Monday, August 25, 2008

Drug Stores: Prices Vary

Not speaking here for pharmaceutical purchases, but rather other things purchased OTC and personal care/cosmetics. What I've noticed of late
  • Duane Reade is clearly the most convenient, with their being as many if not more per street corner than Starbucks, but their prices vary wildly. Sale prices are good, list aren't always competitive. That said, they do have the Dollar Rewards Club, and $5 coupons accumulate with ridiculous speedy due to bonuses and other incentives. They've certainly won my loyalty with that because I'll weigh the rewards factor when I'm considering the DR price v. purchasing elsewhere.
  • CVS - less ubiquitous than Duane Reade but still plenty throughout. I don't find their ExtraCare program to be as rewarding as Duane Reade but that may just be because I don't shop their as frequently. With DR across the street from both my office and my apartment, I don't find the need to go further for CVS. Because I'm not in there frequently I don't see their circulars so it's possible I'm missing out on good deals.
  • King's Pharmacy - at least I think that's its name. I go in on occasion to pick up water because it's next to the gym and have made the occasional photocopy there, but haven't shopped there extensively.
  • Walgreen's - no loyalty program and their prices are higher than Duane Reade but their circular is in the Sunday Daily News and I tend to clip their coupons. They had some great back to school specials. There's one about 10 blocks away, or across the street from K-Mart.
  • K-Mart - never been to the one on 34th Street but discovered the Astor Place store when I had classes down there. Good prices, generally better than Duane Reade but no rewards program and not particularly convenient. I wouldn't go down there for day to day things (i.e. shampoo) but do pick them up if I'm down there for other reasons. Also has a large selection.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond - the store on E. 60th has a cosmetics/personal care items section and their prices are generally competitive. The 20% off and $5 coupons are good too, though I prefer to save them for larger purchases. There's also the issue that it's hard to get out of there without buying something else, therefore eliminating said savings.
  • Wal-Mart - the one in Secaucus is easy to get to and a $6 RT from Port Authority. The $6 bus fare is more than recouped by their prices, which are definitely the lowest I've found. I've planned to try and do a once a month or once/six week trip to pick up basics. The $1 off coupon on NutriGrain bars is even nicer when you're starting at $2.14 instead of $3.99. There is the factor of carrying the stuff back, but I found that manageable.

I really haven't looked into online purchases such as, Amazon or other sites for these. I need to do that and see what the shipping costs are. (In)ability to use coupons is another factor. Any other experiences?

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