Thursday, November 13, 2014

Green Toys Price Comparisons

Yesterday I posted on Facebook about Amazon's 35% off Green Toys sale, and one of my readers shared that she'd also seen many Green Toys items at good prices at a local TJ Maxx. Out of curiosity (both for my own gift buying and my readers') and a sincere desire not to post about sales that aren't actually good deals, I decided to do some price comparisons among the various stores at the Almaden Plaza (TJ Maxx, Barnes & Noble, and Diddams) and Amazon today. (Don't worry -- I didn't drive to Almaden just for this purpose -- it just fit in perfectly with my usual rainy-day Barnes & Noble trip with Toddler X.)

Here's what I found:

Green Toys Prices (as of 11/13/14 – all store prices from Almaden Plaza locations)

-- Amazon prices are current sale price (for the most part, 35% off normal).
-- B&N prices are current sale price (25% off, with extra 10% for members).
-- Diddams prices are full price; there is no Green Toys sale right now.
-- n/a means I didn't see the specific product at that store during my visit.

Product
Amazon
TJ Maxx
B&N
Diddams
Best price
$16.99
$16.99
n/a
$29.99
Amazon / TJ Maxx
$18.99
n/a
$20.97/$18.97 for members
$29.99
Amazon / B&N (only if member)
$18.19
One I saw at $13.00 on clearance, rest were $16.99
n/a
$29.99
TJ Maxx by $1.20 (unless you find clearance)
$18.99
$16.99
n/a
$29.99
TJ Maxx by $2.00
$18.19
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$11.99
$12.99
n/a
n/a
Amazon by $1.00
$19.49
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$17.99
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$9.74
$9.99
n/a
$19.99
Amazon by $.25
$12.99
$12.99
n/a
$19.99
Amazon / TJ Maxx
$16.24
n/a
$18.71/$16.84 for members)
$26.99
Amazon
$8.44
$6.99
n/a
n/a
TJ Maxx by $1.45
$14.99
n/a
n/a
$26.99
Amazon
$9.74
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$18.19
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$18.19
$16.99
n/a
n/a
TJ Maxx by $1.20
$18.19
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$18.19
n/a
$18.71/$16.84 for members
$29.99
B&N (only if member)/ Amazon if not
$16.99
n/a
n/a
n/a
Amazon
$11.04
$9.99
n/a
$17.99
TJ Maxx by $1.05
$19.50
$24.99
n/a
n/a
Amazon by $5.49

So...what does this mean? Well, it means different things to different people, depending on whether you're looking for something specific or are open to any Green Toys product, how bargain-minded you are, and the value you put on time, convenience and, if shopping with a toddler, your sanity.

TJ Maxx versus Amazon

If you plan to buy the recycling truck, fire truck, tugboat, pink tool set or chef set, those are $1-2 less expensive at TJ Maxx than on Amazon. However, there's obviously no guarantee that those specific products will be available at a given TJ Maxx on a given day.

If you plan to buy the pink dump truck or sea plane, the prices are identical at TJ Maxx and Amazon.

If you plan to buy the tractor, airplane, or cookware/dining set, the prices are lower on Amazon than at TJ Maxx.

If you plan to buy any of the other products (trains, rocket, ferry, submarine, Build a Bouquet, tea sets, school bus), you may not find them at TJ Maxx, so your best bet is Amazon.

B&N versus Amazon

Comparing Amazon's current prices to B&N's (with the 25% off sale on many Green Toys items and the additional 10% off for members), B&N is competitive with Amazon on a few products (for members) and beats Amazon on one (for members), the pastel tea set. Beyond that, you'll pay less on Amazon.

Diddams versus Amazon (or anyone else)

This one is simple: Don't buy Green Toys at Diddams unless they're having a major sale -- their prices just aren't competitive on that line of products right now. (Melissa and Doug is a whole other question -- I'm going to do that breakdown next!)

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So what it all boils down to: The Green Toys sale on Amazon, with up to 35% off normal prices, is a very good sale, and seems to beat anything you'd find in a brick and mortar store in the vast majority of cases (including the many items that the brick and mortar stores don't carry). There are five or six items where the TJ Maxx price is $1-2 less than the Amazon sale price, but to many people that is easily balanced out by the savings in gas, time and hassle of ordering from home. On other items, the prices will be exactly the same, and on a few, you'll pay less on Amazon. Amazon, of course, also has the benefit of having the choice of all available Green Toys items, including things like the trains and the floral set that I didn't see in any of the brick and mortar stores today.

If you prefer to see and touch products or browse in person, and you don't have a specific item in mind, then TJ Maxx is a good bet. Just be aware that you won't have the full line of Green Toys products to choose from.

No matter what, if you stick to Amazon or TJ Maxx for these products, you'll find that they're within a $1-2 range of each other, so just shop in whatever manner is more enjoyable and practical for you.

Hope this is helpful!

(P.S. I did a similar analysis on Melissa and Doug products (on sale now at Diddams) and Hape products (lots of them at Diddams, though not on sale) -- I'll try to get those in a post asap.)

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