This or That: Walmart



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We college students love nothing more than to debate irrelevant topics and voice our opinions. Coke or Pepsi? Hot or cold? Goodwill or Salvation Army? Walmart or Target? The latter is a divide as wide as the Mississippi River.

However, for college students and other young adults, Walmart is the better choice because of its wide inventory and, most importantly, its late-night hours. Target stores typically close around 10 or 11 PM whereas some Walmart stores stay open 24 hours. Furthermore, there are usually two or three Walmart locations for every Target in a certain area. When it is late at night and you require ink to print that paper you procrastinated, which store will you choose? When you are cooking dinner and lack one essential ingredient, which store will you visit for that better price?

Both Walmart and Target are, for the most part, convenient for shoppers and generally similar in setup. Both stores now offer free two-day shipping for their online counterparts. Both have different divisions: Walmart Super Center and Neighborhood Stores; Target and Super Target. Both are a place where you go when nothing else is open.

Walmart is more of a one-size-fits-all brand without a specific target audience. In a typical Walmart store, there is food. There is motor oil. There are electronics and books. There are things that you did not know you lacked at home until you walk through the sliding doors. Walmart also does its best to offer the lowest price possible as well as opportunities for rollback. In summary, Walmart emphasizes volume and a fast output, both of which are essential for the tumultuous college lifestyle.

Target, on the other hand, has discovered a niche and stays there. The brand predominantly targets the middle and upper classes with its prices, as well as more fashionable clothing and furniture options. The Target brand is also more directed towards women than generic Walmart. Unlike Walmart, Target does not always aim for the lowest price. It instead holds occasional sales called “cartwheel deals” and percentages off items. With its lack of utilitarianism, Target is not ideal for the daily errand. It is the more preferable option for splurging on a birthday or finding cute dorm décor.

Walmart may have more unorganized store set-ups than Target. Walmart may also have more of a reputation for the viral “people of Walmart” memes. However, Walmart also emphasizes providing the basics for every type of household and lifestyle. Like a stubborn animal sitting on its haunches, Target remains loyal to its targeted audience and its product offerings. The company stays away from items that are not “on brand” or are not currently trending.

Unfortunately, pitting Walmart and Target against each other accomplishes nothing, because both are trying to outcompete the corporate giant Amazon – neither wants to end up like the Sears of yesteryear.

And what do college students love more than cheap prices? Not having to leave the room to buy something.