You may have seen the ads: Walmart and Target both say they will match their competitor's sale prices. Since the school supply deals are at so many different stores this week, I decided to put those policies to the test.
Tiffani Taff, who writes the blog known as ThriftyTiff.com, and I shopped together, beginning our trip at Walmart. "This is a great way to stock up on items for pennies on the dollar," she said.
We shot our video with an iPhone so we would be treated like every other customer rather than TV reporters. Tiffani made a list of all the best items on sale at Staples, Walgreen's, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Target.
We found composition books priced at $.99 at Target for $3.99 at Walmart, Sharpie Highlighters priced at $.50 at Staples for $1.97 at Walmart, and Elmer's glue priced on sale for at $.49 at Walgreen's for $.97 at Walmart.
We also bought pens, correction tape, markers, crayons, folders and an assortment of other supplies plus Kleenex and Laundry detergent, all on sale at various retailers.
After 45 minutes of shopping we headed for the checkout. At first our cashier told us we would have to show her the competing store's prices in their sale ads, which Walmart's Price Matching Policy does not require. But after speaking with her supervisor, the cashier matched the price of every item on our list, simply taking our word for it. For items such as Office Depot brand sticky notes, she allowed us to substitute the Walmart Brand, though they were not identical.
Our Grand Total was $19.85. Without Price Matching, we would have spent $37.10. We saved 47 percent!
Then we were off to Target where the policy is slightly different. Shoppers are required to have a competitor's store ad with them and the items must be completely identical. Target also matches prices only on sale items, not every day prices. Customers who are asking to match prices are required to do so at the Customer Service Desk.
At Target we didn't find nearly as many of the items on our list but we still saved more than 53 percent.
Our Total was $7.98 and it would have been $17.14 had we not brought in competing store's sale ads.
If you want to try your hand at matching prices, here are some tips:
- Have an organized list of the items you plan to buy, the stores at which they are on sale, and the prices you will ask for.
- At checkout, let the cashier know you are requesting some price matches. Separate the price match items from other items you are purchasing.
- Print out a copy of the store's Price Matching policy in case there is any confusion from your cashier.
- Be Polite and Patient.
Click here to view and print Target's Price Matching Policy.
Click here to view and print Walmart's Price Matching Policy.