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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Costco vs. Sam’s Club: what’s the difference between the two massive warehouse retailers?

Woman’s Day
Costco vs. Sam’s Club, highlighting their similarities and differences

In this day and age, there are two mega subscription superstores in Grand Rapids: Costco and Sam’s Club. Many consumers have a membership to either one or the other because they are essentially the “same,” but just how similar are they?

As a member of both stores, I have noticed some aspects about each of the individual stores that highlight the differences between the two stores.

When it comes to the price of a membership, Sam’s Club is cheaper. For both stores, there are many benefits for the higher-end membership such as free shipping on online orders and reward programs in which shoppers can earn cash back. For a year-long basic membership to Sam’s, the price is $50, while the Sam’s Club Plus membership is $110 a year. For Costco, the Gold Star membership is $60, whereas for an Executive membership, it is $120.

At Costco, shoppers can earn a 2% cash-back reward—up to $1,000—on all Costco and Costco Travel purchases and discounts on numerous Costco services. At Sam’s Club, shoppers can also earn 2% cash back on certain transactions but only up to $500 a year. Therefore, Costco’s cash-back rewards are better than Sam’s Club’s.

In the aspect of prices and products in store, the stores differ. At the food court in Sam’s, a shopper can get a hot dog and soda combo for $1.38, whereas for 12 cents more at Costco, someone can get that same combo. While the price of the food differs slightly, the real difference is in the ordering process.

I loved walking by the little carts at opposite ends of the aisles filled with plates of bite-sized snacks.

While at Sam’s in the middle of the week, I was in line to order a Strawberry frozen yogurt. After waiting in line for 10 minutes, I then stood for an additional 15-20 minutes for my singular cup of yogurt to be ready. Yes, they were busy, but it took a little bit too long for my liking. On the other hand, instead of only having the option to wait in line, Costco has self-ordering machines where a customer can input the order themselves, cutting down on the time waiting in line. This allowed me to get my food in a more timely and efficient manner.

In regards to supply and the products in both stores, Sam’s carries more name-brand items and tends to be on the cheaper side. Additionally, both stores have their own generic brands. Costco has Kirkland, and Sam’s Club has Members Mark. The Kirkland and Member Marks brands make products for many different departments, including food, beauty, and even dog food.

One of my favorite parts of both stores is the abundance of different foods dispersed around the store to sample. As I wandered through Costco and Sam’s, purchasing all of my unnecessary necessities, I loved walking by the little carts at opposite ends of the aisles filled with plates of bite-sized snacks. Though both stores have them, I do feel that Costco is more consistent in often having samples around the stores for shoppers to try.

I love the atmosphere both stores create with their very similar layouts and amenities. But, if I had to choose just one to be a part of, Costco would be the winner. Though it has heftier prices, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

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About the Contributor
Autumn VanSolkema
Autumn VanSolkema, Staff Writer
Autumn is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves a good romance novel, but loves her corgi more. If she is not belting out Taylor Swift songs, she is teaching herself new songs on the guitar or ukulele. You can find her cheering on the sidelines of football games or coaching her little fourth-grade cheer team. Autumn has grown up loving the theatre, being both on the stage and in the audience. She has performed in many shows and regularly begs her parents to take her to New York again to see more Broadway productions. Autumn is an avid photographer, with her camera roll being filled with 19k+ photos over the last two years. Her least favorite things in the world: Balloons and Styrofoam. Her favorite musicalsWaitress and Mamma Mia Number of surgeries she's had: 7 Her favorite condiments: Mayo and Ranch Favorite season: Just like her name, it's autumn

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