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Thread: Costco versus BJ's Club

  1. #1
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    Default Costco versus BJ's Club

    Not sure why I am bothering to ask. But they recently opened a BJ's Club much nearer to my house than the various Costco's which I find my wife and I go to rather frequently.

    Today I took a "tour" on a one day pass. Maybe this is a smaller BJ's club than most or something, but I it did not seem up to Costco standards at all, and I saw nothing it had that Costco did not have. I mean Costco's selection is often not extensive, which makes sense, but BJ's Club seemed really limited. Maybe some of the prices seemed slightly better. Maye the price difference makes BJ's worth it, but I see no way of easily figuring out any price differences.

    Am I overlooking something? I would probably join if it made sense to do so, just because it is closer, but at $50, it does not seem appealing, and may not otherwise be worth the trip even if I had a free membership.

    If the other BJ Club stores are bigger and "better," it might be worth a trial, I suppose.

    Does BJ's Club ever have discount deals on membership?

    BJ's Club does take VISA credit cards, which is a plus.

    Also, I suppose, thinking about it a bit, I do like what I hear about Costco's employment practices and do not like what I hear about Walmart's.
    Rob

    Coldest story ever told somewhere far along this road he lost his soul

  2. #2
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    Walmart doesn't own BJs. Walmart owns Sam's Clubs. BJs is its own corporate entity.

    I'm not sure how one judges whether a BJs is "large" or "small," but we belong to our local BJs (the nearest Costco is about 15 miles away...too far).

    I've been in both. My assessment is that Costco is probably cleaner and better managed and its own perishable food (meats, produce and bakery) are of better quality than BJs. But for me BJs has a much better selection of products within a particular category. Pricewise I really can't compare the two. Sometimes, food on sale at a supermarket costs less than you'd pay to buy it in bulk at BJs. But BJs does put out a monthly coupon circular that usually has between 5-1 usable coupons with good savings.

    Honestly, if you belong to Costco I wouldn't see much of a reason to add a membership to BJs (and vice versa). If I had to choose between the two, I'd actually compare the actual stores, rather than the brands, to see which had more stuff I was likely to buy.

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    Any doubt which one has the better name?
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    I used to use a lot of the BJ's 60 day passes (I think if you Googled it, you can print one out), but all of the ones I tried out in our area did not have produce sections. Costco's mangoes alone are a reason to shop there.

  5. #5
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    Here is how I stacked the two up. Membership costs: Costco $50 per 12 months, BJ's $50 for 15 months. BJ's does except all major Credit Cards. Costco only american express. Our Costco seems to have more retail type things such as TV's, clothing, furniture, etc. etc. Our BJ's has more food/grocery items than Costco, but less on the other stuff.
    Our particular Costco is always crowded with little parking available and further away that the BJ's. Went with BJ's instead of costco, because we use it more for groceries than other purchases. (plus there was special offer since it was a new store $40 for 15month member ship)
    John :::Montani Semper Liberi:::

  6. #6
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    We have a BJ's which just opened in our area. They offered a 15 month membership for 2 people for $40.00. I joined just to give it a trial. So far I've found the deals to be O.K., but a bigger savings on food items. As for the size, it seems fine for me, but I have nothing to compare it to, and the closest Costco to us is 39 miles away. Quite a few people in my area used to go to Costco, and they've said that the BJ's is comparable.

    I realize that you have to compare prices, because sometimes you can find even better deals at the big supermarkets and Wal Marts in our area. Overall though I'm satisfied with BJ's, and will probably renew the membership when it expires.
    Regards, Paul

  7. #7
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    never heard of bj's club..I know of Costco and their competition is SamsClub here in socali

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    I have memberships with both. I prefer Costco as I find their quality to be a bit better and the store and items to be a bit nicer BUT BJ's carries the diapers we were using with my son so it paid to keep BJ's. I'll say that BJ's seems to sell stuff in smaller quantities, particularly the grocery items so you don't have to worry as much about buying something you won't be able to use up.
    -- Darrin

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    We use both (Costco is a free family membership as our son works for them). I mostly go to BJ's as it is right on my way home from work and the next Costco is about 8 miles away with heavy traffic, so a pita to bet to it. I think they are here in our area quite comparable, maybe Costco has a better selection in food.
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    I was about to ask if anyone really understood their business model, but did a search and found this 5+ year old article that noted that 70+% of their operating income was from Warehouse Club Membership Fees. I did not expect to see such a high income number, and wondered why they didn't just operate more like a regular store and get sales volume that way. Based on the linked article, BJ's carries more items than Costco.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for all of the thoughtful comments. Sorry, I was confusing Sam's Club and BJ's. I guess the one BJ's I have been in--the one today--has a sort of Sam's Club look to it from the outside based on my limited experience. Also, it reminded me on the inside of the one Sam's Club I have been in, which is quite awhile ago now. The Sam's store seemed much larger.

    Interesting comments. Based on my sample of one of BJ's stores, and five or so Costco's in the general area, BJ's seems "cleaner" and way more "modern" but the BJ's store is brand spanking new. But Costco is plenty clean enough for my purposes.

    Again, based only on a quick survey, Costco seems to blow BJ's away on food quality. BJ's seemed pretty much like any supermarket when it came to groceries. Similar selection. Not much being done in house. No brands that struck me as unusual for any local chain. Costco seems to do lots of stuff in house and has some high quality stuff, in brands I never see elsewhere. Excellent prepackaged deli for instance. Cheeses. Prepared foods. Great prices on high quality crackers. Piles and piles of fresh baked goods. The Costco produce around here is hard to beat. Mangoes, for sure. BJ's seemed to have some good fruit, especially citrus, but not the cornicopia Costco is. Acres of freezers at Costco.

    I can see how BJ's might be better as a standard grocery store, though. It certainly seemed complete as far as types of items offered and standard brands offered.

    BJ's had few clothes. Only some underwear and some socks, that I saw, and the selection was very limited.

    BJ's drugstore items seemed decent. Not as many supplements and vitamins as Costco. Prices seemed better.

    Costco in Virginia has a very large and far ranging wine selection. BJ's had some good wines, at what seemed like slightly better prices than Costco, but the selection was much smaller, and seemed like an after thought.

    Not much furniture at BJ's or outdoor stuff. Nice paddle boards though--not cheap. Small office supply section. Maybe, I was looking in the wrong place, though. Decent automotive section.

    I think I will stop there. Thinking back, the non-grocery part of this store was clearly a heck of a lot smaller than the Costco's around here. So I guess it could not be expected to carry the number of items and types of items that Costco carries. Thus, not a fair comparison. No dis to BJ's for this, but I got something of an impression that BJ's was going for a lower income demographic than Costco--ergo fewer gourmet-type items like cheeses at BJ's, fewer wines, nopt the number of expensive applicances small and large.

    Thanks again. I will look for those 60 day passes!
    Rob

    Coldest story ever told somewhere far along this road he lost his soul

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