Plastic Hanger Shrink Ray Costs You 4 Cents Per Hanger

Jeff needed some plastic hangers, and found some at Kmart that cost just a little more than he wanted to pay. But the odd thing was that the signage wasn’t quite right: the price given was for ten hangers, and the packages actually on the shelf contained eight hangers each. Okay, it’s not a big deal. And broken down, only a few cents’ difference per hanger. That doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying.

Another reason I have to learn to drive the extra 3 miles to Walmart. Is this perhaps a variation of the Grocery Shrink Ray?


The shelf tag said “10 pk. $1.79” but all they had were 8 packs….

At 10 for $1.79, they seemed expensive. And no way would I pay that much for just 8 hangers.

BTW, drove to Walmart, bought several 10 packs of plastic hangers for $1.17 each.

He also noted that he checked to see what priced the 8-pack of hangers scanned at. They were $1.79, as expected.

The question of whether it’s wiser to drive to Walmart depends on what you’re buying and what kind of gas mileage your car gets. Sometimes saving gas and time is worth a few cents. Sometimes the difference is a lot more than that, and the extra distance is worthwhile.


Edit Your Comment

  1. That guy. says:

    One more hanger story for the trifecta!

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    So, talk to a manager and ask for the 10-pk at the price listed. Or to credit for a free pak of 8 when you buy 4.

    • TerpBE says:

      Have you ever tried to speak to a Kmart employee?

    • longfeltwant says:

      Yes. Or, work an extra 2 minutes in order to earn the dollar marginal cost. Whatever you do, don’t spend more than 2 minutes worrying about it, thinking about it, or trying to get the lower price. Once you pass about 2 minutes (depending on your salary), you have shown yourself to be a fool.

  3. TheOnlyBob says:

    The Restoration Hardware Furniture people should take note of this for the next batch of furniture they buy.

  4. Bob says:

    “Store runs out of advertised item, offers less attractive substitute. Film at 11!”

    Really, this is a story now?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      A consumer-related story, yes.

      If you got your finger out of your nose for a while you’d pick up on the nature of this website.

      • vivalakellye says:

        Complaining about the grocery shrink-ray hitting plastic hangers is about as sensational as a 2-cent increase in the price of baking soda.

  5. umbriago says:

    Need hangers? Hit an estate sale. They’ll practically give them to you.

  6. cameronl says:

    I would’ve just bought the 8 pack. It would have been worth it just to avoid going to Walmart.

    • unpolloloco says:

      But is K-Mart better? I thought they stopped cleaning their stores a decade ago. Also, they’re owned by Sears.

      • StarKillerX says:

        In this case it’s much better since the OP was already at K-mart.

        IMO going to another store to get ten hangers for $1.17 instead of 8 for $1.79 seems a bit silly. It’s one thing if your heading to Walmart anyways and just hold off on your purchase a seperate trip is just a waste of time.

        • Coles_Law says:

          Well, let’s look at it this way. It’s an extra 3 miles to Wal-mart (6 roundtrip). That’s likely stop and go driving, so let’s assume the OP’s car gets 24 mpg in these conditions. That’s 0.25 gallons of gas burned, or about $1 worth. At Wal-Mart, hangers are $0.117/ea. At Kmart, they’re $0.224/ea, providing a savings of $0.106/ea. Therefore, if the OP needed more than 9 hangers, he was better off going to Wal-Mart.

          Note if you use federal mileage reimbursement of $0.55/mile, the OP needs to buy more than 28 hangers to break even.

      • cameronl says:

        Yes, Kmart is still better than Walmart. I just. won’t. go into Walmart…

  7. Damage Incorporated says:

    I’m all for being cheap, but this is too much. Save yourself the time and gas and just spend the extra ~$1.00 and move on with life.

    • shepd says:

      First they came for the people saving $1.00, but I didn’t care, because I’d just pay it.
      Then they came for the people saving $5.00, but I didn’t care, because gas was $8.00 a gallon.
      Then they came for the people saving $10.00, but I didn’t care, I drive an electric car.
      Then they came for me, the person saving $25.00, but nobody was left to care.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      This is someone who actually knows that $1.79 is not a good deal for 8 hangers, so I’m guessing every dollar counts. She was probably planning on hitting Walmart already, and it may have been very close.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      ‘Zackly! Consider the additional car cost to drive an addition 6-mile round-trip. Is it 40-plus-cents per mile considering insurance, gas, etc.? All to save a buck? Jeez!

      Reminds me of a friend who bragged that she avoided all the bridge and highway tolls when she came to visit us. She drove more than an additional 40 miles (and almost two additional hours) just to save a coupe of dollars.

      • shepd says:

        Sometimes it can make sense. The toll highway near me (407) charges up to ~$2/km. Just about any route to avoid it is much cheaper than using it.

  8. joescratch says:

    It is a big deal, because the sign is a lie and a fraud.

  9. That guy. says:

    A store is under no obligation to sell different size packages of items for different prices.

    They can sell a 16oz box of Oat Meal for $5, and sell the same brand and same item in a 32oz box also for $5.

    So this is basically saying SKU# whatever is sold out, but they have SKU# whatever at the same price.

    The “shrink ray” tends to alter the contets of a singluar SKU while the price remains the same before and after the content change.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Actually that’s a good point, just go to most convenience store to see this in action, at least around here, a 20 ounce bottle of coke is normally $1.20 but a 2 liter is $0.99.

      Although I wonder if this picture is simply a case of outdated shelf tags.

    • RandomHookup says:

      But they are under an obligation to properly advertise their products. If the package is now 8 hangers, they need to change their signs — same as if they decreased the package by 5 oz.

  10. GrayMatter says:

    Then there is the problem of “product shrink ray”. Hangers from one store may be much flimsier than those from another. Best damn plastic hangers are at the Container Store, but oh, my are they pricy.

    IKEA used to have steel hangers (Erling) that were really, really stout.

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    As much as I try to avoid WalMart, I avoid KMart more. I took my Mom shopping for a microwave, and she had to check out the ones at KMart. They looked so crappy, and we noticed a microwave plate cover thing for $2.97 along with KMart’s microwaves.

    At our next stop, WalMart, the same brand and type of plate cover sold for $1.97.

    This is why I don’t normally buy anything at KMart. Unfortunately, I can usually get it at WalMart cheaper, and it’s the same brand/quality.

  12. Kisses4Katie says:

    I would have made them sell me 10 hangers at the listed price. Take 2 outta that package, Kmart!!

  13. dush says:

    Glad you made it home from Walmart alive.

  14. AllanG54 says:

    This is why dollar stores are in existence. One of them should have been his first stop.

  15. esc27 says:

    It is not the three miles to Walmart that matters, but the 6 intersections (all red lights,) traffic in the parking lot, slow pedestrians walking blindly toward the store, long hike from the parking space into the store and then half way across to find they only have two packs left (in a horrible color…,) no lines open on your side of the store, all the self checks are out of order, the express lane has four full shopping carts lined up at it and the only lane left has 6 people waiting.

  16. frodolives35 says:

    I watch prices advertised vs what they actually charge and stores do this all the time. I believe it is mostly human error when they code the item and most checkers will gladly clear it up with a quick shelf check and then give you the price from the shelf. Once a young smart ass girl told me its only .08 cents whats the big deal and I told her your “your right I have 6 of those so reach into your pocket and pull out .48 plus tax” she picked up the mic and asked for a price check. Human error I can forgive but smart ass teenagers in the wrong I can’t stand. I hope she learned something but from the look on her face I doubt it.