For quite a few years I've had a membership to Sam's Club. Although I used it a lot more when I was feeding three growing boys (regularly buying restaurant-sized containers of peanut butter, snacks, granola bars, and condiments) there are still a handful of food and household items I buy on a regular basis.
However, a Costco will be opening just a couple of miles from my house next month. My Sam's membership expires at the end of October and I'm trying to decide if I should renew it or wait, so tonight Tony and I drove down to the South County Costco to scope it out.
The stores look remarkably similar on the inside. All the regular warehouse store departments were represented. We wandered around and saw a plethora of things we never knew we needed. I brought a list of the things I buy at Sam's and compared prices. It was a wash; some things seemed to be a bit lower, but some were a bit more expensive. Although the bakery department was a bit picked over close to the end of the day, the meat looked fresh, and this Costco had a walk-in refrigerated room for produce, which I thought was pretty unique.
The membership costs are slightly different. At Sam's, a membership is $40 for 2-person household. On the other hand, at Costco the membership costs $50 for 2 people. However, for that fee you also get an American Express card that pays cash back on purchases. I doubt I would use the card except when shopping there, and at the rate I buy things at warehouse clubs, that would mean they could treat me to a cup of coffee at the end of the year!
I still haven't completely decided, but at this point I'm leaning toward Costco. It will be much closer to my house (5 miles round trip versus 10 miles and the stress of driving on Manchester Road), and they have a reputation of paying their employees a living wage, which I think is important.
I wonder if they'll be offering any grand opening discounts on memberships?