It’s no secret that one of my favorite places to shop is Kmart. So this chilly Sunday found me down at the Jefferson City, MO location doing a bit of shopping. Now some people wonder why I drive 40 miles to shop at Kmart when there is other choices – such as Wal-Mart – right in my own backyard. There are two reasons: nostalgia and shopping smart.
The second is something so many people fail to understand, and yet during these tough economic times really should be examined. Shopping smart means taking the time to do some research of your own to find the best prices and where your dollar does more. Now these two concepts are sometimes mutually exclusive. Sometimes, I argue, that you should pay an extra 20-cents for something because of the overall affect that extra 20-cents has both up and down the retail chain.
For example, is it worth it to spend an extra 20-cents on a toothbrush if it was made in America? I think so. For my money I buy American whenever I can. Keeping jobs in America and keeping Americans working is vitally important not only now, but when times are good too. In the past decade we’ve seen Wal-Mart ship so many jobs overseas that we are facing a crisis nowadays in the manufacturing sector. As Henry Ford once said, he couldn’t sell cars unless he paid his employees a decent wage to buy them. He understood the concept of business and how the dollar travels up and down the chain.
In the past 6 months I’ve had a chance to explore the falsehoods of Wal-Mart and I’ve amazed myself at what I’ve found. The biggest surprise: Wal-Mart rarely has the lowest prices. Sure, they have a “core” set of goods that have low prices (loss leaders) but when you mix in everything you normally buy on a regular basis at the store, Wal-Mart is nowhere near the lowest.
Case in point, let’s take a look at sanitizing wipes.
- Kmart Store Brand (Made in USA), 70 wipes – $2.99
- Wal-Mart Store Brand (Made in China), 70 wipes – $3.49
Imagine that; not only was Kmart cheaper, but the American made version is cheaper as well.
Wal-Mart says they don’t do “gimmicks” – they define a gimmick as things like double and triple coupons. You know, the type of gimmicks that save us working folks money. So many grocery stores and retailers double coupons on a regular basis now that if you aren’t clipping coupons you might want to start. I can routinely cut 30-40% off my receipt just by shopping smart with coupons.
So the next time you are getting ready to do some shopping why not stop by your local Kmart, Dollar General, Target or locally owned business. You may discover that there is other choices out there besides Wal-Mart; and you may end up keeping more jobs in America and paying less to do so.