By now you’ve heard that Illinois-based Walgreens is buying out local rival Duane Reade. Maybe you’re shedding a tear at the news, but before you go out and buy tissues, which store is likely to have a better price on them?
Good news, New Yorkers: Walgreens prices beat Duane Reade (slightly) in our check of 15 essential (and some not-so-essential) items, and the overall price for our trip to Walgreens was about $30 cheaper. The companies said Duane Reade’s 257 stores will keep operating under their name after the buyout, but consolidation is inevitable.
Our undercover price scoping took us behind the automatic doors at the Williamsburg Duane Reade on North 5th and the Walgreens on Union Ave. While the price differences were often minor, Walgreens offers a wider variety of generic products, a noisier store, and a security-protected deodorant case to ward off obsessive-compulsive (and sweaty) kleptomaniacs. And while Duane Reade is unarguably the more aesthetically appealing of the two stores, it fails to have such necessities as the Inspire Waterproof Rubber Sheet Protector and the famed “As Seen on TV” and celebrity perfume aisles (Walgreens graces its floors with FOUR different varieties of Celine Dion fragrances). Check out the results of the study after the jump, with each round’s winner in blue.
Colgate (Cavity Protection 8.2 oz tube)
Duane Reade: $2.99
Walgreens: Anticavity/Antigingivitis Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste 6 oz – $2.49
Duane Reade: None
Crest vs. Colgate is like the battle of Coke vs. Pepsi, but after a quick once-over in the toothpaste aisle, it’s clear that Colgate’s dental repertoire is easier on the wallet. Duane Reade provides brand-name cavity protection for a reasonable $2.99, but they don’t offer a generic. Non-label snobs can head to Walgreens and save $0.50 or 1/4 of a PBR.
Advil (liquid gels 40 count)
Duane Reade: $7.89
Duane Reade: $6.49
It’s totally understandable to want the Gucci of toothpastes, since keeping your grill fresh can help you avoid prison time (thanks, Lil Wayne). However, we see nothing sexy about brand-name painkillers, and Walgreens will cure your toothache/hangover/last night’s heel trauma on the cheap.
3. HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT
Preparation H (2 oz.)
Duane Reade: $14.69
Generic (2 oz.)
Duane Reade: $10.99
Let it be noted that Walgreens’s generic variety is a hot item, as the shelf was empty by the time we arrived.
4. WELLBUTRIN (XL 150mg 30 pills)
Duane Reade: $212.69
5. VIAGRA (50mg 6 pills)
Duane Reade: $119.49
Recession got you down? It will get you even further down if you buy your uninsured Wellbutrin or Viagra at Duane Reade. Our advice: Stick to recreational drugs.
BandAid (Tough Strips 20 count)
Duane Reade: $4.79
Duane Reade: $3.79
If you can stand to part with colorful Elmo-themed bandages to cheer you up post-paper cut, you can save some dough. Both stores offer generic bandages for less.
7. CONTACT SOLUTION
Bausch and Lomb Renu
Duane Reade: $9.49
Duane Reade: $6.99
This is one item that offers pretty significant savings if you opt for generic. Sorry, Bausch and Lomb, $3 is a falafel at the Bedford L, or a nice pair or scissors for the recession ritual of credit-card cutting.
Duane Reade: $1.49
Gum has evolved far beyond the nondescript Trident “Original” flavor, but we decided to remain fairly conservative and go for a nice, minty Orbitz. Your breath might not be fresher from making a trip to Walgreens, but you will be $0.20 richer.
Duane Reade: Dove Original Clean Scent – $3.69; Old Spice Original – $3.39
Walgreens: Dove Original Clean Scent – $3.99; Old Spice Original – $3.59
We have yet to see generic deodorant, and there’s a reason for that; you don’t mess with B.O. Don’t get sucked into Old Spice’s marketing, which makes you drop at least an extra $2 for its “Swagger” variety (a.k.a. “The Official Scent of Confidence”). Duane Reade is clearly the place to smell best for less.
10. BAR SOAP
(2 bars Dove White/Men’s Extra Fresh)
Duane Reade: $3.79
So fresh and so clean clean for $0.40 less at Duane Reade. However, when it comes to selection, Walgreens sells generic versions of Dial, Irish Spring, and Lever 2000 for about $2 per three-pack.
Trojan Lubricated Ultra Ribbed 3-pack
Duane Reade: $5.99
If you don’t trust those plentiful free NYC condoms, do yourself a favor and go for the ultra-ribbed at Duane Reade. We guarantee you’ll both be lying down by the fire listening to Michael McDonald in no time.
Duane Reade: Coors Light Six Pack – $6.99; Blue Moon Six Pack – $10.49; Heineken Six Pack – $9.99
Walgreens: No beer. #fail
Duane Reade doesn’t have the Champagne of Beers, but it does carry Blue Moon. That’s a win by forfeit. Now if they only sold oranges.
13. RED BULL
Duane Reade: $2.19 or special 2/$4
You get your wings for less at Duane Reade when you purchase two cans or more.
14. FACE WASH
Neutrogena Acne Wash
Duane Reade: $7.49
Generic face wash
Duane Reade: $6.49
Dirty faces are no good for job interviews. To keep your best asset sparkling on the cheap, Walgreens’s knock-off Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash is your friend.