of shady looking shoppers.

    I did actually go to my local WalMart for the new Lost DVD (they had a bonus disc that no one else got) and it was a mixed experience. Employees avoid you, it was sort of messy. I did check out in record time for a Walmart(under 5 minutes). However, when I noticed all sorts of personal items in the furniture that was on display(am looking for a new home office desk) and alerted an employee, I received a diatribe about how employees have to stash their personal items all over the store because Wal-Mart won’t pay for enough lockers for each employee to secure their things when they come on shift.

    So back to Target!

  50. Rusted says:

    @forever_knight: No, just someone too lazy to rotate stock and remove the expired product.

  51. 4ster says:

    My father used to work in Wal-Mart management, and he told me that a few days ago that he thought that they would have a great year, in part because 2007 was the year that they finally killed layaway.

  52. aquanetta says:

    @ekthesy:

    I love those stupid singing rat Quiznos commercials! They got a pepper bar. Those rats got me to start eating at Quiznos, then the Quiznos service and food quality went down while prices stayed up.

    The main difference between Target and Walmart is that Target has their own brands and designers, they make it a fun place to shop for things that make you feel like you’re buying boutique items without paying boutique prices. But with the higher prices compared to Walmart, I also expect better customer service and cleaner stores shopping at Target whereas I don’t expect any customer service at Walmart. Most of the Target stores in my area have gone steadily downhill in the last year, they’re dirty, shelves are not stocked, no help to be found. What really pissed me off was that the pharmacy hours weren’t posted anywhere, the CS reps chit chatting in the messy returns area didn’t even know what the hours were, it turns out the pharmacy was open during the hours of 9am to 8pm…which makes it pretty difficult to pick up and drop off prescriptions in the 2 hour window when I’m not at work. They’re now making a big deal that the pharmacy hours are extended to 9pm, oh geez I can barely contain myself.

  53. parnote says:

    @ HN333 … your Wal-Mart has 10 of 30 checkout lines open??? The one near us has 30 checkout lines – just like yours – but often has as few as 3 checkout lines open (sans the “self-checkout” lines). You should count your blessings!

  54. SaraAB87 says:

    The Kmart here is the worst, the cashiers you can just tell are the lowest of the low people in this world, and they keep a whole TWO registers open even during the busiest times. Add to that the constant need for managers overrides and price checks and printing up those overrides on a computer system that is probably outdated by 20 years does not add up to a pleasant shopping experience. Perhaps this is why the other Kmart near me is now in the process of closing. They also don’t hire young people, but rather overwork their older workers that have been there for years, which means less jobs for young people who need a temp job.

    Target and Walmart are basically the same, both stores are understocked, both stores never have what you want when you need it. Both stores have an extremely limited stock of products, and narrow aisles that you can barely fit through. Both stores are equally dirty and sell an equal amount of chinese made goods. Both have staff that avoid you. Both stores fire most of their holiday staff leaving 2 registers open starting December 26th (this is a precedent for shopping at Kmart, never expect more than 2 registers open throughout the whole year). At least there is no shortage of young people working at target, so by shopping there you support jobs for young people.

  55. synergy says:

    It looks like the new tagline is meant to make people feel less guilty, if they know Walmart’s record, just like not wanting the Salvation Army standing at the door reminding customers that some people can’t afford to eat or buy a blanket. And if wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living, of course people are going to gravitate towards companies that slash prices.

  56. hapless says:

    Let’s not forget that wages have fallen by more than 40% in the last 30 years… but living standards haven’t.

    Relentless, brutal cost-cutting by firms like Wal-mart is what has made that possible.

  57. bluecashier says:

    Wal-mart teaches the importance of good customer service to its employees and puts associates out on the floor to field questions and give assistance. That is the difference. Target seems to use its wage budget on overnite stocking and maybe in customer service areas, like electronics and cashiers. This is okay except they are skimping on floor associates to save money, which is a losing strategy. Customer service makes a big difference.

  58. UpsetPanda says:

    My fiancee doesn’t want me going to Wal-Mart alone at night…I say I want to go to Target, he doesn’t bat an eye. They’re in the same shopping center.

    ’nuff said.

  59. Chairman-Meow says:

    So wait….so do we take statement at face value from a firm who’s contact is with Walmart ?

    Do you really think they are going to say somethign *bad* about their client ?

  60. rewinditback says:

    dude… never compare target to home depot… wtf.

    though their no receipt policy would have me second guess registering there…

  61. Sidecutter says:

    @ekthesy: Those “cadaver gerbils” (my name for them) are apparantly called Spongmonkeys, which they apparantly bought the rights to from the creators (see [www.rathergood.com]). I had never eaten at Quizno’s before, and those things actually kept me from wanting to eat there for years (who approves anything that nasty looking to promote food?!). it wasn’t until sometime late in 2006 that I tried a Quiznos. And it wasn’t very impressive for all their hype, so I havn’t ever been back.

  62. doireallyneedausername says:

    Customer service at Target is non-existent. I waited for help after I asked one of the pharmacists to page the person in charge of the department I needed help in. After no one showed up for 10 minutes, I picked up the red phone and 5 minutes later, someone showed up. 15 minutes of waiting! If it weren’t for the fact that Target was the only game in town that sold what I needed…I would have walked away almost immediately.

  63. invaderzim says:

    I prefer Target. ALWAYS Target.

  64. mistaketv says:

    First Ben on Fox Business Channel and now this ridiculous propaganda from Meg? Are you trying to make me cry, Consumeristas?

    C’mon. “Brilliant marketing mind?” Why must everything in the world be portrayed as reducible to one genius/hero or moron/villain?

    If I wanted that kind of schlock, I’d follow the MSM.

  65. ELC says:

    Please, there are just as many crap items from China in Target as Wal-Mart – just like ANY retailer in this country. It is abominable! Where is the “made in the USA” store??
    @suburbancowboy: