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Wal-Mart v. Target

The data is still coming in. I will crunch numbers, stir up potions and Chemical X to the equation later to get the results you are all waiting for.

Meanwhile, the differences between Target and Wal-Mart, inspired by Susanna and Glenn.

The first Wal-Mart opened here a few years ago. Within weeks, the store went from that sparkling, brand-new shine to a dirty heap of cluttered aisles and car-on-the-lawn shoppers. We opined that it was just had the misfortune of being placed in a not so great neighborhood.

Last year, a Wal-Mart opened closer to my house. Within weeks, it looked just like the one that came before it.

Target has been here about two years. It has never looked dirty, never smelled bad, never attracted the same sort of bottom bargain shoppers that Wal-Mart does. Or perhaps it does, but they just dress better when they go to Tar-Jay.

Where Wal-Mart has that dollar-store vibe, Target makes you feel as though you are shopping at some sleek, upscale city shop.

Where Wal-Mart has dingy aisles loaded with cast-offs and marked down boxes of cereal, Target has perfectly packaged goodies all lined up in a row.

Wal-Mart has cashiers who look like they'd rather shoot you than serve you. Everyone smiles at Target.

Wal-Mart has those annoying senior-citizen greeters at the door, who scare the crap out of your teenage daughter when they remark how well-developed she is, or who insist so hard that you take their damn flier that they will follow you around the store and stick one down your pants if they have to.

Wal-Mart is The Weekly World News. Target is Entertainment Weekly.

Wal-Mart is Blogspot. Target is your own domain with Moveable Type installed.

Wal-Mart has two dollar statues of children with big eyes and retarded looking pets. Target has Michael Graves.

Plus, Target has a Taco Bell inside. The best you can hope for at Wal-Mart is to open a box of Mallowmars before you pay for them.

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Comments

Hmm... your description of Wal-Marts near you is exactly what I see at K-Mart, which I detest. I've never been in a Wal-Mart as badly managed as those you describe; the neatness is one of the things I like. There's neither Tar-jay nor Wal-Mart near me, so I don't know why I care right now, but Tar-jay has always seemed just toooo self-consciously hip to me, with more dazzle and hipness than quality in a lot of their products. And it doesn't have the same range of products. Of course as a quilter and crafty sort I get annoyed that Tar-jay has zero sewing stuff, so I've already got a bad attitude when I walk in the door.

OTOH, Tar-jay does seem to have nicer clothes.

You know why Target is so clean? No one shops there, so there's no one to mess things up.

BTW: Shopping exclusively at Target instead of Wal-Mart can be the equivalent of a full week's pay for many paycheck-to-paycheck workers.

And did you read the recent article in Forbes about Wal-Mart? The article credits Wal-Mart for keeping inflation down in the United States.

I once deeply offended a self-proclaimed shopping expert, nay "Goddess" when I opined that Target and Kohls were the same thing. She, a Tar-jay devotee, acted like I compared foie gras to a Big Mac. Maybe it's me, but I just don't see what's so special about Target. The times that I've been there they didn't have any more selection then K/Walmart. One of the ones in our area is remakably clean, certianly there are no employees around cluttering up the aisles. But one of the other ones in our area has the exact same creepy, dirty clientele that inhabit the Walmarts of the area.

I agree! We refer to Wally mart as the Retard Rodeo. Everytime we go there it's a wife-beater modeling contest, and child-abuse seminar all wrapped up into one!.
We once got trolled by an Amway goon, while shopping in Walmart. She approached us supposedly to comment on how cute the baby was, then started into the"sooo....are you happy with your income?...schpeal. It took me a second, but the smell of Amway was quite clear...I've never ran into those trolls in any other retail venue.

Well, lad-de-da! In Cary, NC the Wal-mart has a McDonald's! Cary, which stands for Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees, is an "upscale" suburb of Raleigh.

The Cary Target just has a generic snack bar.

The Targets out here in my part of California (the Bay Area) look like the Wal-marts you have been describing. I went in our closest Target once -- never again.

Another one agreeing with the notion "Target is so clean because NO ONE shops there!"

We had a Tar-Jay in town for a while, but the sales stunk and the store didn't have that big of a selection. Needless to say, when the lease expired, so did Tar-Jay. The Wal-Mart in town does keep it's store clean, but yes, the people from the trailer parks do seem to live there.

BTW, the Big Lots that took over the Targetr lease, they are doing more business and the store is just as clean. :-)

>>Wal-Mart is Blogspot. Target is your own domain with Moveable Type installed.

'em's fightin words. When some of us get some disposable bucks to move over from the free site, maybe we'll talk....:)

Never had a problem with Tar-zhay except for the crowds. They're popping up like mushrooms in Northern Virginia.

Wal-Mart is... rusted-out shopping cards and acres of inappropriate Spandex.

I would not ever shop at Wal-Mart, except that it angers anti-capitalists, so I'm fer it.

I have often wondered the same thing. How does Target manage to stay so neat and clean when K-Mart and Wal-Mart begin their descent into junk shops from the day of their grand opening?

Maybe it's because Target has changed it's demographic, and is trying to attract a more upscale, hip crowd. But then again, even when they were more of a discount store, they still were always neat, clean and well-lit.

I think a big part of the reason is that both Wal and K-Mart have WAY TOO MUCH stock . High up on the shelves, crammed together on the racks, in the middle of the aisles, spilling out of every possible nook and cranny. I get claustrophobic going through them. Target has a lot more breathing room in their stores.

I've also witnessed a lot more ill-behaved children and/or really foul-mouthed people with lousy parenting skills in the "Mart" stores. I don't enjoy shopping where children are allowed o run rampant or scream/cry at the top of their lungs and the parents don't do a damn thing about it unless it is to scream/cuss at their kids and in turn make them scream/cry even louder.

All in all an unpleasant shopping experience. I'l take Target over those two any day.

i have been a devoted target shopper since the dark ages (we got our first one in huntington beach, california in 1984, i think). i love the quality of their merchandise (i'm talking about the store's own brands), and i've never been in a dirty or disorganized target.

your comparison of "Wal-Mart is The Weekly World News. Target is Entertainment Weekly. Wal-Mart is Blogspot. Target is your own domain with Moveable Type installed" is spot on.

No, no, Cary is the CONTAINMENT Area for Relocated Yankees. (Hey, people -- the houses are bigger & cheaper in North Raleigh -- and with 540 now you can get to RTP even faster!)

I remember when I used to go to Cary for the "upscale" shopping at Cary Towne Center (oooh, extra e!) or Crossroads. Then Crabtree Valley Mall got spruced up and there was no looking back....

But this is all reminiscing. I live in New York City now. I don't go to Target, Walmart, or Kmart. I go dumpster-diving.

Gotta disagree with Bill Dennis about Target being a more expensive place to shop. I'm a comparison shopper, and I've always found there to be very little difference in prices on identical merchandise between Target and Wal/K-Mart. Plus, Target's parking lots are always just as full as the other two, so I know there are plenty of people shopping there here in my town.

One other thing is that for all of the merchandise the 'Marts' have crammed into their stores, Target still carries a better selection than both of them.

We've had Target here in Milwaukee since the early 70's. Wal-Mart came here in the early to mid 90's. Those 30 year old Target stores, inside and out, are in far better condition than the 10 year old Wal-Mart stores.

Here's a yucky discunt store memory of mine. Did anyone have Zayre stores in their town? We had them here for awhile in the 80's and they were absolutely the pits of the universe! Bad, bad stores. F minus!

Your glowing description of Target is not entirely accurate. Older Target stores have the same been-here-a-while look to them similar to Wal-Mart.

It's funny how something as benign as Target vs. Wal-Mart can bring out so many strong opinions! LOL!

I HATE Target. I used to LOVE Target, but now I hate them. They only take things back within 90 days, even if you're trying to bring it back 91 days later and your receipt shows that you spent $193 on other crap in their store. They'd rather lose a customer than bend their lame rules. I hate Target because they'll advertise Kraft 16 ounce salad dressings, assorted varieties, at $2.00 a bottle, but then when they ring up at $2.19 a bottle, they tell you there's nothing they can do about the error and you have to go take a number and stand in line at customer service to get your nineteen cents back. I'm sure they do this because they know most people aren't gonna go stand in line, and they make tons of money ripping us off very subtlely. I hate Target because they THINK they're upscale, but they're not. Instead of being able to buy a simple toilet brush, some flip flops, and some sunglasses, they promote all that matchy-match overpriced crap, as if people want pretty striped toilet brushes. I hate Target because they seem to have pared down their selection to next to nothing in the past year, while promoting said matchy match crap.

Wal-Mart may be straight out 'the trailer, but their prices beat Target on everything I've ever compared, and you can actually buy Rubbermaid trash cans instead of that lame Swank crap they hawk at Target.

I also hate Target because it used to be perfectly acceptable to wear khaki pants and a maroon top to work; now people snicker and tell me I look like I wandered away from my checkstand.

I'm a Target fan, and I'd probably still be one even if the nearest Wal-Mart (a quarter-mile farther away) wasn't the fetid swamp that it is.

Still, the K mart (now closed) was worse.

I like our local Super-Target because it has a Starbuck's inside. It lets me get all my yuppie scum vibes out in one convenient location. Xkot luvs Target!

I have to agree - Target in my area is far better than especially the Meijer stores - Meijer is basically the same as a Super Walmart, it's just Michigan and Ohio, I think.

But to me, the difference is the level of customer service the companies offer. Meijer employees are often rude, hard to find, and generally annoying. Target employees tend to be better-educated in customer service, and thus kinder - though still scarce.

Sometimes, I hate shopping.

I have always like Wal-Mart - I used to live in a small town, and having a Wal-Mart meant not driving 60 miles round trip to get stuff.

When I moved to Maryland, I didn't know where Wal-Mart was, so I didn't know where the heck I would buy indoor trash cans. Took a while to figure it out. I eventually found what I needed at Wal-Mart, once I found out where the place was.

I was just out in Idaho, in a small town, and that was the ONLY place to get stuff.

But Wal-Marts do vary in their appearance, though - now that I live in Northern Virginia, the closest Wal-Mart is yucky. I suspect the large families recently introduced to American cultures that are its clientele are the reason for that.

And those large families are buying the place out - it is hard to find what you want there - stuff moves fast. So we shop almost exclusively at Target, here.

I think the bottom line is where you live. In Mountain Home, Idaho, there is no Target. Here in the suburbs of DC - some of the nicer ones - you won't find Wal-Mart, but will find Target.

It's almost a blue state/ red state kinda deal.

Plus, Target has the Shiny! Long live the Shiny, Shiny Target!

And all of our Wal-Marts and K-Marts smell disturbingly of fertilizer.

When comparing the Marts vs Target, one must first make teh distinctio between the Super-Wal-Mart and the garden variety Wal-Mart. The Super's a large, well lit, plenty of space, large selection, clean, etc. The generic Wal-Mart is none of that. Generally, the only good thing I have to say about Wal-Mart after I've gone is "These people make me feel better about myself."

Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

Target has also stolen designs from my friends that are American crafts people to be made in Japan.

Blaster beat me to it. After reading all of these different opinions, I am convinced that there is a strong geographical element to this debate. I am sure each one of us is capable of telling a neat, clean store from a messy, disorganized pit. Therefore, there has to be differences between how the stores are managed and stocked depending on geographc location. I know my sister that lives in NC wasn't too impressed with the Target stores when they first came to her area in the last 10 years.

All I can tell you is where I live, the Targets are all neat and clean, the K-marts are about a 50/50 crapshoot depending on the location, and every last one of the Wal-Marts is messy bordering on grungy. I'll stlll go there to shop on occasion, but it isn't a pleasant experience.

I've been lost in a Wal-Mart. In the mountains of Western Maryland, amid the wife-beater and spandex clad, mouth-breathing masses. I'm still traumatized. The loudspeakers were paging "Shamu to register three, Shamu to register three," I was being followed by a couple pushing two carts--the man's cart was filled with motor oil, Little Debbie's and soda, the woman's cart had four dirty children in it (all looking under the age of five), and there were four more kids herded between them. I think the number of children greatly outnumber the amount of teeth in the man's mouth. I wandered around looking for my family for 30 minutes before I gave up and went to the front of the store with the rest of the lost kids (I'm 31!).

BTW, did you happen to see the SNL with Jennifer Garner, and the skit she did as a Wal-Mart greeter? I still laugh my rear off when I think about it!!

I can understand the point you make. We have two walmarts here in germany near the city I live and both are some kind of filthy and a bit muddy places. And the folks in there let you hold your purse even closer. We don't have any targets.

If blogspot is Wal Mart and Target is MT on your own domain, where on the sad, sad list would blog-city rank?

I'm not sure I actually want to know the answer to that question. It would appear that I live in a very bad neighborhood.

it might be from living in pasadena, where we had a two-story square-block-covering tar-jay, and minneapolis, where the company lives, but i like target better. err. no. it's because target doesn't smell funny.

i have been known to occasionally go to wally world if it's after 8pm and i need sewing stuff, tho. but not fabric.

Ah, I am a devotee of Target because it has such fun, trendy items, but for groceries and general "I want it cheap" items, my Super-Walmart is fantastic.

I have to say, though, that Wal-Mart is not always cheaper. We just bought a new house, and I check both places before I select anything. A new phone, for example, was a much better deal at Target. Sam's Club, OTOH, is so insanely cheap that I have to figure they make the money on the memberships.

Having lived in a town in the dirty south that had not only a Super Wally-World, but a Super Target too, Target definatly gets my vote. The Wal-Mart was less than a year old, and was dirty, the people we're rude, and their stock was awful. The Super Target was at least clean, and kept things in order.

Now that I've moved back to the great Northwe(s)t, the word Super is gone from the store names, but my opinion remains the same.

Wait, either I didn't read everyone's comments thoroughly enough, or else everyone totally overlooked this mega-crucial difference:

Wal-Mart carries guns and bait. Target does not. Hel-LO?!!!!!

My husband and I were in a WalMart (aka "Scary WalMart") on Good Friday, and they announced that they would be open until midnight on Saturday, "for all your Easter needs." I got completely depressed, envisioning an overburdened, overtaxed mother, walking around WalMart at 11:30pm, trying to find some decent-looking Easter candy for her kids' baskets. Hell, trying to find some decent looking baskets, that time of night. In WalMart.

Sad.

Oh lord, dana michelle, you had to go and bring up Zayre... I had totally forgotten about that store. We moved out of Menomonee Falls when I was 9, but I do remember going to look for something at this store with cement-coated bikes and crap in the windows. I liked it because the fake-wrecked building looked cool to my 3rd-grade self, but now I'm sure I would hate it. Can't remember much about the inside of the store anyway...

I live in Target-world here in MN, and the few Wal-Marts are severely nasty around here. My complaint about Target is the way they lay out the stores: it makes no damn sense. Let's just say I miss Shopko...

Steve that sounds more like the "Best" store that went up on 91st and Brown Deer Road near Northridge (which is now an extinct mall, by he way). I think it was in the early 80's.

If that's the store you're talking about, it WAS kind of cool! They sold an odd collection of stuff there. It was kind of a catalog store.

Zayre moved into the decrepit old former Treasure Island stores, and they didn't do much in the way of remodeling, so they looked kind of old and decrepit from the time they first opened.

i don't care much for walmart but it isn't because of the class of customers. people who are so above shopping in stores with white trash really irk me. i'm the queen of white trash flea markets. i don't like walmart because i once worked there for a week and it was horrific. also, i have had many more problems with returning things there than k-mart who would take back an empty can of spray paint no questions asked. also the super walmart is so crowded i nearly have a panic attack if i don't shop there in the wee hours of the night.

they just opened up a new super target in my area and closed down the k-mart so I'll be shopping there insted of walmart, no doubt. in fact i just bought my son that scannerz thingy and my daughters some ellos(that we couldn't find anywhere else in town). target also has some pretty cool home furnishings.

Target all the way. I was kinda interested when a Walmart opened up near my house, but quickly was creeped out by the clingy greeters, ignorant staff, and rapidly degenerating store cleanliness. Also, I came to have a serious problem with the quality of some of the merchandise I walked away with. I figured there would be no bargain shopping for me.

Fast forward about two years, and a Target opened nearby. In the three years since, I've been more than pleased with their selection, cleanliness, and the quality of their goods (not necessarily top of the line, but at least worth what I paid for em). I DO have to agree with Steve about the store layout... Why do I have to go to one corner to get toilet paper and paper towels, then cross the entire store for kleenex?

Put me in the WalMart column.

It's not that I don't LIKE Target, there just aren't any near me.

Plus, I have always believed that "If you can't find it at WalMart, you don't need it!"
You might WANT it, but you don't NEED it.

I believe Target is owned by Dayton/Hudson (at least, back in the 80s it was. Explains the Minneapolis connection. When Dayton's was dumb enough to give me a credit card, I could always buy stuff at Target with it. Then they wanted actual MONEY for the stuff I bought.... the NERVE!)

Rob

Oh crap, dana, you're right!! [Embarrassed shrug.] I think I was combining the inside of Zayre with the outside of the Best store. I didn't go to either of them too often (being in Menomonee Falls, we were Kohls people mostly).

Let's just say my memory is like a slightly-congested sieve and leave it at that...

Target is less than a mile from my house. I still prefer WalMart because of the lower prices....sometimes by a couple of bucks on things like Sudafed or snacks.

I just can't go to WalMart. I saw a business documentary on PBS (can't find it now) some years ago that told a glowing story about Sam's "brilliant marketing plan." It involved putting in a WalMart every 10 miles or so along an interurban highway and then, when every Mom and Pop hardware store, dress store, grocer, shoe store, etc. went out of business, selling the WalMarts off 'til there was only one every 50 or so miles.

Wow, I thought. That's just wrong. Who would do such a thing? And who would let some PBS types make a documentary about it for everyone to see? Can't be right...

Then I watched them do it right here in NoCal. Repetedly.

I've made a few friends going only to local stores. And I feel a part of a community, even tho this is just a "bedroom community" lately. And in the long run, things are not more expensive because the relationships I have with the local merchants seem to include a "friend discount." I rarely pay the price marked on the shelf. It just comes up cheaper when I check out.

target has sells mossimo, walmart sells kathy lee. I don't like kathy lee, I like mossimo. target smells like candles and laundry detergent, walmart smells like dirty ass. Candle scent=good, dirty ass=bad. Target has big, plastic carts, Walmart has little rusty metal carts. Plastic is better than rusty metal. Target does not have the fucking yellow smiley face, walmart does... I could go on and on...

If I have to choose, I like Walmart cause they sell cheap ammo. $10.86 for a box of 100 winchester 9mm target rounds (target hehe). Can't even by ammo for my kid's pellet gun at Target. My local Wallyworld is fairly clean and organized - a comfortable place to spend your money. Target is so clean you're almost afraid to muss up the decor by actually taking anything off the shelves. I do buy all of my daughter's clothes there. A third of the price of Limited Too and just as "fashionable" (as far as either one of us can tell).

I love Target!

I don't like the employees, I live in Queens, NY and I go to the Rego Park Target, which always has what I need for home and entertainment.

You really can't beat the prices and selection of items at Target, it's a winner, definitely.

I've never been to Wal-Mart, so I can't say anything about it, but Michele's description of Wal-Mart does remind me of K-Mart, as someone else mentioned.

That is too weird that Tanya said what she did because I'm pretty sure that on my one and only trip to southern California, I went to that Target in Pasadena. And then I used to live in Minneapolis, home of Target, where one of the main attractions of downtown is the Target store (but don't hate on the downtown Target, Minneapolis is otherwise very cool, but I digress). And I'm from Michigan, home of Meijer, which I think is the bomb anyway.

I agree on the regional aspect of things. I just get a "nice" vibe from Target and a "not nice" vibe from Wal-Mart. And then throw in the issue of how Wal-Mart is notorious for treating its employees badly vs. the fact that they have one of the most advanced inventory systems in the world (their inventory is directly tied to register sales - when you buy something, it's essentially automatically reordered). Not to mention that the Big Food Company I used to work for tracked their Wal-Mart sales separately because the volume was so ginormous.

And, I will add that I have shopped more at K-Mart since they went bankrupt than I had in the previous 24 years of my life. But that probably has more to do with the fact that there's a brand new K-Mart across the street from my house.

In summary: Tar-zhay rules! Wal-Mart drools!

It probably varies by locality. Where I come from, Wal Mart is Trash Central Station. On the rare occasions I've been in there, I'm pretty sure I've had more teeth in my mouth than all the other customers in the store combined. We just got a new SuperTarget, and it pretty much rules. It's got a Starbucks and everything. But the lady the works at the photo studio is a major twat. Anyway, we stay the hell away from Wal Mart now.

We sadly do not have Target here, only Wal-Mart, but as I am a SanDiegan transplant to this area, I know Target well and agree completely. Wal-Mart is the drunken cousin who crashes your wedding and brings his trashy girlfriend, who wears only spandex hotpant outfits and thinks light beer is the height of spphistication. Target is the brother-in-law who was invited to the wedding, and despite the fact he never finished junior college, has a very good job in insurance and gave you the nicest gravy boat.
I like Target. Wal-Mart can go suck eggs.

Depressing old people reduced to annoying you at the door for a few bucks. . . manatees in spandex. . . wifebeaters. . . missing links. . . what's not to like about WalMart?

Seriously though, what's the deal with the senior citizen greeters? They make me sad. You should be retired and fishing somewhere dude.

Speaking of low-rent stores, ever go to Aldis? It's a grocery store of sorts that looks like it escaped from East Germany circa 1972. You can get like knock-off grey market Spam, irregular peaches, etc.

If I had a rock n' roll band I think I'd call it Irregular Peaches.

I've only been in a Target once and that was a brand new story and it was amazingly clean, well stocked, lit and...had almost no people in it. The Walmarts and KMarts in the area were generally a hot bed of some of the weirdest (and scariest) people on the planet. With poorly designed layouts, bad lighting and MASSIVE overcrowding.

This was all in very modern, new, suberbia. None of the stores were over ten years old, if that. Most had been renovated in the past few years, almost completely rebuilt.

Now near my grandmothers (in the middle of bumf*** nowhere) they have a Super Walmart and its gorgous. Lots of space, decent people, happy clerks. Its an amazing change. The one walmart in philly is hell. I will NEVER go there again, NEVER. I had a clerk tell me to "shut the hell up" because he didn't give me enough change back. Umm...excuse me? I think it really depends upon 1.) Location and 2.) Managers

It is the opposite way in my neck of the woods, Super Walmart is the nice clean store (even has a McDonalds) and Target was the redneck hangout. It got so bad that Target closed the existing store and opened up a Suer Target a few miles away...

Our Target in Northern Virginia has two floors and spacious aisles, and the prices are only a few cents more than Wally's, so when you're not in the mood for seven thousand screaming immigrant children and fucked-up filthy shopping carts at Wally's, you can find peace of mind and the same selection at Tar-zhay. And Target won't let you take your shopping carts outside, so they're always immaculate.

I do love my trashy retail shopping experiences, though! But I'd love to be able to afford to shop at better places; so until I can afford to go to upscale and clean retail establishments, Boutique Tar-zhay will always be my No. 1 place to shop. At least they train their sales associates to speak English, and I don't have nice little old men and middle-age women with speech impediments fishing through my newly-purchased undies there like they do at Wally's, looking for my receipts to prove that I didn't steal that 99-cent thong. :)

On second thought, in favor of Wally's, it's got better hours than Tar-zhay. It's a great place to crash after you've gone drinking and aren't tired enough to go home and go to bed. But I think it was Yvonne who brought up the stench of ass in Wally's -- I like to call it "Eau de Dry Roasted Ass." But you can go retch in a plant stand, and nobody would find it for weeks. ;)

target is cheap, but knows it doesn't have to look that way. it's the whole shabby chic mentality. walmart is cheap, and doesn't really care that it looks cheap. its for people who think a cultural experience is a trip to orlando and a big night out is all you can eat breadsticks at the olive garden.

kmart is cheap and doesn't have a fucking clue.

i luuuuv target.

i ignore walmart.

and kmart deserves to die.

I missed when you first posted this entry, so I'm a little late, but I'm gonna comment anyway! I not only shop at Target, I work there as a department manager. I think it kind of does depend on where you live, but as a whole, Target will almost always win in the cleanliness department. Here in Ohio, I've been to every Target store (doing support help at grand openings mostly). I've been to most of the Walmarts here too. BIG difference. We just had one open a month ago across the street. It already looks like it's been there ten years. We still look new. It's all about company standards, I guess. As far as price goes, again, depends on where you live. We comparison price against the competitors around us, so we're all within about ten cents of each other. Very interesting to see all the comments here Michele. Thanks for the post!

Since Wal-Mart bought Asda (a UK supermarket chain), the prices have gone down, but the quality of many of the products seems to have done too.

However, with any chain the individual stores seem to alter depending on the area they're in. A supermarket in an affluent suburban area tends to stock different products to one in a more run-down part of town.

Better late than never.

I live in the Twin Cities, and regularly shop at the downtown Minneapolis Target. It's their "test" store. It's also one of the few two-level Targets, and has a cart escalator which is fun to play with. All the Targets here are clean, bright and open. Dayton/Hudson Corporation has renamed itself as Target Corporation. (The Dayton's department stores are now all Marshall Fields.)

Walmart sucks up here. Dirty, messy, stacked with crap. My sister was a Pharmacist at Walmart, and now absolutely hates them. They tend to treat their employees badly, though I'm sure that varies from store to store. And the morning "team building" crap sounds horrific. But on the plus side, we have some 24 hour Walmarts, which is handy for me. I tend to go shopping at six in the morning. At six in the morning, the nasty crowds are not a problem.

I miss the Kmart I used to shop at in Mankato. It was a nice new store, low prices, clean, and nobody in it. Shopping is always much better in an empty store. It's now closed. Sigh. All the nice new Kmarts are closing, and the old junky ones are surviving.

You know, we talked about this in many marketing classes I had while working on my undergrad degree. After Walmart started expanding into bigger cities, Target took a hit in sales. So, they revamped and their target (no pun intended) market is now a more upscale shopper, the type that shops at the department stores. They no longer want to be a "discount" chain, which is why you'll find more designer labels there, rather than store brands, as you do at Walmart. If you notice, you'll see the same brands at Target as you do at JC Penney. (Mossimo, etc.)
SO, that's my two cents on the matter. I have to say, I shop at both, depending on what I need. If I need dog food and toilet paper and can't get to Costco, I am probably headed to Wally World. But if I need socks, shorts for the boogher kid and some new plates, it's off to Target. It's all about market and positioning.

Believe it or not, I have never been in a Wal-Mart. I have been in Target once or twice, and it does look different. It reminds me a bit of J. C. Penney (Jacques Pennay) or Best Buy. A bit higher up the food chain.

Your description of Wal-Mart sounds like the K-Mart and Ames that used to be near me. What annoys me is that no one in any of those stores seems to know where they stock their own products, when you can find an employee in any of the departments. Plus, the staff looks barely happy to be alive. I once saw a floor worker in Ames standing in front of a shelf picking the hell out of his nose. Any deeper and he would have scooped out his brain. Of course, he was the only worker around for miles, and I needed to know where something was located in the store. It was embarrassing to ask him while he was so ...busy ... but in the end it didn't matter. He had no idea where they stocked the stuff.

I live in a very small town. The nearest mall is about a 1/2 hour drive away. I don't live near the Wal-Mart type stores. I do my shopping in Yuppie thrift stores. You know the type. The rich women donate their clothes because they don't want to be caught dead wearing the same thing twice. So, I get some very classy things for only a couple of bucks -- Wal-Mart prices. :)

I haven't been reading on your site long, about 6 or 7 minutes now and I don't know what part of the country you are in but the south west corner of the country seems to me just the opposite of what you describe. Target stores are really nasty places, I steer clear of those as I do the street vendors in Tiajuana, MX. Same caliber of sales staff and cleaning staff. Actually I have seen some better in Tiajuana. As for wal-mart, they tend to get worse the closer you get to the boarder, a few miles up and they aren't all funky with the stuff in the walkways, including various types of human excrement. Also the quality of the items are a bit better, if there is some standard for cheep stuff.

The WalMarts in the San Jose (CA) area are quite clean. They are more crowded than the Targets (I'm boycotting everything French, including Tarjay).

Some of "our" WalMarts have McDonald's inside. I've never seen a Taco Bell in a Target.

Neither one sells drinking alcohol around here.

Here in the East of the SF metropolitan area, it really depends on where you go. For the most part, both the Targets and Walmarts are decent, but it strictly depends on the neighborhood and clientele. I used to live two blocks from a Target and used to drive to another one five miles away just to avoid the messiness, rudeness and noise of the oft-called "Ghetto Target". (BTW we have a two level Target here too in Walnut Creek - nice store.)

For me, it's a question of what I need. Target does seem to have a "higher quality" selection (especially in Mens clothes) but Walmart has more overall variety of everything. You can find good brands at Walmart, you just have to know what you're buying. Their Equate brand of health products is almost always cheaper than any other store brand too. Music is cheaper and more plentiful at Walmart too. Put me in the "I like 'em both, depends on my mood whether I can deal with either of them" column.

I'm going to have to side with Wal-Mart on this issue. The stores here in Springfield, MO (all 50 of them) are impeccably clean and well stocked. The employees are friendly and helpful, and the greeters are nice. My first trip into a Wal-Mart here was to find a copy of a videogame that wasn't even carried by the videogame stores. I was able to walk in at 4am and buy a videogame I had been looking for in every store in the city all day. I will admit, that the only Wal-Marts around me are Super WaI-Marts, so maybe that is why I have a different experience. I will keep shopping at Wal-Mart until I find one like you describe.

Nothing makes me happier than the Target in Pasadena, CA. It has two stories... and an elevator!! I may picnic there over July 4th... drifts happily off

Got to agree with you, Target has it over the Mart. But if you want a look at the underbelly of an area spend some time at the local Wal-Mart.

If you want trash go to Walmart, however if you want upscale items and are willing to pay a few extra bucks and neat looking stores shop Target.

I work at a local Target. I transferred from a SuperTarget to a very small, old Target and you can tell, from the look of it, that it's an older store. It's not as neat as some of the newer stores and we don't have much of a selection. Still, overall, I like Target. Neat, clean, friendly people.

Then again, I lived in Wal-Mart during my college years and I loved it. I still shop at Wally World because I love people-watching and because I hate going to Target on my days off; enough khaki and red already!

Both stores have pros and cons. Just shop where ever you want. Who cares? It's just stuff.

I shop Target, here in Fontana ca, we have a Target Greatland store, it is well lit, well organized, always neat, clear uncluttered aisles, never any pellets on the floor, always in stock and freindly associates including cashiers. I dont shop at crappy walmart its dirty, it smells like shit, the aisles are always cluttered, the shelves are empty, they have 100 year old door greeters, the merchandise is always opened in the wrong spot missing pieces and the cashiers are cracked out or on jenny craig... plus ill never where none of that faded glory crap made in china by slave labor workers. TARGET wins my vote all the way!

I agree that Wal Mart is not the place to be. I ran into our local Wal Mart to get a gift from the pet department. The mold or algae growing around the fish tanks was disgusting. I feel like I am in a flea market when I go into Wal Mart. I haven't been in the super Wal Marts yet, with what I have seen at the original Wal Mart, I am not in any hurry to go back.
Target is better, but I usually shop at Meijer.

I find it funny that many of the fey and tragically hip that will, without any detectable external prompting, go into screeeeeds about Disney, suburbia, or anything else they see as lacking in "grit" and "authenticity" (which means exactly what, in a culture that's a still-developing pastiche?), practically wet their collective pants over Target. I don't get it. Target is seriously creepy, with their "team members," seriously annoying post-modern house brands, and that red-target-motif all over everything. "Food Avenue"??? Yowza. I also am bothered by an outfit that makes their employees wear a de-facto uniform, but provides nothing in the way of uniform items. About eight years ago, when the first Target here opened, I made the mistake of going in whilst wearing a maroon shirt. I was loafing in the TV area, watching a football playoff game, and was accosted by about 19000 people, some of whom threatened to report me to the manager for goofing off. Go figure.

Where I live, on the west coast of Florida (I can already detect your tight, condescending smirks), all of the stores are "Super". We had some of the first Super Wal-Marts in the US, and all the Target stores started life as Super stores. The K-Marts (the ones that didn't close) became "super" to eke out a longer run. The cleanliness and quality of each depends on the location. One of the two Targets, along with two of the Wal-Marts, are located in heavily migrant farmworker and/or white trash areas, and are seriously grossbuckets. The others are fine.

With rare exception, eveything is demonstrably cheaper at Wal-Mart. Tidy Cat litter, which I buy frequently, is $3.95 for a 30 pound bag at Wal-Mart, $5.95 for a 25 pount bag at Target. Is the price difference worth it to shop at the elegent suites of Target? Fvck that.

I find it funny that many of the fey and tragically hip that will, without any detectable external prompting, go into screeeeeds about Disney, suburbia, or anything else they see as lacking in "grit" and "authenticity" (which means exactly what, in a culture that's a still-developing pastiche?), practically wet their collective pants over Target. I don't get it. Target is seriously creepy, with their "team members," seriously annoying post-modern house brands, and that red-target-motif all over everything. "Food Avenue"??? Yowza. I also am bothered by an outfit that makes their employees wear a de-facto uniform, but provides nothing in the way of uniform items. About eight years ago, when the first Target here opened, I made the mistake of going in whilst wearing a maroon shirt. I was loafing in the TV area, watching a football playoff game, and was accosted by about 19000 people, some of whom threatened to report me to the manager for goofing off. Go figure.

Where I live, on the west coast of Florida (I can already detect your tight, condescending smirks), all of the stores are "Super". We had some of the first Super Wal-Marts in the US, and all the Target stores started life as Super stores. The K-Marts (the ones that didn't close) became "super" to eke out a longer run. The cleanliness and quality of each depends on the location. One of the two Targets, along with two of the Wal-Marts, are located in heavily migrant farmworker and/or white trash areas, and are seriously grossbuckets. The others are fine.

With rare exception, eveything is demonstrably cheaper at Wal-Mart. Tidy Cat litter, which I buy frequently, is $3.95 for a 30 pound bag at Wal-Mart, $5.95 for a 25 pount bag at Target. Is the price difference worth it to shop at the elegant suites of Target? Fvck that.

Walmart is EVIL. Corporate greed to the max.
their whole system is geared to profits at the expense of their employees and they use slave labor. BOYCOTT Walmart.

Target is head and shoulders above Wal-Mart. True some of the products they sell are the same and Wal-Mart's prices may be a little better...BUT - at Wal-Mart I have to listen to the screaming over the PA system, the employees that look like they take a shoower once a month, and the mother with her 3 teeth screaming at her 5 kids in the check out lane while dad in the NASCAR jacket chews his greasy finger nails. At Target the employees and the customers are clean and well kept, and the store is spotless!