Sams Club vs Costco

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Dendritic Tree
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Dendritic Tree » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:40 am

I’ve been a member at both. For us, the quality of the Costco store brand, Kirkland Signature, keeps us going back there, especially for food items. There are specific items from Costco that we can’t find a better version of anywhere, including premium versions at our local grocery store or gourmet shop. The value is pretty good for these things at Costco, but I would gladly pay more because it’s the best stuff available. The Member’s Mark brand at Sam’s doesn’t come close. Costco wins because of quality.

SimonJester
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by SimonJester » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:30 am

A few other gripes about Costco, if you have their executive membership where you get cashback for purchases, you cannot see the amount you have accumulated online. You have to goto the service desk to inquire to the amount you have earned. They used to print on the bottom of the receipt how much you earned for the transaction but stopped that a while back.

Also with Costco items will be rotated out frequently, so from time to time a product you are used to purchasing will no longer be available.

Big plus for Costco & Sams, contact lenses online are cheaper then anywhere else by quite a bit.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by FrugalInvestor » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:24 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:30 am
Also with Costco items will be rotated out frequently, so from time to time a product you are used to purchasing will no longer be available.

Big plus for Costco & Sams, contact lenses online are cheaper then anywhere else by quite a bit.
FYI, we've learned that employees with a terminal at the front of the store (usually near the big-ticket item cage) can tell you if an item is being dropped or is just temporarily out-of-stock. They can also tell you if an item not available at that store (either temporarily or permanently) is available at another nearby store.

As far as contact lenses, I've never found Costco to be competitive (although we buy a LOT of other stuff there). I typically shop online for the cheapest price (with online coupon discounts) and then ask 1-800 Contacts to price match which they always do providing the price found is from a legitimate source. I've found 1-800 Contacts service to be superb.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

SimonJester
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by SimonJester » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:31 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:24 am
As far as contact lenses, I've never found Costco to be competitive (although we buy a LOT of other stuff there). I typically shop online for the cheapest price (with online coupon discounts) and then ask 1-800 Contacts to price match which they always do providing the price found is from a legitimate source. I've found 1-800 Contacts service to be superb.
For my wife's contacts Costco & Sams have them at $33 a box vs 800 Contacts =$49, Other online store have them at ~$37, but here is the real kicker, the other online stores then tack on "handling" charges which bring their price closer to the $49. Costco didnt tack on any "handling" charges and offered free shipping.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by FrugalInvestor » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:40 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:31 am
FrugalInvestor wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:24 am
As far as contact lenses, I've never found Costco to be competitive (although we buy a LOT of other stuff there). I typically shop online for the cheapest price (with online coupon discounts) and then ask 1-800 Contacts to price match which they always do providing the price found is from a legitimate source. I've found 1-800 Contacts service to be superb.
For my wife's contacts Costco & Sams have them at $33 a box vs 800 Contacts =$49, Other online store have them at ~$37, but here is the real kicker, the other online stores then tack on "handling" charges which bring their price closer to the $49. Costco didnt tack on any "handling" charges and offered free shipping.
I never pay even close to 1-800 Contacts list price. When I have purchased there have always been other online vendors with prices that are much lower than 1-800 Contacts and lower than Costco. I buy from 1-800 Contacts because their service is excellent and they will price match.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

engineer1969
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by engineer1969 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:11 pm

I concur with the posts above about the pride the Costco employees show for their store. Part of the pleasant experience is the fact you can tell the employees are happy to be working there.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by ThriftyPhD » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:33 pm

Pacific wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:22 pm
I also LOVE the free samples (though it depends on the store location -- Phoenix=great; Honolulu=average; New Orleans=awful).
I would pay a premium for a higher tier membership if they got rid of the free samples. I know for some these are amazing, but I don't really need to taste a cube of cheddar, I know what it tastes like. But especially on the weekends the stores will be clogged up with whole families of eaters, grazing around every aisle junction like pigs at the trough. :)

When I go shopping, I want to get in and get out, not play a game of bumper cars with a whole family of hungry hungry hippos.

I guess that's one benefit I miss of Sam's Club. The Plus members got early shopping hours. Since it was for plus members only, and starting at 7 am, you were typically down to the serious shoppers only and could get in and out quickly. Later in the day you risked being trapped behind the hordes finding out what Jif peanut butter on a saltine tastes like. Too bad Costco got rid of the executive hours.

sailaway
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by sailaway » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:38 pm

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.
I get $10-20 clothes at Costco. Better quality than Walmart for the same price. I would be very surprised to see a $60 sweater.

dcabler
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by dcabler » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:59 pm

We've been long term Costco members. That said, for grins (and because it was relatively cheap), we also bought a Sam's membership last fall.
We do the bulk of our bulk shopping at Costco. Still, there are a couple of items that I like better at Sam's such as:
- they have a free&clear detergent available in powder form, which Costco doesn't have.
- I like their pre-made (not frozen) burger patties better. Costco's are too thick, so I end up cutting them lengthwise
- Boy do they have a huge supply of junkfood/snacks! Must.... avoid.... those.... aisles.....
- not very crowded
- Really like the scan and go app. Wish Costco would do that. At one of the two stores, Costco shut down its self-checkout lines.

Should probably comparison shop some of the items that we currently buy at Costco, but haven't done it yet.

Will I renew at Sam's? Unless I find a few more compelling items to make up for the annual membership, probably not. I know I won't drop Costco.

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Pajamas
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Pajamas » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:08 pm

sailaway wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:38 pm

I get $10-20 clothes at Costco. Better quality than Walmart for the same price. I would be very surprised to see a $60 sweater.
Costco has had special cashmere sales in the past.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by JMacDonald » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm

Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
Best Wishes, | Joe

dcabler
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by dcabler » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:21 pm

JMacDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm
Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
For reasons I don't yet understand, the Costco near my house seems to be particularly empty on Thursday afternoons.

kjvmartin
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by kjvmartin » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:28 pm

dcabler wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:21 pm
JMacDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm
Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
For reasons I don't yet understand, the Costco near my house seems to be particularly empty on Thursday afternoons.
All 3 Costcos in my area are busy pretty much every waking moment. Of course, Sunday afternoon is the worst, but there are always lines

kjvm

michaeljc70
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:43 pm

ThriftyPhD wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:33 pm
Pacific wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:22 pm
I also LOVE the free samples (though it depends on the store location -- Phoenix=great; Honolulu=average; New Orleans=awful).
I would pay a premium for a higher tier membership if they got rid of the free samples. I know for some these are amazing, but I don't really need to taste a cube of cheddar, I know what it tastes like. But especially on the weekends the stores will be clogged up with whole families of eaters, grazing around every aisle junction like pigs at the trough. :)

When I go shopping, I want to get in and get out, not play a game of bumper cars with a whole family of hungry hungry hippos.

I guess that's one benefit I miss of Sam's Club. The Plus members got early shopping hours. Since it was for plus members only, and starting at 7 am, you were typically down to the serious shoppers only and could get in and out quickly. Later in the day you risked being trapped behind the hordes finding out what Jif peanut butter on a saltine tastes like. Too bad Costco got rid of the executive hours.
I agree. You have people blocking aisles acting like a 20 cent sample is a winning lottery ticket or they haven't ate in a week. I also see employees taking samples which should be a no-no.

neveragain
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by neveragain » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:08 pm

I've had a Costco membership for 2 years now. I like purchasing gas there but the food is a disappointment. Their frozen pizza (Kirkland brand) is the worst I've ever had. I think the pizza crust is made out of the same cardboard that it's packaged in. It was so bad I threw it in the trash. I also find mostly name brand foods at Costco but I save more buying generic (store brand) at the grocery store. I also don't buy clothing at Costco as I can get it for less buying second hand. I bought a birthday cake there at their bakery and it was a lot less expensive than I could have gotten it elsewhere. Dealing with the bakery staff was not a pleasant experience, though.

TheDDC
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by TheDDC » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:34 pm

Let's put it this way. If your neighborhood Sam's closes you can always just go to Wal-Mart and enjoy the free entertainment. It's like a difference in the cost of admiral versus investor shares.

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Sarah Saverdink
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by Sarah Saverdink » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:41 pm

We have memberships to both. Sam's Club is more convenient, but we will frequently drive the extra 10 minutes to Costco. I have found Costco's quality of food and clothing items to be much better than Sam's Club. We loved Costco's pre-made meals that you toss in the oven and occasionally grab a pizza from the food court as a 'take-out' meal. We've tried a few of those meals at Sam's and they have never been very good. We've purchased a lot of clothing from Costco over the years and it's always been very good quality that lasts years. $13 yoga pants from 4 years ago are still going strong!

Sam's is always quiet and has no lines. Due to low turnover, produce tends to sit on the shelves longer and may not be fresh. They will not stock new product until the older product is gone - they stack empty boxes underneath to maintain the display. Their clothing never interests me and looks to be cheaply made (similar to Walmart quality).

Costco is packed on evenings and weekends and their parking lot is ALWAYS a disaster. I've found their produce to be hit or miss. We always check best by dates before purchasing. If you do end up with something bad, they will refund you easily. Meat, fish, cheese, eggs, frozen foods are very good and are a staple in their household. They have good prices on electronics if you wait for a sale, plus our Costco credit card gives us extended warranty protections.

Bottom line: Love Costco and choose to go there on a regular basis. Sam's Club is "meh" in my book and we only stop by because it's convenient.

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squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:05 am

We've made a couple more visit to Sammy's. No problems at all, the self checkout is super easy, but honestly there's no lines at the registers either. I added my wife as a member. They have a good enough selection of produce, meats and staples. As my wife says, we're not wine and cheese people, so those things don't appeal to us. Things we don't buy there we usually buy at the local supermarket. Best of all, the place isn't a zoo or an armpit, there's no bumping into everyone or me leaving upset.

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squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:10 am

Cunobelinus wrote:
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.
When my wife and I were there, it looked like the Costco was packed with vacationers. Frankly that's not how I'm going to spend my precious time on Maui. I should have known when we had to park a mile away. Never again.

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squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:17 am

Sarah Saverdink wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:41 pm

Costco is packed on evenings and weekends and their parking lot is ALWAYS a disaster. I've found their produce to be hit or miss. We always check best by dates before purchasing. If you do end up with something bad, they will refund you easily. Meat, fish, cheese, eggs, frozen foods are very good and are a staple in their household. They have good prices on electronics if you wait for a sale, plus our Costco credit card gives us extended warranty protections.

Bottom line: Love Costco and choose to go there on a regular basis. Sam's Club is "meh" in my book and we only stop by because it's convenient.
Many credit cards will extend the warranty, although thinking about it, I have never even used that feature.

I usually use electronics until they're very obsolete. Our TV is 12 years old, it had an issue once but I found a fix on the net. Our DVD player I got for free. The kids are not allowed electronic gadgets - no Xbox, phones, etc for them. I prefer to buy all my electronics at BestBuy. Easy returns, they'll also match internet prices and it's not a mob scene.

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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by lazydavid » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:03 am

JMacDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm
Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
Since the elimination of the Executive hours, this is not my experience at all. The last time I went to Costco 15 minutes before they opened, there were already 400+ people in line to get in.

danaht
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by danaht » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:47 am

Both are great. I prefer Sam's Club only because it's much closer. Sometimes Walmart, Target, and and even Kroger are cheaper than both Sam's Club and Costco. For instance, a gallon of milk is usually a lot more expensive at both Costco and Sam's Club than it is at my local Walmart. Just because it's a wholesale club - doesn't always mean that they will have good prices on all items. Always compare prices!

madbrain
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by madbrain » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:42 am

an_asker wrote:
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:
Yep. At our local Wal-marts, many times, there aren't any cashiers at all - self checkout only. And the damn machines only scan items properly half the time. Or need employee attention due "unexpected weight". This makes me really angry. On more than one occasion, this has resulted in unscanned free items because I just got so tired of it. I think Wally has to be aware of this problem. It's not like the lone employee at the exit checking receipts is able to properly count the items in the cart. Wally would be much better off having higher staffing levels , IMO.

On the other hand, I have had Costco catch some items at the exit that weren't on my receipt that the cashier accidentally forgot to scan, and make me go back to the line.

madbrain
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by madbrain » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:44 am

lazydavid wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:03 am
JMacDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm
Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
Since the elimination of the Executive hours, this is not my experience at all. The last time I went to Costco 15 minutes before they opened, there were already 400+ people in line to get in.
I was never aware of executive hours even though I have been Costco executive member for years. But then again, I'm not a morning person.
I have found that the size of crowds varies dramatically between Costco stores. At some stores you are lucky to get a parking space and find a cart. At others, it's a much more pleasant experience. We go to the later, even going 30 minutes before closing on week-ends, we can be in and out quickly.

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squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:09 am

madbrain wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:42 am
an_asker wrote:
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:
Yep. At our local Wal-marts, many times, there aren't any cashiers at all - self checkout only. And the damn machines only scan items properly half the time. Or need employee attention due "unexpected weight". This makes me really angry. On more than one occasion, this has resulted in unscanned free items because I just got so tired of it. I think Wally has to be aware of this problem. It's not like the lone employee at the exit checking receipts is able to properly count the items in the cart. Wally would be much better off having higher staffing levels , IMO.

On the other hand, I have had Costco catch some items at the exit that weren't on my receipt that the cashier accidentally forgot to scan, and make me go back to the line.
When I do the scan and go at Sammy's they don't even look at my cart, just scan my bar code on my phone. I'm not a thief, so even if there's an opportunity to do five finger discounts, I'd never do it.

I'm sure Wally takes into account shrinkage and compares that to employee and labor costs. Wally World does $500 billion in sales, they know what their doing.

tibbitts
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by tibbitts » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:38 am

The difference is two hundred miles, so for me that's the end of the story. Rumors say that might change in the future, but realistically traveling more than a few miles to a store is kind of annoying to me so distance counts a lot.

michaeljc70
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:58 am

madbrain wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:44 am
lazydavid wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:03 am
JMacDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:13 pm
Much has been made how crowded Costco is. That is true if you go later in the day. I was at my local Costco when it opened this morning. I shopped for about an half hour. When I went to check out, there was only one person in line in front of me. Go early and avoid the crowds.
Since the elimination of the Executive hours, this is not my experience at all. The last time I went to Costco 15 minutes before they opened, there were already 400+ people in line to get in.
I was never aware of executive hours even though I have been Costco executive member for years. But then again, I'm not a morning person.
I have found that the size of crowds varies dramatically between Costco stores. At some stores you are lucky to get a parking space and find a cart. At others, it's a much more pleasant experience. We go to the later, even going 30 minutes before closing on week-ends, we can be in and out quickly.
There are only two Costcos in the third largest city in the country (of course, more in the suburbs but 2 stores serving 3 million potential customers). I employ both of the techniques above and avoid going on the weekend at all costs. If you only need a few items, getting there when it opens and rushing to the registers works. Going late also works, but if you go too late I find they start shutting down some of the registers and that creates a bottleneck. During the day on a weekday it just varies and I've seen it relatively empty or relatively packed.

The gas prices are very good at Costco relative to surrounding gas stations here and the lines are almost always long no matter the day or time.

madbrain
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by madbrain » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:25 pm

squirm wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:09 am
I'm sure Wally takes into account shrinkage and compares that to employee and labor costs. Wally World does $500 billion in sales, they know what their doing.
Maybe they think they know what they are doing on a global scale, but it certainly doesn't seem so at the local stores.
I think the high level of shrinkage likely contributes to their inventory problems - items running out of stock and just not being restocked.
The understaffing is just unbelievable. Return line is over an hour, too. You can wait 20 minutes to pick up an item, too. Most of that is waiting for any human being to show up at the counter. I certainly wish I could buy all my items from Costco instead, but that's just not possible unfortunately - Costco always has a limited selection.

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squirm
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Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:59 pm

madbrain wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:25 pm
squirm wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:09 am
I'm sure Wally takes into account shrinkage and compares that to employee and labor costs. Wally World does $500 billion in sales, they know what their doing.
Maybe they think they know what they are doing on a global scale, but it certainly doesn't seem so at the local stores.
I think the high level of shrinkage likely contributes to their inventory problems - items running out of stock and just not being restocked.
The understaffing is just unbelievable. Return line is over an hour, too. You can wait 20 minutes to pick up an item, too. Most of that is waiting for any human being to show up at the counter. I certainly wish I could buy all my items from Costco instead, but that's just not possible unfortunately - Costco always has a limited selection.
The closest Wally World to us is a total armpit as my wife likes to call it. Every WW that I gone into has like 20 registers but only like 4 are open. The people shopping at Wally World are questionable at best, although one day we saw our priest there...didn't think priest would step foot into a Wally World...I learn something new all the time there.

One day I went to Wally's to buy simple shoe strings...nothing special just shoe strings....nope, not the sizes I need, of course! So I picked up the monster size and cut them...They just put in a bunch of self checkouts too, I'm sure there's lot of small thefts at those things.

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