3 On Your Side

Back-to-School supplies causing 'sticker shock'

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If you're headed out to buy school supplies for your kids, get ready for crowds and sticker shock.

Just ask moms like Lupe Arias.

HARPER: "What are you looking for, some of the things?

ARIAS: "A box of pencils, 2 block erasers, filler papers, 5 note books, ah, glue."

HARPER: “That's a long list.”

And that list, Lupe says, keeps going. By the time parents hit the cash register, they're not quite sure what to expect.

“Definitely have gone up on a lot of things. It's kind of crazy."

3 On Your Side wants to do a little comparison shopping when it came to some basic school supplies. So we hit Walmart, Target and Staples, now keep prices and sales vary from day to day but this is what we found.

All three retailers had Composition books, which many teenagers have to have for English or language classes.

At Walmart and Staples, they were selling for 50 cents.

But at Target, they were slightly higher at 77 cents.

Scissors were also on our list and we found the three retailers all sold this brand. Target was the most expensive at $3.99. Walmart had them for $3.47 and Staples had the lowest price at just $2.99

3 On Your Side also shopped for binders which is pretty popular on schools supplies lists.

This one and half-inch binder sold for $3.36 at Walmart. Over at Staples, it was slightly higher at $3.79. And Target was the most expensive, selling the one at $5.49.

HARPER: "Do you think school supplies are getting more expensive every year?"

ARIAS: "Yes, before we used to find a ring of paper for 10-cents, now I remember, now that's none of that."

HARPER: "Yeah, it's long gone right?”

ARIAS: “Yes.”

She's right about that. 500 sheets paper sold at Walmart for $2.50. At Staples, we paid more for less. This 400 pack sold for $3.00

And at Target a pack of 200 sold for $5.99. (We bought two.) And don't forget, these are just the items you’re expecting to buy.

Juanita Moran says she wasn't planning on buying a calculator for 20 bucks, but had to.

HARPER: “And she has to have that for her class?"

MORAN: “Yes, it's mandatory.”

HARPER: “And that probably wasn't really on your list was it?”

MORAN: “Not even a thought in my mind.”

But when it came down to just the basics that all students will need we compared prices on a dozen similar or comparable items and this is what we found.

At Target, we spent $46.87.

At Staples, it was a little cheaper for those 12 items and we wound up spending $38 even.

But Wal-Mart seemed to be the clear winner when it came to saving money. For those 12 items, we spent $28.73.

APP USERS: Our shopping list at all three stores

APP USERS: Compare each individual product at all three stores


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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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