I have a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart. Allow me to explain . . .
For at least ten years, I have used their store brand of interior latex satin paint, on all of my rental house interiors. Why Wal-Mart? I had checked in Consumer Reports Magazine at the library (you can’t get into it online) and they had rated and ranked quite a few brands of paint. Although Wal-Mart’s Color Place brand was among the cheapest of paints, it ranked very high in every category! I was ecstatic to see this and thought I’d give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised. I used one of their pre-mixed off white colors and it covered well, didn’t splatter off the roller sleeve, and went on smoothly with a brush. To simplify my work, I started painting the walls and trim with this same paint. In my lower-income rentals, having everything one color was acceptable. In the higher-end rentals, I needed to “keep up with the Joneses” and go with two-tone walls and trim.
My love affair with Wal-Mart turned sour when I started getting paint specially mixed by someone on their staff. When I would enter the paint department, there wasn’t an employee to be found in any of the aisles. I’d expand my search into the surrounding aisles and when I finally located someone with a Wal-Mart tag on, they’d say “I don’t work in that department.” My response, “Could you page someone to meet me over there?” was usually met with a disinterested “Yeah, sure.”
After waiting 10 or 15 minutes, I’d go up to the Customer Service desk and wait in the long line to complain/get some assistance in the paint department. One time, a lady named Linda assured me there’d be someone back there in a couple of minutes. I heard her page the person on the store intercom speakers. I hurried back to the paint area, only to wait another 10 minutes. I actually helped myself to the phone system behind the counter, started pressing random buttons, hoping I’d find the intercom. Bingo! Found it, and announced to the entire store, “Frustrated customer needs assistance in the paint department . . .” That took care of it!
So Wally World is not my favorite place to shop for paint, although their prices for many items are lower than other stores. And over the past year or so, I’ve noticed the quality of their paint has really gone down. They must have changed the formula, because it no longer covers very well, and it splatters off the paint roller sleeve. If I’m painting a wall with deep beige paint and the baseboards are white, there are little deep beige spots all over the white baseboards when I’m done with those walls. Unacceptable!
So, back to the drawing board . . . I checked Consumer Reports again and have switched to Kilz brand Casual Colors. It was actually #1 overall, which is surprising. It’s pricier than the Wally World brand (about $23/gal vs. $13) but it’s so worth it! I just used it in a foreclosure I bought. One of the bedrooms had dark khaki green walls, and the Kilz paint covered it in one coat. If I’m painting a whole rental unit I may use five or six gallons, but it’s makes sense to spend that extra $50 or $60 instead of having to put two coats of paint on the walls.
So, for those of you who’ve bought my book, The Landlord Chronicles, be advised of this change in my attitude about paint brands. Actually, I’m kind of relieved I don’t have to go behind the paint desk and get on that intercom any more . . .