Special Report

The 11 Things I Would Never Buy at Walmart

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Walmart is the go-to destination for budget-conscious shoppers, but that doesn’t mean everything on its shelves is a good buy. While Walmart products are enticing because they are much cheaper, some items may not meet your expectations. The company’s Great Value line offers some very good deals, but you’ll generally find “you get what you pay for.”

Whether it’s a matter of disappointing quality, a lack of genuine value, or ethical concerns, there are certain products best left on the shelves. (Walmart is not the only megastore where some products are best left there — here are 10 things to never at Target.

As an American, I have spent my fair share of time in Walmart. So, just from personal experience, I know some products I would never buy at the store. That said, in this article, I conducted thorough research to work out which products are the worst at Walmart. I looked at customer reviews, compared prices and quality with competing stores and brands, and dove into Walmart’s track record for certain products and categories. After this research, these are the 11 products I do NOT recommend buying at Walmart.

1. A Prepaid Phone Plan

Avoid buying prepaid phone plans at Walmart.

Flexibility and affordability are key considerations for prepaid phone plans. So, Walmart’s offering, Family Mobile, might initially catch your eye with its $49 monthly unlimited nationwide plan and 4G LTE data. On the surface, it seems like a budget-friendly choice that could help you save some cash. However, there are much better options out there, and here’s why:

  • While Family Mobile’s monthly plan might seem like a steal, it’s not the best deal out there. Other budget carriers such as Ultra, Boost, and Mint have cheaper plans. For example, Mint Mobile has a 3-month Unlimited plan for $90 ($30 per month).
  • Walmart’s Family Mobile doesn’t really shine in terms of value. In fact, customer reviews are VERY poor. The prepaid phone plan market offers numerous alternatives with more competitive pricing, enhanced customer support, and a broader array of features to cater to your needs. Many user complain about Family Mobile’s quality, with very poor connection and terrible customer support.

Alternative Recommendations: If you’re looking for prepaid phone plans that provide superior value and service, it’s worth checking out alternatives like Metro by T-Mobile, Google Fi, Ultra, Boost, or Mint Mobile. These options provide better coverage and features at competitive prices.

2. Wooden furniture

The furniture at Walmart is not very good quality and will deteriorate quickly.

Furniture shopping is no cheap endeavor and can put a huge dent in your budget. This especially rings true for when you’re just starting out or furnishing a new home. While Walmart’s wooden furniture may catch your eye with its budget-friendly prices, it’s essential to remember that you get what you pay for.

  • Walmart’s wood furniture, despite its affordability, is much lower quality and cheaply made.
  • While the items may be budget-friendly, it’s worth noting that they often lack durability and may not last a very long time.

Experts in the field advise that Walmart’s furniture is more susceptible to breaking or deteriorating quickly. So, even though it is cheaper, you are likely going to have to replace it more often than quality furniture.

Alternative Recommendations: Instead of opting for Walmart’s budget wood furniture, it’s better to explore other options. Retailers like IKEA, Wayfair, or even second-hand stores provide reasonably priced alternatives that are much more durable.

3. Phone Accessories

Never buy chargers, cases, and other accessories at Walmart as they are more expensive.

Phone accessories might catch your eye with what appears to be a bargain at Walmart. However, it is important to know that these items often come at a steeper price point when compared to what you can find online. You should also do a price comparison and research electronics and phone accessories products before making a purchase.

  • Many big chain stores, including Walmart, tend to mark up the prices of phone accessories significantly. You might end up paying more for these items than necessary.
  • These retailers aim to compensate for their lower profit margins on big-ticket items by increasing prices in the accessories category.

Alternative Recommendations: For certain items like phone and tablet cases, charging cables, glass screen protectors, HDTV screen cleaning kits, computer accessories, and laptop bags, it’s often a smarter move to buy exclusively online. When shopping online retailers, you’ll be able to easily compare prices and will have a much larger pool of products to choose from.

4. Plates, Cutlery, and Glasses

Avoid purchasing plates, cups, glasses, and other tableware at Walmart.

Walmart does offer a wide range of kitchenware that is pretty budget friendly. That said, if you are looking to save money, you can find flatware, bowls, coffee mugs, cutlery, and other kitchenware for a fraction of the cost at dollar stores and thrift shops.

Don’t assume that Walmart’s claims of being the cheapest retailer are true. Take the time to compare prices at different stores and consider using coupons to maximize your savings. Additionally, the kitchenware sold by Walmart is not very good quality.

Walmart may not provide the best value, whether you’re looking for budget-friendly alternatives or quality products.

Their cutlery tends to break and fade very quickly, which means you’ll have to buy it again soon.

Alternative Recommendations: Dollar stores can be an even more cost-effective option for disposable utensils and plates. For kitchen accessories, online shopping can often save you money by eliminating in-store costs. Stores with better quality kitchenware at a decent price point include IKEA, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wayfair, and Macy’s. (Click here for a list of toxic products sold at dollar stores.)

5. Home Appliances

You’ll find fewer options and higher prices than expected for home appliances at Walmart.

Another thing you should never buy at Walmart is home appliances. In general, Walmart and home appliances don’t mix. You’ll rarely come across good deals from Walmart. This is for several solid reasons:

  • Walmart’s appliance selection may not impress as much as what you’d find at home improvement or specialty appliance stores.
  • Consumer Reports suggest that in terms of both pricing and selection, Walmart doesn’t surpass its competitors such as Costco, Best Buy, and Lowe’s. These alternative stores often offer more attractive deals, higher quality merchandise, and a wider array of choices for consumers.

Alternative Recommendations: If you value customer service and support, Consumer Reports advises visiting a local independent retailer. They usually have more to offer and have a wide range of options and features. Other good stores to buy appliances are Best Buy, Home Depot, and Wayfair.

6. Batteries

Never buy Walmart batteries, they are pricy and won’t last long.

If you’re in the market for batteries that offer long-lasting performance without breaking the bank, our top tip is to steer clear of Walmart. Here’s why:

  • While batteries are an essential household item, purchasing them at Walmart can be costly without much to show for it. They tend to leak and lose their charge very quickly.
  • Avoid buying Great Value brand batteries, especially as they are not as “great” of a “value” as you may think.

Alternative Recommendations: When powering various devices around your home, we recommend shopping at Costco, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, and Amazon.

For instance, Walmart currently offers a four-pack of Energizer Ultimate AA Lithium Batteries for $14.76. In contrast, by buying in bulk at Sam’s Club, you can secure an 18-pack of the same batteries for just $34.98.

7. Gift wrap

You should avoid Walmart’s wrapping paper section.

When it comes to making your gift not only meaningful but beautifully presented, your choice of gift wrap and wrapping supplies is crucial. Here’s why you should avoid Walmart:

  • They don’t have a lot of variety, so you won’t be able to find prints for special occasions and festivals
  • The quality is very inferior and tends to rip easily.

Alternative Recommendations: Our recommendations will differ depending on if you’re looking for budget options or good quality gift wrap. If you want to stay within a tight budget, your local dollar store is the ideal choice for the most budget-friendly prices on gift wrap and supplies.

Target takes the top spot for its extensive selection of gift wraps, bags, and supplies. So, whether you’re looking for a specific type, color, occasion, pattern, or price range, you’ll almost always find something at Target.

If you’re looking for the best value, you can also consider heading to Banner’s Hallmark or Michaels. They provide bundles that include gift bags and tissue.

8. Vitamins and supplements

In 2015, Walmart was sued for selling “bogus” supplements.

You might be tempted to get all your shopping done in one trip to Walmart and toss in some vitamins while you’re at it. But you might want to reconsider that. We highly recommend avoiding vitamins and supplements at Walmart.

Walmart’s history with supplements is worth considering. In 2015, the retail giant faced criticism for selling “herbal” supplements that either didn’t contain the labeled substance or had unlisted ingredients.

Alternative Recommendations: Regarding vitamins and supplements, shopping locally leaves you with better choices and peace of mind. Experts suggest that it’s often better to turn to your local warehouse store for vitamins and supplements. These stores tend to offer a broader selection of quality vitamins and competitive prices. Additionally, if you want the best quality vitamins, you can purchase them at a pharmacy or health store.

9. Meat and fresh produce

Walmart meat is not good quality, to say the least.

Walmart’s grocery section hasn’t received the warmest reviews from customers, and the feedback is far from positive. While it might be tempting to purchase all your groceries from Walmart due to the cheap prices, you are better off taking your business elsewhere.

  • Walmart was by far the most complained-about grocery store, with nearly 80% of shoppers having at least one complaint about the national discounter.
  • Among the most common grievances were related to the quality of meat and poultry.
  • Walmart’s produce department also left customers unimpressed. According to Consumer Reports’ grocery store survey, both Walmart and Target ranked at the bottom of the list when it came to offering the best quality and variety of produce.

Alternative Recommendations:  For meat and fresh produce, you’ll have better luck shopping at your local farmers market, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

10. Diapers

Amazon diapers are much cheaper than Walmart’s.

The cost of diapers for parents can be quite staggering, especially when infants can go through up to 12 diapers a day. Based on data from the National Diaper Bank Network, parents can spend as much as $80 a month on diapers alone!

Considering this, it’s entirely understandable to explore money-saving options, particularly at discount retailers. Yet, when you analyze the figures, Walmart may not necessarily provide the most budget-friendly solution. Walmart’s diaper packs can be quite expensive since they don’t have large packs.

Many parents have reported that the quality is subpar.

Alternative Recommendations: If you’re looking to cut costs on diapers, Amazon’s subscription service through Amazon Family is a more budget-friendly option than Walmart. Amazon Prime members can unlock a 20% discount on their diaper subscriptions through Amazon Family, complete with free shipping. Amazon’s Mama Bear pack drops to just $24, a price that’s tough to match at other retailers.

11. Toys

Walmart toys cost much more than competitors like Amazon.

Whether you’re preparing for a child’s birthday celebration or organizing your holiday shopping, Walmart might initially appear as a convenient option to secure substantial savings when compared to specialty toy stores. Nevertheless, if your primary goal is to find the absolute lowest prices, it might be worthwhile to rethink your approach.

  • While Walmart offers convenience and a wide selection, their prices are through the roof.
  • In 2019, Kiplinger conducted a price comparison of Walmart’s toy offerings with several other retailers and discovered that Amazon consistently provided better deals on the same toys and games.

Alternative Recommendations: If you’re focused on getting the most bang for your buck when shopping for toys, Amazon could be the go-to destination. (But the online retailer is not a go-to store for everything — here’s a list of 11 things not to buy on Amazon.)

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