Did you see the comic strip about the warehouse store shopper? It shows a car careening erratically down the street. Is the driver tanked in the middle of the day? No, he can’t see around 5,000 rolls of paper towels. Warehouse club stores have been around for a couple of decades now, and they are something you have probably considered. Or, you’re already a part of the tribe. Either way, Gildshire wishes you success when the time comes to join up. To that end, we built a list, (one item, at least, is counterintuitive) for getting the biggest bang from your membership.
First, let’s define the terms. By “warehouse” or “club” store we’re talking The Big Three, namely Costco, Sam’s Club, and B.J’s. Costco is nearly everywhere, Sam’s Club is nationwide, as well, while B.J’s are located in Ohio and points east. Most of our ideas are good at all three stores. We differentiate when necessary. Let’s get to the list.
1. Fill the Tank Before You Fill the Cart: Fuel prices are great at warehouse stores, but everyone gets their gas on the way out of the parking lot. The frozen foods in the trunk ask “why?”
2. Shop With a List: We can’t stress this one enough. At the neighborhood Piggly Wiggly, you can get away with an impulse buy, or maybe two. Give in to an impulse at Costco, and you’re eating for months something you craved for seconds.
3. Adults Only: By the way, that is NOT warehouse store policy. They love kids! But, it’s a lot easier to stick with your list without requests repeated into your left ear every four seconds. “Mom, MomMom, MomMom.” Find a friend to keep an eye on that voice. Your money just may last until next payday.
4. Prices with Odd Endings: Any price ending in a number other than 99 cents is due to a discount given to the warehouse store from the manufacturer. These are particularly good buys.
5. Shop Club Store Brands: You tried this at your neighborhood grocery store and were disappointed? Try it again at Costco with Kirkland, Sam’s Club with Simply Right and BJ ’s with Richelieu Foods, Wellsley Farms, and Berkley-Jensen. They are top quality.
6. Note the Asterisk: If your very favorite item shows an asterisk somewhere on the price tag, it’s being discontinued soon. Stock your shelves with these items, because they may be leaving forever.
7. The Flyer Will Not Help, and it Might Hurt: The flyer you’re given upon your arrival at the door doesn’t contain coupons, and you will always be given the best price. Don’t succumb to flyer temptation. It can be as bad as, “Mom, Mom, Mom.”
8. Take a Look at Eyewear: Bring your eyeglass prescription into the warehouse store. You’ll find fashion-forward eyewear, and the price will surprise you.
9. Printer Ink and Environmental Friendliness: Bring a refillable ink cartridge and save almost 50%. That keeps your part of ten thousand tons of plastic cartridges out of the landfill.
10. Shop at Rush Hour: We said at least one of our ideas would be counterintuitive. But, it makes sense if you think about it. All of those cars on the highway mean drivers who are not in line at the checkout. The queue at the sample table is shorter during rush hour on the interstate, too.
11. Finally, Nothing is Better Than a Post-Shopping Snack: Warehouse stores are called that for a reason. They have hard cement floors. Your feet will bitterly complain because they carried you around the store. Rest them and avail yourself of the club’s best deal. At Sam’s Club and Costco, it is the hot dog/soda deal for a buck and a half. At B.J’s it’s the good prices inside the Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk.
Enjoy your trip to the store, and enjoy that hot dog and soda. You deserve it for making such good life choices.