Monday, June 04, 2007

Is Target killing bargain options?

I have become a bargain shopper. As a single parent on a modest income, I have to pay attention to price details; I also have to take advantage of store-brands for items where there does not seem to be an appreciable difference in quality, such as basic household goods and toiletries like mouthwash and pain relievers. Sometimes even a slight break in quality is worth the cost-savings. By a loose accounting, I save hundreds of dollars a year this way, and I do it without ever stepping foot in the ultimate hell--Walmart. This is why it was with some distress earlier that I discovered that Target has apparently trimmed its stocks of store-brand items such as ibuprofen.

While I could have purchased any size of Advil, there were only two sizes of liqui-gels and one size of the basic tablets available. And there were no shelf cards indicating tat the other sizes they had previously stocked were missing. I noticed the same thing on a stop through the mouthwash aisle. To all appearances, the store was no longer stocking options of in-house items.

This would not be so distressing until you compare actual prices. Advil 50 ct. bottle = $6.44. Target-brand 50 ct. ibuprofen = $1.77. Extrapolated across the broad spectrum of items, this is the kind of price difference that could become very painful very quickly. Anybody know the real story behind this?