1. High-End Electronics
Though Walmart’s selection of name-brand electronics is not bad, the company is still focused on value-oriented products in the sub-$1,000 price range. And the sales staff tend not to be experts in the finer points of multimedia interface. So if you want to splurge on a top-of-the-line television or SLR camera — and get the accompanying level of service and accessories — you’ll want to visit a specialty electronics store. Best Buy, for example, has a customer support team (the Geek Squad) capable of explaining why you may need a television with several HDMI ports.
In 2009, Walmart slashed prices aggressively to establish itself as the low-price leader for best-selling books. The store cut the cost of popular novels by authors such as Stephen King by as much as 70 percent, sparking a price war with Amazon.
The Walmart/Amazon rivalry translates into incredibly low prices for consumers on some of the most popular book titles. But Walmart’s prices come at a cost, say local business advocates. In the long-run, such deep discounts can drive independent booksellers out of business. And without these stores, consumers will have difficulty finding all but the most well-known authors, says Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit that advocates for local businesses.
3. Wood Furniture
Despite Walmart’s increased focus on sustainability, the retailer has a long way to go in the furniture category. In 2007 an environmental group published a report tracing furniture from Walmart suppliers to wood illegally logged in protected Russian habitats for Siberian tigers and other wildlife. Several months later, Walmart promised to investigate its suppliers and joined the Global Forest & Trade Network, an organization dedicated to…