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Walmart is the world’s largest name in retailing. The big-box chain boasts more than 10,600 stores and clubs, which includes more than 4,600 Walmarts and nearly 600 Sam’s Clubs in the U.S.

But that doesn’t mean it’s universally revered.

Yes, for many people, Walmart is the holy grail for affordable food and household items. It can be a one-stop-shop for almost everything a family needs—and much of what they find will be cheaper at Walmart than anywhere else.

But other people avoid Walmart at all costs. And part of that is related to the price—the reason some of those items don’t cost very much is because they aren’t worth very much. Occasionally, Walmart items can be inferior to those sold elsewhere, whether in terms of taste for food items or the sturdiness of other products.

Reality, in this situation, sits somewhere in the middle. Personally speaking, many Walmart items I have purchased over time have been just as good as the competition, so the lower price has provided more bang for my buck. But some items weren’t good values—they were just cheap.

Today, I’m going to dive into some of the things you should never buy at Walmart. Some of them are being singled out for their low quality, others are deeply unpopular among Walmart shoppers, and a few can even be found at better prices elsewhere.

 

Never Buy These Products From Walmart


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Have a Walmart trip planned soon? Well, I don’t mean to throw you off your routine, but you should consider leaving the below items off your shopping list.

The reasons why vary: Many are very low-quality. Some are actually more expensive than the competition. And a few of these are deceptively priced.

1. Seafood


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Walmart likely isn’t very popular among pescatarians. The reviews for Walmart seafood products are typically very low. Just consider this sampling of ratings and opinions for three Great Value seafood offerings on Walmart.com:

Great Value Tilapia Skinless & Boneless Fillets had a 2.5 average rating—the best of the three. The most recent review states, “Says 4 per serving size but gives you 3 in the packages.” While there are a few positive thoughts, the majority of taste-related comments are negative, including phrases such as “rancid smell and funny taste,” “horrible and rotten,” and “if there were a ‘no star’ rating, this nasty fish would deserve it.”

The Pacific Cod Skinless Fillets and Pink Salmon Skin-on Fillets both garnered 2-star average ratings. A few of the negative comments in the cod reviews included, “did not resemble fish,” “doesn’t even resemble cod in texture or flavor,” and “mushy and I suspect is like raw cat food.” The salmon reviews were also largely negative, though one recent review sums up the broader sentiment best: “Very mushy almost white. Zero texture. I wonder if it’s even real fish much less salmon. Disgusting. I will feed it to the stray cats. (even they may not eat it).”

Another unrelated factor might give at least a few seafood shoppers pause: Kukorinis v. Walmart Inc.

This lawsuit, filed in October 2022, claimed that Walmart “deceptively, systemically and artificially increases the weight of the product at checkout, resulting in the customer paying an inflated price” on meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as certain citrus fruit for years. Walmart settled the suit, and agreed to pay $45 million to customers who had bought these products between Oct. 19, 2018, and Jan. 19, 2024, though it denied the allegations and admitted no fault.

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2. Beef


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As I mentioned above, beef is another one of the sold-by-weight products that were included in the Kukorinis suit. And like with Walmart’s seafood products, the ground beef tends to have poor ratings and reviews. Clicking through a few different variations of fat-to-lean ratios, the chain’s beef ratings range from 2 to 2.5 stars. Walmart also tends to lack options for customers who prefer organic meat.

Price and taste aside, Walmart’s ground beef has also been the subject of multiple recalls.

The most recent incident was in 2022, when over 28,000 pounds of ground beef was recalled from select Walmart, Kroger, Albertson, and WinCo Foods for possible E. coli contamination. The meat was sold under store-brand labels. Only two years prior, Walmart had a ground beef recall for the same reason. And in 2019, Walmart recalled more than 6,400 pounds of Great Value frozen meat, which likely included the brand’s frozen beef patties.

To be clear: Recalls themselves are not necessarily the retailer’s fault, and no major retailer has ever gone without having an item recalled. But that information is a bit more concerning when coupled with a report on how Walmart handles product recalls.

A 2020 report released by the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund graded 26 of the largest U.S. supermarkets “on efforts to warn customers about food recalls through clear policies, direct notification, and in-store posters.” Walmart received an F. To be fair, 22 of the stores received failing grades, so Walmart has plenty of company at the bottom. Still, anyone highly concerned with food safety might want to opt for one of the supermarket chains with a passing grade, which include Target, Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Smith’s.

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3. Phone Plans


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Right now you might be thinking, “Huh? I didn’t even know Walmart offered phone plans.” Well, they do—and a lot of people use them. Its Straight Talk Wireless currently boasts more than 25 million subscribers. Their family plans are priced competitively, they work with a wide range of phones, and they’re advertised as simple to activate.

So what’s the catch?

If user reviews are any indication, Straight Talk Wireless is simply not good. Consumer Affairs has collected roughly 2,300 ratings for the wireless service, and an incredible 95% of those give it one lonely star—good for an aggregate rating of 1.1 stars out of a possible five.

Complaints run the gamut, from microphones not working to slow shipping times to no data/service to randomly deactivated accounts. But the most popular complaint is that once something goes wrong, the customer service is beyond atrocious. People have spent hours on the phone to solve simple issues, been connected to support reps who spoke poor English, and have repeatedly been hung up on by representatives.

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4. Peanut Butter


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Peanut butter is a beloved food for all ages. You’ll never catch me without a jar on hand. But while it might seem like all peanut butter would be virtually the same—and that Walmart’s brand would be the cheapest, nothing more—that’s not necessarily true.

The critiques of taste aren’t all that scathing. Great Value peanut butter currently garners a respectable 3.3 out of 5.0 score, though that’s far below the 4.6 score of gold standard Jif peanut butter. And while the reviews are generally respectable, many recent opinions for the store’s brand complain of a burnt taste.

So, it’s not the best tasting, but it’s OK. At least it’s the cheapest, right?

Actually, Target’s store-brand peanut butter is slightly cheaper. Currently, Great Value’s product costs $1.94 for a 16-ounce jar, while the same amount of Good & Gather peanut butter only costs $1.79. Target’s peanut butter has higher ratings, too, earning a 4.6 score on Target’s app.

Personally, peanut butter is one product I’ll always splurge on for the name brand. But if you’re just as happy with a generic, Target’s peanut butter is more affordable and better-liked.

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5. Gift Cards


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Gift cards are simple gifts that feel a bit more personal than cash. And given that most places sell gift cards at face value, Walmart might seem as good a place as any to grab one for a loved one’s birthday or celebratory event.

Not so. Some retailers actually give you a deal on gift cards.

Costco frequently sells gift cards at less than face value, which could save you a chunk of money. Just a small sample of the currently discounted on Costco’s website include:

  • Four $25 Domino’s E-gift cards for $79.99
  • Two $50 Spafinder E-gift cards for $79.99
  • One $50 Cinemark Theatres E-gift card for $39.99
  • Five $20 Peet’s Coffee E-gift cards for $79.99
  • Four $25 Papa John’s E-gift cards for $79.99

If you want to buy discounted gift cards and don’t have a membership or know anyone who will let you use theirs, you can still buy them online without a membership, but you’ll absorb a 5% surcharge. Even with the surcharge, though, the cards are still much lower than face value.

Also, Target doesn’t offer year-round gift card discounts like Costco, but it occasionally offers special gift card deals during its annual Circle Week. For instance, on April 9, 2024, the brand offered a deal where customers could buy a $50 gift card to Panera Bread, Regal Cinemas, or AMC Theaters and also receive a free $10 Target gift card.

For any non-urgent gift card needs, you can often stock up during the holiday season. Call or check the websites of your favorite local stores around Black Friday; you might find that some of them offer special gift card deals.

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6. Produce


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Salad enthusiasts: Look elsewhere. In general, Walmart doesn’t have a reputation for high-quality produce.

Out of 2,253 reviews on Walmart.com, the Marketside shredded iceberg lettuce has an average rating of only 1.9 stars. Customers complain about the lettuce being brown and rotting.

Were you hoping to add some fresh mini cucumbers to your salad? Out of 2,180 reviews, the current average rating is only 1.6 stars. The cucumbers are said to be wilted, gross, slimy, and rotten. The 19 most recent reviews all give it just one star.

Bell peppers have an average rating of 1.8 stars across 1,500 ratings, and tomatoes have a 2.1-star average out of roughly 4,000 ratings.

I think you get the idea.

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7. Wood Furniture


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Furniture is a pricy purchase, so it makes sense people want the most affordable options. However, while Walmart’s furniture is sometimes one of the cheaper choices, that’s often because it won’t last long and the customer service isn’t always the greatest.

Consumer Reports surveyed its members about walk-in furniture stores and received 28,665 ratings. Walmart, along with Ashley Furniture Store, were amongst the lowest-rated stores.

Walmart’s wood furniture, in particular, appears to have a reputation for being more likely to break or deteriorate and need to be replaced quickly. The chain sells a lot of furniture made of particle board, which isn’t very resistant to chipping, scratching, or other surface defects. It also wears down easily and has little water resistance.

WealthUp considers furniture to be among bigger-ticket items it makes sense to splurge on. While cheaply made furniture might be more affordable now, you could very well end up paying more over time by frequently replacing these pieces.

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8. Organic Milk


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Although Walmart tends to offer cheaper prices for products, organic milk isn’t one of them.

For example, Walmart and Target both sell half gallons of Horizon Organic Milk DHA Omega-3. At Walmart, it costs $5.32, while Target charges just $4.99.

Perhaps even more surprising is the negligible difference between generic options. Walmart’s Great Value Organic Whole Vitamin D milk currently costs $6.98 for a gallon. Whole Foods’ 365 brand, which is generally known to be more expensive than other generic brands, only charges a cent more per gallon. While the Great Value milk’s 3.0 average isn’t too bad, the 365 by Whole Foods milk boasts a 4.7 score.

Whether price or taste is the bigger priority for you, you’re better off getting your organic milk from somewhere besides Walmart.

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9. Bread


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While the ratings for Great Value breads aren’t as shockingly low as some of the other items on this list, they still aren’t good. Out of five stars, the Great Value bread ratings are currently as follows:

  • White bread: 2.7
  • Honey wheat bread: 2.9
  • Whole wheat: 3.1
  • Wheat bread: 2.8

You can skip Great Value hamburger buns at your next cookout; they rate a tepid 2.6.

Now, some of the bread complaints are that the loaves are smushed or they never received it, which might be the fault of a delivery person, rather than Walmart. However, other complaints say the bread is hard and stale. So unless you’re making homemade croutons, you might want to opt for another bread brand with a better reputation for freshness.

What better options are available? The Rhodes Bake-N-Serv white bread dough currently has a 4.2-star rating. Even better, the Brownberry Country Style White bread sold at Walmart boasts a 4.7-star rating. Perhaps surprisingly, Walmart also has great options for people in need of gluten-free bread. The Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Hawaiian Sweet bread has an impressive 4.8-star rating and reviewers compliment it for its sweet taste and soft texture.

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10. Frozen Pizza


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Whether frozen pizza is one of your household staples or you just like to keep a few on hand as a backup plan, it can be tempting to grab Walmart’s Great Value frozen pizzas.

Based on the ratings, though, there’s a reason they’re not called Great Taste pizzas. The first five Great Value pizzas that come up on Walmart.com have the following ratings (out of five stars)

  • Deep Dish 2 Pepperoni Pizzas: 3.1 stars
  • Cheese Stuffed Crust Three Meat Pizza: 2.8 stars
  • Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza: 1.9 stars
  • Rising Crust Three Meat Pizza: 2.2 stars
  • Microwavable Cheese Pizza: 2.7 stars

Again, like with Walmart’s bread, these pizza scores aren’t horrible—they’re just not very good. But you’d be better off with higher-rated pizza brands, which Walmart sells at typically cheaper prices than other retailers.

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Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper has been a professional writer since 2016 and has worked with WealthUp (formerly Young & the Invested) since 2019.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was still immersed in words through previous roles as a library specialist and teacher. Her background in education helps her take complex topics and turn them into easy-to-understand text.

Hannah holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. When she isn’t writing, Hannah is usually found playing with her niece and nephew, traveling, or brewing more coffee.