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Walgreens: Store Prices Vary by as Much as 55% From Store to Store – What Do You Think?

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The following information is from an article found on CNN Money here:

[h2s_box]Shop at the wrong Walgreens and you could end up paying significantly more than if you’d bought the exact same items at a store on the other side of town, a recent study found. While some price variation occurs at Rite Aid and CVS, Walgreens was the worst offender, with a single item costing as much as 55% more depending on a store’s location, according to a study of 485 drugstore locations in New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, Calif., and Dallas-Forth Worth by the National Consumers League and labor union coalition Change to Win.

The study was based on the listed prices for a basket of 25 items, ranging from Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice to Huggies “Little Movers” diapers. Depending on the city, the chain was up to five times more likely to have store locations in the same market that charged different prices.

In New York City, a box of 10 Claritin allergy tablets cost anywhere from $10.49 to $15.99 depending on the Walgreens store. The same bottle of eye drops, meanwhile, cost $9.99 at a location in Queens and $15.49 a subway ride away on 57th street in Manhattan.
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I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Have you experienced these sort of price differences in your local city or town?

(Thanks, Goldy!)

Join The Discussion

Comments 114

  1. Yumiry

    Hi,I agree with every one in all,so I don’t have any idea if any one can do something or not the only thing is Buy only the products that is more convenience and chipper,one more thing that don’t like is the process that Target is getting in the limit coupons,here in AZ they don’t want take more than 4 for the same product and some times when the coupon said (buy 2 and get $2) they want that only take 4 products,and I try to speak to the manager and some times they feel me so bad,I write some emails to costumer service but they never respond,is craizy .

    • Christine

      That just happened to me here in York, Pa. We very rarely use coupons as we are organic and gluten free. I had coupons for the Crayola Beginnings colored pencils. It was a really good deal as they were on clearance. The cashier would only let me use 4 on one order so I used the 5th coupon on a separate order.

  2. Tracy

    We just recently paid for some medication at Walgreens without insurance and the cost was $130. When I checked the price at another store it was $4. Go fiqure! Call around.

    • Lola

      Are you sure it wasn’t name brand vs generic at another store? Wags is the closest pharmacy for us and we use it for an expensive name brand med (200+ a month)…. I wonder now if there are other places that sell it for less? I tried price shopping (asking) at different pharmacies, but they could not give me a price without running/ordering the prescription and running it through my insurance.

      • Kiki

        If you have a Costco near you, check with them. You don’t have to be a member to use their pharmacy. I’ve found my expensive, name brand medicine for quite a bit less than other places.

  3. Stacie

    I definately noticed! They ended up building three Walgreens on the same street. Well, the one in the middle is struggling and they are being “monitored” to see how well they do. But they increased their prices to make up for the lost customers. How about not building THREE Walgreens on one street!

  4. Margarita

    We have 2 Walgreens in town, east side and west side. The west side has lower prices, but almost always runs out of sale items the same day, so yes, sometimes I do drive across town, depending if its a good sale or not. One thing they got me on this when they do their “buy one get one 50% off”, I didn’t notice until they ran out of Listerine for kids, then I found it cost more on the east side! I honestly never shopped there until I started reading this site! I’m a Target/CVS girl myself! 🙂 But with all this bad press with this company, they better ship up!

  5. BonnieP

    yeah kmart has had different prices in different stores since the ’70’s Each store has their own costs-rent and common area maintenance. If you don’t like the store policies don’t shop there

  6. Steph

    Walmart is the same way. I had noticed that one store had Poptarts about 40 cents cheaper than the others around. It was like that for years–consistently lower prices at one location.

  7. Maria

    I agree, but I have 2 walgreens near me and the one that is newer (less than a year old) has higher prices while the other has cheaper prices but is constantly being cleaned out when a good sale comes along. I actually go farther than the 2 nearby walgreens for a 3rd just because they always have competitive prices with enough stock and great customer service.

  8. Rebecca

    We have four Walgreens here and three have pretty much the same prices where the newest one has higher prices, as much as $1.00 higher on some items. I am blessed to live closer to the older stores where prices are cheaper.

  9. Livvy

    The Walgreens nearest to me has higher prices on almost everything in the store than other Walgreens in my area. I only shop at the higher priced Walgreens for weekly sales which are the same price at all Walgreens. (Except I have to watch out for the sales that say, for example, $10 off regular price – because the regular price is higher at the higher priced store the sale price will be higher, too.) What I hate is that clearance prices vary so dramatically from store-to-store. If I find an item on clearance item at one Wags and I want to stock up, it will likely be on clearance at other Wags, too. But, it’s anybody’s guess how the clearance item will be priced at the other stores.

  10. julie

    I’ve noticed different prices at different stores, but not significantly different (maybe 10% more). I chalk it up to possible higher rent for the store, etc. I try to make a mental note to which store has cheaper things, and on the flip side the more expensive items might help reach a buy $x get $y in rewards easier.

  11. Erika

    Same thing goes for Food 4 Less. I went shopping for some items while dropping off my daughter at a Halloween party. A few days later I went to my local Food 4 Less to buy the exact items and they were more expensive in my neighborhood.

  12. Beth K

    The one near me also raises prices before a sale. The normal price of $3.49 for Purex went to $6.99 before the buy one get 2 sale. Organix shampoo and conditioner was raised $3.00 in a week and Pampers went from $9.98 to 13.98. When I spoke with a manager, he denied it.

  13. I Love Shoes

    I notice Walgreens prices can vary less than two miles apart. From my shopping experience, 24 hrs. Walgreens prices are much higher. Also, I was told prices can vary based on the level of theft. One Walgreens have to lock up their body washes. Like many that commented, I only purchase items that list their prices in the ad.

  14. Pat

    It all has to do with the cost of the area. If poorer people live there they have cheaper overhead and cheaper prices. Never shop in a rich area as the prices are significantly higher.

  15. Katiria

    I have completely stopped shopping at Walgreens because the sales I see posted on the blogs are never the same prices at my store and even when they are about the same prices, the machine always beeps at my coupons. It’s a hassle to get the cashiers to adjust the coupon they are afraid of getting in trouble and have to call the manager, which wastes my time and the people in line get angry so I just don’t bother any more.

    This article was very eye-opening, I hope everybody reads it. (including the Walgreens execs)

  16. Sarah

    Yes, the prices in Cincinnati vary widely from store to store in areas that are fairly close to each other. I checked 4 Walgreens in my area this week for the NeilMed netipot. 2 stores had it for the $9.99 sale price. The other 2 stores were $15.49 which was also a sale price. 2 of the stores are about 3 miles from the first store that had it for $9.99.

  17. Gale

    I have 2 walgreens about 2 miles apart. They both consistently have higher prices than I see posted on the blogs. While both have higher prices, one is even costlier than the others. Unless the sale price is in the paper, I have to pay higher prices

  18. mel

    Prices vary here too, at ALL stores, not just Walgreens.

    But this is the thing, if Walgreens #1 charges $5.45 for an item and Walgreens #2 charges $4.99 for the same item, what are you saving once you factor in gas & mileage to travel to store #2 to save $0.46?

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