[Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, and other wholesaler clubs]

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Swimmer
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Swimmer » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:21 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:I have read so many comments, here and elsewhere, from rabid Costco fans that I have been eagerly anticipating a Costco opening nearby in the not-too-distant future. However, after reading this thread, I'm not so sure I will even join when it opens. As of right now, the only motivation I might have is to get hearing aids (I am approaching "that time") as I have read glowing reports of the value of those from Costco.

I had a temporary "complimentary" membership through my job at Sam's years ago, but I never really saw the attraction. I never considered signing up after my comped membership expired.

Please verify this, but I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a member to purchase hearing aids at Costco. I know you don't to use their optical service. Don't drive 90 miles--call first. : :wink: mrgreen:
My DH got his there and the cost was unbelievably low for top quality hearing aids sold by his doctor at almost four times the price.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:41 pm

Swimmer wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:I have read so many comments, here and elsewhere, from rabid Costco fans that I have been eagerly anticipating a Costco opening nearby in the not-too-distant future. However, after reading this thread, I'm not so sure I will even join when it opens. As of right now, the only motivation I might have is to get hearing aids (I am approaching "that time") as I have read glowing reports of the value of those from Costco.

I had a temporary "complimentary" membership through my job at Sam's years ago, but I never really saw the attraction. I never considered signing up after my comped membership expired.

Please verify this, but I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a member to purchase hearing aids at Costco. I know you don't to use their optical service. Don't drive 90 miles--call first. : :wink: mrgreen:
My DH got his there and the cost was unbelievably low for top quality hearing aids sold by his doctor at almost four times the price.
Thanks! I will do that when the time gets here, which I'm afraid will be within a year.

S&L1940
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by S&L1940 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:49 pm

Swimmer wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:I have read so many comments, here and elsewhere, from rabid Costco fans that I have been eagerly anticipating a Costco opening nearby in the not-too-distant future. However, after reading this thread, I'm not so sure I will even join when it opens. As of right now, the only motivation I might have is to get hearing aids (I am approaching "that time") as I have read glowing reports of the value of those from Costco.

I had a temporary "complimentary" membership through my job at Sam's years ago, but I never really saw the attraction. I never considered signing up after my comped membership expired.

Please verify this, but I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a member to purchase hearing aids at Costco. I know you don't to use their optical service. Don't drive 90 miles--call first. : :wink: mrgreen:
My DH got his there and the cost was unbelievably low for top quality hearing aids sold by his doctor at almost four times the price.
I believe you can also use their pharmacy without being a member. and with Costco now accepting any Visa credit card it is easier to make purchases
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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corner559
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by corner559 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:10 pm

MN-Investor wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:Costco may as well sponsor this forum.

Never understood the devotion to that place.
Since the folks on this forum are devoted to sound financial decisions, all you have to do is read their responses. It's not rocket science. Just common sense.
Completely agree. Costco is clearly the superior choice.

wrongfunds
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:04 pm

"Nobody shops at Costco, it is too crowded"

- Yogi Bera

2comma
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by 2comma » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:20 pm

This is a timely post for us and I hoped it would help me decide between the two but it really hasn't yet. We've been using Sams for several years which is just ok to me. I mostly hear about Costco at Bogleheads.org and I have a foodie friend that loves Costco so I've been thinking about changing. Please keep the opinions coming!
If I am stupid I will pay.

*3!4!/5!
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:24 pm

Basically Sam's Club and Costco are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.

KT785
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by KT785 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:38 pm

We have a Sam's membership and go there nearly every week. I've never been to a Costco so I can't give a first-hand comparison; the closest Costco is about 45 minutes away in a town I have not other reason to go to . . . so the appeal isn't there for me. I also grew up going to Sam's Club with my parents which may explain some of my and my wife's attachment to the place (we have our own membership since graduating college :D) though where I grew up, you'd have drive for several hours to get to a Costco.

That being said, I'd give Costco a try if there was a free access day . . . and if I happened to remember to drive over to visit. My wife has gotten free access offers before through her former not-for-profit employer but we never remember to use the pass.

Re: generic products--we use a ton of Member's Mark items (Sam's house brand) and are quite pleased with the quality. I'm a regular subscriber to Consumer Reports and based on their recommendations, we switched to the MM Ultimate Clean laundry detergent and the MM dishwasher packs, both of which were rated higher than the comparable Kirkland items.

Also, IIRC it seems Sam's is undergoing a shift in their business model to more directly target Costco and their Kirkland Signature brand. Over the past year or so, I've begun to see more and more Member's Mark products available which I attribute to this new direction (seems like I've read about this in the WSJ).

birdy
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by birdy » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:02 am

I had a really bad experience at Sams: Went through the check out with my basket and paid. Got to door and they checked my basket against my receipt. The clerk had some how not rung up one of my items and I was treated like a shop lifter. Was so embarrassed I never went back again.

Joined Costco 2 years ago. Have purchased glasses, custom window shades, car tires, Smart TV and use the gas station when the app "gas buddy" says it is the cheapest. I buy food items and other items there also. I NEVER go to Costco on the weekend!!! I usually go late morning when there are usually only 2-3 people checking out in front of me. The very generous return policy is great and the employees are very helpful. Late morning is because I can have a very cheap lunch there before I go home! I can't buy all my groceries there because of the bulk buying necessary (we are only 2 people) so I usually buy at a regular grocery store most often. I have a deep freeze which really comes in handy when they have a "sale" of frozen products.

I like Costco very much, but I do end up needing to stop at a normal grocery store also.

birdy

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corner559
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by corner559 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:31 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:Basically Sam's Club and Costco are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.
They are not clones of each other. Costco stocks higher quality merchandise, and their Kirkland brand is among the best.

*3!4!/5!
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:43 am

corner559 wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Basically Sam's Club and Costco are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.
They are not clones of each other. Costco stocks higher quality merchandise, and their Kirkland brand is among the best.
In my experience they basically are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.

lazydavid
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by lazydavid » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:54 am

We're members at both, but go to Sam's 5 times for every trip to Costco. There are a few reasons for this. Sam's is less than 5 minutes from the house, while both Costcos are each 20 minutes away (in opposite directions). Crowds are certainly a factor. But the biggest one is that Business/Plus members can get in at 7am Monday-Saturday (store opens at 10am). That benefit is worth its weight in gold. We can be in and out with a major haul by 7:30, and still have the entire day to do what we want. The Costcos open at 10:30 and are insanely crowded, so we wouldn't get home until close to 1. Half the day is shot just so we could buy some groceries. Thank you, but no. We can hit Sam's, Walmart, and Tony's (local grocery store) and be home with our haul by 8:30, with the whole day ahead of us.

kjvmartin
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by kjvmartin » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:10 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:
corner559 wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Basically Sam's Club and Costco are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.
They are not clones of each other. Costco stocks higher quality merchandise, and their Kirkland brand is among the best.
In my experience they basically are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.

Costco Mission Statement


"Costco's mission is to continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.achieve our mission we will conduct our business with the following Code of Ethics in mind:

Obey the law
Take care of our members
Take care of our employees
Respect our vendors
If we do these four things throughout our organization, then we will realize our ultimate goal, which is to reward our shareholders."

Sam's Club = Wal-Mart in bulk...

abner kravitz
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:22 am

lazydavid wrote: But the biggest one is that Business/Plus members can get in at 7am Monday-Saturday (store opens at 10am). That benefit is worth its weight in gold. We can be in and out with a major haul by 7:30, and still have the entire day to do what we want. The Costcos open at 10:30 and are insanely crowded, so we wouldn't get home until close to 1.
I agree 100% - if you go a lot and like to do things early, the upgraded membership is awesome. It fees like you are shopping by yourself. The membership is a little pricey (about double), but they give some other perks with it (more cash back, etc) that take a little sting out of it.

straws46
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by straws46 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:33 am

Re Costco: as Yogi Berra said, "nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded." There is a reason for that. Just my opinion.

emoore
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by emoore » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:45 am

SuperGrafx wrote:
MN-Investor wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:Costco may as well sponsor this forum.

Never understood the devotion to that place.
Since the folks on this forum are devoted to sound financial decisions, all you have to do is read their responses. It's not rocket science. Just common sense.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

There are better alternatives to Costco. Just saying.
Better for you but not better for everybody. Just like anything else it's a personal choice.

rec7
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by rec7 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:01 am

Went to Costco the first time this year. I like it better than Sam's. I have be in Sam's on and off since 1985. But on a few items we use Sam's will beat them on price if it is his in house brand.
Disclaimer: You might lose money doing anything I say. Although that was not my intent. | Favorite song: Sometimes He Whispers Jay Parrack

squirm
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by squirm » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:16 am

We were given a Costco membership for two years. It was always a guessing game if they had berries. Of course that was in back of the store and half the time they didn't have berries in stock. We'd pick up a few other items and then wait in line.

After fighting the crowds, parking and produce that wasn't stocked, we figured it's not worth the hassle. Hitting Wally World once in a while was the better of the two evils. Oh, yeah, I forgot one day we bought a bottle of a Tylenol, 750 pills, really?

After reading this thread, we might give Sam's Club a try, even if it's associated with Wally's World. We'd rather shop in peace.

boglegirl
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by boglegirl » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:16 pm

SuperGrafx wrote:
MN-Investor wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:Costco may as well sponsor this forum.

Never understood the devotion to that place.
Since the folks on this forum are devoted to sound financial decisions, all you have to do is read their responses. It's not rocket science. Just common sense.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

There are better alternatives to Costco. Just saying.
What are they? My family saves at least $25/month on gas alone...I am not being snarky, I would truly love to know where I can buy gas for $.30/gallon less than the prevailing price, other than Costco. I literally just searched for gas prices in my area, and Costco is $.30 cheaper than the next cheapest...but the next cheapest is also listed as a "cash price", and I get 4% back on my credit card for gas purchases, so the real savings is $.40/gallon. So we'd keep our Costco membership for the gas savings alone.

And similar savings on car tires and batteries, coffee beans, cheese, water softener salt...those are a few items that I can think of off the top of my head that we save 10%-40% on. I guess some of us do have "devotion" to Costco, but Costco has earned it.

Oh, but I have to edit to add: I wouldn't drive 90 minutes! I don't think it would save on gas if I had to use 1/2 tank of gas to get to Costco and back...So to the OP, give your nearby Sam's Club a chance.

*3!4!/5!
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:34 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
corner559 wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Basically Sam's Club and Costco are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.
They are not clones of each other. Costco stocks higher quality merchandise, and their Kirkland brand is among the best.
In my experience they basically are clones of each other with the only difference being that checking out is quicker at Costco.

Costco Mission Statement


"Costco's mission is to continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.achieve our mission we will conduct our business with the following Code of Ethics in mind:

Obey the law
Take care of our members
Take care of our employees
Respect our vendors
If we do these four things throughout our organization, then we will realize our ultimate goal, which is to reward our shareholders."

Sam's Club = Wal-Mart in bulk...
I know politics when I see it.

lazydavid
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by lazydavid » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:59 pm

boglegirl wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:There are better alternatives to Costco. Just saying.
What are they? My family saves at least $25/month on gas alone...I am not being snarky, I would truly love to know where I can buy gas for $.30/gallon less than the prevailing price, other than Costco. I literally just searched for gas prices in my area, and Costco is $.30 cheaper than the next cheapest...but the next cheapest is also listed as a "cash price", and I get 4% back on my credit card for gas purchases, so the real savings is $.40/gallon. So we'd keep our Costco membership for the gas savings alone.
It's going to vary by location, but that price gap does not match up with my area at all. True, the most common price for premium is right around $3, and Costco is $2.78. But Sam's is $2.77, and Thornton's (local gas station chain) is $2.76. Sam's Club members get a 5 cent discount, so that actually comes out to $2.72, less whatever credit card promotion one has.

stoptothink
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:44 pm

boglegirl wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:
MN-Investor wrote:
SuperGrafx wrote:Costco may as well sponsor this forum.

Never understood the devotion to that place.
Since the folks on this forum are devoted to sound financial decisions, all you have to do is read their responses. It's not rocket science. Just common sense.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

There are better alternatives to Costco. Just saying.
What are they? My family saves at least $25/month on gas alone...I am not being snarky, I would truly love to know where I can buy gas for $.30/gallon less than the prevailing price, other than Costco. I literally just searched for gas prices in my area, and Costco is $.30 cheaper than the next cheapest...but the next cheapest is also listed as a "cash price", and I get 4% back on my credit card for gas purchases, so the real savings is $.40/gallon. So we'd keep our Costco membership for the gas savings alone.

And similar savings on car tires and batteries, coffee beans, cheese, water softener salt...those are a few items that I can think of off the top of my head that we save 10%-40% on. I guess some of us do have "devotion" to Costco, but Costco has earned it.

Oh, but I have to edit to add: I wouldn't drive 90 minutes! I don't think it would save on gas if I had to use 1/2 tank of gas to get to Costco and back...So to the OP, give your nearby Sam's Club a chance.
Costco has an amazingly loyal customer base, and there are many reasons for that, but in every place I have lived (Southern California, Texas, Arizona, and Utah) I was able to quickly find better (cheaper, for IMO similar quality products) alternatives. They have great customer service and you can be assured you are pretty much always getting a quality product, but for the overwhelming majority of products I purchase on a regular basis, I have found alternatives that are cheaper, closer, less hassle, and with less risk that I will walk out of the door having spent hundreds on huge amounts of products I had no intention of buying. Gas is the one outlier, as Costco is usually $.01-$.04/g cheaper than what's around the corner, but having to drive there, then wait, and the fact that we barely spend <$40/month on gas as it is completely negates any benefit. I think the reality is that people rarely actually shop around and crunch the numbers, and they really do enjoy the Costco experience (understandable, but I don't). This may very well be location dependent, but it was the case in the four areas I have lived.

not4me
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by not4me » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:16 pm

stoptothink wrote: I think the reality is that people rarely actually shop around and crunch the numbers
My spouse does most of the shopping at both Sams & Costco & does "actually shop". They both get some of our business because they each have certain items where they are the better deal -- at least at the time we need them. Neither wins all the time. But thanks to those who don't shop, the company can make $ & afford to offer "come on" deals for those who do

Lindrobe
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Lindrobe » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:33 pm

stoptothink wrote:I think the reality is that people rarely actually shop around and crunch the numbers, and they really do enjoy the Costco experience (understandable, but I don't).
I think that the above statement is spot on. However, I am the rare example of a number cruncher that actually shops around. I break everything down per ounce, per bottle, per loaf, etc. What can I say--it just comes naturally for me because I am an accountant. This is embarrassing to admit, but I actually become excited when I find an additional item that I can save money on at Sam's Club over purchasing at the grocery. :happy

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6miths
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by 6miths » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:56 pm

Costco for me. Walmart closed all of its Sam's Club stores in Canada in 2009. I don't know that they have reopened any. When I am staying in the US I sometimes go to the local Sam's Club with friend's and don't see anything new that would change my mind about my preference. I am a huge number cruncher and all things considered think that Costco is a huge value. Made raising four children quite a bit cheaper than might otherwise have been. Also, they have caused gas stations in their vicinity to lower prices. Though the stations often raise them when the Costco pumps are closed.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

CppCoder
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by CppCoder » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:31 pm

I prefer Costco by far. The one thing I do miss about Sam's, though, is the cinnamon and sugar soft pretzel. For whatever reason, Costco doesn't serve soft pretzels. The Sam's membership fee doesn't seem worth it just for the soft pretzels, and my waistline probably appreciates Costco not selling them :happy.

Also, if one primarily buys non-perishable items at Costco, using Costco online could be worth the membership fee and would negate OP's 90 mile drive concerns. I've had years where I've probably saved more money on rental cars due to Costco Travel than I have paid in Costco membership fees.

stoptothink
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Lindrobe wrote:
stoptothink wrote:I think the reality is that people rarely actually shop around and crunch the numbers, and they really do enjoy the Costco experience (understandable, but I don't).
I think that the above statement is spot on. However, I am the rare example of a number cruncher that actually shops around. I break everything down per ounce, per bottle, per loaf, etc. What can I say--it just comes naturally for me because I am an accountant. This is embarrassing to admit, but I actually become excited when I find an additional item that I can save money on at Sam's Club over purchasing at the grocery. :happy
I am also that rare example, and that's precisely why I haven't had a Costco membership in a long time. I certainly understand the appeal, even if it doesn't override the appeal of saving money and time shopping elsewhere.

testing321
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by testing321 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:52 pm

We have memberships at both, but we shop at Sam's Club more often. Sam's has some outstanding deals on clothing items that are being discontinued. These items tend to just disappear at Costco.

Our Sam's club carries a 1.5 lb bag of Caribou coffee that we like. But it is not carried at nearby Sam's Club (go figure). Liquor deals are somewhat better at Costco (recently case deals on wine). Sam's club membership is less expensive. Tire and auto battery deals are similar at both.

We could easily get by with either store, but would prefer Sam's if we had to pick one.

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corner559
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by corner559 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:33 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sam's Club = Wal-Mart in bulk...
Bingo.

HIinvestor
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:59 pm

We live a 5-minute drive from Costco and shop there at least weekly. They are a great place to buy fruit, such as apples and oranges. They also have good prices on most things. Their employees tell me they are treated well and are very loyal and stay and are often promoted from within. They do have lines, particularly on weekends (which I avoid). They are excellent with customer service and returns and their travel discounts on car rentals are great. We are executive members. We buy all our Rx glasses at Costco --great prices and decent quality.

We have a Sam's Club membership that I share with my sister. We go a few times a year. It has 75% similar merchandise but they tend to have lower quality in general. Some of their checkouts are self service. I haven't talked with any ig their workers but they seem young and often distracted or harassed. I don't get the feeling their workforce has the same joy of working there that I feel from Costco employees who voice their happiness with working there. I only have the membership because my sister wanted it and split it with me.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by JDCarpenter » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:30 pm

Which Sam's Club?

In our experience, they differ drastically depending upon the demographics of the area in which they are located. Near us, we can't buy a bottle of Dom if we want to celebrate with a bubbly; near in-laws, Sam's stocks that.

Costco, in our limited exposure to it, is pricey and full of country club types (sister-in-law is a very happy member). Our local Sam's (only 25 minutes, versus 40 to Costco) is typically full of recent immigrants from all over the world; we often look to be the only native-english speakers in the store. Lines are horrendous, but self checkout is fast. The selections reflect the clientele, so we can get interesting food. Meats are main reason we shop there though.

yeah, we are likely the only 50-something doctor/lawyer couple doing our shopping at the local WMT too....
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kjvmartin
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by kjvmartin » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:25 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:Which Sam's Club?


Costco, in our limited exposure to it, is pricey and full of country club types
I just bought a double size clamshell of organic raspberries for $3.99 at Costco. Meijer has a box of conventional raspberries, half the size, for the same cost. Kirkland detergent pods are highly rated by consumer reports (much like Tide) and sell for almost 1/2 cost per load. I could go on and list Kirkland kitchen bags, Kirkland bottled water, Kirkland Pesto. It would take me a long time to think of all the quality products we use which have no real competition. Shampoo. Body Wash.

It's better than most name brand quality items at off brand prices.

KT785
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by KT785 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:26 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:Which Sam's Club?

In our experience, they differ drastically depending upon the demographics of the area in which they are located. Near us, we can't buy a bottle of Dom if we want to celebrate with a bubbly; near in-laws, Sam's stocks that.
Agree with JDCarpenter's point. When my parents visit us, they make a point to stop by our Sam's Club as it skews quite a bit more upscale than the ones in their area (ours stocks Dom :happy) and my mom especially marvels at the variety of items we have at our store compared to theirs. Clothing selection in particular is a major difference and certainly correlates to area demographics--my city is heavily white collar and my parents live in rural, more southern/agricultural area.

This may factor into why some of my friends and colleagues who have shopped at both our local Sam's and the Costco (45 minutes away) have noted that they don't see any major difference.

Drovor
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Drovor » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:44 pm

Never been to Sam's Club but as far as Costco, we have saved a lot just on Kirkland baby formula, diapers and dog food. That alone pays for itself and then some.

munemaker
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by munemaker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:24 am

boglegirl wrote:...So to the OP, give your nearby Sam's Club a chance.
OP here. Just to clarify, we have been Sam's Club members for many years and are satisfied with Sam's. I see a lot of positive comments on this forum about Costco, not so much about Sam's. Because of these comments, I wondered how Sam's compared to Costco; not very well according to the majority of comments.

I wasn't seriously considering buying a Costco membership when the nearest store is 90 minutes away. Just painting a picture of our situation.

Thanks!

munemaker
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by munemaker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:28 am

corner559 wrote:
kjvmartin wrote:
Sam's Club = Wal-Mart in bulk...
Bingo.
It does not seem like that to me. Sam's handles a lot of different brands and items than Wal*Mart. Take large screen TVs, for example. Our Wal*Mart carries the least expensive brand names, in general, and doesn't offer much of a choice. Our Sam's store, on the other hand, has a much larger selection including more expensive models.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by researcher » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:52 am

HIinvestor wrote:Their employees tell me they are treated well and are very loyal and stay and are often promoted from within.

I haven't talked with any ig their workers but they seem young and often distracted or harassed.
I find this truly bizarre.

Do you make a point of interviewing random Costco employees about how their employer treats them?

Would you expect employees, who are at work and on the clock, to express anything other than satisfaction when asked by a random customer?

How did you conclude that Sam's Club workers often appear "harassed?" Harassed by whom?

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Tallis » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:21 am

In my experience (Twin Cities), Costco has generally better quality items than Sam's Club. We have similar tastes to the Costco wine buyers, for instance, so we find that Kirkland Signature-labeled wine is a good value for us. On the other hand, the Kirkland Signature single-malt scotches have generally been disappointments.

The main reasons I'm not renewing my Sam's Club membership are 2: 1) the Sam's Club checkout experience is a test of my patience. It doesn't matter how few people there are in the store, the number of cashiers available ensures that the lines are just as long. At Costco lines seem quicker, and they bag the groceries.

2) Costco is my wife's favorite store, and Kirkland Signature her favorite brand.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by MN-Investor » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:18 pm

researcher wrote:Would you expect employees, who are at work and on the clock, to express anything other than satisfaction when asked by a random customer?
Here, in the Twin Cities - home of Target - Target is a well respected store. Walmart, not so much. We were shopping at a Walmart about a year ago - one of the nicer stores - when we were chatting with the checkout clerk. He was bemoaning the fact that he would rather be working at Target. No, we didn't ask him. So yes, some people will gladly share their opinion even when not asked.
The key to success - Save early, save often, invest well.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by MN-Investor » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:29 pm

munemaker wrote:I wasn't seriously considering buying a Costco membership when the nearest store is 90 minutes away. Just painting a picture of our situation.
As much as I love Costco, I would not consider buying a membership if the nearest store was 90 minutes away. That said, when I classify our Costco and Sam's Club memberships in Quicken, I use the category "Entertainment." Even if all we bought were the $1.50 hot dog + soda, I would probably buy memberships at both because 1) we can easily afford it, and 2) I just find it entertaining to walk through the stores.
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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by *3!4!/5! » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:37 pm

kjvmartin wrote:... Kirkland Pesto ...
Sam's Club has exactly the same pesto, same jar, same contents, just a different label. Most of the stuff is the same at the two stores. The suppliers just do different versions of their packaging depending which store they're sending it to, but it's the same stuff.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Caladan » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:48 am

I'll take Costco. I'll pay extra to avoid the likes of Wal-Mart and Sam's (at least in my area) is a giant Wal-Mart. Costco has better quality products.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Rupert » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:18 am

I prefer Costco for two primary reasons. The first reason is very practical. The local Sam's Club is located in a shopping mall complex that is very difficult to get into and out of. The traffic around it is terrible. The Costco is better positioned. (Both are about two miles from my house; so distance is not an issue). Second, Costco carries more brands that I prefer. I also find the Kirkland store brand of many items to be outstanding, e.g., olive oil, wine, frozen wild-caught Alaskan salmon (you can't find decent fresh salmon where I live). Finally, I'll just make an observation that has been hinted at in prior posts. At least where I live, Costco and Sam's Club appeal to different demographics. Costco shoppers where I live appear to be more affluent. This is purely observational and not at all scientific. But it likely explains why Costco carries a lot more products that I think appeal to the health-nut/hipster set, e.g., more organic products and chia seeds.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:02 pm

There is a Costco one mile from where I live and Sam's is 10 miles, but I've been to both plenty of times. The service and employees are much better at Costco. Costco pays their employees better and therefore gets better employees. The merchandise at Costco is higher end than that at Sam's club. I prefer Costco. I find the baked goods at Sam's have a lot more variety than Costco though. I think Costco has more interesting/unique merchandise like stuff I didn't know I needed or existed (and probably didn't need).

One thing to consider is I have known people to share memberships. I am not sure if this is technically allowed or what the rules are. At Sam's I asked if I could get a card for my brother (who doesn't live with me) and they said no problem. In other words, if you pay for the Sam's membership and get the other card for a friend/family member and then they pay for the Costco membership and give you the other card. That way you are really only paying one membership so if you don't use the other very often, nothing is lost.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:32 pm

We have had memberships at Sams and Costco in the past but cancelled Sams. Sams appeals to a different demographic than Costsco. As others have posted it is more of a giant Walmart in bulk operation. If you want the absolute least cost on bulk foods or other generic items (regardless of quality level) than Sams is great.

We have had a Costco exec membership for 20+ years. For a careful discerning shopper Costo is tough to beat. Costco overall stocks better quality goods - electronics, produce, specialty foods, wines, apparel, drug store items, automotive tires, small appliances, etc

If Costco was 90 minutes away I'd likely only go once every 4-6 weeks. Fortunately we have a Costco fairly close and we go on weekdays to avoid the crowds. There is a very good reason most Costco stores are crowded and very busy.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by saiLean » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:48 pm

We have had Sams for years and have Costco membership for four years. We usually do most of the shopping at Sams and have a plus membership. We like the packaging at Sams. We buy Nestle water from Sams (not available in Costco) and most of the groceries from Sams. Prices vary and some items may be cheaper at one place vs other. Coco Water has been $10 and change at Sams for last few months and Costco has the deal for this month. We buy Olive oil, opticals and electronics from Costco. For gas, we get 5% cash back on master card vs 4% at Costco. Now Sams accepts most of the credit cards vs Costco that has only Visa cards.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by researcher » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:16 am

jabberwockOG wrote:If you want the absolute least cost on bulk foods or other generic items (regardless of quality level) than Sams is great.

For a careful discerning shopper Costo is tough to beat. Costco overall stocks better quality goods - electronics, produce, specialty foods, wines, apparel, drug store items, automotive tires, small appliances, etc.
I've seen several posters make statements similar to this.

Could you please post links to these "better quality" items that are not available at Sam's Club?

I'd like to see what "careful discerning shoppers" are buying at warehouse club stores that I'm missing out on.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:25 am

researcher wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:If you want the absolute least cost on bulk foods or other generic items (regardless of quality level) than Sams is great.

For a careful discerning shopper Costo is tough to beat. Costco overall stocks better quality goods - electronics, produce, specialty foods, wines, apparel, drug store items, automotive tires, small appliances, etc.
I've seen several posters make statements similar to this.

Could you please post links to these "better quality" items that are not available at Sam's Club?

I'd like to see what "careful discerning shoppers" are buying at warehouse club stores that I'm missing out on.
Go compare the watches and wine for starters. The median income for a Costco shopper is much higher than that of a Sam's shopper. From what I've read, Costco has a median income of $120k. Sam's is $80k. Big difference. If you only want basic stuff, it probably makes no difference to you.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by Rupert » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:43 am

researcher wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:If you want the absolute least cost on bulk foods or other generic items (regardless of quality level) than Sams is great.

For a careful discerning shopper Costo is tough to beat. Costco overall stocks better quality goods - electronics, produce, specialty foods, wines, apparel, drug store items, automotive tires, small appliances, etc.
I've seen several posters make statements similar to this.

Could you please post links to these "better quality" items that are not available at Sam's Club?

I'd like to see what "careful discerning shoppers" are buying at warehouse club stores that I'm missing out on.
If you're not buying high-end olive oils, wines, sea salts, spices, organic products, etc., you probably won't notice much of a difference between Costco and Sam's. But if you are buying those things, then you'll notice their absence in Sam's. Costco is intentionally appealing to a more affluent demographic. See this article, http://www.upi.com/Expert-Costco-caters ... 346361254/, which states, in part: "Costco was the only discount chain that attracted more ultra-affluent -- consumers with more than $250,000 income a year -- than lower-income shoppers, with income ranging from $100,000 to $249,900 a year."

Edited to add this link, http://retirementblog.ncpa.org/should-w ... Az9Lv.dpbs, and information (taken from the linked article), which explains the two companies' business models in greater detail:

Walmart Compared to Costco. In addition to differing types of retail stores with different profit margins and labor productivity, retailers have various business models — which include the products they sell, their customer base and their sources of potential revenue. Consider the two primary stores labor activists like to compare in terms of wages, Walmart versus Costco. The inherent difference between Costco and Walmart is their business model.

Walmart operates 5,300 stores (including the smaller Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Clubs) and tries to cater to the widest range of customers and provide quality and cost options that appeal to a range of lower to higher income shoppers.

Costco operates about 447 stores under a subscription business model, charging customers for membership. It offers relatively fewer choices to customers compared to Walmart. Costco is geared toward a smaller, more selective clientele than Walmart. Costco stores tend to be located in more affluent neighborhoods and a higher percentage of Costco’s customers are business buyers.

A Statistical Analysis of Walmart and Costco Locations. Given that Costco targets a higher income demographic than Walmart, one could surmise that both store chains would locate in areas that suit their desired income demographic. To test this hypothesis, we compiled a dataset of counties in Texas and Florida (states selected for their population size, relatively weak zoning laws, and presence of both Walmart and Costco) using five explanatory variables of interest: population, median household income in each county, number of Costco stores in each county and number of Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in each county. The results indicate that Costco locations are largely dependent on income, while Walmart locations are not. Given two equally sized (500,000 residents) counties, if one is in the top 40 percent of median income it has a 76 percent probability of having a Costco; if it is in the bottom 60 percent, it has only a 20 percent probability.

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Re: Sam's Club vs. Costco

Post by researcher » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:00 am

michaeljc70 wrote:Go compare the watches and wine for starters. The median income for a Costco shopper is much higher than that of a Sam's shopper. From what I've read, Costco has a median income of $120k. Sam's is $80k. Big difference. If you only want basic stuff, it probably makes no difference to you.
Affluent, careful, discerning shoppers buy watches at Coscto???

I would still like to see links to actual, everyday products that are better quality than what Sam's Club offers.

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