Getting the best holiday shopping deal right after Thanksgiving may depend on which state you're in. And we're not just talking about the fact Wisconsin has a clothing sales tax and Minnesota doesn't.
On the day after Thanksgiving at Wal-Mart, everyone was hungry for a deal. But some of the shoppers paid, in some cases, hundreds of dollars more than others for the exact same item.
KARE 11 compared prices at two Wal-Mart stores that are ten miles apart. One is in Hudson, Wisconsin. The other is in Woodbury, Minnesota.
Here's what we found:
A Trivial Pursuit game selling for $19 in the Woodbury flier, cost $27 in the Hudson.
A portable DVD player selling for $68 in Woodbury, cost $83 in Hudson.
A TV selling for $98 in Woodbury, cost $129 in Hudson.
A $398 personal computer in Woodbury was almost $100 cheaper than its Hudson twin.
And a laptop that cost $398 in Woodbury, cost $632 in Hudson. That's a difference of $234 for the exact same computer.
"That's unreal, isn't it?" says Judy Darwin of Hudson. "May as well go across the border."
"How can they do that? It's the same store," says Amy Weiser of Madison, Wisconsin.
The answer dates all the way back to 1939, when Wisconsin lawmakers passed the Unfair Sales Act. That state law says it's illegal for retailers to sell items below cost. It's supposed to ensure a competitive marketplace.
"Kind-of irritates me," one Wisconsin customer said.
Wal-Mart officials would not go on camera, but they told KARE 11 they're simply complying with state law.
"State regulations prevent us from practicing certain pricing policies in Wisconsin," says Gail Lavielle, Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
But that policy means some Wisconsinites might be crossing the state line.
"Be heading back over to Woodbury every time, instead of staying here," says Jody Swenson of Hudson.
Wal-Mart officials were not able to say what they could legally do for you if you purchased one of the more expensive items in Wisconsin and wanted to return it in Minnesota.
The items discussed in this story were Black Friday sales items. They are now sold out.
When KARE 11 called several local Wal-Marts, store managers stressed the importance of keeping your receipt because, more than likely, you will only get back the amount of money you paid in the first place.
By Amy Hockert, KARE 11 News.