Sams Club vs Costco

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squirm
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Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:32 pm

The other day my wife and I drove down the mountain and stopped at Sams Club became a member. As my wife knows, if we can leave a shopping center after being there for an hour without me being PO'd we'd call that a success. There was only a few times out of many that we left Wally World without me being PO'd. Usually crowds make me angry. uggg!

But Sams Club was a delight (yes I know it's a division of Wally's), it wasn't even close to being even moderately crowded. Unlike at Wally's the staff was extremely pleasant and helpful. Everything was very clean and bright. We didn't have to walk a mile to enter the store. They had a very nice selection of fruits and veggies, breads, meat, staples, etc. The cereals, I'm not sure about, half of it was junk cereal, the others were okay, but as I found out when I got home was the "two boxes of cereal in a big box" was really two bags in a big box. I can work around that, I guess. On the way out, I stopped for their gas too , got right in, no long lines like I often see at Costco gas. Next time I plan on trying out their in store app scanner., although there wasn't even a line at checkout.

My question is, we were given a Costco membership a while ago and there's a Costco not far away from Sams, but is their food selection and produce quality better than Sams to make it worthwhile? We were very impressed with Sammy's. But we haven't shopped at Costco in eons except for the one at Maui which we thought was just a disaster.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by ThriftyPhD » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:44 pm

There might be a reason why there were long lines at Costco and not at Sam's :)

I've had memberships at both. I got a membership and Sam's when I lived in a town without a Costco. I found the experience at Sam's to be inferior to Costco, but still useful enough that I kept the membership until moving to a different state where Costco was an option.

In the end, it all comes down to what you buy and which store has the better options for you. I prefer the food at Costco, and find their prices to be better and selection to be higher quality for the things I buy.

The best option is probably to take a walk through Costco next time and see how the selection compares. Quality varies store to store and region to region, and everyone's preferences are different, so for you Sam's might end up being preferable.

texasdiver
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm

Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco. Where we used to live in Texas we had a Sam's Club 15 minutes away in Waco and the nearest Costco was just over an hour away in Cedar Park. For a quick restocking I'd do Sam's but for a bigger weekend restocking I'd make the drive to Costco and then do some other stuff in Austin to make the trip worth it. Here in the Northwest we only have Costco so it's not a choice.

Where Sam's Club falls short in my opinion is in some of the house brand food items. Costco just puts a LOT more effort into it's Kirkland Signature house brand and has a variety of things we buy that simply don't exist at Sam's Club.

Kirkland Signature Balsamic Vinegar
Kirkland Signature Olive Oil
Kirkland Signature Pine Nuts
Kirkland Signature Pesto
Kirkland Signature ground sirloin patties

Costco also seems to put more thought into its wine and cheese selections.

If all you are doing is just buying ordinary staples then I agree, they are pretty similar. Costco seems to aim at a more affluent market segment so they just seem to have more top quality gourmet foods. Or their staff who maintain the house brands and marketing agreements with different suppliers just do a better job.

squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:49 pm

ThriftyPhD wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:44 pm
There might be a reason why there were long lines at Costco and not at Sam's :)
I thought about this too, but then again, there's always lines at Wally World...LOL

sport
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by sport » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:58 pm

Costco aims for more affluent customers, while Sam's aims for more of a "blue collar" type market. I once read an article comparing the two stores. The writer used a fine ladies sweater as an example. It would sell for about $100 in a department store and would be about $60 at Costco. He said that a Costco customer would say "that is a very good price for that nice sweater", while a Sam's customer would say "$60 is too expensive for a sweater".
One data point: In my area the Sam's store closed "due to competition and lack of business". The competition is a Costco store that has been a big success.

annielouise
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by annielouise » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:11 pm

I believe Costco has significantly healthier selections than Sam's Club. Sam's Club carries a huge selection of junk food and is very popular with the vending machine business owners. Sam's Club does carry basic fruits and vegetables, although nothing very exciting. The only healthy cereal (whole grain, low sugar) that I have found at Sam's Club is Cheerios, but I can do better with Kroger store brand on price.

We currently have a Sam's Club membership because it is close by, but I would switch back to Costco in a second if they built one here.

Rashen
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Rashen » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:42 pm

there is a reason Sam's closed a bunch of locations not long ago. All while Costco opens new ones.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by runner3081 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:26 pm

We preferred Sam's Club over Costco and dropped Costco 5-years due to that. That was mostly due to Sam's being dead all of the time, easy in and out! No wonder they closed!

Fast forward to now and well, Costco has changed a lot and their deals are nowhere near what they used to be. Won't be joining them again, but I did have a buddy buy us a giftcard in case we ever need anything there.

Between Winco and Smart & Final, we can easily match or beat Costco pricing (especially because we don't need "name brand" foods).

sport
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by sport » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:30 pm

You may want to keep in mind that Costco has a lot more than food. For example, we have found a lot of nice clothing at good prices at Costco. Also, most clothing items there are sold in a quantity of "one".

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by bikechuck » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:34 pm

We have a Sam's and Costco writhin 5 miles of our house. The Sams always seems a bit dirty and dingy to both me and my wife. The Costco is clean and orderly and their employees seem to take a sense of pride in the store. Based on this we are Costco customers. We dont go there all that often though and we do not like buying super big quantities of food items.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by SimonJester » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:11 am

I have a membership at both store right now and am shopping one club one week and the other the next...

Overall they are evenly matched with each store having their plus and minuses. Costco is slightly more expensive then Sams club but on SOME items they are better quality. Of course there are some things I like I can only get at one store vs the other. Some items are cheaper at one store vs the other.


Here is my biggest gripe about Costco, it seems every month or so they re arrange the location of the merchandise they sale, and not just moving it over a little bit, they change the entire side of the store its located in. Constantly they are moving stuff around so its difficult to locate what you are shopping for. This causes everyone in the store to have to wander around and hunt for things. The impact is people are always in your way, not paying attention to what they are doing. Add to this that they are demoing some sort of food item on every other isle and people act like this is the only meal they will eat in the next week just makes the store a chaotic mess.

Last I feel Costco's quality is slipping in recent years, having said that I hear they have a great return policy.
Last edited by SimonJester on Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:12 am

sport wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:58 pm
One data point: In my area the Sam's store closed "due to competition and lack of business". The competition is a Costco store that has been a big success.
Same experience here. Sam's (opened mid-1990s) and Costco (opened 1999) were about 2-3 miles apart, but people would consistently drive past the Sam's to get to the Costco. Costco was 20% pricier for the same items but admittedly did have nicer stuff overall. Sam's was never busy and closed in 2007. The Costco serves a pretty large population draw. The nearest Sam's is >20 miles away.
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TheDDC
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by TheDDC » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:30 am

Sam's Club is the same quality as a Wal Mart only in bulk. Mostly cheap crap and junk food in bulk. Same embiance without all the Walmartians which would be a plus.

I found one big ticket item at Sams that interested me only to later find it at Costco for same or lower price a few months after - a Honda power washer. Glad I didn't impulse buy.

Food quality at Costco is much better. Especially cheeses, meat, fruit and veggies. Being in a former Puritan state we still cannot buy booze at Costco here so I can't compare that.

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HIinvestor
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:49 am

They have much nicer clothing items and better clothing quality at Costco than Sam’s (we are members of both). They bring in more designer luggage at Costco than Sam’s (bought some Briggs & Riley wheelaboard suitcases for 33-50% off at Costco but never saw anything similar at Sam’s).

Sam’s does sell some things in smaller sizes than Costco (eg the protein drink is a 12-pack at Sam’s while same brand is 18-pack at Costco, prunes are 2.5 pounds vs 4 pounds, etc)

Overall, I believe Costco pays their employees better and gives better benefits and has a happier workforce that is pleased to be working there. I have a much easier time getting customer service at Costco than Sam’s most of the time. The folks I’ve seen at Costco as mostly long-tern employees and very friendly to their customers, with whom they build a relationship over the years.

Costco also has an excellent return policy and excellent car rental rates.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:51 am

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm
Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco.
You do realize that Sam's Club was founded on April 7, 1983 before Costco on September 15, 1983. Costco then merged with Price Club (July 12, 1976) on October 22, 1993.

So you could say that Sam's Club copied Price Club and Costco copied Price Club, but it is a bit of a stretch to say Sam's Club copied Costco.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by KT785 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:09 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:51 am
texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm
Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco.
You do realize that Sam's Club was founded on April 7, 1983 before Costco on September 15, 1983. Costco then merged with Price Club (July 12, 1976) on October 22, 1993.

So you could say that Sam's Club copied Price Club and Costco copied Price Club, but it is a bit of a stretch to say Sam's Club copied Costco.
I imagine texasdiver may be referring to Sam's Club's recent efforts (last year or two) to move their stores and private label brand (Member's Mark) upscale in an effort to target a similar clientele; historically, Sam's Club catered to small business owners and now they're moving to pursue upper middle class customers a la Costco.

I'm a member of Sam's Club (our closest Costco is 45 minutes away) and have noticed a distinct increase in the variety and quantity of the Member's Mark products, particularly when it comes to food items (organics, fair trade, etc.). I will also note that Sam's Clubs vary wildly in the products they sell by local market--I live in a small/medium white-collar community and the Sam's Club products (food, clothing, home goods, etc.) cater to that demographic. My parents, who live in a much more rural, blue-collar community, have distinctly different clothing and home goods options.

HIinvestor
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:36 am

You are probably right that the individual stores for Sam’s and Costco may vary their inventory somewhat, based on community location. Overall though, in our state it does seem that Costco does aim for middle to upper income folks, generally while Sam’s seems to go for mid to lower income. It’s just my impression.

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Cycle
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Cycle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:42 am

We've had memberships at both, but I found its much cheaper for us to just shop at Aldi, farmers market, and target, especially after taking into account driving as Costco's and Sams are usually out in suburbia

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by WestUniversity » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:39 am

DW and I have been members of both in the past. We prefer Costco...

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by lazydavid » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:52 am

Our Sam's Club that we had been going to 5-6 times a month (minimum) is one of the ones that closed, which was curious as it was always quite busy (not Costco busy, but still rockin'). Worked exceedingly well for us since it was 3 minutes away and we could get in at 7am (Business Plus membership) even on Saturday, and not lose the entire day to grocery shopping. Since then, my wife tried stopping at the local Costco, which is insanely busy even by Costco standards, on her way home from work. Aside from taking well over 2 hours each time, on both occasions the produce she got spoiled dramatically faster than what we typically got at Sam's, and was more expensive to boot. So while we still go to (a different) Costco once a month or so, now we make the 20-minute drive to the next closest Sam's club to get our produce.

I find I get better meat at Costco, though the gap has shrunk dramatically over the past few years. I prefer the hard cheeses and wine at Costco, but find better soft cheeses and beer selection at Sam's. Sam's also typically has a wider selection of spices, and has started carrying them in non-catering sizes. The Member's Mark brand has improved quite a bit, but the Kirkland brand is still better and more consistent.

If I could make a quick stop into Costco on the way home, or go on a weekend without eating up half the day, I'd probably prefer it. But since it takes forever AND I can't mitigate that by buying fresh stuff and have it last 2 weeks, I prefer Sam's.

retired recently
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by retired recently » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:06 am

We have had memberships to both and I have no preference for one over the other and do not understand why some think Costco is better. Some of the Kirkland items at Costco are nice but you can get deals at both places and/or can pay too much at both places. As always, you have to know your prices if you are looking to get a good deal.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Rob5TCP » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:21 am

I originally mooched off friends that had memberships at both Costco and Sam's club.
I found that at Sam's club I ended up purchasing about 1/3 of what I bought at Costco.
I buy electronics, food, clothing, eyeglasses, vitamins and other items at Costco.
At Sam's club, I bought some food items, no clothing, no electronics, and also some drug store items.
About 8-9 years ago I finally bought my own membership and obviously decided on Costco.
Have only been to a Sam's club maybe twice in the past 5 years and have no real desire to go back.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by RollTide31457 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:44 am

We go to Costco due to it being close by and the Sam’s are being closed.

We usually only go during the week.

Fruit and vegetables are usually a good buy. However, sometimes the bananas will not ripen - maybe they harvested them too soon? And sometimes the broccoli is bad within a few days.

The return policy is fairly good. However, the clerks are becoming noticeably more combative and the returns line can be out the door.

an_asker
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by an_asker » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:51 am

squirm wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:49 pm
ThriftyPhD wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:44 pm
There might be a reason why there were long lines at Costco and not at Sam's :)
I thought about this too, but then again, there's always lines at Wally World...LOL
There is a reason - understaffing :oops:

trueson1
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by trueson1 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:02 pm

In my opinion, Costco quality overall is vastly superior to Sam's Club. Costco does a lot of internal quality testing and selection before offering their products in their stores. Not so sure about Sam's.

davebo
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by davebo » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:14 pm

I've been a member at both, but I prefer Costco. Costco has a better meat department, wine, bakery, and the clothes they sell there are higher quality. As others have mentioned, the Kirkland brand is very high quality and you can save a lot if you just purchased that.

Plus Sam's seems dingy and dirty to me, whereas Costco seems more upscale.

denovo
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by denovo » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:09 pm

Just a point to make, you don't have to buy "upscale" things at Costco, they sell other stuff too.

I never buy wine, grey poupon, or brie from Costco.I buy ground beef, corn dogs, chips, and ketchup. :happy
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Pacific » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:22 pm

I was a member of both for over a decade. Now, only Costco. I like their selection, their healthy choices (ok, ok, everything is relative), and their return policy. I have heard from people who have worked at both, and it seems Costco treats its employees better. I also LOVE the free samples (though it depends on the store location -- Phoenix=great; Honolulu=average; New Orleans=awful).

Edit: I forgot to add that Costco's wine and beer selection is incredible. I think I heard that Costco is such a large purchaser of wine that it sets the prices of wine in America.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by spectec » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:44 pm

We have memberships at both, but Costco is a long drive for us whereas Sam's is 5 min from our front door. There are items we only buy at Costco, so some trips there are necessary. But I don't find much difference between the two when it comes to staples. However, Sams has a huge advantage in the checkout process. You can load the Scan & Go app on your smart phone and never waste your time in a checkout line. You just scan your purchases as you select them, then go straight to the exit, bypassing all the checkout lines (including self checkout). I have been in Sam's on a weekend when every register had long lines, but I just waltzed out the door with my purchases. Its a very useful app.
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by ananthar » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:59 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:51 am
texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm
Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco.
You do realize that Sam's Club was founded on April 7, 1983 before Costco on September 15, 1983. Costco then merged with Price Club (July 12, 1976) on October 22, 1993.

So you could say that Sam's Club copied Price Club and Costco copied Price Club, but it is a bit of a stretch to say Sam's Club copied Costco.
Sam Walton has acknowledging getting the idea of Sam's Club from Sol Price, the founder of Fed Mart (the oldest member shopping club, no longer in existence) and Price Club : In fact Sol Price met Sam Walton and discussed the idea of starting Price Club and Sam Walton wanted to join with Sol Price. However Sol Price did not like Sam Walton's philosophy on paying rock bottom wages and benefits and started Price Club on his own. Costco was founded by a former employee (and Men-tee) of Sol Price from the FedMart days and the two later merged their almost identical shopping clubs.

Sam Walton had previously renamed his chain to Wal Mart since he like the sound of the name Fed Mart so much!

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:53 pm

Full disclosure: Costco is my only individual stock holding.

Costco is unbeatable for us for Bath Tissue, Paper Towel, Fresh Chicken per lb., Fresh Extra Lean Hamburger per lb., car tires, fresh fruit, produce, birthday cakes, gasoline, iTunes gift cards on sale, baby wipes, frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, spaghetti sauce, frozen meals, and many other things.

Last year in June I walked past the clothing area en route to groceries and found a pile of patriotic themed t-shirts priced at $8. There were 5 designs. For $40 scored a fresh summer wardrobe at higher quality than Kohl's or Old Navy. They held up well and will probably last a couple more seasons.

In October, I stumbled on a pile of Weatherproof fleece lined jeans. $16 per pair. $50 and I'll be set on winter jeans for years.

They only offer quality items and the prices are more than reasonable.

Sam's, to me, is just bulk Walmart. I typically avoid Walmart.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Cunobelinus » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:14 am

squirm wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:32 pm
My question is, we were given a Costco membership a while ago and there's a Costco not far away from Sams, but is their food selection and produce quality better than Sams to make it worthwhile? We were very impressed with Sammy's. But we haven't shopped at Costco in eons except for the one at Maui which we thought was just a disaster.
For a lot of folks in the islands making regular island wages, it's one of the few affordable places to reliably get things. I can't reference a source, but "they" say that the Costco on Alakawa Street in Honolulu is the busiest in the world. Having been there a number of times, I can qualitatively say that it's far busier every time than any Costco I've been to in Florida or California or Virginia the one in Hawaii Kai (same island).

We don't have a Sam's Club membership and I've never been tempted to get one. I try my best to avoid Walmart though, so it's not like it's hard to not get a Sam's Club membership with Costco around.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Frugal Al » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:12 am

TheDDC wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:30 am
Sam's Club is the same quality as a Wal Mart only in bulk.
Wow, it seems that we have a bit of snobbery on the board. For many items there is nothing bad about "Wal-Mart" quality. Besides it's not entirely true that Sam's carries the same merchandise, though I'm sure there are many common items. The meat at Sam's is much better and the newly remodeled Sam's near me now has fresh-cut individual steaks, including Choice and Prime grades. I've got two Costco's and a Sam's within 15 minutes of me--I shop at Sam's. Most of the everyday items are less expensive. Nothing wrong with Costco, but they are more expensive on everyday type merchandise. We also had a BJ's but it closed a few years back. I do think the Costco influence locally in the Dublin, Ohio area has pushed Sam's to up its game.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by donaldfair71 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:52 am

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm
Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco. Where we used to live in Texas we had a Sam's Club 15 minutes away in Waco and the nearest Costco was just over an hour away in Cedar Park. For a quick restocking I'd do Sam's but for a bigger weekend restocking I'd make the drive to Costco and then do some other stuff in Austin to make the trip worth it. Here in the Northwest we only have Costco so it's not a choice.

Where Sam's Club falls short in my opinion is in some of the house brand food items. Costco just puts a LOT more effort into it's Kirkland Signature house brand and has a variety of things we buy that simply don't exist at Sam's Club.

Kirkland Signature Balsamic Vinegar
Kirkland Signature Olive Oil
Kirkland Signature Pine Nuts
Kirkland Signature Pesto
Kirkland Signature ground sirloin patties

Costco also seems to put more thought into its wine and cheese selections.

If all you are doing is just buying ordinary staples then I agree, they are pretty similar. Costco seems to aim at a more affluent market segment so they just seem to have more top quality gourmet foods. Or their staff who maintain the house brands and marketing agreements with different suppliers just do a better job.
I find the two almost indistinguishable (along with BJs, another chain in my city), with the only exception being the quality of Kirkland brand products over Sams and BJs house brands. I like the Great Value brand goods at Wal Mart when shopping there, usually opting for them when available. But Kirtland puts it over the top. My wife and I laugh about the toilet paper and paper towels, we'll run out and have to get generic (which is still more expensive than Kirtland) somewhere to get by, and the quality isn't even close. Kirtland, to me, is a high end product with rock bottom generic pricing for a lot of items. Can't say that for the other two.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:11 am

Cunobelinus wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:14 am
For a lot of folks in the islands making regular island wages, it's one of the few affordable places to reliably get things. I can't reference a source, but "they" say that the Costco on Alakawa Street in Honolulu is the busiest in the world. Having been there a number of times, I can qualitatively say that it's far busier every time than any Costco I've been to in Florida or California or Virginia the one in Hawaii Kai (same island).
There's certainly no question that it's the busiest Costco food court in the world. I've seen 3-400 people eating there at a time, even off peak hours. That should be no surprise, since a hotdog and soda is $1.50 just like at every other Costco, and therefore laughably cheap compared to every other option on the island. The store itself, however, isn't anywhere near as busy or frustrating as my local Costco.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by destinationnc » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:20 am

sport wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:58 pm
Costco aims for more affluent customers, while Sam's aims for more of a "blue collar" type market. I once read an article comparing the two stores. The writer used a fine ladies sweater as an example. It would sell for about $100 in a department store and would be about $60 at Costco. He said that a Costco customer would say "that is a very good price for that nice sweater", while a Sam's customer would say "$60 is too expensive for a sweater".
One data point: In my area the Sam's store closed "due to competition and lack of business". The competition is a Costco store that has been a big success.
This appears to be correct after a quick search of locations in my area. All Sam's Clubs are located in more blue collarish/lower cost of living areas, while the Costco's seem to be near (not always in) the more affluent areas. I would choose Costco over Sam's.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Pajamas » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:25 am

Frugal Al wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:12 am
For many items there is nothing bad about "Wal-Mart" quality.
That could be true, but it is also true that Walmart pressures manufacturers to make cheaper versions of their products specifically for Walmart so they can be sold less expensively. That is true for everything from food products to bicycles to televisions and includes major brand names such as Levi's jeans. In contrast, other stores that work with manufacturers for customized items are often trying to increase quality, for instance, Target with Champion active wear.

I generally avoid Walmart completely but did try an online order of pantry staples from them right before they jacked up the prices over the in-store prices, just to see how they compare to other online retailers such as Amazon and Target. I bought some of the Great Value dried figs and the quality was horrible, by far the worst that I have ever had. Additionally, the order fulfillment and shipping was terrible and almost every canned item that I received was severely dented.

I was not at all surprised when todays earnings report revealed that their online sales are floundering.

csm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by csm » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:44 am

We just joined Costco yesterday after reading a few posts here about the extended warranty for televisions. We were shopping for a TV and becoming increasingly frustrated with the BestBuy experience as well as the price fixing across all the shops (online as well as brick and mortar) that do the price match guarantees.

Our Costco experience was a joy. First, we decided to sign up for the Executive Membership for $120 since we were looking at a big ticket item - figured we could make up the $60 difference in price on the 2% back on the TV, sound bar plus a year's worth of regular shopping. They then offered the Citi Visa giving an additional 2% back on Costco purchases (and 4% on gas) with no annual fee PLUS a special $60 cash back gift card, so net cost of the Executive Membership was the same as a Gold.

The TV we selected was the identical sale price as BestBuy, Amazon and others, but we will get 4% back (between the Executive Membership 2% and the Citi VISA 2%) and they had an offer of $100 off the purchase if you bought the 3-year extra warranty for $99. This three year warranty was on top of Costco's regular 2 year warranty and on top of the extra 2 year warranty of the Citi VISA. So we got a 7 year warranty on a new television for free plus will get 4% back on the purchase price plus have 90 days to return if we don't like it. BestBuy has a 14-day return policy and a 5 year total warranty would have cost $350.

We walked through to see the other items and can see value despite that it's just the two of us. Looking forward to trying the Kirkland brand of organic items including the salmon, scallops and many other items. The prices on items like olive oil, mixed nuts, organic eggs, paper and cleaning products, etc. was far better than our local Publix (although not as convenient). The biggest challenge will be ensuring we don't over-buy which I imagine is easy to do.

It might be the honeymoon phase, but we are impressed.

JohnDindex
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by JohnDindex » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:49 am

Slight edge to Costco for us. We have had both, currently live close to SAMS and far from Costco.

I don't think it is worth driving out of the way for one or the other, they are very similar for the average shopper. Some folks here may have very specific reasons to shop at one or the other, just not that picky myself.

head gamez
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by head gamez » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:42 am

We usually go to both every Sunday morning. Sometimes it’s just to walk around and get a Costco Pizza to bring home for lunch. We buy most items from Costco, but hang on to our Sams membership for a few items that Costco doesn’t have.

I went into Sams yesterday to buy a Gun Safe that we saw on Sunday (wasn’t in the truck). I noticed they were sampling fresh squeezed OZ (Guy was squeezing it at the display). Needles to say they got me. I didn’t realize they had fresh squeezed OJ, but he says they have it everyday. I gotta say, I’ll hang on to the membership for the OJ if nothing else.

The Costco pizza is our favorite in the area. Sure you can find a pizza at a small local shop that is close or better, but it will cost quite a bit more.

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LarryG
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by LarryG » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:52 am

We are members of both, but we drive past Sam’s each time we go to Costco. A few weeks age Sam’s closed . They do offer a refund on the amount of membership remaining.
LarryG

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:01 am

If you like what Sam's has to offer you should shop at Sam's. It really makes no difference what others think. As this discussion points out, you may put completely different weights on the factors influencing how a retailer is rated. If you don't like crowds, Sam's definitely has a leg up on Costco.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

tbone1
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by tbone1 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:28 pm

watch this, then make up your mind between Costco and sams club.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUhTj1fD7nE

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ray.james
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by ray.james » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:17 pm

40% of our food budget happens to be costco. The denominator includes eating out, fast food, grocery and convenience items etc. However one has to be careful not to overspend there as walking through isles will make you pick a lot more.
Our crockery, utensils, car tires/oil/wipers, clothes, gifts, baby diapers, formula, protein powders, vitamins...All these are in addition to regular fresh groceries and walmart/target items like washing liquids, laundry need, etc.,
On services side cruise tickets and car rentals.

One need to understand how kirkland items work. Costco actively look for overpriced brands and ask them for discounts. If they do not they introduce competitive product. One recent example is kind bars. They sell 1$ per bar(18 for 18). Costco introduced Kirkland nut and seeds bar which has same ingredients made by an Canadian company. 30 for $18! The kind brand offered $3 off last month. Same thing happened with tooth paste a few years ago. Now that prices have come down they removed Kirkland toothpaste.There is even a Bogleheads thread going on about it.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

Teague
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Teague » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:46 pm

I've seen a few of these threads over the few years I've been on the forum. Typically there is a cohort who states Costco has better quality items, and another cohort stating that the items are basically the same. I've never seen an argument that Sam's has better quality than Costco.

I have a membership to both. I enjoy Costco more, but I try to use Sam's as much as possible because:
1. I get tempted to buy too much cool stuff (but at a good value, or course!) at Costco. I spend more than I intended.
and
2. It's usually less crowded with shorter lines at Sam's.
Semper Augustus

Nowizard
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Nowizard » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:52 pm

Sam's has improved more recently, but we prefer Costco after being members of both. If you make a few larger purchases annually such as a couch or other more expensive items, you may find an Executive Membership to be appropriate. Costs more, but you get rebates after spending a specific amount, I believe $1,500. We get rebates that more than cover the extra cost of the membership.

Tim

TheDDC
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by TheDDC » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:36 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:25 am
Frugal Al wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:12 am
For many items there is nothing bad about "Wal-Mart" quality.
That could be true, but it is also true that Walmart pressures manufacturers to make cheaper versions of their products specifically for Walmart so they can be sold less expensively. That is true for everything from food products to bicycles to televisions and includes major brand names such as Levi's jeans. In contrast, other stores that work with manufacturers for customized items are often trying to increase quality, for instance, Target with Champion active wear.

I generally avoid Walmart completely but did try an online order of pantry staples from them right before they jacked up the prices over the in-store prices, just to see how they compare to other online retailers such as Amazon and Target. I bought some of the Great Value dried figs and the quality was horrible, by far the worst that I have ever had. Additionally, the order fulfillment and shipping was terrible and almost every canned item that I received was severely dented.

I was not at all surprised when todays earnings report revealed that their online sales are floundering.
I meant no snobbery. When you are as large a retailer as Costco or Wal-Mart, clearly you do have some juice to throw around when it comes to manufacturing, wholesale agreements, and product testing methodology. Wal-Mart seems to move lots of product at the expense of quality and customer service. Their stores are already warehouses for low cost imported junk. That's a fact that gets dressed up from the marketing side. Sam's pretty much adds little to no added value when the product is already cheaply obtained and distributed without the use of a membership fee in my mind.

Obviously customer service and quality merchandise come at significant cost even for a warehouse store. I have found that Costco in my neck of the woods provides a better value and they seem to stand behind their products and gives a rip about quality. They also pay better, so you are greeted with a higher caliber of employee, which may not mean much to everyone.

FWIW I do think Costco struggles a bit with their web presence. Wal-Mart never struck me as any great shakes for the connected budget minded shopper, either.

-TheDDC

michaeljc70
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:39 am

Rashen wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:42 pm
there is a reason Sam's closed a bunch of locations not long ago. All while Costco opens new ones.
Exactly. And if the OPs Sam's continues to not be crowded, it might not last either.

I belong to Costco and Sam's and in the Chicagoland area, many Sam's have closed. The Sam's tend to be in off locations and not nearly as widespread as Costco.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by oldcomputerguy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:59 am

We had been Sam's Club customers for years. Then Costco opened here in our town. Both are a non-trivial drive from home (twenty to thirty minutes). Both had (generally) the merchandise we normally get at a bulk store (paper products, some food items, occasional clothing). I got a better feeling for the general atmosphere at Costco, so we switched. Haven't seen anything yet to make me regret it.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by oldcomputerguy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:04 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:01 am
If you don't like crowds, Sam's definitely has a leg up on Costco.
I suppose it varies from market to market. I definitely didn't find that to be the case here. Certainly there are times at Costco where it's a bit of a free-for-all trying to find a checkout lane with less than four or five people in line (while quite a few checkout lanes remain closed), but I recall many, many times when it was the same situation at Sam's Club. I think the main difference in that regard between the two is that Costco seems to have left less physical space in their checkout area in which customers in line can wait; Sam's had more room leading into the checkout lanes, so I'm guessing it at least "feels" more crowded in the Costco checkout lines.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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