Reviews

Target vs Walmart: Top 10 Differences

I went to Walmart the other day. I needed something in the way of popsicle sticks, I knew they’d be open,  and I knew they’d have them.

Now, I don’t know if it’s just my local Walmart or if it’s all Walmarts, but the difference between Walmart and Target smacks me broadside every*single*time I walk through Walmart’s automatic doors and past their “greeters” (who, judging from the way they “greet,” either operate as prison guards or participate in sleep studies in their off hours). To be fair, it’s not like the Target “greeters” in my area do a whole lot of cheer-spreading either though – they mostly look like they are just itching to get outside for a smoke with their buddies – or catch you using the wrong cart or something.

So, what is the difference between the two? I mean, they seem to cater to the same big-box, one-stop-shop-loving crowd, right? I thought about it a great deal and this is what I’ve come up with in the way of nailing the differences.

Target vs. Walmart: Top 10 Differences

1. Quality:

While the prices are right about the same, the quality of clothes in Walmart bellow I WAS MADE IN CHINA with a force usually reserved for moving people out of the way of a fire.

Want something that’s cheaply made, will last a year and cheap – but is trendy, with strong colors and flair? Go to Target. Want something that’s cheaply made, will last a month and cheap – with weak colors that say, “I am poor”? Go to Walmart.

2. Service:

The people in Target look really put out when I ask them a question – usually needing to interrupt coworker chats to do so. They also usually don’t know the answer to my question. Walmart staff on the other hand, do. And they are happy to tell me – even lead me to wherever it is I need to go. “Greeters” aside, I like the staff at Walmart a lot more. Plus, they usually wear things like outrageous false eyelashes neon-bright eye shadows and such that really crack me up.

3. Lighting:

The fluorescent lights in both places wreck havoc with my brain, but of the two, Walmart’s seem dimmer. That’s usually a good thing, but in this case it isn’t. They appear dimmer in a poorly lit, low budget, seedy kind of way. I feel like I need a shower after shopping at Walmart.

4. Layout:

There is no question that the arrangement of goods at Target is much more pleasing to the eye than at Walmart. None at all. The lighting is better, the goods are arranged in fetching displays. The aisles gleam, the wares call your name in soft, glimmering tones.

Here, for example, is an aisle at Target:

Target Aisle LaneAnd here is one at Walmart:

 

Walmart AisleI think it’s all the red, personally, that makes Target’s that much better.

5. Carts:

Target has switched to plastic carts that are delicious to roll around. Smooth like silk, they glide all over the place. Walmart, on the other hand, has archaic carts that cling to one another like terrified bits of velcro. Target has tons of carts that accommodate more than one kid; I usually have a hard time finding any carts at all at Walmart, let alone one that will carry more than one parcel of offspring. Target also has “Caroline’s Carts”, which are made for kids with disabilities… which is a huge deal for me as I need that.

6. Prices:

I said above that the prices are right about the same, but I have actually found Walmart to be the more expensive of the two. This pisses me off because it’s apparent that some really poor people shop at Walmart thinking they are getting the best buy.

Walmart has apparently gained the reputation as being the cheapest place to shop….but it’s not. I’m talking about the long-term cost of poor quality; I’m talking about the literal cost of the items for sale there. They are more.

7. Food:

The food sold in both places is pretty awful but of the two, Walmart’s is way worse. Worse quality with same or more expensive prices. Only the non-perishables looked safe-ish to me.

8. Clothes:

Target has fun clothes. They’ve got ASL shirts, “Kind is Cool” and their clearance racks always have good stuff.

Added to that, Target has the Adaptive Clothing Line for kids and adults with disabilities, which I LOVE SO MUCH. (my post about it is linked here).

9. Customers:

In the stores in my area, the people who shop at Target tend to be smartly clad, rather fashionable. Lots of people of color and/or white people who look well educated. A lot of the same type of (upper) middle class kid accessories (ergo baby carriers, BOB strollers) and Dansko-shoe-wearing Moms. You know the type. Cars in the parking lot are Prius’s or Odyssey’s with a few Civics, Corollas and Lexus thrown in. Lots of Toyota represented.

Walmart in the Bay Area, on the other hand, has more people of color and not as many white people. Their parent-gear looks more like gear on a budget – their strollers are the flimsy umbrella type of Graco snap-n’go’s. The cars in the parking lot? Mercury’s, Neon’s, old Aerostars. American.

I very much prefer the people at Walmart. The other shoppers there make eye contact with me, say hi (often – excitingly – in other languages! ). They are friendly and move their carts in a considerate manner. They don’t seem as utterly self-absorbed as the shoppers in Target. Maybe that’s also a Berkeley/Oakland difference, I don’t know.

10. a.Lanes

 

target vs walmartb. Lane Speed:

Target staff push you through those lanes like they are just *dying* to get outside for a smoke (and I’ll bet they are); Walmart staff wants to make sure they have interacted with each and every customer – and each and every item being purchased – and each and every bill being presented – as absolutely thoroughly as humanely possible. This can take time, but it doesn’t seem to bother people much, who have to wait around 30 minutes in the “express lane” for 2 or 3 items that they’d like to purchase.

 11. Emblematic of the difference between the two: Target/Walmart meme-stuff online.

People don’t really hate Target. People really, really hate Walmart. Both are ultimately big-box stores that are crap for the environment and don’t care for their employees nearly enough.

But a run-down on comparing Target and Walmart in the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Location – they are close together in my area; neither is preferable
  • Price – nope, they are comparable but I think everything considered (like, clothing and food quality), Target is by and large cheaper in the Bay Area.
  • Service? I felt that the service was better at Walmart.
  • Other customers? Walmart customers are nicer.
  • Lanes? Walmart is slower with fewer lanes open.
  • Aisles? Target has nicer aisles and way better lighting.
  • Carts? Target has better carts. Smooth as silk.

All in All…

Target has a fantastic online shopping experience set up.

I buy most of my kid’s clothes there – it’s nice stuff and discounted, it’s incredibly cheap, and has the “kind is cool” and t-shirts in ASL that I like. I buy most of my own clothes from Target as well, as it’s just easy. For craft stuff, I go to Walmart. I try not to go to either for food, but in a pinch, I’d lean towards Target as they have more of a selection of organic and healthy foods.

But I still like the people at Walmart better.

 

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Ever wondered the difference between Target and Walmart?! From lighting to lanes, here are a few. | shopping | parenting | target | walmart | target vs. walmart | frugal | budget | money saving | comparison shopping | http://www.meriahnichols.com/target
Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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38 Comments

  1. Clara G. Kelley Reply

    I am a Target girl, we stopped shopping at Walmart over their CD censorship issues about ten years ago. Like, they wanted to carry Marilyn Manson cd’s, but without the scary album artwork. It seems to me you should be more concerned about what’s inside the cd than outside.

    But I also love Target with a deep and abiding love, it’s probably the solidly middle-class culture that I’m a part of. But the wide aisles and cleanliness appeal to me, and in my city, the service is way better at T than at the W.

  2. carolina.echeverry Reply

    I shop for different things at both Target and Walmart. But I’m a weird shopper, for example: I buy diapers at Target but wipes at Walmart! LOL! I also buy cleaning products at walmart. In my city Walmart is cheaper than Target I think, but I would never buy produce at Walmart, it looks kind of almost ready to go bad the minute you buy it! I need to buy good looking pretty produce! I would never buy clothes at walmart but I would and I do at Target, they might be both bad quality but Target clothing is more appealing/modern/cute to me. I agree with you about the lighting and cleaning aisles at Target but not the service. In my city the service is bad at both places! I would NEVER ask for help at either place, is worthless!!

  3. April Vernon Reply

    We have a Walmart in our town, and have to drive 45 min to a Target. While, I strongly prefer Target, I tell everyone that I love our Walmart b/c I can go in as frumpy as all get-out and leave feeling like the best dressed, most educated person in the county! LOL

  4. oh gosh, I am laughing so hard ! I just got back from an all day trip with the kids to walmart- we were supposed to go to target, but I heard they opened up a wally world and went there for the prices instead. when we drove into the parking lot my kids all started making bets on what kind of people we would see…t-shirtless? missing teeth? pot-bellies sticking out under wife beaters? I had to tell them to tone it down before we got out of the car. And give the a nice sermon on judging people by their apparel. or lack thereof. BUT- people are more friendly there ! The salesclerk asked me if we had any fun plans next week..the ones at Target act like I’m a pain for even going through their lane. And I ALWAYS have weird eye reactions to flourescent lights in stores- I thought it was just me! I always leave with a headache. (Can you tell I don’t get out much??) Here the prices are considerably lower at Walmart..but I love the quality so much more at Tar-jay. Sigh. I’m a Target girl at heart with a Walmart budget. Maybe some day when all these kids leave home I will graduate to the big time.. and shop at Target for flip flops that last a whole year 😉
    p.s. I did score a pretty sweet tankini top for swimming on our camping trip next week. Even if I had to wrestle a pregnant man to get it.

      • and the old ladies who monitor the dressing rooms- with the blue vests- they all look exactly the same, no matter what city you go to !

        • Catherine Scott Reply

          I know what you mean about the old ladies monitoring the dressing rooms. I asked one of those for a room to try on two pairs of leggings and you would have thought I asked for the keys to the castle. And she very rudely finished sorting hangers before she opened one for me. The rooms were literally two feet from where she stood.

  5. This is great! We’re just about to get our first Target here (Canada) and I have been wondering the difference between Walmart and Target. The carts sound lovely. I ALWAYS get the ‘fish wheel’ cart at Walmart. : )
    Love your website. Huge fan!

  6. Anna Theurer Reply

    Meriah, laughing so hard over here that the coffee just spewed all over my keyboard. This post needs to come with a warning!

    Okay, I am a Target girl. I drive a Toyota and I wear Danskos (hello, I am a nurse and they are best shoes for tired tootsies!) but that is not why I am a Target girl. The Walmart parking lot terrifies me. Since living in Texas, I have been in 1 car accident. It occurred in their horrendous, poorly laid-out parking lot. I was totally at fault so I cannot even blame someone else. Also, I always get lost in the Walmart. It just doesn’t seem to be laid out logically. Or perhaps it is because I am rarely at a Walmart and as thus I do not know my way around. Anyway, I do not go to Walmart because I firmly believed I am jinxed. There you have it.

  7. Tiffany Underwood Reply

    At 2 of our Walmarts not one single worker knows where anything is. And I get ugly looks when I ask. Plus, something about the lghts make my sensory daughter inSANE…

  8. Kacey Bode Reply

    Our Target here is LAME. It’s not a super target so it has about as many groceries and the gas station AND they are WAY more expensive. Walmart is 3 minutes for my house and is by far the cheapest grocery shopping in these parts. I can’t say that I am a fan of Walmart, as in all day long on the days I have to go I repeat “I HATE Walmart about 100 times.” Even my kids like to say they hate Walmart. LOL.

  9. I’m a target girl. All of their stuff is so much sophisticated. Walmart is so overwhelming and Target is more organized. I hate walmarts parking and I hate to wait in line for 10-15 minutes. Target you just wait less than 5 minutes. Target looks so much nice and clean. Even their grocery bags!

  10. Target may seem upper middle class, but I prefer Target over the issues that Walmart brings. There is a Target and a Walmart side by side at the Eastland Center. It’s obvious that the type of people who shop at Target tend to be more affluent than Walmart shoppers. If I were to go to a Target, the team members actually help me and often times are very energetic. You go to a Walmart, the the associates look like they are overworked and want to cuss you out. I sometimes feel that you can’t even fairly compare both Target and Walmart. The New York Times for a while stopped comparing the. One sells chic and quality style items, while the other one selling cheap crappy made items.

    Since you brought up the issue of Berkeley/Oakland, I am from the Bay Area myself and I can definitely relate with the Berkeley crowd than the Oakland crowd. It’s simply a question of economics. Target may seem upper middle class, but I rather deal with upple middle class people and issues than to deal with the type of consumers that shop at Walmart.

  11. Midwest shopper Reply

    Target is more of a haughty I drive an electric car just for my ego and want to kick the homeless because I find them ugly kind of store. It might appear more crisp but the people are complete jerks and nothing is ever stocked. I actually stopped shopping there because of the higher prices and rude customer service.

    Walmart has it’s characters and constantly moves items around, but it’s the same item for a cheaper price and to be honest it is all Chinese garbage. The clothes at Walmart I find to be slightly better, but it’s certainly not anything like Macys, Kohls, Ralph Lauren or LL Bean. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I want to spend all day in the mirror in uncomfortable, cheap, gaudy clothing I can’t work in. I do like Walmarts automotive, hardware, sporting goods and garden section though.

    I refuse to buy produce, meat and baking items from either store. I only do local for that. (I bought a bag of flour from Walmart and when I opened it, it was loaded with bugs. They pump their “fresh” cookie cutter looking red meat up with chemicals as well. Gross.)

    Local small business/farmers market > Walmart (last resort) > Target (please no)

  12. Walmart, on the other hand, has plenty of large black women who wear high platform wedge shoes, false eyelashes and tight pants that clearly show their sexy thick thighs…REALLY!!!

      • I agree. “People of color who look well educated” isn’t a difference when for white people you just say “white people.” It wouldn’t be racist if you also said: “white people who look well educated.” Or instead just said a mix of white and people of color. I was going to use this article for a research paper, but am now having to search elsewhere because of that statement. It’s very racist, and if you say otherwise, you are blind.

        • Huh?!! I’m confused.
          I said, “Lots of white people and/or people of color who look well educated” that means lots of white people who look educated and/or people of color who look well educated. It does not mean two separate things (as in, “white people” and “people of color who look educated”). The inclusion of “and/or” means BOTH.

          But since this is apparently confusing to some readers, I’m going to switch them around right now, so it will now read, “lots of people of color and/or white people who look well educated”

  13. wallyworld Reply

    I don’t know what walmart you’ve ever been to, but as a walmart employee, ours is clean, wood floors, a full organic grocery with specialty stuff to boot on the shelves including personal shopping service for free. we get district visitors every other week from corporate offices, sample ladies with all kinds of great samples on weekends through the store. Our managers are amazing and actually help us out and work with us when needed on the floor during our job. Never have I seen any employee shown up with false eyelashes and neon makeup. That is a dress code violation at the one I work and you’d be sent home or made to go take it off or change it before you could work. Anyone coming into our store always says how clean it is. We are in the top of the market district and disrespect, rudeness and such toward customers or to other co-workers at any level in the store is considered a termination offense from the GM and upper management. .
    Not sure where you’re at but a lot of your statements are NOT true about all walmarts in general… maybe just the one near you. The lighting is all motion controlled and solar. On really sunny days the fluorescents aren’t even on. It’s running on solar. The others kick in and on when it’s really overcast out or when it hits night and it’s needed. Honestly, Target is the one who is massively overpriced and the customer service issue- Walmart excels greatly at that. We are required to help customers and take them to what they want in the store. “Can I help You” is NOT allowed at the one I work at. We are required to use “How are you today? Is there anything I can help you with?” Even my current supervising manager will tell us to use that or “how may I help you today” when we talk to customers. He doesn’t tolerate slack mess at any aspect of the job… maybe he’s a rarity in that respect but that is how it is at the store I work… unless you live in the sticks somewhere where there are more trailers than houses, not all walmarts are the same or same quality level of what they do.
    Im lucky I guess to work at one of the top 3 in the district that mine is part of…. people here in demographics wouldn’t tolerate the mess you described in your post… at all.

  14. Watch the documentary, “The High Cost of Low Prices.” Eye-opening.

  15. Target employees are much nicer. they interact with me while checking out all the time. Walmart cashiers are miserable and act like they can’t wait for their shift to be over (and I don’t blame them.) And walmart customers are nicer? ever see that meme about getting road rage while pushing your cart through a walmart? Yeah it’s pretty true. I only go to Wal-Mart as a last resort for anything.

  16. The vast majority of people would disagree with you when it comes to your comparison of customer service and the employees/customers between the two stores.
    I’ve heard most people say that Target employees/customers and customer service is significantly better. Obviously this is just your specific experience but I’d say in general, that’s what people think.
    Walmart has really come a long way especially in regards to their organization, store renovations, cleanliness and walmart brand quality although I do think Target quality and customer care still does have the edge. I think Target is a bit more selective in who they hire compared to Walmart and they give their employees better training as well. Target has also come a long way in ensuring their prices remain competitive with Walmart although I can understand why a few of their clothing and Target brand items are a bit more expensive due to their quality. Another difference I notice is that Target doesn’t have as wide a selection of items compared to Walmart which is in general why their store has always appeared more organized/neat but like I said, nowadays Walmarts organization is more or less on par with Target. The only think Walmart needs to work on is customer service. In order for Target to stay competitive and afloat, they need to continue to price match with other competitors, promote their exclusive, quality private label brands, offer a wider variety, update their stores and dive into the grocery business. Target needs to continue to capitalize on their customer service as well as way to continue differentiating themselves. Before walmart began updating their stores, I always preferred Target because I always perceived their stores as being more attractive and having higher quality private brand items but nowadays I really do love walmart and prefer to shop there more in general due to their newly renovated stores, low prices and wide variety.

  17. Educated Black Woman in Iowa Reply

    “Lots of white people and/or people of color who look well educated.”

    I read this as: lots of white people and (or) people of color who look well educated.

    If my reading is correct, you have A LOT of nerve lady. I do not know how you can tell whether someone is “well educated” by how they look…maybe you can write a post about it. What I do know is that there is a stench of bigotry radiating from your words, even when you use your white-lady euphemism.

    If you wanted to say that the POC at Target look more middle class than those POC who frequent Walmart who look like they are working and lower class, then you should have just said it. What I suspect is that you are a suburban white woman writing for other suburban white women and at some point in your sheltered life, you got this idea that white people “who look educated” are the norm while POC “who look educated” are the exception.

    Travel around the US and you will realize how utterly incorrect that view is (and rather stupid). In the mean time, I think I speak for most POC when I say please do not talk about us as if we were animals in a zoo you are observing during your excursions to the local Walmart or Target.

    • Oh my. No, I’m pretty far from a suburban woman. But I AM white, that’s true.
      I wrote “who look well educated” as opposed to “middle class” because there is a difference. You can be middle class but not well educated. When someone looks “well educated” to me, it’s that their clothes reflect choices that have a conscience and consciousness to them – exclusively wearing clothing and shoes from companies known for their sustainability and good humanitarian practices, for example. There is an awareness that is present in someone who is well educated, regardless of income level or race. THAT is what I’m talking about.

  18. noneofyourbusiness Reply

    First of all, I do REALLY, REALLY HATE Target,( for one thing, the toilets in the bathroom won’t flush & certain deodorants, they don’t even bother to stock) & would take Walmart over them any day. Second, the fact that you would use an asinine term like “smartly-clad” speaks volumes about you. Then again, you’re a teacher, so you probably always “think” in terms of who is or looks “well-educated”. Sounds like you’re suggesting -that looking well-educated means you’re a superficial person obsessed with fashion & labels – which is nothing to be proud of. Anyway, how does someone look uneducated? Do they dress more for comfort than so-called style, & why is that a bad thing? Why would someone with your attitude & elitist outlook on life even dare to set foot in a Walmart anyway? And BTW, buying only supposedly organic & healthy foods doesn’t make you more well-educated than someone who enjoys Pop-Tarts!
    And the school system is really a factory to train people to be MISeducated workforce robots- who care more about being “successful” than about THINKING for themselves-so no one is truly well-educated!
    “They’ve been broken in churches and schools, and MOLDED to middle-class circumstance” Joni Mitchell

  19. I’ve worked for Target, and let me tell you, it’s all a façade with them. They pretend to be all upstanding and for everyones’ rights, values, etc but they are the most anti-union, cut-throat, company and the worst part is they put on that façade! At least Walmart or Amazon are just blunt, like hey, this is who we are, take it or leave it. Walmart has even got its act together lately, massive section of organic produce, Made in USA on almost everything now, and they are giving part time workers benefits (Target does not do that where I live! New York State).

    Target is consistently overpriced, the workers are rude (trust me, I know from working with them), and they go out of their way to make sure you cannot get a deal. At Walmart they have become so fair as a marketplace that they allow businesses to sell items that are even cheaper than their own generics! I’ve literally seen brands being sold that are cheaper than Great Value or Equate from third parties, and it’s nice that Walmart even allows that kind of healthy competition.

    I don’t love Walmart, I use Amazon the most (for AmazonSmile so proceeds go to charity), but I do recognise their efforts, whereas Target isn’t doing anything. Still making everything in China, still stalling on wages and worker rights, and is in the dark ages when it comes to healthy eating or having competitive selection of brands. I shop at Aldi for 90% of my food, Walmart for specialty, and the grocery store for even more specific specialty. I refuse to shop at Target because of these reasons and more. Target is awful, they are following in Kmarts footsteps, even have the red logos. Better get their act together soon or they will find themselves in the same boat.

  20. Walmart is so dirty and unclean its disgusting. Target actually cleans the place and keeps it nice. Also Target stuff last longer and the furniture is better. Target has all your needs in one store. Walmart has mold in there stores and the employees are disgusting and rude. Overall Target is better

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