I Love Walmart

Love is probably too strong of a word, but I am feeling very thankful and appreciative (i.e. warm and fuzzy) toward this mammoth corporation right now.  I’ve heard about their less-than-stellar treatment of employees, unsavory business practices and the damage that they’ve done to mom-and-pop stores across the country.  Yet I overlook these for my own practical, selfish reason: I save money at Walmart.

I’m not talking about saving quarters on shampoo and cheaply made goods. I’m talking about saving hundreds on prescription medication.  Recently I had to pay out-of-pocket for a medication not covered by my insurer.  I checked online and called around to the usual pharmacies; they all quoted me about the same price.  Then I called Walmart.  Their price was approximately 60% less than everyone else! 

Walmart offers hundreds of prescription medications for $4 to $9 (1 month to 3 month supply).  For millions of people without insurance or with flimsy prescription medicine coverage, this is the difference between following their doctor’s orders or not.  Vons and Ralphs have tried to match these low prices but they wouldn’t have done this if not for Walmart’s lead.

After checking out a range of Walmart drug prices, I realized that my husband and I could have paid $5 -$20 less per prescription over the years; their prices can even be lower than my insurance co-payment.  This recent 60% saving was the biggest price difference yet.

Many people I know won’t step foot into Walmart on principle (moral reasons or aesthetic reasons — garish overhead lights, the depressing feeling of being trapped in a giant box, etc..). However, it may be worth making an exception when it comes to their pharmacy.  Medication in this country is outrageously high.  Costco may be just as cheap but many people cannot afford to pay a membership fee.  In many cases, Walmart can be a life saver.

Are there any other reasons to love Walmart?

First, I’m not entirely convinced that other mega-chains, even my beloved Target, have better track records in terms of employee treatment and imported goods. I see plenty of cheap China-made products at Target, too. Walmart has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint and pressured its suppliers to reduce packaging.  Their employees may not be the the most enthusiastic or well-trained but I’ve only had good experiences with their pharmacy staff.

I know that Walmart was the subject of a scathing documentary a few years ago.  Since that time, I hope that they have taken steps to become a better corporate citizen. I have to look into it one of these days but for now, I’m burying my head in the sand for selfish financial reasons.

Do you avoid Walmart at all costs? 
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3 responses to “I Love Walmart

  1. I don’t avoid WalMart by any means. But Target is much more convenient for me (and I feel the Target stores near me are easier to navigate), so I usually go to Target. But if I can save 60% off prescription drugs at WalMart? I’m there.

  2. I have a very vocal and well-documented hatred of Wal-Mart. Hell, all big box stores. But I actually encourage people to use Target and Wal-Mart for medications. There isn’t a locally-owned pharmacy near me and why should I give CVS an extra $10 for the same drug?

    So, yeah. Even we haters occasionally shop there. 🙂

  3. I was actually reluctant to post about this because I know many people despise Walmart. In my case, their pharmacy is really saving me hundreds. Walmart carries the majority of the meds I needed and offers the biggest discount. If I have time, I may call other Walmart’s competitors to see if they’ll match the prices but I’m not sure if this is common practice among pharmacies.

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