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Costco Is My Best Warehouse Club Membership, Beats BJ's and Sam's Club

Apr 12, 2023Apr 12, 2023

When I tell people I've been going to wholesale clubs for my entire life, I'm not exaggerating. Growing up, my family's philosophy was that if you couldn't find it at Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's, it wasn't worth the price.

Each week, my family of three would venture out to every single wholesale club in the Richmond, Virginia, area and hunt for our weekly groceries.

For a long time, I questioned why we just didn't go to a "normal" grocery store like other families. Now, as an adult, I still shop at all three wholesale clubs for groceries and gas. However, Costco is always my favorite place to stop.

From affordable deals to a wide selection, here are 10 reasons I think Costco is the best warehouse.

The aisle at Sam's Club and BJ's might be more clearly marked than Costco's, but the selections aren't the same to me. I forgive a store that carries as much variety as Costco.

One week, I might find discounted American Girl doll sets and Lego collections. The next, I could come across WeatherTech car floor mats.

Each warehouse sells items that feel like they're made to last, but I have always put most of my trust in the selection at Costco. The chain seems to carry a great selection of items that stand the test of time, from clothes to home goods.

My mother still owns a purple jacket from the first year my local Costco opened in the 1980s that has yet to have a tear or hole. I also got a bathrobe from Costco when I was 12 that held up until I was 24 years old.

I'm a proud owner of two orange tabbies with big hearts and bigger stomachs. Even with the price hikes on wet food, my Costco carries both name-brand and generic variety packs of 40 or more cans that my cats (and my wallet) love.

Costco also carries other pet supplies like gigantic bags of dry food, beds, and toys for dogs and cats of all breeds. I even saw dog-grooming tubs at Costco.

Though BJ's and Sam's Club also carry pet supplies, I prefer Costco's selection.

If I'm looking for candy and savory foods I'd normally find at specialty stores at a higher markup, I know Costco almost always has them at reasonable prices and in bulk.

My local Costco has a consistent supply of miso soup or homestyle ramen noodle soup kits, goods that aren't always in stock at Sam's Club. The same goes for fun candy like Pocky and Hello Panda chocolate cookies.

Each warehouse store provides customers with discounts in slightly different ways, but Costco's methods and prices are the best for me.

BJ's accepts coupons from manufacturers (Costco and Sam's Club do not) and has its own coupons. Instead of automatically applying all deals, BJ's customers can clip digital coupons on its website or page through physical booklets.

Although I love clipping coupons and finding great deals at BJ's, in my opinion, Costco's prices are already low enough that I don't need to waste time hunting down additional deals.

Plus, at Costco, I've found sales are automatically applied at checkout and additional deals will be advertised directly under the applicable products in an aisle. For example, I was able to snag a three-pack of Flonase Sensimist for $51 with an additional $12 off, making each about $13.

The typical cost for one Flonase Sensimist can range from $18 to $30 at the pharmacy.

Costco's food court is known for its quality food at amazing prices. The $1.50 hot dog and drink combo has been protected by Costco's founder, Jim Senegal, who reportedly told current CEO W. Craig Jelinek he'd kill him if he raised the price.

Growing up, Costco's food courts could feed our entire family for less than $10, or a little more if we also wanted frozen yogurt. Since then, the price of the pizza at my local Costco still hasn't changed.

During my most recent Costco trip with my boyfriend, we paid a little under $8 for two slices of pizza and a hot-dog combo.

Recently, my local BJ's closed its cafe so getting the food I used to order there isn't even an option. My Sam's Club still has a food court but, for me, Costco specifically brings back the nostalgia of getting a slice of pizza the size of your face for a low cost.

Generally speaking, the prices at the food court at my local Costco are also more affordable than at Sam's Club.

From watches to jewelry, I've always found great quality accessories at Costco.

My boyfriend — a watch connoisseur — evaluated the store's watch section and was impressed by the selection of Seiko, Citizen, and Bulova watches, noting the difference in quality from typical fashion watches.

Though Sam's Club carries Gucci watches and BJ's has its own jewelry selection, we find we prefer the merchandise at Costco.

All three wholesale clubs display electronics at the front of their stores. But if you want a complete idea of what they'd look like in your home, Costco neatly displays home appliances with accompanying accessories so you can decide if you just need a fridge or the whole set to match.

You're free to touch the display models and get a better grasp of just how wide or big they would be in your home prior to purchasing.

BJ's and Sam's Club also have optical departments but — at least at my location — Costco Optical has a larger variety of glasses from both reputable and store brands.

You can snag luxury brand frames (like Gucci and Prada) for a fraction of what you would pay at the eye doctor's office. Name-brand contacts can also be purchased at Costco Optical with a prescription.

Whether I'm visiting one of the warehouse's optometrists or simply wanting to purchase some prescription lenses, I've always found Costco Optical ready to help with anything.

My local BJ's and Sam's Club both sell alcohol but I like the selection at Costco the best. Everything is displayed simply and neatly and there's a huge variety of wine, beer, and spirits.

Whether I'm looking for a Pinot Grigio to give to my neighbor or want to try products from local breweries, Costco's rotating variety of beer and wine never leaves me bored.

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