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Off Topic: Has anyone ever worked at Costco or Sams club and can share?


LongHaul
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Has anyone ever worked at Costco or Sams club who can share their experiences?  I love both of these businesses and am very curious of their culture, business practices, etc. 

 

I very much enjoyed this article about Costco.

http://fortune.com/costco-wholesale-shopping/

 

 

BTW - if you ever need tires or glasses both places have quality for far less.

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BTW - if you ever need tires or glasses both places have quality for far less.

And gas! In Canada I pay about 18 cents per litter (72 cents per gallon) less at Costco than at a gas station :)

 

You buy litter at a gas station?  :P

 

The one I go to in Newmarket (Ontario), is 5c a litre cheaper than the Petro Can across the street. I've never seen 18c here.

That would make waiting at the pump for the 5-6 cars ahead of me worth it. I won't wait for 5c.

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My car is only takes 91 and above. For regular the discount is lower more in like with what you're saying.

 

All this tells me that either Costco is taking a sizable loss on gas to attract customers like me or that gas stations are taking their premium gas customers for a huge ride.

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My car is only takes 91 and above. For regular the discount is lower more in like with what you're saying.

 

All this tells me that either Costco is taking a sizable loss on gas to attract customers like me or that gas stations are taking their premium gas customers for a huge ride.

 

According to this article, it's a loss leader. http://www.cbsnews.com/media/12-things-about-costco-that-may-surprise-you/8/

 

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  • 2 months later...

Hey all:

 

My Costco membership ended and I didn't renew as I got a FREE membership to Sam's Club.

 

Here in the Detroit area, the Sam's Club locations are simply terrible.  The workers are lackadaisical, hard to find, and simply don't give a damn.

 

The lines to check out are silly long.  I frequently spend a lot MORE time waiting to checkout than I do shopping.

 

Selection is somewhat more limited, same thing with quality of the product.

 

I will probably re-up with Costco and stop shopping at Sam's Club, even though it is FREE.

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Hey all:

 

My Costco membership ended and I didn't renew as I got a FREE membership to Sam's Club.

 

Here in the Detroit area, the Sam's Club locations are simply terrible.  The workers are lackadaisical, hard to find, and simply don't give a damn.

 

The lines to check out are silly long.  I frequently spend a lot MORE time waiting to checkout than I do shopping.

 

Selection is somewhat more limited, same thing with quality of the product.

 

I will probably re-up with Costco and stop shopping at Sam's Club, even though it is FREE.

 

That's a helluva endorsement for Costco!

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Hey all:

 

My Costco membership ended and I didn't renew as I got a FREE membership to Sam's Club.

 

Here in the Detroit area, the Sam's Club locations are simply terrible.  The workers are lackadaisical, hard to find, and simply don't give a damn.

 

The lines to check out are silly long.  I frequently spend a lot MORE time waiting to checkout than I do shopping.

 

Selection is somewhat more limited, same thing with quality of the product.

 

I will probably re-up with Costco and stop shopping at Sam's Club, even though it is FREE.

 

Not that I'm recommending Sam's Club over Costco, I'm a Sams Club member because it is 10 minutes away versus the nearest Costco is 30 minutes away.

 

Re: the long lines to checkout, true, but just downloaded their "Scan & Go" app on my phone and we can check out ourselves and walk to the exit. If every member uses the app, the lines would get long at the exit door unless they make exit door wider / open lanes. I do like it so far.

 

And oh, yes, Sam's is opening gas stations also, suppose following Costco's lead. I love the gas prices there, I recently paid $1.99 per gallon and if you use their credit card, get 5% cash back on that! I now plan my gas purchases based on proximity of the nearest Sam's club, sometime half tank or more. The savings are irresistible.

 

I can see Sam's / Walmart leverage their gas stations and buy-online-pick-up-in-store to take back share from Amazon. Who knows, they may even start a drive through at the back of the store for customer pick up, kinda like Nebraska Furniture Mart does. I love Amazon shopping but absolutely hate the cardboard boxes that fill my recycling bin.

 

 

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Have you watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ssZVi-7xoE yet? Hard not to like the entire management ...

 

Then there's this article on the Amex Break-Up https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-how-amex-lost-costco/ :

 

Every year, they got together. Sometimes Costco’s top executives would fly to New York to meet with Kenneth Chenault, the chairman and chief executive officer of American Express, and his team. From the card company’s perch on the 50th floor of its tower in lower Manhattan, the Costco guys peered at the views of Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty. They were used to looking over a less inspiring sea of parking lots from the windows of Costco’s three-story headquarters in suburban Issaquah, Wash., decorated with Van Gogh reproductions purchased from Art.com.

 

When Chenault made the reverse trip to Issaquah, the Costco guys were tickled by how meticulously Amex choreographed his movements. “Ken Chenault would have an advance team come to our office before he visited,” says Paul Latham, Costco’s vice president for membership and marketing. “They planned everything—where he would enter the building, the route to the boardroom, where he’d sit at the table.” After breakfast, Chenault would often give an elaborate presentation about the performance of Amex’s Costco affinity card, using PowerPoint decks that looked like they took weeks, maybe months, to prepare. Costco just jotted down some notes for their CEO, Craig Jelinek, to talk about.

 

The Amex people, most of whom had MBAs, sometimes found it amusing to deal with Costco veterans who spoke about starting out stocking warehouse shelves. Less endearing was the habit Costco executives had of referring to Amex as a “vendor.”

 

...

 

Amex wasn’t happy about competing with global banks such as Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and its archrivals Visa and MasterCard. But Chenault fought for the deal—even though his company might actually lose money in some cases when Costco customers swiped the card. As the negotiations dragged into January 2015, however, he became agitated and called his counterpart to remind him that Amex hadn’t only furnished Costco with its prestigious card; it had been Costco’s “trusted partner.” Jelinek interrupted, according to people who were briefed by Chenault about the call, and told him that as far as he was concerned, Amex was another vendor, just like the one that sold Costco ketchup. “If I can get cheaper ketchup somewhere else, I will,” he said.

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Another thing to buy at Costco -- contact lenses. So much cheaper!

 

daysoft.com for the cheapest disposables i've found, anywhere.

 

Actually it's one of the few companies I love purchasing product from. The guy just does it right.

 

https://www.daysoft.com/usa/about-daysoft/meet-the-inventor/

 

During the 1980’s Ron was employed as vice-president of a major US eye-care company, CooperVision Inc. But driven by the belief that a daily disposable lens is more hygienic, Ron and his then business partner Bill Seden installed a moulding machine in Ron's back-garden ‘annex’ and began designing a new process for the production of contact lenses.

 

In early 1996 Bausch and Lomb, the world’s biggest eye care company, having failed to develop a suitable process technology themselves, approached Ron for distribution rights, Ron offered to sell them the company and the patent rights.

Following his 5-year non-compete agreement, Ron was very disappointed that the price of daily-disposables made by B&L, CIBA, J&J and CooperVision remained so high that many contact lenses wearers were still selecting lenses that need daily cleaning.

 

Ron decided to re-enter the market with an affordable, high-specification daily-disposable contact lens using unique technology, capable of replacing other brands.

 

Not only does he literally invent the product and tech, he re-enters the market solely to undercut everyone who is overpricing little pieces of plastic. Helluva dude.

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Jelinek interrupted, according to people who were briefed by Chenault about the call, and told him that as far as he was concerned, Amex was another vendor, just like the one that sold Costco ketchup. “If I can get cheaper ketchup somewhere else, I will,” he said.

 

Love it.

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I think that a lot of the people who shop at Costco don't shop around for the lowest prices. They just assume that they're getting the lowest prices, which allows Costco some leeway on pricing. That said, I think I go to Costco ~ twice a month while I go to Sam's Club ~ twice a year.

 

On average, Costco has both better employees and customers than Sam's Club. I went to one Sam's Club where there was no one taking care of the shopping carts. People were literally approaching people who had just left the store so that they could get their cart afterwards. And the person who was supposed to be checking the receipts at the exit was staring at her phone instead of looking at the carts. I also think the customers try to steal more there? I bought a box of trash bags and found some kind of cleaner inside. I also see more opened packages in the store, where people have obviously taken things.

 

I do love the bargain rack at my local Sam's Club though. I think the no prices thing scares people off, but I like playing the guessing game and being pleasantly surprised at checkout.

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I used to shop at costco a lot, but now rarely. My wife has very good memory on prices and she noticed costco is not cheap any more. They make things appear cheap, and some items are indeed cheap, but most of time it's more expensive than elsewhere.

 

My wife has started to notice the same thing.

 

That said sometimes a single purchase can mean savings that equal the value of a membership for years.  We also don't buy much food there, although that might change.  I have four boys and the older ones eat a TON of food.  There might finally be some savings from buying 50 oranges at the same time..

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I think that a lot of the people who shop at Costco don't shop around for the lowest prices. They just assume that they're getting the lowest prices, which allows Costco some leeway on pricing. That said, I think I go to Costco ~ twice a month while I go to Sam's Club ~ twice a year.

 

On average, Costco has both better employees and customers than Sam's Club. I went to one Sam's Club where there was no one taking care of the shopping carts. People were literally approaching people who had just left the store so that they could get their cart afterwards. And the person who was supposed to be checking the receipts at the exit was staring at her phone instead of looking at the carts. I also think the customers try to steal more there? I bought a box of trash bags and found some kind of cleaner inside. I also see more opened packages in the store, where people have obviously taken things.

 

I do love the bargain rack at my local Sam's Club though. I think the no prices thing scares people off, but I like playing the guessing game and being pleasantly surprised at checkout.

 

Don't want to start a class war here. But Walmart and Sams club members appear to be lower on the socio-economic ladder than the Costco members that I know. I like crowds that know for sure they are getting rock bottom prices and shops that serve them.  When Sam's has ($1, $2) discounts on items, just know that those prices will not be beat. Of late, I'm seeing more and more of branded items discounted to compete with the store brand (ex. toilet paper, laundry detergent, nutritional supplements etc.); Kirkland and Sam's Choice and Great Value brands have a useful purpose in society. For one, on the labels they print the unit price in large letters. I usually read that first.

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Costco Great for

1 - Fresh, organic produce in bulk, Fuji Apples, oranges, tomatoes etc

2 - Detergent, soap, Bodywash, toothpaste, stuff that won't go back and you need anyway.

3 - Jackets, clothing, hoodies, 32 degree long sleeve warm wear - they tend to have optimized sourcing process.  No style points here.  But price to performance can't be beat.

4 - Good meat, but pricey, lack of certain ethnic cuts such as soup bones etc

5 - No need to make decision about 30 types of soap

 

In short, Costco requires that you hold inventory and you earn quite a bit of savings by holding that inventory

 

Not good for

1. Large tubs of mayo, condiments, etc Can't seem to ever finish them

2. Selection if you want a specific type

3. Can't walk out of store without spending $200+

4. Tend to have leftover

5. Lacks variety, can't buy $2 worth of herbs

 

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Another thing to buy at Costco -- contact lenses. So much cheaper!

 

daysoft.com for the cheapest disposables i've found, anywhere.

 

Actually it's one of the few companies I love purchasing product from. The guy just does it right.

 

https://www.daysoft.com/usa/about-daysoft/meet-the-inventor/

 

During the 1980’s Ron was employed as vice-president of a major US eye-care company, CooperVision Inc. But driven by the belief that a daily disposable lens is more hygienic, Ron and his then business partner Bill Seden installed a moulding machine in Ron's back-garden ‘annex’ and began designing a new process for the production of contact lenses.

 

In early 1996 Bausch and Lomb, the world’s biggest eye care company, having failed to develop a suitable process technology themselves, approached Ron for distribution rights, Ron offered to sell them the company and the patent rights.

Following his 5-year non-compete agreement, Ron was very disappointed that the price of daily-disposables made by B&L, CIBA, J&J and CooperVision remained so high that many contact lenses wearers were still selecting lenses that need daily cleaning.

 

Ron decided to re-enter the market with an affordable, high-specification daily-disposable contact lens using unique technology, capable of replacing other brands.

 

Not only does he literally invent the product and tech, he re-enters the market solely to undercut everyone who is overpricing little pieces of plastic. Helluva dude.

 

 

LC - thanks for the heads on up on the contact lens company.  Might be big savings for my family. 

Winjitsu - thanks for posting the Costco video.  I very much enjoyed it.

 

 

I really admire business leaders who don't price gouge their customers to make as much as they can in the short run.

And I think they are safer businesses to own.  A business that overcharges customers is often one that stock buyers get overcharged on as well. 

 

 

 

 

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People looking for cheap/great deals shouldn't be looking at  Costco or Sam Club's... They need to hit the sales at regular grocery stores and stack offers with coupons/promos... Costco is more like everyday low-"ish" prices. 

 

I went to a couponing phase so coupons+sales at grocery stores would kill any Costco / WalMart prices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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People looking for cheap/great deals shouldn't be looking at  Costco or Sam Club's... They need to hit the sales at regular grocery stores and stack offers with coupons/promos... Costco is more like everyday low-"ish" prices. 

 

I went to a couponing phase so coupons+sales at grocery stores would kill any Costco / WalMart prices.

I would disagree with that....When I was a Costco member (2 years) could I find cheaper prices on items somewhere else?  Well, yes, I certainly could...but I would have to hunt & drive to find it.

 

On certain things...individual hummus & guacomole cups, Costco can't be beat for price & quality...house brand laundry detergent, Perrier, soda....and many other things they were either the cheapest/best or very close to it.

 

Costco also has excellent clothes & office furniture (shelving & such).  They have some good spices, Indian food, bulk rice & noodles & such that I have not been able to find cheaper.

 

Their price on meats was good...could be beat...but the freshness & cleanliness simply could NOT be beat.  The problem for me was buying in bulk.  What the hell is a single guy going to do with 5 lbs. of ground beef?  OR 12 lbs. chicken wings?

 

I also noticed that a lot of Indian folk & other Asians shop at Costco.  In my area, these folks have a "reputation" for finding good deals on items.  Costco also tends to have more "upscale" clients than Sam's Club...at least where I am at.

 

Of course, Detroit is kind of it's own unique area...so perhaps Sam's Club is different in different areas of the country.

 

I also know a Costco employee.  He says you have to "audition" on a part time basis for about a year for relatively low wages.  If you "make it" after your audition period, then you go to full time employment & benefits.  The wages are very, very good after you've worked there a few years.  Certainly much higher than Sam's Club.  Costco employees actually seem to be loyal & motivated...not so much with Sam's Club.

 

Just my observations from Detroit!

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