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Nov 14, 2010 08:44 AM

Price compare: BJs & Costco vs Target/other supermarkets

Does anyone know of any article published in consumer publications (or web sites) comparing prices at BJs or Costco with those at Target or other discount suypermarkets?

The last time I was at BJs, I noticed that altho some items were priced very competitively, most were not. And then I looked around at the shoppers, and what they had in their baskets, andmost of the shoppers did not look to me like particularly savvy shoppers, and most had items that could have been obtained for less money (perhaps in a different brand, size, etc0 elsewhere. Not to mention the need to buy humongous quantities.

I no longer shop at those places. (Among other reasons, the parking lots at these places are horrendous, with shoppers apparently in such pursuit of "bargains" that they;'ve turned off their brains, and do not drive intelligently--thereby making me spend extra time in the lot.)

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  1. White I don't know of any article per se, I do agree with you. There are many products that can be obtained at better prices at the supermarket (notably many paper goods). But if you do a lot of baking, the spices and 25lb bags of flour at Costco are hard to beat.

    1. BJ's is much priceier that Costco, in fact, the company is for sale, very telling. I don't find the quantity issue a problem for the things I buy. Example; purchased a HP laptop for over $200 less than HP itself. Tires, as well, fall into the same category, no one could beat their price.

      3 Replies
      1. re: treb

        Your takeaway from why BJ's is up for sale is not correct. It's up for sale because a prominent company that invests in retail chains thinks it's undervalued and made an unsolicited offer to buy it, so the BJs management team said, "Well, since they've offered $x, let's see what others are willing to pay."

        1. re: Bob W

          one man's junk is another man's gold! It's only a 'regional player' and can't compete with Costco. One thing I like about Costco is that when I travel, there most likely near by. I had a BJ's membership and they couldn't even compete on their gas prices. Most stations beat them by many cents per gal. Actually, it's probably unfair to compare BJ's to Costco because of the regional thing.

          1. re: treb

            We have one lonely BJ's down here (Fairfax County VA) and I wish we had more. Costco is great and it's our primary warehouse (weekly visits) but I still hit the BJs about once a month because they carry things the Costco doesn't (more cereals, canned fruits, etc).

      2. I agree that for many items you can do better at regular stores at normal quantities, especially if you're smart about sales and coupons. But there are definitely some items on my "only at Costco" list--Tillamook cheddar, San Pelligrino lemon/orange soda, A1 steak sauce, Jif--that are about half the price they'd be in a regular store.

        And I like buying paper towels and then not worrying about them for a few months! Basements rule!

        1. First of all, I don't go near a Costco or it's parking lot on weekends. If I need fuel, I know it opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 9:30 p.m. and go within 30 minutes of those times.

          I don't think there are price comparisons since prices fluctuate based on availablity and location. Especially for national stores.

          How does a shopper appear to look savvy via their purchases? The case of wine that is in every Trader Joe shopper basket makes them look 'savvy'? Or is it the once a month shopper in the regular grocery store with a file folder of coupons arranged by aisle you think is 'savvy'? Maybe buying a case of paper towels which does end up being the same price as a three pack with a coupon on sale this week at the grocer makes the one trip every two months use less fuel for that person, so it is savvy to buy in bulk at Costco.

          I happen to live 3 miles from my Costco and shop there regularly. I also shop the other food stores, Trader Joe's and Fresh and Easy. Costco sells higher end food products for less. The other items I purchase there are also less than I can get elsewhere. I do know and compare prices.

          All the Costco members worldwide are not mind numbed robots. It's a choice to join and shop at Costco. If you don't want to, you don't have to.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cathy

            One thing I find is that Costco will sell name brands at about the price or less as store brands which are usually lacking in quality. Also if you get the Kirkland brand it usually is better quality than brand names.

            1. re: Cathy

              ****If I need fuel, I know it opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 9:30 p.m. and go within 30 minutes of those times.***

              Please know that this is the time on weekdays. The gas stations close earlier on the weekend (usually an hour after the warehouse closes).

            2. "most had items that could have been obtained for less money (perhaps in a different brand, size, etc0 elsewhere."

              So basically, apples and oranges. Not much of an analysis, I have to say.