Today I did something I vowed I'd never do again - I went shopping at the Walmart in Quincy. I haven't been there in at least 7-8 years, but I just didn't feel like driving to Dorchester to Target when Walmart is literally about a 5-minute drive from our house, no highways or traffic involved. But, despite its convenience, it was a mistake to go there.
I've occasionally pondered why I prefer Target to Walmart. They both are based on the same idea - rock bottom prices, big warehouse atmosphere, a little bit of everything you could possibly need in your life. Jim used to joke that one of the reasons that shopping at Walmart was crazy was the checkout lines - because inevitably, you'd get behind the person who was purchasing a sofa and a bag of potato chips.
Anyway, I have reaffirmed my dislike of Walmart (at least the one in Quincy) and understand why I prefer Target over Walmart. At Walmart, you walk in, and half the merchandise is on the floor. None of it is organized, and you can't find anything. For example, I was looking at baby clothes. The size listed on the hanger was almost always not the size of the article of clothing. The hanger would say "4T" but the onesie was actually a size 3/6 months. There was no rhyme or reason to the way the clothes were displayed - random clothes were hung up on random racks, all mixed in together, all different prices despite the price sign at the top of each rack.
Additionally, although Walmart has a little of everything, that doesn't mean that it has a good selection of the things you want. For example, I was looking for a board game suitable for a 5-year-old today. They had two appropriate choices, both games she already has. And these two choices were in different aisles, so I had to hunt through about 5 aisles of toys in order to find these two games.
I should say that these aren't problems that I only encountered today. I recall that the last time Jim and I were in Walmart was to shop for school supplies when I started law school (OK, so that gives you an idea about how long it's been since we've been there!). It looked like a tornado had hit the store. In fact, I recall leaving the cart in mid-aisle and running out of the store with Jim. We just couldn't take it any more.
At Target, everything is relatively clean and always on the shelf. I've never had a problem where clothing was mis-sized or otherwise mis-marked. Target has a remarkable selection. For example, there is a whole wall in the back of the store with board games, organized according to the appropriate age for the game. There is a section for board games, and a section for card games. Plus, I sort of think that things might be slightly cheaper at Target, although maybe I was just dreaming.
I don't get it. You could make the argument that you get what you pay for, and that Walmart's lack of organization, sloppiness, and general chaos is the price you pay in return for a cut on the price of the product. Except that Target's prices are just as low (I think), and the whole shopping experience is so much better.
I'm writing this all down now, so that I don't forget next time. Hopefully my memory will be fresh, at least for another 10 years or so! :)