Fact Check: Does Hobby Lobby Charge Different Prices for the Same Products?
Shoppers took to social media to highlight price discrepancies at the craft store.
It's always frustrating when you purchase a product and then find a better price at another store. Many major brands have price-match policies in place for these very situations—but what happens if you find the same items at different price points at one store? According to shoppers, this is exactly what they've been experiencing at Hobby Lobby.
In recent months, several shoppers have taken to TikTok to point out price discrepancies at Hobby Lobby. In the videos—many of which have gone viral—customers pick up two or three of the same product, with the price tags denoting anything from a dollar difference to nearly double the price.
In a Jan. 8 video, @brandy.english explains that she went to her local Hobby Lobby, where she confirmed that prices are different. For a package with steps for a dollhouse, one package is priced at $14.99, while the one directly behind it is $8.49.
In another video from Jan. 13, TikToker @mamaericaaaa shows decorative pig figurines, one of which is $14.99 and another that is $7.99. Other videos show even more differences, including one from @thebowhuntress, where one decorative sign is $39.99 and the same one behind it is $49.99.
"Check those prices before you buy the most expensive one," @thebowhuntress cautions in the Dec. 2023 TikTok.
But is this something that happens at every Hobby Lobby location? The videos suggest it may be a larger issue—and according to former employees, pricing differences are normal.
In the comment section of @brandy.english's video, a former Hobby Lobby employee explained, "Because there's no bar codes, the only way to raise the prices on products is for the new ones to be priced higher—hence the price discrepancies on new stock."
Another added, "If they change the prices of an item, we don't take the old ones off the shelves." And yes, whatever the sticker says is what associates will manually type in at the register, regardless of any price discrepancies that appear between items on shelves.
Instead of scanning an SKU or a product code, Hobby Lobby cashiers type in prices themselves. Beyond complaints that it ends up with shoppers being overcharged, rumors have also circulated that the company's Christian founders believe barcodes are the mark of the beast. However, Snopes debunked this rumor in July 2023, noting that there was no evidence to support the claim.
When looking at Hobby Lobby's FAQ page, the company doesn't include information on why there would be different prices for the same items within stores. (It does clarify that prices, products, and promotions at brick-and-mortar stores might differ from those online.)
In terms of price matching, the company notes that it will honor competitors' ads in-store if they meet certain criteria, but within Hobby Lobby stores, the price matching policy is a bit of a gray area. In a Jan. 13 follow-up video, @thebowhuntress took it upon herself to see if Hobby Lobby associates would change prices for her when purchasing two of the same item.
"Today I am going to go in the Hobby Lobby and see if I can get a legitimate answer on why one item has multiple price tags, and [if they] will they honor the lower price, or do [I] have to pay the two different prices," she explains before going into the store.
The video then cuts to her interaction with a Hobby Lobby associate, who says, "There's probably a price adjustment recently adjusted, but if you take it up front, they will give [you] that lower price."
It doesn't appear that the TikToker then went up to purchase the items to confirm the policy. Complicating things further, in the video's comment section, other shoppers said that their Hobby Lobby stores actually won't price match for them.
In terms of why some prices are higher than others, it's likely due to inflation. According to the TikToker @shoppingwithtay, who says she's a former Hobby Lobby employee, the company's corporate offices send items with price tags already on them, and new shipments that have been adjusted for inflation have higher prices than before.
Still, others offered a more optimistic point of view: "It is actually nice that they don't raise the price on even older stock," a commenter wrote on @thebowhuntress' follow-up video.
So, going off of actual video footage from Hobby Lobby stores, it appears the same items are being sold at different price points. The jury is still out on the official reason, but many point to price adjustments at the corporate level, with new inflation-adjusted items coming in before old, lower-priced stock has sold out.
Best Life reached out to Hobby Lobby for comment on the pricing differences and the price-match policy, and will update the story if we hear back.