Costco vs. Sams vs. BJ's

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I know there must be a thread somewhere comparing the three, can't seem to find it though. What's the consensus? How do they compare? Aside from me actually going to all 3 and seeing for myself <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>, I'm curious what you guys have found.

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<br>Actually Costco sells 2/66oz of Heinz ketchup for 5.69 which is $.04 an ounce.

sfmidget (Oct. 10, 2005 @ 4:53p) |

My Costco membership expired 2 months ago. Didn't renew coz I was staying @ KY where they only have Sams.<br><br>Anyway,... (more)

timmyp (Oct. 31, 2005 @ 3:13p) |

I heard that with Costco's you can return the product you bought and get the upgraded version and pay the differences. F... (more)

f0bulousdeleted (Nov. 01, 2005 @ 8:00a) |

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/166680_costco29.html
"Costco's love of labor: Employees' well-being key to its success"
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Haven't seen or been to BJ's but I have had membership to both Sam's and Costco. They are preety similar in prices and types of stuff you can buy from them. Either one is OK. I'd just go with which ever one is closest.

you really have to go and check them. There are slight variants in products and you just have to pick which store has the products you will be buying.

From my experience:

Costco - caters to the small business owner. Great wholesale prices. Food products must be purchased in large quantities though. In-store Bakery goods are very good too. Somewhere around $50+ annual fee.

BJs - caters to the large family. Great wholesale prices similar to Costco. Food products can be purchased in smaller quantities. In-store Bakery goods are sub-par in taste/quality. Onaly about $35 annual fee.

Sam's - I find similar to Costco. The only thing I hate about it in my area is that you have to deal with similar customer service level of a typical WalMart though. Only $35 annual fee.

My favorite is Costco, but keep in mind if that if you want to purchase perishable goods, you will have to buy them in very large quantities.


Wow reading that old thread, Costco clearly should be your pick. I wouldn't go to BJ's because there are no BJ's outside of Northeast. When I travel to east coast I have the luxury to shop at Costco or Sams and I live on left coast.

BJ's is great if you have kids in diapers or drinking formula. They take coupons, Costco only takes Costco coupons.

One other thing, I remeber reading that Costco keeps the lowest profit margin, hence bad for investors, but great for consumers. And Costco has a lifetime return policy on almost everything except computers. And Super customer service. They also have a Cash Back credit card with AMEX.

Costco gives out more food samples while you shop. Also they have a much better snack bar for lunch when you finish shopping. You get two cards with a Costco membership which you can split the cost with either a family member or friend.

How good is BJs optical Dept.?

Sam's club only takes that stupid Discover card. Go to Costco they take the American Express card.

CheapDB said: [Q]From my experience:

Costco - caters to the small business owner. Great wholesale prices. Food products must be purchased in large quantities though. In-store Bakery goods are very good too. Somewhere around $50+ annual fee.Costco's annual fee is $45 for two cards.

http://www.costco.com/Common/Category.aspx?cat=503

Elric428 said: [Q]Costco gives out more food samples while you shop. Also they have a much better snack bar for lunch when you finish shopping.

I doubt these would be weighted heavily by anyone other than yourself.

NJDevilsfan said: [Q]Elric428 said: [Q]Costco gives out more food samples while you shop. Also they have a much better snack bar for lunch when you finish shopping.

I doubt these would be weighted heavily by anyone other than yourself.

omigod - I'm always surprised by the people I see there having "lunch" from the samples.

Elric428 said: [Q]Costco gives out more food samples while you shop. Also they have a much better snack bar for lunch when you finish shopping. You get two cards with a Costco membership which you can split the cost with either a family member or friend.
I'm not sure if you are comparing Costco to Sam's or BJ's. I definitely agree that compared to BJ's, Costco has all of those things you say. However, Sam's snack bar is almost as good as Costco (maybe better for some stuff) and they have just as many samples as Costco. BJ's almost never has samples.

I personally prefer Costco. Their bakery is far superior to the others, and I think they generally carry better stuff as well.

And I have been known to have lunch on the samples <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>.

BJ's is the best.

There are BJs in S.FL which would be the most southern east.

KISNA said: [Q]Wow reading that old thread, Costco clearly should be your pick. I wouldn't go to BJ's because there are no BJ's outside of Northeast. When I travel to east coast I have the luxury to shop at Costco or Sams and I live on left coast.

sometimes costco gives discount on new membership if you use American Express..

UCLA alumnii got also membership discount in the past

i think costco products are of higher quality than sam..

em3ti8 said: [Q]I know there must be a thread somewhere comparing the three, can't seem to find it though. What's the consensus? How do they compare? Aside from me actually going to all 3 and seeing for myself <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>, I'm curious what you guys have found.

Hey em3ti8 and all:

I will respond to this since I am a member of all three wholesale clubs and have been with Costco aka Price Club a few years ago and have been with Costco since it started opening. I have been with Costco for about 8-9 years. I have been with BJ's for about 5 years and with Sam's Club for about 2 years now. First and foremost, I have to say that all 3 clubs have almost the same pricing. Costco is about $45/year for membership which includes 2 cards. BJ's is about $40/year ($35 with promotion for 1st 14-months for 2 cards; inquire when they have their promotions) and Sam's Club is about $35/ year for 2 cards. In my experience, Sam's Club has been the best membership price (cheapest price) and Costco has the highest membership price. However, all 3 wholesale clubs have mostly the same membership prices. All 3 clubs have mostly the same items available for purchase. You might find more specific items geared toward different customers in different stores across the country. For example, your local Costco may not have as many items as another Costco at a different location. This also is the same with Sam's Club and BJ's. All 3 clubs offer food tasting etc. Costco has many items and you will find that they sell many Kirkland items since they partnered with them like eyeglasses, clothes, foods and more. Sam's Club also has their own brand and the same with BJ's club. One more thing, Costco used to have good service but their service has dropped over the years b/c of more customers. BJ's service is still good and Sam's club has had the best service for me.

Ratings (out of 5, 5 being highest):

Costco: 4 stars
BJ's: 4 stars
Sam's Club: 4.5-5 stars (service is excellent)

The best thing is do go to your local Sam's, BJ's and Costco club and you decide which one is the best for you. Each club has their own perk but mostly all are the same. Shop at all of the 3 clubs and you'll see the different variety items that they have. Most should be the same price. In regards to electronics, each club has different things. They all offer the same services. BJ's has tire and automotive services. Costco and Sam's Club offers tires services. Some Costco stores offer their own priced gasoline. This is also the same with Sam's Club and BJ's but it depends on your location etc. Each club has their own service(s) which may or may not be offered at another club location.


Hope this helps and good luck! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

em3ti8 said: [Q]I know there must be a thread somewhere comparing the three, can't seem to find it though. What's the consensus? How do they compare? Aside from me actually going to all 3 and seeing for myself <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>, I'm curious what you guys have found.

BTW, I can not tell you or anyone which is the best club. You will have to find that out for yourself by going to all of the 3 clubs and thus comparing yourself. They're all the same but each one or two can offer more. Good luck!

Costco not only keeps small fixed margins on purpose to keep prices down, but they pay their workers a living wage and have good health and dental, their employees contribute alot less to their medical than the average retail worker, and wall street hates it.


I'm switching to Costco from Sams, by the way. I put the link to the article in the "summary" thing at the top.

Costco has higher quality merchandise, but Sams has some items that Costco doesn't carry. If I had to stay with only one I would go with Costco in a heart beat. I have never been in a BJ's, but used to live in Quincy, MA. Everyone I spoke to said Costco was nicer than BJ's as well, but I cannot say that is true from my own experience.

Where I live we have a Sam's and BJ's within a few miles of each other. We had joined BJ's last year mainly for diapers, wipes and bottled water. This year I tried Sam's because the join price was $5 cheaper ($35 vs. $40). That only lasted a month though and I went back to BJ's. Sam's has a policy where if you are not happy they refund your membership 100%. The main reason I switched back were.

1. Sam's was always packed (long lines, no parking) vs. BJ's which was a much more pleasant shopping experience.

2. Sam's doesn't take any manufacturer coupons, BJ's does.

3. Sam's doesn't send out store coupons, BJ's does. In fact, BJ's will let you use a store and manufacturer coupon on the same product.

Hope this helps.

texaspete said: [Q]Where I live we have a Sam's and BJ's within a few miles of each other. We had joined BJ's last year mainly for diapers, wipes and bottled water. This year I tried Sam's because the join price was $5 cheaper ($35 vs. $40). That only lasted a month though and I went back to BJ's. Sam's has a policy where if you are not happy they refund your membership 100%. The main reason I switched back were.

1. Sam's was always packed (long lines, no parking) vs. BJ's which was a much more pleasant shopping experience.

2. Sam's doesn't take any manufacturer coupons, BJ's does.

3. Sam's doesn't send out store coupons, BJ's does. In fact, BJ's will let you use a store and manufacturer coupon on the same product.

Hope this helps.

With all of this said, for all of these 3 clubs, it really depends where you live and which clubs are closer to you. Your club experence may vary (YMMV) depending on your location.

doc4492 said: [Q]How good is BJs optical Dept.?

It really depends which frame or contact lense(s) or what you're looking for. Each of the 3 clubs are almost the same. However, they will each offer different selections. I believe the eye exams are almost the same when compared to all three clubs. You'll have to check them out to determine which one is the best. Since I have membership to all 3, I have a good selection of products <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

Sam's club is the best. They have the best prices by far compared to Costco and BJs.

Costco tricks people by offering a product that is smaller than what Sams sells for the same price. All you Costco fans, go check this out. Look carefully, Costco is a complete ripoff.

Sam's #1
BJs #2
Costco a very distant #3 because they CHEAT!

AdamG80 said: [Q]Costco tricks people by offering a product that is smaller than what Sams sells for the same price.Can you give us any examples of this?

Oh btw, Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's all have similar return policies. Their return policies are great. You can return anything with your receipt but can also get store credit if you misplaced your receipt. Some people have taken advantage of this situation where they return an item that died or broke after about 1-2 years and they still get the full price back if the item scans. Tsk tsk! All of the 3 clubs have spectacular return policies!

jayK said: [Q]AdamG80 said: [Q]Costco tricks people by offering a product that is smaller than what Sams sells for the same price.Can you give us any examples of this?

Yes, just look at any of their grocery products. Some examples that I remember are Heinz Ketchup, some type of Olive Oil, as well as the canned items (soup, sauces, tuna).

For example (I don't remember the exact sizes), the ketchup would be $5.74 at Sam's for 60oz, while Costco has $5.63 for 54oz.

Its all little differences like that. Look closely and you will find Costco is a ripoff compared to both BJs and Sams.

AdamG80 said: [Q]Yes, just look at any of their grocery products. Some examples that I remember are Heinz Ketchup, some type of Olive Oil, as well as the canned items (soup, sauces, tuna).

For example (I don't remember the exact sizes), the ketchup would be $5.74 at Sam's for 60oz, while Costco has $5.63 for 54oz.

Its all little differences like that. Look closely and you will find Costco is a ripoff compared to both BJs and Sams.Why the heck would you buy something like ketchup at Sam's or Costco? Most grocery products at price clubs really aren't good deals when you compare them to regular grocery stores.

Costco's price is 10.4 cents/oz, Sam's is 9.6 cents/oz. You can find 36oz Heinz ketchup on sale at most regular grocery stores for $1.50, that's 4.2 cents/oz. Even if you pay full price at Walgreens and get a 24oz bottle for $1.79, that's still only 7.5 cents/oz.

And that's not even counting coupons.

If I'm not mistaken, I think Costco only sells 2-packs of ketchup, so if each bottle is 54 oz, that makes 108 oz for $5.63, or 5.2 cents/oz, which is still worse than the grocery store's sale price.

The only items I buy at Costco are meat, produce, frozen bags of shrimp/meatballs, and bakery items, all of which are superior to what I've found at BJ's and Sam's. They also have good prepared foods, my favorite is the turkey roller sandwiches.

Costco also has special deals with car dealerships...participating dealership have to offer you a certain price over invoice. This is very useful when shopping for high-demand, low-supply vehicles.

jayK said: [Q]AdamG80 said: [Q]Yes, just look at any of their grocery products. Some examples that I remember are Heinz Ketchup, some type of Olive Oil, as well as the canned items (soup, sauces, tuna).

For example (I don't remember the exact sizes), the ketchup would be $5.74 at Sam's for 60oz, while Costco has $5.63 for 54oz.

Its all little differences like that. Look closely and you will find Costco is a ripoff compared to both BJs and Sams.Why the heck would you buy something like ketchup at Sam's or Costco? Most grocery products at price clubs really aren't good deals when you compare them to regular grocery stores.

Costco's price is 10.4 cents/oz, Sam's is 9.6 cents/oz. You can find 36oz Heinz ketchup on sale at most regular grocery stores for $1.50, that's 4.2 cents/oz. Even if you pay full price at Walgreens and get a 24oz bottle for $1.79, that's still only 7.5 cents/oz.

And that's not even counting coupons.

If I'm not mistaken, I think Costco only sells 2-packs of ketchup, so if each bottle is 54 oz, that makes 108 oz for $5.63, or 5.2 cents/oz, which is still worse than the grocery store's sale price.

The only items I buy at Costco are meat, produce, frozen bags of shrimp/meatballs, and bakery items, all of which are superior to what I've found at BJ's and Sam's. They also have good prepared foods, my favorite is the turkey roller sandwiches.

Costco also has special deals with car dealerships...participating dealership have to offer you a certain price over invoice. This is very useful when shopping for high-demand, low-supply vehicles.

It depends. Supermarkets in my area charge more than the supermarkets. The only things I buy at supermarkets are things I have coupons for or things that are on sale. Nothing else.

I wish I had a WalMart or Target supercenter near me . . . that would be best!

Personally, I would prefer a BJ over a trip to Sam's or Costco, anyday! I have had many BJ experiences. Actually, it comes right down to the Customer/Employee relationship. If the employee preforms a good service for the customer, then the customer leaves the encounter feeling satisfied, and deep down inside, that's what we all really want.

I shop wherever they offer cookie dough by the bucket

and shampoo/conditioner that double as free weights

daytona235 said: [Q]One other thing, I remeber reading that Costco keeps the lowest profit margin, hence bad for investors, but great for consumers. And Costco has a lifetime return policy on almost everything except computers. And Super customer service. They also have a Cash Back credit card with AMEX.

You're smoking crack... Costco has been and will continue to be great from an investment perspective. They keep their net profit extremely high with volume sales and brand loyalty.

I find it hilarious that someone asks for a warehouse club recommendation and instead gets horrendous stock picking advice. Don't worry about management, inventory turnover, ROE, ROA, debt to equity, quick ratios, or dozens of other measures of retail stock performance. Just see who has a higher gross profit margin.

Getting back on-topic, I have only experienced Sam's Club. I have never had trouble parking and lines are usually not a problem (5 - 10 minutes). I also have "Business Membership," which costs about the same as an individual membership, but allows me into the stores about 2 hours before they are open to the public.

I went with Sam's since they are closest to me and it has worked out fine. I doubt any of the three are much better or worse than the others. You have to consider what is convenient for you.

KISNA said: I wouldn't go to BJ's because there are no BJ's outside of Northeast.


Since when did Sarasota, Florida become part of the Northeast?

We have BJ's and Sams and we've belonged to both. We now only belong to BJ's because they refill propane tanks at the best price in town.

ghstudio said: [Q]KISNA said: I wouldn't go to BJ's because there are no BJ's outside of Northeast.


Since when did Sarasota, Florida become part of the Northeast?

We have BJ's and Sams and we've belonged to both. We now only belong to BJ's because they refill propane tanks at the best price in town.There are BJ's locations in every state on the east coast, as well as PA and OH.

http://www.bjs.com/locations/

sithlord32786 said: [Q]Personally, I would prefer a BJ over a trip to Sam's or Costco, anyday! I have had many BJ experiences.
Thank you for the seemingly obligatory childish remark that seems to get posted whenever this topic comes up.

billrubin said: [Q]sithlord32786 said: [Q]Personally, I would prefer a BJ over a trip to Sam's or Costco, anyday! I have had many BJ experiences.
Thank you for the seemingly obligatory childish remark that seems to get posted whenever this topic comes up.And thank you for giving sithlord32786 attention for his childish remark, that was exactly what he was looking for.

Next time, just ignore it.

Skipping 3 Messages...
I heard that with Costco's you can return the product you bought and get the upgraded version and pay the differences. Friend of mine bought this 3.1 Mp Sony Digital Camera and a year later after the newer model came out..she exchanged it with the OLD one and only paid the price difference! Samething with TVs!

Also is Executive Membership better than the standard Gold since you get 2% rebate on all purchase excluding gas/membership dues/and 3rd party services?




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