Drugstores are very convenient sources of all sorts of items and products. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s at least a small chance that you’ll be able to find it in a drugstore, especially a large one. From vitamins to skincare and even from cards to electronics, drugstores can sell some pretty surprising things.
But are these shops your best option when it comes to shopping? The short answer is no. Many drugstores charge extra for specific products. Further, some don’t apply the best quality control standards to less commonly sold items. As such, you need to know what isn’t worth buying at a shop like this.
Here are ten things you should avoid buying at the drugstore.
1. Supplements and Medications
Despite the positive mental link we have between medications and the word “drugs” in drugstores, such places are not the best place for your medical purchases. Here are a few reasons why:
· Over-the-Counter Medicines
These medicines are easy to grab, especially if you just want a quick solution to your aches and pains. They may not be the best use of your money, however. Reports indicate that most medicines and pills offered on the shelves of your local drugstore or dollar store are often inferior to the ones from reputable stores.
· Supplements and Vitamins
Buying from your corner drugstore is a lot more expensive than you might think. You’re better off buying them in bulk online, where prices are often lower for the same item.
· Prescription Drugs
You might assume that buying them from a drugstore is the best use of your time and money, but that isn’t the case. A report from 2013 shows that prescription drugs often cost less at big-box stores, which use their pharmacies as a way to build up foot traffic for their stores. By contrast, smaller drugstore chains often make most of their income from their pharmacies instead.
Unless you’re using reusable cloth diapers, you’re going to be buying a lot of disposable diapers. This fact is especially relevant if you’re a parent of several children. Positive thinking suggests that the drugstore is a decent place to get it, but this isn’t the case. As it turns out, this is because:
· It’s Pricier
An analysis of the retail prices set by manufacturers in the diaper industry and actual retailers shows that most drugstores charged higher rates than big-box stores and online retailers.
· It’s Less Cost-Effective
While a drugstore run is quick and easy in an emergency, it’s much more cost-effective in the long term to buy diapers in bulk from an online retailer or a supermarket chain.
· It’s Harder To Buy In Bulk
Diapers are one-time use items that are not perishable. Thus, it’s more convenient to stockpile them in case of need or emergencies. This is easier to do when you’re purchasing from a large department store or an online retailer, compared to a smaller drugstore with limited stock.
3. Hair Products
Everyone needs to use hair supplies in one way or another. So drugstores are a great way of getting them, right? Well, not exactly. Drugstores may be convenient, but it comes at a cost. A study recently revealed that the price of hair supplies like clips, hair ties, and brushes, are lower at the dollar store. Thus, you’re better off heading there instead for your hair needs.
What about shampoo and conditioner bundles? They have got to be a positive net gain, right? The answer is no. Some bundle prices may cost twice as much compared to buying either online or in big-box stores – and certain online retailers offer free same-day deliveries for them. In the end, other stores simply win out in terms of price and – in case of online retailers – convenience.
There may be the occasional deal available on food items sold at your nearest drug store, but you will find that the others will cost more. And all that is before you consider the quality of the items sold there! So with that info in mind, here are a few items whose prices you might wanna take a closer look at next time when you go shopping:
Most households go through a fair amount of milk very quickly, so it would make sense to pick some up while restocking on other supplies. Unfortunately, milk also spoils relatively quickly – and reports indicate that expired milk doesn’t always get removed from the shelves.
Take your time to compare prices while shopping – it may be more expensive to buy them from a drugstore. It’s often cheaper to buy snacks from a grocery store instead.
· Frozen Food
Unless you’re only looking to buy a single snack for the day, you’re better off buying things like ice cream and the like in bulk from a bigger store. It’s also likely the prices in drugstores are marked up too, meaning they’re more expensive per item.
· Vanilla Extract
This essential baking ingredient is often more expensive in drugstores when compared to bigger grocery store chains.
· Maple Syrup
Save your money – this simple food item can often be obtained at a much more reasonable price at big-box stores, and often come with deals too.
5. Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is another one of those single-use items that you would ideally want to stockpile. They never spoil and are best bought in bulk. With that said, the drugstore may not be the best place to conduct such a necessary purchase.
The main reason is that most generic-brand toilet paper sold at drugstores are often low in quality. This often results in using more squares than you would otherwise need, negating any savings you would’ve otherwise acquired from the lower price. Additionally, an analysis has shown that drugstore-branded toilet paper is more expensive than its competitors, should you choose to buy it in bulk.
Positive thinking dictates that surely a drugstore is a perfect place to buy makeup. After all, that’s where all the affordable makeup is, right? Sadly, this isn’t the case. Dedicated beauty stores may be more expensive, but products offered at warehouse stores are cheaper than what you’d get in a drugstore. Mascara, for example, is often $2 less expensive per tube in a big-box store.
That said, if you take advantage of the exclusives they offer, memberships of your drugstore reward programs may be a better long term deal. Big-box chains, however, also have their own reward programs – so unless there are some exclusives and sneak-peeks you want out of your drugstore membership, a membership with your local big-box store may be more beneficial instead.
Deals offered on furniture in drugstores aren’t always as great as they seem. Many of them are shoddy in construction and build, and so won’t last for very long. You might get only about six months’ worth of use out of them before you have to purchase a new table or shelf!
Furniture isn’t the only thing vulnerable to such cost-cutting measures, either. Bedding sold in drugstores often appears to be a steal – until you realize that they are often poor quality items as well. In the end, it’s best to invest in quality items or wait for a sale at your local department store before purchasing your desired items.
Electronics are getting increasingly cheaper, as are their accessories – but it’s still nice to get them as competitively as possible. So it might surprise you that drugstores aren’t offering the best possible deals you can get on the following items:
· Accessories For Phones
Drugstores may offer purchasing convenience, but online retailers will often provide similar (or even the same item) at a much lower price.
TVs offered by drugstores are often inferior copies of more well-known brands and models – often at prices similar to those found in big-box stores. You’re better off hunting down a deal in your local department chain store instead.
· Any Expensive Electronic Products
You can easily find better deals in stores that specialize in electronics. On top of that, specialized stores can offer services and assistance with their products in a way most drugstores are unable to emulate.
9. Common Gift Items
If you are in an enormous rush and you need to get someone a present at the very last minute, it makes perfect sense to grab something from the nearby drugstore on your way out. For the following items, however, this may not be a good use of your time and money:
· Greeting Cards
For some cardboard with ink, birthday cards and the like are often surprisingly expensive at drugstores. A better idea is to buy such cards in bulk from places like the dollar store or from chain department stores instead.
· Gift Cards
You ideally don’t ever want to pay for the full cost of a gift card if you can help it – it’s just not worth it. Instead, consider buying them at a discount at a big-box store, or even buy unused or partially-used gift cards that are being resold online.
While there are regulations and safety standards in place for toys, it’s hard to tell whether the toy meets those standards – and drugstores don’t always check their safety before putting them up on their shelves. It’s often much safer to buy a toy from a trusted retailer instead.
It’s easy to think that buying a cheap pair of shoes will save you money, but this isn’t the case.
These shoes are often poorly made, and research advises that they will often cause more pain and health issues in the long run. Consider instead waiting for off-seasons or sales for brand name footwear. The price investment is usually worth the comfort and quality you get in return.
While you can’t deny the convenience of drugstores and their vast array of products, don’t forget to be a wise shopper. A lot of the time, prices in drugstores are inflated, and the risk that comes with buying certain products there isn’t always worth it. Compare prices, look up reviews, and check out other sources of the items you’re looking for before settling on a drugstore purchase!