You may want to read their business model... I said "except few". They are in process of getting rid of all the name brand with their name "Kirkland".
For example, some of the rayban frams didn't do good in marketplace but still exist in the market. Mfg. ask kirkland to take the inventory as a bulk with discount.
Costco ask them to repackage with some additional stuff such as case etc. Ships to all of their warhouse and get bulk discount. Product arrives at the warhouse.
Customer returns the product after 30 days. Costco takes it back and resell back to discount store. They also got a return discount from Mfg. as well.
Their in-house label is a known rebadger. Various manufacturers make products to Costco-specifications and slap the Kirkland label on them. This is different from Costco buying old stock and designs that wouldn't sell and relabeling as Kirkland.
The way you describe it, the majority of Costco's non-food items are the kind of things that have already gone to market and sold poorly. This is probably true of things like clothes and fashion accessories but not really true of most of their items. If anything, Costco carries the middle of the road stuff that'll sell well to its middle-class customer base. You won't get the most cutting edge hot-items; you won't get bottom barrel performers either. Accordingly the deals on these items will also be somewhat mediocre.
Your glasses frames examples are a special case for a couple of reasons. First, because sunglasses fall into the fashion accessories category where Costco does tend to act as an overstock buyer (read: old stock and made-for-warehouses items). Second, because the industry is basically dominated by one monopoly company, Luxottica, that designs, manufactures, and sells most glasses under various names, including RayBan. If Costco is going to get any stock of brand name sunglasses and eyewear, they will have to take what Luxottica offers.
My own observations:
I've been a member of Costco and Sam's Club for years. There are very little differences between them. However, there are some, which I talk about below.
- Most grocery type items are the same, or equivalent brands and quality.
- Costco has a better variety of furniture than Sam's, indeed, some Sam's have none at all. The furniture is seasonal at Costco, at the moment they have a very high amount of it and good selection. However, the quality is so-so on the sofas. I bought a sectional sofa there last year (the "Canby" 7 piece modular set) and I may have to return it. The springs are felt right through the foam padding and they squeak. I don't think it'll last very long. We don't have kids or pets, and we're very gentle on furniture and it doesn't seem like it'll hold up even with mild use. It's going to be a hassle to return, but it was almost $1,000 and not very well made. Some other furniture we've bought there (TV stand, shelves) are fine and a good deal. Just stay away from the sofa's!
- Sam's has lower prices overall on grocery items.
- Sam's has a lower membership fee ($40 vs. $55 at Costco)
- Price of gas is the same at both, or within a penny. Arco has the same price as both, no membership required. At least around here, there's no savings at all on gas from shopping at either store as opposed to a discount gas station like Arco.
- Rotisserie chicken is identical at both, but last time I checked, Costco's was $1 cheaper when Sam's raised their price.
- Sam's has a clearance area in the back of most stores where they mark down merchandise, and sometimes you can find really, really good deals there. Look for orange markdown stickers. I always find people prowling over this stuff every time I go there.
- Sam's also marks down meat items nearly every day, come in the morning and save 30-40% off the regular price of many cuts of meat.
- As noted by others, you don't need to be a member at either store to get the samples, or to eat at the cafe inside (some Costco's are outside, making it even easier).
- Costco will allow non-members to use a store Gift Card, Sam's absolutely will NOT. Don't try it, it won't work...I already found this out the hard way. You can be sure Costco is well aware of the non-member gift card "loophole" and may change their policy eventually to prevent this. They might require the member that bought it to accompany the non-member when using the card, or some such.
- Non-members can use the pharmacy and buy alcohol at either store without membership. This is due to laws that require it, not because they like to be generous.
- You can cut the price of membership in half by joining with a friend or relative. Costco is stricter about wanting to see proof the secondary member lives at the same address. Sam's doesn't care - at least for now. All you need to do if asked, provide a utility bill showing the same address (scan and photoshop the "needed" address and print it out, bring it in for "proof").
- You can cancel membership at any time, for any reason, and get a full refund at both stores. You can wait until day 364 and cancel, if you feel you didn't get your money's worth.
- Costco has coupons they mail out - if you're lucky enough to get them to actually DO it. I've tried for years, they just don't come. I always have to pick up a coupon book in the store, and many times they're out, or hassle me: "you should have gotten one in the mail". Yeah, right. Good luck with that.
- Sam's has coupons too, but require the member to upgrade to the Advantage Plus membership ($100/yr) to get them. Not worth it, IMHO. They sometimes have promos where they allow standard members to get the discounts. Most of the discounts aren't that hot (neither are Costco's, but they don't require a higher level of membership to use them, at least).
- IMO, neither store is worth being a member if you don't save at least enough to pay for the membership fee. It takes a lot of savings to make up for $40 or $55 out of your pocket, no matter what people think!
- Neither store takes manufacturer coupons that all other grocery stores take. This is a signifigant disadvantage, as you can save more on many items by just shopping in your local grocery store. Many things are NOT a good deal if you have to buy more than you can use, and can't save more by using a coupon.
- Both stores have the hot dog/drink combo for $1.50 and pizza for about $1.88 (w/o drink). Both stores have shrunk the size of the dogs over the past few years to keep the price the same. I wonder if others have noticed how much smaller they are. I used to have a hard time to eat all of one - I estimate they're about 30-50% smaller than they used to be. Still a pretty good deal, though, when you want something cheap to eat. BTW, Sam's has real ice cream in their cafe's, Costco only has Frozen Yogurt.
- Costco is absolutely ANAL about non-members using a member's card. If they notice this, they can (and will, if you let them) confiscate the card from you. Don't try it. If your Costco has self-check lines, you might be able to get away with it for a while. However, they have a clerk standing there and sometimes ask to see ID, if they do, just refuse. If necessary, walk out without buying anything and come back later. Sam's doesn't enforce this nearly as much, or not at all. I loan my Sam's card to a number of people and there's never been an issue with it. Just don't be obvious about it and you won't have any problems there.
Well, there are some other differences, but this is some of the main things I can relate. I like and dislike both stores for different reasons, so that's why I have membership at both Overall, I prefer Sam's for lower prices, and Costco for unusual items not found elsewhere.
Edit: one more thing, don't buy Kirkland TP. It used to be a great deal and really high quality. They changed their supplier and the quality is TERRIBLE. We returned an entire package because it's such poor quality now. We're sticking with Charmin Ultra Strong, it doesn't fall apart on you (or in you, ugh!). More information here, read about it: http://www.ilovecostco.com/toilet-papers
so, if u get exe member and the trueearning ae card
does that mean u get the 2% cb from exe and also the cb from ae card too???
if it's not double cb, then why do u need exe? because don't u still get the cb from ae card already?
Have you used the Costco Cash Cards before at the store? Can you use that card to get cash back like you would with a Debit card purchase at the register?
Also, question about the Costco Amex, do you get the option of getting cash back at the register like you would when using the debit card?
The Costco Cash Card can only be preloaded by someone who is a member, as a gift (for a non-member) or for themselves to use. You can put any amount on the card you wish, I believe $10 is the minimum. You can pay in cash or use a debit card to load the cash card at the register. Once the amount on the card is depleted, the card cannot be reloaded if you aren't a member. Obviously, if you are a member, you can reload the card with more money, or just throw it away and use a new one. It's not a debit card in any sense of the word, it works just like any other stores gift card.
I don't have an AMEX card, so I can't say for sure if you can get cash back at the register or not with it. I do know for sure that if you use a normal DEBIT card (Visa,M/C) you can get cash back at the register, as I do this all the time. Since AMEX is a charge card and not a debit card, I don't know if you can get cash back in the same manner. Maybe someone who has one can comment on this.
True Facts: The chances of you dying on the way to get your lottery tickets is greater than your chances of winning
You can shop at Costco without a membership card if you know of someone who is a member.
1. Tell your friend to purchase multiple cash cards for you and load each of them with $10 (which is the minimum for those cards)
2. Each time you shop at Costco, you enter the store with your cash card. After you shop, no matter how much your purchases cost, you use your cash card to pay the first $10 and pay the rest in cash. For example, if your purchase amount is $80, you use up one of your cash cards and pay the remaining $70 in cash.
3. At each visit, you use up one cash card.
I do not shop at Costco too often and I ordered (through my friend) 10 cash cards with $10 on each of them. 10 cards lasts me almost a year. And before you run out, you just order more.
Or, you can also use your friends membership card, but this is against the terms of the membership agreement.
ok this sound sstupid but can you use the coupons that are mailed to you or given at customer service during your transaction?
and how would putting in gas without a costco membership work? just buy gift cards and use it ?
If costco sells beer where you live, the savings might be worth it!
Membership is not required for purchases of alcohol in the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Vermont.
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