One Man's Eyes

I'm an early 30's engineer with delusions of adequacy. From here, I'll share my perspective, usually through words, sometimes through pictures, of the view of the world from one man's eyes.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Wal-Mart - Lowest prices?

Alright, I've got an observation to make - Wal-mart's prices aren't lower than anybody elses and often times they're higher. I do shop at Wal-mart regularly, mostly for food and sometimes clothes. But, there are a lot of areas that I just avoid at the Wal-mart becuase I know their prices are higher than other stores I frequent.
Take electronics - whether it's cables, telephones, printers, etc. Wal-mart just isn't competitive in this market. And when it comes to things like iPods or game consoles, those are pretty much the same price at any store and I've never seen Wal-mart's almighty purchasing power get them better deals on these things. I'll frequently see advertisements for coupons to Target for 10% of iPods, but never at Wal-mart.
On the food side of things, two that come to mind immediately are soft drinks and Blue Bell. Wal-mart does sell its house brand of sodas quite cheap. But, when it comes to the name brand ones, I've found Wal-mart is rarely able to compete with the local Food Town and I just about never by sodas at Wal-mart anymore unless I'm there and really need a bottle. As for Blue Bell, about every week, a different grocery store has it one sale. It regularly runs about $5.20 for the half gallon, but will be about $3.33 when on sale. It used to be that Wal-mart would take its turn with the sale price. And, often times, when a competitor had it on sale, the local Wal-mart would have that ad on the doors of the ice cream cases and match them. That stopped about a year ago and since then, Blue Bell has been at $5.20 or so every time I look. Now, it's possible I missed a sale, but I usually end up there once a week for groceries and I'm often walking down that aisle, still waiting for the sale. I expect if I remembered to bring an add from whoever had it on sale that week, I'd get the price match, but's it's no longer an automatic deal.
There are certainly a lot of things that Wal-mart does have low prices on, although it seems to increasingly be the case that it is their house brand items that are the low price stuff. The more I compare name brand items in different areas, the more cases I find that Wal-mart is just flat out more expensive than the competition. I think they've done a good job of marketing low prices for many years. So now, people just expect that when they buy something there, that it is the lowest price.
Now, like I said, I shop there and I'll continue to do so. But, I don't just blindly buy everything I use there. I end up buying different categories of things from different stores and you may want to consider the same.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Toys

Alright, time for an update. In the last few weeks, the wife and I have each gotten a new toy. For me, a new fifth generation 60GB White iPod. For about the last year, I've been interested in one, but I kept holding off to see what the next generation would bring. Also, my music collection was a mess, so I've been cleaning it up, particularly the ID3 tags. When the 5G came out last month, I knew I'd waited long enough. I went for the 60GB as I want to have plenty of room to grow and I want this to last me a long time. I don't really expect to have much use for the video part of it, but it's nice to have.

As for the wife, she got a sweet computer upgrade - a monster laptop from HP, the ZD8000 Desktop Replacement. She now again takes the crown as having the most powerful computer in the house. She had another laptop, but it hardly went anywhere, mostly to hotel rooms so that we could access the internet while on trips. So, knowing her habits, we sacrifed weight and battery life for raw power - and this thing just oozes power. Now, she can get her Civilization 4 fix, and I get to use my own computer again. All is well.

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