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Thread: Costco vs. Sam's vs. BJs vs.....

  1. #1
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    Costco vs. Sam's vs. BJs vs.....

    I have become enlightened in the area of warehouse shopping. I joined Costco 5 years ago and get down there when I can. It is a trek for me. The place where I work asked if I'd like to be added to their Sam's Club membership for free. I said sure.

    Another fairly new employee and I went down today at lunch to get our cards. It was very depressing in there. Smaller, more clutter, not as clean, and the staff are a bit more rugged, if that means anything. Selection was more generic and fewer choices all the way around. We felt depressed after leaving there. However, it was free and it is somewhat handy to work.

    I've never been to BJs but my co-worker has and says it is similar. I wondered if there IS an overall difference or, is it where the stores are located that makes them better or not as good? Weigh in ya'll!

  2. #2
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    I am currently a member of Costco and have been a member of Sam's in the past.

    Costco, without a doubt. Cleaner, bigger selection, and the employees seem happier.

    Patti

  3. #3
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    I have been in both, and in several locations, it seem that the newer the building the better the lighting. cleanliness,ect. for both sam's and costco.
    "If she ain't happy, then you ain't happy"
    Jeff Foxworthy

    Misplaced CA in PA

  4. #4
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    I prefer Costco. Sam's doesn't seem to have as good of a selection. I have been to several Sam's and a ton of Costco's, and I think Costco is cleaner.
    Grab the guns. I'll make pancakes. ~Sarah Conner

  5. #5
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    I flat out refuse to set foot in any Wal Mart company because of political and ethical reasons so it's Costco for me!

    No BJ's here that I know of.

  6. #6
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    I love Costco I go at least once a week, it's clean, it's orderly, the meat is all Prime, they have the freshest fish in this area. Anything can be returned ... even without a receipt.
    This year I was sent a free1 month membership for BJ's ... I wasn't impressed. The meat looked unappetizing and the fish didn't look fresh. The overall impression wasn't good. I didn't bother going again despite having another month on the membership.
    Last edited by Chrixon; 11-22-2005 at 09:00 AM.

  7. #7
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    Another vote for Costco. I would not to support a business ( Walmart, Sam's) that treats their employees ( anti union, poor wages & health care, ) poorly. Costco stores are clean, great products, well treated employees. I drive further just to buy there. I try to put my money where my mouth is.
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  8. #8
    Another Costco lover here. I have cards for both but rarely use my Sam's card. I was so impressed with Costco after my first few visits I bought some Costco stock and have never regretted it.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  9. #9
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    They have a _STORE_ for BJ's? Oh, man, I gotta check that out!
    More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie226
    Another vote for Costco. I would not to support a business ( Walmart, Sam's) that treats their employees ( anti union, poor wages & health care, ) poorly. Costco stores are clean, great products, well treated employees. I drive further just to buy there. I try to put my money where my mouth is.

    Me too. That's why I always shop at Walmarts.

    PS> I'm winning.
    More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KristiB
    I flat out refuse to set foot in any Wal Mart company because of political and ethical reasons so it's Costco for me!

    No BJ's here that I know of.
    You've lost me Kristi ... what are the political connotations of shopping in Walmart ... just out of curiosity. ?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrixon
    You've lost me Kristi ... what are the political connotations of shopping in Walmart ... just out of curiosity. ?
    Some of this was discussed not too long ago in this thread here...

    http://community.cookinglight.com/sh...hlight=walmart
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrixon
    You've lost me Kristi ... what are the political connotations of shopping in Walmart ... just out of curiosity. ?
    More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...

  14. #14
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    Thankyou Healthy and Escher.
    I still don't understand why shopping at Wallmarts is a political issue ... I really would like to know ...
    I have two Walmarts near me sometimes there isn't an available parking spot especially at the weekends they get so busy.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrixon
    Thankyou Healthy and Escher.
    I still don't understand why shopping at Wallmarts is a political issue ... I really would like to know ...
    I have two Walmarts near me sometimes there isn't an available parking spot especially at the weekends they get so busy.
    I think for a lot of us it borders on a human rights issue. (Admitted bleeding-heart liberal here) They have one of the largest payrolls in the world, and yet are the bottom in percentage of employees that receive health insurance. Their predatory practices put many small (and not so small) stores out of business in town after town. Have you read the thread posted above?
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  16. #16
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    I dropped my Sam's membership for BJ's. The Bj's is cleaner and has nice employees while the prices are similar. I've never actually been to Costco. There is one, but it's over near the maul (er...mall) and traffic is a nightmare! Traffic is better going to BJ's.

    Leigh
    "Mommy, Can we Please, Please, Please have spinach for dinner?" DD2(age 6)

  17. #17
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    I have read the thread above badunnin, thank you for your reply. I wasn't aware of the human rights issues nor the dreadful health care benefits... that truly concerns me me now that I know. It still doesn't explain the political connotations. Thank you anyway ... maybe I will do google a search.

  18. #18
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    I found that BJs has a better consistent selection... Costco near me has for example Health & Beauty aids that are hit or miss if they'll have your brand, same with dog treats, etc. whereas BJs has a more reliable stock and many more brands to choose from among HBA products. I wish the one closest to me had a liquor license, not to sound like a Wino but the one further away has great deals on beer & wine.

  19. #19
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    We are Costco Fans here. Love the place, spend way too much money in there!!! Need to go today, just went on the weekend. Try to limit it to once a week, but some holiday stuff I need I didn't want to buy so early in the week.

    I have been to Sam's in the past, but really don't like it. My parents have a membership to both, so once in a great while I end up there with them. However, they prefer Costco too.

    I also don't shop at Sam's/Walmart as I think what they do to the employees and to the local (and national) economy is abhorrent. However, probably once a year I end up shopping at one or the other with my parents. I did have to go to a Walmart out of town because I needed something and that was what we could find driving around a small town.

    Lisa

  20. #20
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    I think it's interesting to pick on Walmart/Sam's. (I'm not sure what the right word is...unfair? odd? I don't know.) Anyway, my point is that I don't think they are so different from a lot of employers. I dont' have any assistance from my employer for my medical/dental insurance. I work for a contract house, placed at a supplier that used to be part of the "Big 3". I suspect this is typical is many contract workers. Somehow, I don't see everyone boycotting every major car company to show disapproval of this practice. The only break I get is that I get a group rate. I also have the unfortunate situation of not being able to work many days my workplace is shutdown (about 31 days per year) and only having 6 paid holidays. Doesn't seem right to me. Yes, I make more per hour than a cashier at Walmart, but with a master's degree, I would hope so.

    Regarding Walmart putting mom and pops out of business, it is FAR from being the only store that has done that.

    Also, I've seen some people say that they will shop at a store because the have a union that "protects" employees. I don't believe that anyone who understands the competitive, nationwide and international state of the business in 2005 would make that comment. Thousands of people who are in unions are LOSING their jobs because of practices of the union. I don't call that protection. I work very close to the situation in the auto industry because I work in a plant. The cost of union workers are very high: I believe the people in my plant make $26/hour. Of course, wages are factored in to the cost of the final product. So, if you are a customer, it is going to be much more econonomical to buy a part from a supplier (even in Michigan or Ohio) where the employees make $10/hour or even from China or Mexico where the hourly and salary workers make much less. Then there are the other costs (besides the straight hourly wage): employees that have a schedule from 10p.m. - 6:30p.m. and arrive at 5:45 for their 6p.m. meeting (and of course lie that they were here the entire time), employees on that schedule that go to a lounge in the bathroom and sleep, HR telling a supervisor of employees he cannot discipline them after one of the hourly employees complains about the discipline, all the call-ins (or just no-shows) the day after Superbowl, Halloween, opening day of rifle deer hunting season, paying people full pay when they are "laid off", people who won't do their job at the speed they can during the week so that they can work Sat (1.5 pay) or Sunday (double time), paying the full amount of the employees medical/dental premiums (salary workers who are not contract pay half). There are job classifications so strict so that you cannot ask someone to do something that is not his/her job. So, one person just sits around while you find someone that does have that classification. You add all these costs into the labor and it makes for a very high cost product. GM and Ford are in trouble. Delphi declared bankruptcy. Statewide and nationwide, plants are closing or shifts are being reduced. I don't believe this time the workers will be paid full wages while they are laid off. Because of practices of the union, there jobs are gone. There jobs have gone to non-union plants or other countries. Times have been changing for a long time now. People who are in unions or support unions think this downtown is just an economic cycle. It is not: Times are changing. The way we have done business is gone.

  21. #21
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    I don't do Sam's or Walmart for the reasons mentioned above. We had a BJs several years ago but it closed. We don't have Costco.

    Why I'm posting though is I wondered whether anyone saw the piece that Jimmy Kimmel did last week about his shopping trips to Costco. It was hilarious. He made a meal, many meals, by taking many portions of the food samples. He also approached another customer, asked about an item in his cart, and then took the item and put it in his own cart when it turned out he'd have to walk to the other end of the building to get his own.
    When you come to a fork in the road, pick it up and start eating.

  22. #22
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    I love Costco, I too spend far too much money in there. They've even started selling organic dairy products which is great news. We buy all out wine and beer there, they have a great selection. We love lamb and it's the only place around where you can buy Australian ... it's excellent. I bought the frozen lamb shanks in gravy last week, they were superb! We have started getting the cooked ribs, very good ... they are with the cooked chickens which are exceptional value.
    Fortunately we have a Costco 5 mins away.

  23. #23
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    Is there a reason you bold? It's .... annoying.
    More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...

  24. #24
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    Jennifer, I understand what you're saying but the reason I suspect many people have a gripe with the Sam's v Costco might be this:
    they are the same concept (big warehouse stores), offer many of the same things, about the same price range, etc.
    But here's the difference: Costco pays their employees more and gives them better benefits. So, why don't they charge substantially more for their products and services than Sam's does?
    Same with the Walmart groceries v union grocery stores. I worked for a unionized grocery chain in Seattle and our prices were about the same as Walmart's.....but our employees were pretty well compensated compared to Walmart's. I mean, it would be one thing if Walmart/Sam's had a HUGE price difference, but I don't see it.
    Costco is not union, so I am not just jumping on the union bandwagon here. I just appreciate a company that compensates its employees decently; whether via union or not.

  25. #25
    We have membership to all 3, but shop at Costco most often (usually weekly). They're the most convenient, employees are great, store is clean and I can almost always find what I need ... usually too much so! There are slight differences between what each one has (i.e., BJ's has magazines at a discount, along with greeting cards - Costco doesn't).
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by boisewinesnob
    Jennifer, I understand what you're saying but the reason I suspect many people have a gripe with the Sam's v Costco might be this:
    they are the same concept (big warehouse stores), offer many of the same things, about the same price range, etc.
    But here's the difference: Costco pays their employees more and gives them better benefits. So, why don't they charge substantially more for their products and services than Sam's does?
    Same with the Walmart groceries v union grocery stores. I worked for a unionized grocery chain in Seattle and our prices were about the same as Walmart's.....but our employees were pretty well compensated compared to Walmart's. I mean, it would be one thing if Walmart/Sam's had a HUGE price difference, but I don't see it.
    Costco is not union, so I am not just jumping on the union bandwagon here. I just appreciate a company that compensates its employees decently; whether via union or not.
    I guess to be fair in regards to this thread, I haven't really researched the nature of unions in other industries and how they affect jobs/prices. I also think my post was a little emotional because I am very closely affected by a union with a poor work ethic, both in my job and in the harsh economic climate in SE Michigan (which is strongly affected by the auto industry). I also recognized that different units of the same union (they are called locals here) can foster different work ethics. The local at my plant is particulary bad.

    In the 80s, my uncle used to own a small chain of hot wings fast food restaurants in the Denver area. He paid his minimum-wage type workers almost double what minimum wage was. His main reason for this was not because he wanted to treat workers fairly, it made good business sense for him. By paying people more, he was able to attract better workers and retain them. My dad told that to me many years ago, and that principle has stuck with me.

  27. #27
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    I understand what you're saying, Jennifer. I think the main difference between your situation and Walmart is that in a lot of small communities Walmart is the main employer, mainly because they've forced everyone else out of town. It isn't contract work and many people don't have higher education that would allow them to get better jobs. (arguing about that is an entirely different thread) Walmart has the cash flow to pay them healthcare and better wages. Because of the size of the company, the cost of the healthcare would be really reasonable. Everyone would win. My main objection is a moral one. Walmart can do whatever they want. I don't have to shop there. It becomes political because the employees--who don't have healthcare because Walmart knowingly keeps their hours down so they don't qualify--have to rely on Medicaid for their healthcare. That means tax money pays for it. I don't mind paying for medical care for people that need in, but it burns me up that Walmart is so profitable at the expense of common people. (oh, and I am a Southerner that has had Republican leanings, so you can't pin this thinking on a bleeding heart liberal. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I love ya, Bethany. )
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Escher
    Is there a reason you bold? It's .... annoying.
    Were you adressing me ... I have a name. I find you bold and bad mannered. Is this a sample of how new members are treated?

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