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Choosing Between Costco, BJ's in the Boston and Burbs area? [Moved from the Boston Board]

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We live 1/2 mi. from a BJ's and have used it over the years for a fairly short list of items. But we have let our membership lapse lately. Boston CHs always talk Costco and rarely BJs. Has anyone done a comparison for quality of food goods or do most people choose based on location ?

I am prompted to ask by the recent thread on olive oil where a number of CHs cited Costco evoos.(BJs hasn't had a good one since Collavita many yrs ago.) Thnx much.

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  1. BJs has a much wider variety of food options, and I've always found the quality of their food to be comparable.

    But overall BJs is about $1 more per item on average (and much more on electronics) and that adds up really fast. I think the quality of Costco's non-food merchandise is somewhat better than BJ's, and Costco's return policy is MUCH better.

    1. I had a BJ's membership and let it go, even the gas was more expensive than the local stations. I also found most items were more expensive than a regular super market. Granted they may have more of a choice than Costco but, overall, they really can't compete. Warning this may be moved to the chains thread.

      1. You can get sliced meats and cheese at BJ's but not at Costco, but I stopped using BJ's because I never found any reason to buy stuff there. I find stuff at Costco all the time. They have better cheese and meat and a more interesting selection of food stuff overall, though BJ's likely has more actual items. The olive oil is a good example: Costco has at least 3 versions of Berio for a very good price.

        1. Dedham has a Costco and a BJ's within a very short distance of each other. Have bought Tbones at both- Costco is vastly superior in the meat dept.

          1. Hi OC, we only have a Costca membership so I can't offer comparisons, but i'll tell you what I buy there & maybe someone else will chime in.

            It's too bad the mods didn't leave this on the Boston board; IME the different Costco stores carry different items. When we lived in Brookline we'd go to the Waltham Costco if wine was on our shopping list; otherwise I thought that the Everett store had better selection of food, especially the higher-end stuff.

            A couple of years ago the Everett location was selling foie gras terrine. I haven't seen it since (wah) but they usually have two-packs of Les Trois Petit Cochons pates around the holidays. They have a nice three-year-aged cheddar from Cabot (I think), St Andre, big chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano etc.

            I agree about the meat and especially like to buy their flank steak. They carry decent quality canned crabmeat but the price is not as competive as say, Trader Joe's. the frozen wild-caught salmon is pretty good, for a decent price.

            They usually have fresh raspberries and blackberries for a good price year-round. The Everett store has added a few Asian ingredients in recent months, such as Korean seasoned seaweed and precooked brown rice in single-serving bowls. Their green tea got good reviews from Consumer Reprots (I think that was it...).

            I'm sure I'm forgetting somethings but you get the idea...of course, you need to be able to use up all the 3-lb blocks of cheese. I usually plan my cooking around a few ingredients & then go load up at Costco :-)

            1. In my experience, BJ's is just a poor imitator. Really no comparison.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                Another plus for Costco is that if you travel in the US you'll find a Costco near by, BJ's is mostly in the Northeast.

              2. If you like free samples, it's Costco by a mile.

                We now have a Costco about 4 miles away vs the nearest BJ's about 8 miles away. I would have gotten rid of the BJ's membership after the Costco opened were it not for the fact that BJ's carries a much wider variety of certain basic food items -- canned fruit, cereal, etc. Much of Costco's canned fruits and veggies are in very large sizes that are aimed at the mom and pop eatery market.

                Costco is definitely a "classier" store -- which seems like an odd criteria when talking about warehouse stores -- and its prices on what they carry are excellent.

                Bottom line: Costco is our regular weekly store, and I still hit BJ's about once every 4-5 weeks.

                1. There's a BJs within sight of Russo's, which makes it so utterly convenient that I see no reason to even think about Costco as an option.