Costco or Sam's Club?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 8380
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by bertilak »

fareastwarriors wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:32 am Easy answer, Costco. No Sam's or BJ's nearby.
You got lucky!

(Costco cultist now ducking for cover from the anti-Costco cultists!)
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
fareastwarriors
Posts: 1303
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:31 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by fareastwarriors »

bertilak wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:43 am
fareastwarriors wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:32 am Easy answer, Costco. No Sam's or BJ's nearby.
You got lucky!

(Costco cultist now ducking for cover from the anti-Costco cultists!)
People are interesting. They get so riled up on random things like a grocery store.
Now let me talk smack about Trader Joes, Aldi, Publix, and etc.
JackoC
Posts: 2258
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:14 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by JackoC »

btenny wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:35 pm
The gas stations at Costco are also very low cost plus you get 2% off the listed price on a credit card rebate. So gas is a very good deal. We have all the locations memorized for this reason alone.

I never shop at Sams Club because my wife hates Walmart. She is sure most of the merchandise is low quality and poor products from abused suppliers. From the few times we have bought stuff there I agree. There are reasons those items are low cost because some feature or attribute is reduced on the Walmart items.
Yes on gas at Costco if we happen to be going by our 'home' Costco (around 11 miles one way) or on the road.

On Sam's I think the reason my wife has never considered it (and is generally the one deciding) is as you say, minus the socio-political part. She is convinced Walmart offers low quality goods* for low income people and assumes it's the same for Sam's.

Also I saw at least one post chiming in with the old saw about 'all the money Costco is making on your annual fee'. I don't care if Costco makes money or not. I've seen that our regular Costco membership saves us money net, and also that the extra $60+sale tax we pay for 'Executive' level is consistently smaller than the 2% cash back voucher we get every year. But OTOH many posts have said they have Costco *and* Sam's (and sometimes BJ's too) memberships. Now you're paying two or three annual fees and have to recover the cost of the extra ones just with the price advantage one of those stores might have over the others on certain items. I don't see that as so likely to pan out, albeit it's not a huge extra expense. At one time we had BJ's. Then we tried Costco and let our BJ's membership lapse. Sam's didn't open in our area till years later. It is closer than Costco, but again the Walmart stigma in terms of quality hasn't made it seem worthwhile to even try. And the thread seems to confirm that few people, even if not 'Costco cultists', think it's actually significantly better in basic value proposition.

And we don't care much about Costco being busy (the simplest explanation for which is...it's a really good store :happy ). We have flexibility to go at less crowded times.

*not the main thing but others also mentioned, nowadays there are sometimes exclusive lower cost/lower quality models of certain name brand appliances, tools etc in stores like Walmart or Lowes/Depot. You have to watch out for that. It's less likely at Costco I believe.
core4portfolio
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by core4portfolio »

junior wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:02 pm Where I am Sam's has a bunch of self checkout registers so traffic moves quickly. I don't believe Costco had those last time I was in one.
Its available in cities like Costco in Atlanta I know so far
Allocation : 80/20 (90% TSM, 10% on ARKK,XBI,XLK/individual stocks and 20% TBM) | | Need to learn fishing sooner
fullplay2024
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:07 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by fullplay2024 »

Costco. Didn't shop at Sam's in last 10 years.
vbdoug
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:44 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by vbdoug »

I am a proud member of the Cult. I needed to join Sam's because of my Medicare Part D.

I prefer Sam's for parking, emptiness {compared to Costco}, free {and good} wi-fi, and quick check-out using my Sam's smart phone app. There are only a few items I purchase there. Sam's did offer free monthly {and later quarterly} health screenings, but they discontinued that service earlier this year.

Having said that, Costco is qualitatively far superior {with very few exceptions} to Sam's in just about every other aspect: people, products and service.
User avatar
tooluser
Posts: 885
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by tooluser »

core4portfolio wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:19 pm
junior wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:02 pm Where I am Sam's has a bunch of self checkout registers so traffic moves quickly. I don't believe Costco had those last time I was in one.
Its available in cities like Costco in Atlanta I know so far
They're also available at at least one Costco in L.A. Very convenient if you don't have too many items.
User avatar
StevieG72
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by StevieG72 »

Costco, Sam's if you own a small business.( C-Store or restaurant)
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
srt7
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by srt7 »

vbdoug wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:32 pm I am a proud member of the Cult. I needed to join Sam's because of my Medicare Part D.

I prefer Sam's for parking, emptiness {compared to Costco}, free {and good} wi-fi, and quick check-out using my Sam's smart phone app. There are only a few items I purchase there. Sam's did offer free monthly {and later quarterly} health screenings, but they discontinued that service earlier this year.

Having said that, Costco is qualitatively far superior {with very few exceptions} to Sam's in just about every other aspect: people, products and service.
You got me curious. Can you name a few products where Costco is superior?
IMO
Posts: 1320
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by IMO »

srt7 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:34 pm
vbdoug wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:32 pm I am a proud member of the Cult. I needed to join Sam's because of my Medicare Part D.

I prefer Sam's for parking, emptiness {compared to Costco}, free {and good} wi-fi, and quick check-out using my Sam's smart phone app. There are only a few items I purchase there. Sam's did offer free monthly {and later quarterly} health screenings, but they discontinued that service earlier this year.

Having said that, Costco is qualitatively far superior {with very few exceptions} to Sam's in just about every other aspect: people, products and service.
You got me curious. Can you name a few products where Costco is superior?
This is the part I tend to never understand. Many of the products sold are brand name products from both stores. Perhaps one brand has better quality of ingredients, or perhaps one brand is PERSONALLY more desirable than another brand (an example, I prefer the brand of lasagna at Sams vs the one at Costco, but it's not really a quality or superiority thing). I could go on and on and give one product vs. product and maybe there's a difference. Same thing for non-food items, be it things like cleaning products, sporting goods, outdoor furniture, etc. (is the plastic deck storage container at Sams better or worse than the ones at Costco?). Some products are simply the same, a case of Pepsi is a case of Pepsi, etc.

Is it the generics everyone talks about? Member's Mark vs. Kirkland?
Again, is this really quality of ingredients difference or just taste differences? Is this where the people''s bias comes into play?

The other bias the the association of Sam's with Walmart. That's hard for some to overcome. I don't care Walmart/Target, tomatoes, tooomaatooos.

Maybe it's just the bias against the more likely demographic shopping at Sam's vs. Costco. Pretty much the bias of Target vs. Walmart.

What I mostly think it is is produce. Produce is probably the item that most seem to place superiority on Costco vs. Sams Club. Ironically, there are probably better places to get good values/produce than either of these places. But maybe this is "THE" quality factor that sticks in people's head. Maybe it's meats? But I don't know -- really side by side comparison?

I think it would a great comparison site: Product category comparisons head to head where 5-10 people are asked to compare various food products and various non-food products and in a double blind type of fashion find which product they felt was superior or if they felt there was no difference. I bet 99% of people would be unable to tell if the bulk chicken breast for example, was from Costco or Sams.

One can easily go online and look at Sams and Costco online to shop and compare almost everything available one place vs. another.

I'm one of those people who honestly doesn't care for the VAST MAJORITY of products where I got it from, Sams vs. Costco. If there was a significant difference on one vs. the other on a particular product I say so without bias. (I do like Costco's frozen yogurt and pizza better than Sams, but honestly, could live with either).

I prepare for the onslaught of hate on how I'm so so so wrong. :beer
sabhen
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:03 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by sabhen »

Neither.

Aldi for me.
srt7
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by srt7 »

IMO wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:23 pm
Maybe it's just the bias against the more likely demographic shopping at Sam's vs. Costco. Pretty much the bias of Target vs. Walmart.
For most people this right here is the real issue but they won't admit it. It is a valid issue though considering how shopping experience will include one's comfort level with being around other socioeconomic class people.

Products wise I find them to be the same for the most part. Kirkland vs. Member's Mark is a toss up. Kirkland makes some great undershirts but they don't know jack about socks.

Staff/service has too many variables (location, management etc.) to make any objective case for it.

The one thing that sets Sams Club apart is their mobile app. That kind of convenience might never happen at Costco.
ono8ono
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:06 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by ono8ono »

Costco executive membership is the best value!! Cost extra $60 a year BUT you will receive extra 2% cash back on your annual purchases.

****Do you know Costco will send you an annual check of $60 even if your annual 2% cash back is less than $60? So no risk to upgrade to executive membership **** :sharebeer
Last edited by ono8ono on Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
ono8ono
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:06 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by ono8ono »

Sam's like to trick you to get something similar to Costco but you really have to know exactly what you are buying:

2 examples:

Sam's Mini wholly guacamole 18 count is not ORGANIC but the mini Wholly Guacamole 20 counts at Costco is ORGANIC. Sam's price is almost same as Costco. So if you buy from Sam's, you are being ripped off!

Sam's Ito En sweetened Matcha Green tea powder price is almost same as the Ito En Matcha Green tea unsweetened powder at Costco. If you buy from Sam's, you are paying premium for the powder sugar premix inside the green tea powder.

Sam's like to do this trick with many of their merchandise. You need to pay close attention!!
Topic Author
squirm
Posts: 3317
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by squirm »

I buy a lot of produce at Sam's and have yet to be disappointed.
The Sam's we go is nice and clean and the shoppers don't resemble an armpit unlike the Wally World. Yeah, I know, it's owned by Wally's.
Topic Author
squirm
Posts: 3317
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by squirm »

srt7 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:48 pm
IMO wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:23 pm
Maybe it's just the bias against the more likely demographic shopping at Sam's vs. Costco. Pretty much the bias of Target vs. Walmart.
For most people this right here is the real issue but they won't admit it. It is a valid issue though considering how shopping experience will include one's comfort level with being around other socioeconomic class people.

Products wise I find them to be the same for the most part. Kirkland vs. Member's Mark is a toss up. Kirkland makes some great undershirts but they don't know jack about socks.

Staff/service has too many variables (location, management etc.) to make any objective case for it.

The one thing that sets Sams Club apart is their mobile app. That kind of convenience might never happen at Costco.
I was talking to the checker at Sam's the other day when she pretty much said the same thing. I asked her, why Costco was so crowded but Sam's wasn't. She said because that crowd believes they're above the people who shop at Sam's and wouldn't want to tell their friends they're Sam's shoppers. But like I said above, the one I go to is very nicely laid out, not many people there either makes it a frustration free experience.

I know some people say they don't care where they get their stuff, but for me, being able to leave the store without feeling dirty, frustrated or angry due to waiting or navigating around a wall of people is a huge benefit.
michaeljc70
Posts: 7690
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by michaeljc70 »

ono8ono wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:35 am Costco executive membership is the best value!! Cost extra $60 a year BUT you will receive extra 2% cash back on your annual purchases.

****Do you know Costco will send you an annual check of $60 even if your annual 2% cash back is less than $60? So no risk to upgrade to executive membership **** :sharebeer
Really? I had an Executive membership for years. When we started spending less at Costco it wasn't worth it. We had to go to the membership counter and switch memberships and get the refund. This was maybe 5 years ago.
michaeljc70
Posts: 7690
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by michaeljc70 »

srt7 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:34 pm
vbdoug wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:32 pm I am a proud member of the Cult. I needed to join Sam's because of my Medicare Part D.

I prefer Sam's for parking, emptiness {compared to Costco}, free {and good} wi-fi, and quick check-out using my Sam's smart phone app. There are only a few items I purchase there. Sam's did offer free monthly {and later quarterly} health screenings, but they discontinued that service earlier this year.

Having said that, Costco is qualitatively far superior {with very few exceptions} to Sam's in just about every other aspect: people, products and service.
You got me curious. Can you name a few products where Costco is superior?
Go compare the jewelry/watches at Sam's and Costco and that will tell you everything you need to know. Obviously, food items are fairly generic so two pounds of asparagus is going to be two pounds of asparagus. I think the watches, luggage, clothing, electronics and things like that are a little higher end at Costco. They do cater to a higher end clientele than Sam's. The demographics of shoppers shows that. That being said, there are more similarities than differences between the two.
sport
Posts: 10174
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by sport »

The Kirkland Signature brand at Costco carries a guarantee that it will be at least as good as the national brands. If it is not, you can get a full refund. In some cases, Costco carries both the national brand and the Kirkland brand, and the Kirkland brand is more expensive because it is a premium product. Two products that come to mind are apple juice and chocolate chips. For some other products, a national manufacturer has produced a premium product for Costco to sell under the Kirkland name. This product is better than their normal product. These manufacturers ask for their name to be put on the package. So, the products are "dual branded" and carry both the national brand name as well as "Kirkland Signature".
JackoC
Posts: 2258
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:14 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by JackoC »

srt7 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:48 pm
IMO wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:23 pm
Maybe it's just the bias against the more likely demographic shopping at Sam's vs. Costco. Pretty much the bias of Target vs. Walmart.
1. For most people this right here is the real issue but they won't admit it. It is a valid issue though considering how shopping experience will include one's comfort level with being around other socioeconomic class people.

2. Products wise I find them to be the same for the most part. Kirkland vs. Member's Mark is a toss up. Kirkland makes some great undershirts but they don't know jack about socks.

3. Staff/service has too many variables (location, management etc.) to make any objective case for it.
1. I wonder if people saying that's a valid reason not to shop somewhere truly think it's valid if it's really all there is to it. I don't, not getting up on my internet social high horse about it, I just think that would be kind of silly if really true. However, and I will preface again by saying the comparison is Walmart stores (it's Walmart Inc's cross to bear that they run regular Walmart stores and have to convince me Sam's Club is so different as to be viewed as same quality plane as Costco), the reason the clientele is lower income is in large part because it's absolutely cheap. And absolutely cheap tends to go with lower quality for any item where quality is a variable. Which it's not as was mentioned for a case of Pepsi. But some name brands are willing to sell 'exclusive' lower quality models or product lines at Walmart v the regular ones you'd find at Costco, besides cases where it's store brand or lower price point name brand or unbranded (like fresh food). Maybe Sam's Club is much different. I'm not bashing Sam's Club since I've never been. Just saying the reason we don't shop *Walmart* normally is not because we don't want to be with the Walmart clientele, though it is indeed noticeably different than the Costco clientele across the parking lot here in northern NJ. It's the general cross section of products which tend to appeal to that clientele and less to us. Though we do get brand named packaged food items at that Walmart sometimes where the price is better than local supermarket and Costco's package size is too big or their selection (eg. flavors of some brands of drink) too narrow. Also we probably shop more at Walmart when on the road than any other store because it's a known quantity one-stop shop and even less likely we'd want big Costco packages.

2. I leave this opinion to people with extensive experience in both. But I still don't see a lot of strong arguments Sam's is better, and 'both' means two membership fees. Not that that's a fortune, but even besides that I don't see the appeal in adding more time/effort to shop in more different places if the advantage is not compelling. Costco is a great store IMO, which doesn't mean other stores all stink, but our customer satisfaction is high.

3. I agree it varies. And while I don't find the typical attitudes of the employees much of a positive at the local Costco, I don't really care. I don't care much about store employees generally unless they are really out of line which isn't common at national chains IME. Or maybe I have a thick skin.
anil686
Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 12:33 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by anil686 »

I would rate Costco travel superior to Sam's travel services (Sam's continues to go through many iterations over the years and has just re-opened a very limited travel service). Costco for years has had some of the best prices on rental cars (which all include an additional driver without jurisdictional restrictions including at a time for a domestic partner). Their cruise pricing is fairly competitive and their vacation packages are typically pretty aggressively priced in addition to the executive bonus cash back earned. For example, going to Costa Rica, one of my sister's good friends is a travel agent. When she showed her our itinerary for our families in efforts to beat the cost, the travel agent said there was no way to do that without lowering the quality of the trip. Just another perspective FWIW...
Bacchus01
Posts: 3182
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by Bacchus01 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:30 pm For any cult where you have to pay just to be able to shop there.....it is wise to periodically price out a basket of normally purchased things. I have done this at BJs and Costco. (We have no Sam's....they knocked it down years ago and put in a Target). The times I've made comparisons to (not even cheap) alternative stores who allow you the grace of purchasing without making a blood oath and signing the sacred pledge and so far, the so called expensive stores have been cheaper every time. Your basket might be different from mine. Or maybe your blood oath is truer.

.....and as much as I like Market Basket, Sunday, when all I wanted was a cold can of soda, I walked in/out of MB and went over to the convenience store. I splurged that 75 cents over a 50 cent can to save 45 minutes of standing in line.
Your example, while interesting, makes no sense. The purpose you needed is not served by the warehouse club. They serve a different purpose. You really understand that, don’t you?
Marylander1
Posts: 332
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:18 pm
Location: Baltimore & DC

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by Marylander1 »

srt7 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:34 pm You got me curious. Can you name a few products where Costco is superior?
  • Costco wrapping paper is heavy weight, has grids printed on the back for easy cutting, and comes on large rolls.
  • Costco toilet paper is 4.5-inches wide (as all toilet paper used to be before it started shrinking). Sams toilet paper is 4 inches wide.
  • Costco's Kirkland tuna still comes in 7-ounce cans, like all tuna used to. At Sam's Club, tuna keeps shrinking, and is now just 5 ounces, 29% less tuna, in every can.
  • In 2010, there was a major scandal when University of California tests showed a lot of olive oil is fake. Costco's Kirkland was the imported olive oil that tested 100% genuine https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil ... arent/4316
Wal-Mart and Sam's advertise themselves as lowest-bidder suppliers, intentionally appealing to people who want "a can of tuna" or "a roll of toilet paper" or "a bottle of something labeled olive oil" but don't care about quality or quantity. Costco maintains high quality and quantity, as described at https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/busi ... isles.html

After Sam Walton died in 1992, Wal-Mart has a long history of aggressively pressuring suppliers to cut price without regard to quality, documented in places like https://www.fastcompany.com/47593/wal-m ... -dont-know and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wal-Mart_Effect

Marylander1
Last edited by Marylander1 on Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
HIinvestor
Posts: 1834
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by HIinvestor »

We live 5 minutes from Costco and about 30 minutes from Sam’s. My sister and I share a Sam’s membership that we buy for a year whenever they have an amazing deal (like free membership). It’s good for me when I have meetings in the building right next door to it and can get refreshments there.

I do notice different items and packaging between the stores. I find the quality of clothing at Costco generally better than sam’s. At the Costco by our house, the customer service us vastly better than Sam’s and at this point in my life, that means a lot. I can go at times to avoid crowds st both stores.
ono8ono
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:06 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by ono8ono »

Here is the fact:

With Costco visa card and executive membership, you get 4% back from all your costco purchases. :mrgreen:

You get your $120 annual executive membership back by just spending $250.00 a month. i.e. $250 X 12 = $3,000.
$3,000 x 4%= $120. In another word, you membership is FREE!

With Costco visa card (2% back) and a regular membership costing $60 and you also have to spend $3,000/yr to get your $60 cash back.

If you don't have a costco visa card and you have a regular $60 membership, then you don't get ANYTHING back regardless of how much you spend! :oops:

Conclusion: It is a no brainer to get the executive membership!! :sharebeer

PS. Don't forget, with costco visa card, you get 4% back with all your gasoline purchases anywhere. :moneybag
User avatar
JonnyDVM
Posts: 2829
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by JonnyDVM »

Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:34 pm Costco and it's not even close. There's nothing that's better at Sam's Club than it is at Costco. Many items are similar quality/price, but many other items are better at Costco than Sam's.
Costco is significantly better and I’m willing to fight any man that tries to claim otherwise.

Just don’t go on a Sunday unless you enjoy medieval style battles.
I’d trade it all for a little more | -C Montgomery Burns
JackoC
Posts: 2258
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:14 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by JackoC »

Bacchus01 wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:35 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:30 pm For any cult where you have to pay just to be able to shop there.....it is wise to periodically price out a basket of normally purchased things. I have done this at BJs and Costco. (We have no Sam's....they knocked it down years ago and put in a Target). The times I've made comparisons to (not even cheap) alternative stores who allow you the grace of purchasing without making a blood oath and signing the sacred pledge and so far, the so called expensive stores have been cheaper every time. Your basket might be different from mine. Or maybe your blood oath is truer.

.....and as much as I like Market Basket, Sunday, when all I wanted was a cold can of soda, I walked in/out of MB and went over to the convenience store. I splurged that 75 cents over a 50 cent can to save 45 minutes of standing in line.
Your example, while interesting, makes no sense. The purpose you needed is not served by the warehouse club. They serve a different purpose. You really understand that, don’t you?
The first part of that though would be significant if true. It's a little difficult to make out because of the attempt at humor, but I think the poster is saying you don't really save money or get better value from a Costco (or Sam's or BJ's) membership than not having one. But that's definitely not true for us, and not because we're not aware what we buy or comparative prices and quality. For the basic membership that is. The add on Executive is simple math: the 2% back voucher is significantly bigger for us than the extra $60 (plus sales tax plus any plausible calculation of float between paying the fee and getting the voucher) often paying a significant proportion of the first $60 too even without item price savings.

But again funny though not unusual the thread has people coming at Costco from opposite angles. The idea you don't get your money's worth on membership at *one* warehouse store (again I don't know maybe somebody else does not but we definitely do, easily), and the idea that if you can't say Costco is absolutely better than Sam's maybe you should have a membership at both. :D

We're in the middle. We definitely save money at Costco. We like various grocery products more than what other food stores close to us have. You don't have to be as wary of 'exclusive' crappier models of name brand durable goods items at Costco as some other stores. And Costco (not to say other WH stores don't) sometimes has items you wouldn't expect to buy there which are remarkable values (a set of wooden file cabinets I got there are way better quality than stores like Target that always have that stuff, but way cheaper than a furniture store where I priced ones I couldn't tell were any better). We're very satisfied with Costco. That doesn't mean Sam's Club is terrible. But virtually no post in this long thread has even firmly claimed Sams is actually better in aspects I care about, mainly 'just as good' or even only 'on some stuff', along w/ things I barely or don't care about ('less crowded' 'better app', 'self checkout'). I haven't seen a compelling argument either to spend money on multiple warehouse store memberships or drop Costco and go w/ Sam's.
kjvmartin
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:57 am

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by kjvmartin »

I haven't had time to read all replies yet, but I can say Costco has been such a blessing to our budget.

#1 Gasoline. I go at off peak times where there is no waiting and I drive 400+ miles in one car and 75+ weekly in another. The Costco gas station beats local Kroger even with $0.20 in fuel points discounts.

#2 Fresh meat and produce: Costco's Chicken, Ground Beef, and produce are typically high quality and better than most non-sale prices at our local grocers. With 3 kids that we try to feed a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies, there is no comparison in price/quality. Plus, I find having fresh fruit available in quantity makes us more likely to snack on it instead of other options.

#3 Household goods: Kirkland Signature. Enough said. This includes bath tissue, paper towel, shampoo, dish soap, laundry soap. I get my toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, trash bags, dishwasher soap, and hand soap there. I can't even think of all the items off the top of my head. No, not everything is best to purchase at Costco. I subscribe to different deal websites and wait for alerts to drop if I'm in the market for certain items.

To top it off, the Costco Visa provides a nice annual payout and the executive membership covers cost of membership and then some. I also like that they pay a living wage and seem to treat their employees well.
User avatar
6miths
Posts: 805
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by 6miths »

Easy choice in our area as no Sam's Club. When I am in places that have both (and go with friends who have a Sam's membership) I usually find that Costco is the winner for me.
'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
HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 4801
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

Costco makes more money on membership fees than on actual merchandise. According to the latest quarterly filing the contribution profit was 70% fees / 30% merchandise.

So they have a clear incentive to pack the stores.
lack_ey
Posts: 6701
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by lack_ey »

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:55 pm Costco makes more money on membership fees than on actual merchandise. According to the latest quarterly filing the contribution profit was 70% fees / 30% merchandise.

So they have a clear incentive to pack the stores.
Membership income should be a significant focus of profits for any membership-based warehouse retailer. Most retail is top-line oriented and particularly for this line of business, and company strategy is to lower costs and profits to get more members, not so much to make profits on merchandise.

If you've checked, have you seen otherwise in filings for Walmart (is it broken down sufficiently by segment to get that info for Sam's Club?) or BJ's?
HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 4801
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

lack_ey wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:18 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:55 pm Costco makes more money on membership fees than on actual merchandise. According to the latest quarterly filing the contribution profit was 70% fees / 30% merchandise.

So they have a clear incentive to pack the stores.
Membership income should be a significant focus of profits for any membership-based warehouse retailer. Most retail is top-line oriented and particularly for this line of business, and company strategy is to lower costs and profits to get more members, not so much to make profits on merchandise.

If you've checked, have you seen otherwise in filings for Walmart (is it broken down sufficiently by segment to get that info for Sam's Club?) or BJ's?
True for Sam's Club (48% fees / 52% merchandise) but not true for BJ's (12% fees / 88% merchandise)
Ruger
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:44 pm

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by Ruger »

No Sam's in my area so I have no comparison. If I go to Costco Weds afternoon it's never crowded. And the few times I do go when there is a crowd, the lines seem to move fairly quickly.
Erwin007
Posts: 437
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:29 am
Location: Intermountain West

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by Erwin007 »

JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:36 pm
Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:34 pm Costco and it's not even close. There's nothing that's better at Sam's Club than it is at Costco. Many items are similar quality/price, but many other items are better at Costco than Sam's.
Costco is significantly better and I’m willing to fight any man that tries to claim otherwise.

Just don’t go on a Sunday unless you enjoy medieval style battles.
Agreed. We were Sam’s club members for 7-8 years before moving to an area that only had Costco so we switched memberships. It was night and day. We have since moved again to an area with 2 Costcos and another on the way. The only Sam’s club in the area went out of business before we even moved here 5 years ago. I wouldn’t shop again at Sam’s club if I was paid to.
User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Moderator
Posts: 10900
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

Post by oldcomputerguy »

Many pros and cons for both choices have been presented. This thread has run its course and is locked (topic exhausted). See: Locked Topics
Moderators or site admins may lock a topic (set it so no more replies may be added) when a violation of posting policy has occurred. Occasionally, even if there are no overt violations of posting policy, a topic (or thread) will reach a point where the information content of the discussion has been essentially exhausted and further replies are much more likely to cause distress to the community than add anything of value.
Locked