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View Diary: Walmart my family and i spent 100k at Costco over the last 5 years. (31 comments)

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  •  I heartily WISH I could shop at Costco, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, chimene

    they have nothing for me!

    The only times I've set foot in Walmart recently have to been to get my pootie's insulin and syringes, since she was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago. She's doing great, thank you.

    After holding my nose every time I went to Walmart to pick up her supplies, I decided last time I refilled her syringe Rx, I'd transfer to Costco as a trial run, plus I'd get a chance to look around and see how it would work for regular shopping. When I called in the transfer, they quoted me a price that was about $5-7 less than Walmart. So I thought I was off to a good start.

    BUT

    When I picked up the syringes, the final price came out about $2 under Walmart's, which wasn't worth the gas & extra driving time to Costco. Plus they didn't give the brand I'd specified so I lost the half-unit marking I need when I adjust the dosage.

    Okay. I walked all through the Costco looking for something I might could use for other needs. I know Costco sells stuff in bulk, which is why I avoided because I'm one person with a cat and I don't need to buy toilet paper by the case. I walked all around the store pushing my cart with the wrong syringes in it and found nothing of any use to me at all.

    Long story short, if you're a single or small household, and you're not thrilled about getting a boxed set of an olive oil sprayer plus a pepper grinder at a discount, Cosco is not for you.

    It's great that they treat their employees so well and all, but they market to a distinct segment of the consumer population. If you're not part of that segment, it's just not gonna work.

    "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 09:59:08 AM PST

    •  Jan, don't think of it as only a big box store. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      You've got to think of Costco as an investment in local and national values and practices around employment, benefits, etc.

      That's partly what you decide (or not) you're willing to spend extra time driving to Costco for.  Or partly why you decide to only go there for syringes (without half-unit marking, admittedly).

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 10:32:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, my point is - Costco is frequently portrayed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene, petral

        (especially in this diary) as an alternative to Walmart, and that's just not true.

        For small households and people on a limited budget Walmart may very well be the only option. I have a friend like that who's diabled, retired and lacks transportation. On a good day he is just able to get to Walmart and back using his walker. It's the only place he can get to that offers fresh produce (albeit walmart produce). His other options are a dollar store and a Valero convenience store. Sometimes he gets rides to other, more pc stores (and I help him when I can) but that's not always a given.

        I'd like it if all retail establishments  operated with the values that Costco does, but that's not the case. I'd like it if Costco offered the kind of price range and ability to buy single items (I buy toilet paper by the roll or the 4-pack not by case!) that Walmart does. As it stands Costco does not serve me, and many others like me.

        It does no good to preach to me about national values and then ask me to buy something that I don't need. I actually find that kind of offensive.

        Instead of saying "shop at Costco" maybe we collectively need to argue for getting Costco's operating values and model extended to more businesses and retail establishments.

        "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

        by jan4insight on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 11:52:25 AM PST

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        •  jan4insight: you need a bit more storage space (0+ / 0-)

          I wager.

          Figure the cost of that TP at a per-roll price. See if it doesn't cover your gas. I am sorry about the syringes -- can you get the right ones at Walgreens instead of WalMart?

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 11:58:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow talk about missing the point!!!!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            petral

            I'm not asking for shopping advice!

            No I am NOT going to buy toilet paper by the case . End of the story.

            No I am not going to the wrong syringes. Afaik Walmart is the only place to get and I have no time or energy to go chasing around town for another place --- but that's irrelevant, too.

            I offered my story as one example of why people shop at Walmart instead of Costco. Multiply that by the thousands of decisions millions of people are making every day. Now consider the task of trying to change hearts & minds so people are willing to shop are more enlightened, for want of a better word, establishments.

            It's not going to work if the only alternative offered (Costco) is something that a large segment of consumers (small households) can't use!!!!!!

            Do you hear me now?

            "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

            by jan4insight on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 12:06:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hear frustration and anger (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              a2nite, concernedamerican

              which are what happen to me nearly every time I'm forced, by lack of other sources here in town, to darken a Wal-Mart door. When I think of the damage that corporation's done to wages, local businesses, and our tax base, though, I can figure ways to do without.

              I find their goods lower in quality as well as not significantly lower in price, and their selection exceptionally limited.

              I can beat their prices at HEB for groceries (easily!!!!) or online (again, usually with delivery included; the gas / wear-and-tear savings on our 1990s vehicles are well worthwhile to me). We're a household of two.

              And I can hardly wait to have a Costco here.

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 12:11:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No the frustration is because my point still (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chimene

                wasn't heard. It's not about my shopping venues , which are mostly at places like Trader Joe's, Walgreens, The Vintage Cottage and a local indie chain  that I adore. But then, I have a car and I can get to those places. Not everyone can.

                My point was about the vast group of people, most of them at the lower end of the low income stream, who have almost no choice but to shop at walmart. Costco is not an alternative for them (like my friend).

                That's all I'm gonna. say Clearly I am not being heard around here.
                 

                "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

                by jan4insight on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 12:27:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  typo fix: The Vitamin Cottage. (0+ / 0-)

                  a chain of health food stores mostly in CO & NM and now I believe a couple other states. Best prices around, and much more palatable than Whole Foods for a lot of reasons!

                  "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

                  by jan4insight on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 12:28:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  one of the things we need to address (3+ / 0-)

                    if we ever manage a new WPA in this country: public transit that's not just ADA compliant but works for everybody.

                    I have loathed Wal-Mart ever since my kid brother got a job with them, several years before Desert Storm, and revealed how they treated their workforce back then.

                    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 12:43:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I hear you, Jan. We are a family of 3 and have to (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jan4insight, llywrch

                  work fairly hard to make a Costco trip "pay". Fortunately for us, our town is fairly large, and the rest of the retail sector was NOT decimated when Wally-World started to move in. (And still isn't, even with... at least 4 in town now).

                  But Costco is built around consumption of "mass quantities", and their product selection is probably their biggest weakness. They appear to buy job-lots, in all departments, and just because you could find Product Q last time you needed it, is absolutely no guarantee that Product Q will be on the shelf next week! (toilet bowl cleaner for pete sake, the most recent example of that!)

                  We're picky about brands too, have to be, with the allergies & sensitivities. Costco stocks on the "a can of tuna is a can of tuna" basis. But they don't carry the can-of-tuna brand that my research has shown me is safe enough, AND is the brand of my childhood! They stock their books on a lowest-common-denominator basis (HORRIBLE stuff sometimes, but NYT best-sellers); and their movie prices are no better than anywhere else in town...

                  The store IS built on the far edge of town, not hardly accessible by our piddly bus service, and besides, who wants to try to get "mass quantities" of anything home on the bus!?!

                  Well, they DO always seem to have Cheerios in stock, which is one of the things we DO go out there for. Their gas price IS the best in town. My DH does get a measurable saving on his testing lancets. We got a reasonable price on our last TV there. They DO have a reasonable magazine discount, although with what they carry, I only buy one or two issues a year there.

                  So, their employment policies are fantastic, but they are not the best or only store in town, FOR US. (we have to shop about a dozen stores these days to collect everything we need; a couple of decades ago it was half as many (fewer stores but they ALL carried bigger variety of stock!)

                  "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

                  by chimene on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 08:44:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Some other ways to look at Costco & the like (0+ / 0-)

      First, I hear you about the fact that Costco markets "to a distinct segment of the consumer population". The first time I walked into one I cringed at viewing this temple to consumerism. Sometimes I wonder if they offer anything in quantities smaller than the pallet load. And the crowds, & the lines...

      But consider that they have a number of other ways to benefit a customer. Some Costcos have programs with local dealerships for discounts on new cars, & they offer new tires, & also have programs with other groups like various contractors, &c.

      I'm not saying that everyone ought to immediately go out & buy a Costco membership, but that this retailer does offer other benefits than discount prescriptions & savings on toilet paper & staples. So it is a good idea for anyone to research whether Costco offers a savings in various specific instances. (And a friend with a Costco membership could let you benefit from it in those specific instances.)

      And there are other potential ways to save money & not shop at that store. Here in Portland, OR there's a local chain of restaurant supply stores that offers savings on food items similar to Costco -- only one can buy the items in quantities smaller than the pallet load. Anyone who has more time than money who lives in a town with a number of restaurants ought to investigate these as a possible alternative.

      Just some thoughts for anyone reading this thread.

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