Smart and Dumb Buys at Walmart (According to Employees)

Updated June 20, 2024 by Kyle James
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The mention of the word “Walmart” can cause a BIG divide among shoppers. Many love the low prices and selection and shop there regularly, while others vow to never set foot in a Walmart . But putting differences aside, there’s no arguing the fact that Walmart contains really smart buys and some really dumb buys as well. So I headed out and talked to over a dozen employees at 3 separate Walmart locations and got the real scoop.

Smart and Dumb Buys at Walmart (According to Employees)

 The Good Buys

First, let’s start with a few of the best buys at Walmart according to employees.

1. Cheap Furniture

I first talked to employee Mark and he immediately said that the furniture at Walmart is a great buy.

It’s been his experience that the quality is very similar to IKEA and is perfect for college student and families with young kids.

He said that he and his wife had a Walmart coffee table for years when their kids were young and the thing was a beast and definitely held up well and it took a MAJOR beating.

He also had a matching end table that held up really well and a couple table lamps that he’s had for over 20 years.

See Also: 6 IKEA Savings Hacks That’ll Make You Feel Like a Genius

2. Legos

I then worked my way over to the Toy department and talked to a friendly gal named Tina.

She said that having had three kids who’ve all been into Legos at one time or another, she was keenly aware that Walmart was the place to shop to save money.

She said she price compares Legos at Walmart all the time and their price typically beats Target, Costco, and Amazon by up to 25%.

See Also: Did You Know Walmart Has Return Hours? Here’s the Dealio

3. In-House Coffee Brand

Great Value coffee brand

Tina also told me that the in-house coffee brand is pretty solid, both on price and taste, and she’s not the only one.

She went on to point out that in-particular the Crème Brulee Great Value brand is better than ANY drip coffee she’s ever had at Starbucks.

And coming in at under $5 for a 12 ounce bag of ground coffee, it’s pretty dang affordable too as one bag makes over 40 cups.

4. Organic Foods

In recent years, Walmart entered the organic food market and is doing pretty well in terms of price, especially when compared to Whole Foods.

According to Jen, an assistant manager at one of the Walmart stores I visited, “our organic veggies, especially the stuff on our wet wall is delicious and the taste is so much better than the non-organic.”

Specifically, she pointed out the baby carrots and mini peppers as being the tastiest veggie she’s ever put in her mouth.

On a side-note, I’d be curious to know if they get their organic foods from the U.S. or other countries where the standards for “organic” are lower and thus so are their prices.

5. Photos & Photo Cards

I think worked my way over to the electronics section and spoke with store associate Ted.

Ted dropped the knowledge on just how affordable the Walmart Photo Center is.

He said his wife is a Kindergarten teacher and has priced all the different photo services in town and Walmart is by far the cheapest and the quality is always very good.

She uses it to create Christmas photo gift for her kids to take home to their parents every year and they always turn out great.

Apparently, you can get 4″ x 6″ photos for 9 cents apiece at Walmart. Seems like a good deal compared to 15 cents at Shutterfly, 12 cents at Walgreens,  and 15 cents at Target.

Ted also said their Passport Photo service is BY FAR the cheapest option in town with printing only costing $7.64/each.

See Also: Thinking of Buying Tires From Walmart? Read This First

And Now the Dumb Buys According to Employees…

1. Gift Cards

Thanks to Olivia, who I caught up to stocking shelves in the home goods section, the first bad buy on our list is gift cards.

She told me that Walmart sells a ton of different gift cards, but the problem is, they sell them for full face value.

She suggested always buying them for UNDER face value from Costco or at websites that specialize in gift card deals.

I did a little research and found that and are two great options for buying discounted gift cards.

2. HDTV’s

TCL HDTV at Walmart

Back to my buddy Ted in the electronics department.

He told me something about HDTV’s sold at Walmart that I always thought was potentially true.

Many of them are from lesser known brands and made of inferior components and have terrible specs like only 2 HDMI ports, for example.

Some of these brands include TCL, Hisense, onn., Sceptre, and GPX. Buyer beware.

Surprisingly, he also added that some of the bigger name-brand TVs also come with cheaper internal parts that are specifically made for Walmart.

3. Laptops

I must admit, this one really surprised me.

According to an employee who didn’t want her name mentioned, informed shoppers who want a laptop that’s not going to be obsolete tomorrow, avoid buying a new laptop from Walmart.

She also said that if you want one of their laptops, you can typically find better prices online or directly from the manufacturer.

From looking at their online inventory, Walmart definitely specializes in the budget laptop priced under $300.

So if that’s what you’re in the market for, I’m a little confused why Walmart isn’t a good option, but the employee I talked with definitely tried to steer me away from Walmart.

The bottom-line is to always do your OWN research before before buying any new computer.

See Also: Here’s How to Get a Walmart “Online” Price Match

4. Major Appliances

I was today years old when I found out Walmart sells major appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers.

Turns out they do, but they don’t have the same selection as Lowe’s or the Home Depot.

Lewis, who I quickly quizzed while working in the sporting goods department, told me NOT to buy a new appliance from Walmart as they rarely have specials and sales events, which often include free delivery and takeaway of your old appliance.

He went on to add that if you’re buying a small refrigerator for your dorm room, or man cave, that’s fine, but don’t buy anything bigger than that at Walmart.

5. Car Battery

EverStart is the brand that’s sourced to make car batteries for Walmart.

While they come with a decent warranty, I was told by two separate employees that they’re inexpensive batteries for a reason.

Also, it was brought to my attention that the auto shop at Walmart is not equipped properly to test your battery to see if it needs to be replaced which can create a hassle if you bring it in.

I was told that your best bet is to bring it in, with your receipt, and ask for a replacement and often times they’ll give you a brand new battery.

See Also: Guess Who Makes Costco Batteries? Answer Will Surprise You

Ask the Reader: What good or bad buys at Walmart would you add to my list? Let me know in the comments below.

By Kyle James

Photo by Mike Mozart.


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