Hobby Lobby Might Be Overcharging You—Here's How to Tell
If you think your receipt doesn't add up, you might be right.
Crafty folks and DIYers keep overhead low for their projects by shopping at stores like Hobby Lobby. But the craft emporium chain has been fielding a chorus of complaints about wacky pricing that can seem almost arbitrary, failing to discount items that claim to be on sale, offering identical items with different price tags, and more. The store has responded with reasons for the price glitches, but that doesn't mean they won't happen. Here's how you can tell if Hobby Lobby is overcharging you.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Hobby Lobby Employees.
Identical items are priced differently.
As part of Hobby Lobby's legacy inventory system, employees must manually put price stickers on items (the exception is the brand's own items that have prices printed on the packaging). And there are no barcodes; all prices must be manually entered.
As former Hobby Lobby employee Seth Workman, who uses the handle @arenclelle, explained in a TikTok video, Hobby Lobby's CEO David Green "believes that humans can do work better and more efficiently than computers."
But, as we all know, human error is inevitable, and many Hobby Lobby shoppers have reported finding different price stickers on the same exact items.
For example, crafter Jasmine Tondryk, who uses the handle @jzbagwell, shared a video in which she found faux foliage fronds at the store that varied in price by as much as $3 for the exact same item—from $7.99 to $10.99.
Tondryk points out that, though it may not seem like that much, if you're buying items for, say, a wedding, the difference can add up. "Take the time to look at them, and pick the one that is the cheapest," she advises.
TikToker @thirdjenn offers similar advice, pointing out identical styrofoam rolls, one marked $14.99 and another $16.99. In her case, the cashier gave her the lower price for both—which brings us to the next point…
Your receipt is off.
As mentioned, despite having scanning technology installed in their stores, Hobby Lobby employees still must manually enter prices to ring up customers.
"Cashiers also have to remember any current sales to adjust the price of eligible items accordingly, and since there's no central system to change a price for a limited time, that means your purchases are subject to human error," explains Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "If a cashier doesn't remember that something is on sale, or inputs the wrong price, you could end up paying more than you intended."
So, pay close attention at the register, and always double-check your receipt.
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A sale price still seems high.
Hobby Lobby scrapped its hugely popular 40-percent-off coupon program in 2021, to many customers' dismay. But overcharging complaints may have been part of the reason, according to Ramhold.
"They were actually sued for the practice of doing things like doubling the price of a product and then putting it on a 'permanent 50 percent off' discount, or marking something up (even temporarily) by 20 percent only to then have a '20 percent off sale,'" she shares.
"Because of this kind of historical practice and the fact that purchases must be entered manually, you can't really trust that the sales are actual sales without doing some outside research first."
Ramhold suggests looking for the exact same product (or generic equivalent) at Michaels and Jo-Ann to see what they're charging. Then, you can determine if you're really getting a sale or if it's better to shop with the competitors.
Sale items are hiding.
This isn't overcharging per se, but if you feel like a sale item is missing and you'll have to opt for something similar and pricier, you may be on to something.
For example, when Hobby Lobby was running a sale on markers, Redditors posted about the product being hidden in a clearance section or not even out on the floor.
So, if you're looking for a promotional item, be sure to look around the whole store or ask an employee.