Walmart and Target Are Basically the Same and Totally Different

There are two types of people in this world: people who shop at Target and people who shop at Walmart. The thing is, though, that the two competing retail behemoths are actually incredibly similar. Like, way more similar than you’re aware of.

“The remarkable thing,” said Charles Fishman, author of “The Wal-Mart Effect,” “is that 80 percent of the stuff in Target and Wal-Mart is identical.” The prices are often identical, too. The most recent comparison by Bloomberg Businessweek found only a 46-cent difference between the two retailers per $100 of purchases. (You’ll save that 46 cents at Target, although Wal-Mart usually wins independent price comparisons.)

But that doesn’t stop the Target/Walmart feud from dividing families as if brothers were fighting for the North and the South. Many people are either Walmart shoppers or Target shoppers.

Each has its loyalists — and no wonder. The stores market vastly different versions of American exceptionalism: Wal-Mart champions efficiency, thrift. Target offers style, aspiration. Wal-Mart gives us low prices on everything we need; Target tells us what we want.

Anyone that acquires an extra area rug and an additional decorative pillow every time a roommate needs to pick up groceries knows exactly what a Target person is all about. [Washington Post]