Walmart's "Receipt Comparison" tool: Inaccurate and misleading (Evening update: They changed my receipt!)
Walmart recently rolled out a Receipt Comparison tool in Chicago and a few other cities nationally. The challenge? Go shopping at your regular store, send in a photo of the receipt, and within 24-48 hours, Walmart will email you back how much you could have saved by buying ten of those same items at Walmart.
I heard a commercial for the new tool when I was driving home from Meijer on Monday. While my Meijer receipt had a bunch of clothing and other items on it too, I figured that it would be interesting to see what happened if I sent in the receipt. I knew I'd had a pretty good Meijer trip grocery-wise and wondered if Walmart would be honest enough to note when something was priced lower at Meijer.
Here's the photo of my receipt that I submitted to Walmart. Walmart's criteria was that the receipt needed to have at least ten, national-branded items on it for them to accurately do a comparison. I had done the Kraft cheese deal, of course. I also bought Old Orchard juice concentrates and Brown n' Serve sausages this week, both of which are on the "10 for $10, get the 11th FREE" sale at Meijer too.
Yesterday, Walmart sent a link to my receipt comparison back, announcing that I could have saved 65% more if I bought these items at Walmart. What's wrong with this picture?
Walmart has used the TOTAL dollar amount spent on like items versus the price of ONE item at Walmart. And, in cases where something was on sale "5 for $5" or "10 for $10" they've shown $5 or $10 as the price of ONE item. Get ready for the spin...
Walmart is comparing the $6 I spent on three packages of Kraft Singles to one package priced at $2.88 at their store. At $2 each, the Kraft Singles were .88 cheaper per package at Walmart.
Current running totals: Meijer = $6.00 | Walmart = $8.64
Walmart compared four of the bags of Kraft Shredded Cheese that I bought: $1.88 at Meijer, $2.58 at Walmart.
Current running totals: Meijer = $13.52 | Walmart = $18.96
Now, I'm pretty sure there's no store in town selling small boxes of Brown N' Serve sausages for a whopping $10 per box. But Walmart's tool is comparing all ten $1 boxes I bought to the $1.14 price of one box at Walmart.
Current running totals: Meijer = $23.52 | Walmart = $30.36
We're really having some fun now..! Walmart's comparing two $10 Old Orchard juice concentrates at Meijer to two $1.22 cans at Walmart. Trouble is, I only bought 10 cans for $1 each, not two cans for $10 each. (Again, is any store in town selling juice concentrate for $10 per can?!) Old Orchard is $1 per can at Meijer, and the 11th can is FREE with the current sale.
Current running totals: Meijer = $33.52 | Walmart = $42.56
And again, in the crazy-overcharging department, Walmart believes that my two $1 packs of Trident gum cost $5 each, versus the $1 and $1.28 they are at Walmart.
Current running totals: Meijer = $35.52 | Walmart = $44.84
What I paid at Meijer for these groceries was not "65% Less" at Walmart -- it was $9.32 MORE at Walmart! I would have paid about 20% MORE if I had bought these items at Walmart. What kind of math is Walmart using?
Apparently, the kind that ensures people should keep believing they're the least-expensive place to shop. But they're not - not by a long shot. Keep in mind that these totals do NOT include the coupons I used either -- these are pre-coupon totals at both stores.
The dollar amounts also don't take into account that I also got an extra juice concentrate on the "Buy 10, get 11th" free at Meijer, as well as a second $1 item free too for buying the sausages. And then, of course, there's this...
The "Buy 10, Get $10" Kraft Catalina is running nationally at nearly every major supermarket... except Walmart. I got an additional $10 back for buying Kraft at Meijer versus Walmart. Even if I had price-matched all of the Meijer prices at Walmart, I would have missed out on this $10 Catalina. Figuring that in, I'm at $25.52 for these items, versus Walmart's $44.84 for the identical items -- about 44% cheaper at Meijer, again, without coupons.
Walmart's Receipt Comparison tool is extremely misleading and dishonest. But if people use this tool and accept its results at face value without doing their own math, they may really believe they'll save 65% shopping at Walmart.
UPDATE: 6:55pm 8/29/12 - Walmart has updated the link to my receipt comparison, noting that Meijer's prices did beat theirs. They have not replied to me via email or Facebook, but the screenshot of my new list is here.