Skip to main content

Costco vs BJ's: My review

When it comes to Costco vs BJ's, I have always thought they were about the same. And since I lived just 5 minutes away from a Costco at my old house, I've had a Costco membership for the past 7 years. But we moved recently, and Costco was no longer a hop, skip and jump away. In fact, it's about a 15 minutes drive away. So we decided to try BJ's after a couple of their coupons arrived in our mailbox. This is my review of the shopping experience at BJ's.

Put simply, shopping at BJ's is chaotic, confusing and stress-inducing. Why? Let me list the ways: first you have to present your coupons to the cashier at checkout. Now if you've never shopped at Costco, you might wonder why is that a big deal. The big deal is that Costco doesn't do this! If an item has a coupon, the coupon is automatically applied at checkout. Apart from feeling that company is working with you to save money, that should also speed up the check out process. Especially when you consider that these are warehouse stores i.e. people are usually buying a bunch of stuff and having to hunt for coupons at checkout can take some time.

Second, BJ's sends out a coupon booklet periodically. What's bad in that? Nothing except all the coupons in a booklet don't have the same start and end dates! Our first time at BJ's, we ended up with all these coupons we couldn't use because they weren't valid yet or had expired. For the first time BJ's customer, that's incredibly confusing and not an inviting shopping experience. Of course we had the option of not buying those items but try telling 3-year old twins who have been patient as you spent an hour moving around a giant warehouse...try telling them that their cinnamon sticks won't be coming home with us.

In addition to these 2 reasons, you also have these minor annoyances:

  • I paid for a membership over 2 months ago and have yet to receive a coupon booklet in the mail
  • BJ's has different color coupon sheets (green, blue, pink) in addition to the coupon booklet
  • The checkout guys at BJ's don't draw stick figures at the back of the receipts. My kids love to get those drawings....
Overall, I just felt that BJ's shopping experience was like an obstacle course which, if I navigated it correctly, gets me the same price as I would get by merely walking into Costco, grabbing stuff and checking out. About the only thing BJ's does better than Costco is that the aisles are labeled and Costco turns over their brands very quickly (I once bought a frozen thai chicken that was really great. Came back a few weeks later and it was gone, never to be seen at a Costco again). 

So there you have it. If you are wondering which membership to get, ask yourself this "do I get enjoyment from cutting coupons, putting them in binders and remembering to carry them everywhere with me?"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

InfoPath & SharePoint (Part 1)

A departure from sports and politics. This one is about technology.

InfoPath sucks and SharePoint is the most expensive piece of crap ever. InfoPath, as a development environment, has absolutely no redeeming value. It's worthless and if your boss ever thinks of using it, you have three options:

convince him not to (not easy once he's been brainwashed by the Microsoft marketing presentations)use one of Al Gore's lockboxes to store away your sanity 'cos you'll lose it. Also, pad your estimates very generously. You'll need every bit of time you can get.
quit immediately while you still have your sanityFirst, InfoPath:

To me InfoPath is like programming in assembly language. Sure it makes it easy (too easy in fact) to bind data to controls. But it doesn't provide you with easy access to your controls. Why is this important? Say you want to disable a button:

in most technology: buttonA.enabled = false (or something similar).

In InfoPath, you simply can't do this.…

Technical Certifications are worthless

Technical certifications, especially in the IT field, are totally worthless. Why? All a technical certification prove is that you were able to buy a couple of exam prep books, cram them in a week or two and take an exam. My monkey (if I had one) could do that. I can't tell you how many times I have interviewed certification-carrying candidates for open positions at my company only to find them severely lacking in thorough understanding of computer science. I don't care that you have an MSCD or MCP or whatever it's called these days if you don't know foundational concepts in computer science and database design.
For example, I don't want someone who just knows that you store things in a hashtable using keys. I need you to know why a hashtable is better than an array in some cases. I need you to know when an interface is better than an abstract class; when to use recursion; the different kinds of joins and when to use each one; I need you to understand how crucial sou…

Does InfoPath (still) suck?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post titled "InfoPath & SharePoint (Part 1)". Back then I had just started working on a project using InfoPath 2007. So, expectedly, the post wasn't very complimentary to InfoPath (or SharePoint). In fact, I said:
InfoPath sucks and SharePoint is the most expensive piece of crap ever. InfoPath, as a development environment, has absolutely no redeeming value. It's worthless.... (more)Since then my opinion of InfoPath has changed slightly. It still suffers from all the flaws I pointed out in that post. However, I think when used right, InfoPath can be an OK tool. I think it's well suited for designing one off forms and not for anything that requires complex logic or multiple iterations (like most software development requires). Alas, most CTOs fall in love with its point & click simplicity and integration with SharePoint that they try to use it to replace more developed technologies like ASP.NET. What do you get? A horri…