Sam’s Club vs. Costco

This blogpost will attempt to compare Sam’s Club to Costco as I see them.  These are just my own opinions.  I recently joined Costco after getting a good deal on membership. I also still belong to Sam’s Club. Since I have had the opportunity to compare these wholesale clubs, I will share my findings with you.  If you’re on the fence about which wholesale club to join, perhaps I can help you decide.

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My kids are cute when they go to Sam’s Club (even if one has a dirty face).

How Sam’s Club Has It Over Costco…

1. Click n’ Pull.  Sam’s Club offers a service called Click n’ Pull.  I pick out my groceries online, tell them when I will pick them up and they have a grocery cart waiting for me full of my stuff.  As a mother of many young little children who lives about 90 miles from the closest wholesale club, this service is invaluable. This is the main reason that I will not cancel my Sam’s Membership. I can be in and out of Sam’s in less than a half hour, car seats, lines and all.

2.  Sam’s Club takes all payment methods. Costco only accepts cash, American Express, checks or debit cards.  Sam’s Club takes everything.  I don’t have an American Express card.  I manipulate my rewards credit cards and usually receive 2-3% back on my grocery purchases.  That 2-3% adds up to a lot of extra cash in my pocket.

3. Sam’s Club’s website seems to cater to business.  I have bought more than a few items over the years on Sam’s website.  They have more things that my very small little home-based business needs.  They ship the majority of it for free that is unavailable in their store.  This is a win-win. They have all of their grocery prices posted online.  This makes budgeting and unit price comparisons easier.

4.  Sam’s Club opens at 7 a.m. I am a business member.  I am allowed in during their early shopping hours.  Although it isn’t often that I’m in Colorado Springs or Denver at such early hours, it’s nice to know that when I need them they’ll be there for me.  Costco doesn’t open until 10 a.m.

5. Sam’s has wi-fi. Costco does not. This might not be an issue for you, but for anyone in the stone age like me who just this year got a kindle and takes it with me on outings for when I occasionally need to access the web, wi-fi is a wonderful convenience.

6. Sam’s Club gives three cards with their Business Membership. I am a Business Member of Sam’s Club.  They gave me three cards.  One card has only the business name on it and is supposed to be only used for checks.  My husband carries this one.  He uses it for gas.  He also uses the self-checkout and pays how he wants to.  My friend is a joint member on our membership.

My kids are cute when they go to Costco.  (Vince was at speech therapy while we ran next door to Costco.)

My kids are cute when they go to Costco. (Vince was at speech therapy while we ran next door to Costco.)

How Costco Has It Over Sam’s…

1. Costco has brighter atmosphere than Sam’s.  Costco seems to be aimed at higher class customer.  They have a better lighting in their stores.  I have yet to find a shopping cart with a broken safety strap.  They have two employees per register so their lines move faster.  Their store is cleaner.  Their snack area is yummier.  They offer tons more samples.  Costco is all-around a nicer place to shop.

2. Costco pays their employees better. I like being a customer of a store where they provide their employees a living wage.  It just makes more sense.

3. At Costco, you can return things forever. I have never tested this out, but that’s what they tell me.

4.  Costco offers a lot more healthy options. Costco offers organics for cheap or the same price as the non-organic food.  They have more gluten-free items.  Their produce is far superior.  Sam’s produce cannot even hold a candle to Costco’s produce.

We've belonged to Sam's for a few years and a few kids ago.

We’ve belonged to Sam’s for a few years and a few kids ago.

Where Sam’s Club and Costco are equal…

1. Customer Service?  I have had a few incidents with Sam’s Club over the years.  They have always made it right.  I haven’t had the chance to test out Costco yet.

2.  Prices. On one thing I buy Sam’s is a dollar cheaper there.  On another Costco is a dollar cheaper.  All around, I think their prices even out.

3. Rewards Memberships.  Sam’s Club recently changes their memberships to earn a percentage (2%) of purchases back.  This is in the top level membership and not their basic one.  Costco offers the same thing, although my membership is just the lower level there.

4. Neither wholesale club accepts coupons.  B.J.’s in New Jersey takes coupons, so I’m told, but they are not in Colorado.

These are only my experiences.  Having big family and living very far from “real” stores I really think a wholesale club membership is necessary.  I hope my comparison helps you to decide which club to join.


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