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Is a Wal-Mart Back-to-School Sale Newsworthy?

This article was written by in Consumer, Shopping. 11 comments.

Last year, I asked whether a CNN article describing a sale at Wal-Mart was newsworthy. At worst, it seems like free advertising.

Some commenters pointed out that Wal-Mart’s actions, as the world’s biggest retailer, are important indicators for the economy. Wal-Mart’s public relations agents are too busy defending the company’s image, so I suppose it’s up to reporters to get the word out about sales.

Wal-MartThis summer, the company is back in the news (Associated Press) after announcing they are cutting their back-to-school prices.

Under Wal-Mart’s new pricing plan, $1 will be able to buy 4 wide-ruled notebooks, 2 bottles Elmer’s glue (4 oz.) and a 24-pack of crayons. A $50 budget will be able to purchase a week’s worth of school clothes, and $80 will buy two pair of prescription glasses at the Wal-Mart Vision Center.

In some cases, Staples‘ back-to-school sales beat Wal-Mart’s, so if you’re looking for deals, don’t just go with the company that gets the most press. Check out OfficeMax and Target, stores that also have back-to-school sales where supplies go for pennies.

Photo credit: Lordcous

Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published July 24, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Modern-Worker

Sometimes great deals on notebooks and folders and such, can be found at Walgreens and such,

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avatar TK

I think talking about Wal-Mart’s sales figures, profits/losses, job cuts, business model etc. is news. Announcing their sales at the very least borders on advertising. Do they discuss every other retailer’s price cuts?

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avatar Jason

Why is Wal-Mart’s sale mentioned on the news (especially local news)? As a former television station employee (both in news and sales) it all comes down to filling the time in the show. Further, as advertising rates have gone down for local stations many stations have had to reduce their staff and rely more and more on faxed press releases and video packages. Often the press releases are not really news so much as companies announcing stuff like a back to school sale. A news producer creates a “go to” file of things that they can run if they come up short when putting together their show. Hence you see a lot of info that just isn’t news hitting the air now.

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avatar MMBlack

I don’t know if its newsworthy or not but each year I look forward to this special to purchase new glasses for my 6 year old. They usually also inculde a ONE YEAR warrenty with the glasses purchased. I can’t tell you how many times a year he has broken one pair and we just drop them off and pick them up a week later good as new! Having 2 glasses is great for such times as those. I love this special and wish I knew about it years ago! WAY TO GO WALMART!!

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avatar Mark

It makes me sick that reading several “How to save on back to school supplies” articals in several different media outlets, that I will inevitably see the reporter state something along the lines of “Shop at Walmart”. WHAT???

That, number 1, is blatant free advertising for walmart. And, number 2, perpetuates the MYTH that Walmart always has the lowest price.

Too many people are already brainwashed by this inacurate line of thinking:

Going to target and also comparing the flyers (in the most recent newspaper 8/1/2008) from Walmart and other retailers on the most basic back to school essentials was quite an eye-opener:


1) Two pocket folder: $0.15
2) Pack of pencils: $0.22
3) Pack of Pens: $1.82
4) Glue: $0.22
5) Crayons (pack of 32?): $0.36


1) Two pocket folder: $0.15
2) Spiral bound notebook: $0.10
4) Glue: $0.22
5) Crayons (pack of 24?): $0.32

Office Depot:

1) Two pocket folder: $0.05
2) Box of pencils: $0.01
3) Box of pens: $0.25
4) Ruler: $0.01
5) Crayons: $0.15
6) Glue: $0.01

So let me get this straight… Walmart.. who supposedly has the LOWEST prices on the planet.. there’s NOWHERE that has as low prices as walmart… had basically the same prices as Target and is actually a MINIMUM of 200% higher than Office Depot and not only that… as high as 2200% higher!!!!

The media absolutly must quit naming stores specifically by name as advice on to shop there to save money!!! IF anything they need to do more stories on how walmart DOESN’T have the lowest prices. Walmart has NEVER said they have the lowest price.. they only claim to have “Everyday low prices”.. the would be sued for false adverstising if they claimed to have the lowest prices.


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