What’s the deal with warehouse clubs? You know, places like Sam’s Club and CostCo. They charge you $40 – $70 for the privilege of shopping in their dreary warehouse. Why do they charge you for going in their crummy store? I know, because they can, but really why do all these suckers line up to pay an entry fee to a store?
I’ve looked around and the prices at Sam’s aren’t enough different from WalMart to make a real difference except in rare cases. Plus you have to buy a skid-load or five gallons of mayonnaise at Sam’s to get the deal. In addition, there is almost zero choice. That one brand of mayonnaise is the one you’re buying. At WalMart you at least have a few choices.
CostCo pretends to be more upscale. They have more brand-y stuff and the aircraft hangar looks a little nicer. Plus there aren’t as many ethnics shopping there, if you know what I mean. However, they charge more and you actually pay more than Sam’s and WalMart for stuff. They claim to have exclusive stuff, but it’s only exclusive from not being at Sam’s or WalMart or Target. They charge you more for being in their “club.”
So what’s the deal with “club?” It’s not like a real club where you go to meet people with like interests (except for being cheap). Clubs used to be exclusive places where people went to get away from their spouses or children or to mix with toni friends or talk about postage stamps. You could brag about your membership in certain exclusive clubs; you had to be voted into the club. Here you just have to fork over the jack. You have to wave that stupid card, like if they sold anything to a non-member it would break the corporation or some secret pact. Who goes around showing other people their Sam’s or CostCo card? “Look, I got into Sam’s Club.” Nobody does that. Maybe the manufacturers are afraid that regular people will find out they can get a deal on a five-gallon pail of ketchup. You have to keep the price a secret to non-members. I don’t get it. Why isn’t it just the Sam’s store, no entry fee?
The shopping experience, even at Sam’s, is actually a step up from the dreary WalMart. I guess ’cause the ceilings are higher and the floors are cleaner. I suppose it’s that entry fee that does it.
You can eat at Sam’s. A big Nathan’s Famous hot dog and an endlessly refillable drink is only $1.50. Homeless people should come there and live at Sam’s. The $40 up front keeps them out though. A big charity should donate the $40 each for a bunch of poor people and then let them hang at Sam’s; camp in the airport-sized parking lot that is never more than half full. Then it wouldn’t be such an exclusive “club” for people anymore.