“The Water Cooler”: Costco or Sam’s Club, which one do you prefer?

April 26, 2011 · 85 comments

The “Water Cooler Chat” will be a new feature on CLAYCORD.com. I will ask you a question or provide a topic, and you will talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Many of us shop at Costco, and many of us shop at Sam’s Club.

Which store do you prefer, and why?

Talk about it….

1 David Concord April 26, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Sam’s. Less hectic. Prices better at Target and Walmart on many items.

2 Antler April 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Costco……wider selection and better quality of merchandise, and more parking spaces.

3 ChampagneKitty April 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I don’t shop at either one. I just shop for myself and do most of it at Safeway, Walgreens, and once in a while, Target. When my dad & stepmom used to live here, though, he liked to shop at Sam’s Club.

4 hewhoiscalledj April 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Went to Costco for ages but just recently made the switch to Sams Club. After checking it out, I found that Sams Club is FAR less crowded so there is tons of parking, room in aisles to actually shop, and the checkout lines are nice and short if there is even a wait at all. And I’m talking about Saturdays! The product selections were close enough for me and certain things I buy regularly like the chicken jerky dog treats were actually a bit cheaper. When I was signing up, I needed help finding a product and the manager actually took me to the aisle and then gave me a nice tour and rundown of their store and operations. I was sold after that and will not be going back to Costco anymore.

5 Lorri April 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Costco for gasoline and movie tickets, Sam’s Club for everything else.

6 Cowellian April 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM

I shop at Costco once or twice a month, but I absolutely hate going there.

7 :) April 26, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Costco, more to offer not just in Concord but in many more warehouses around the country and world.

8 Anon April 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I have memberships to both.
I will admit I rarely shop at either because I don’t enjoy the “warehouse” atmosphere of shopping. I go to one or the other about three or four times a year to stock up my freezer with meat.
Both are of equal travel distance from my house, so it’s not a question of one being closer than the other and more convenient.
Both places have a lot of the same things.
Both offer USDA choice meat and excellent seafood.
Costco is definitely more crowded than Sam’s Club. The only reason for me to sway toward Sam’s Club is less people at peak shopping times.
Also, you really need to know your prices….. just because it’s Costco or Sam’s Club and you are buying in bulk doesn’t mean it’s a better deal!

9 crossings kid April 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM

My parents hold dual membership at both Sam’s Club and Costco…I personally like the atmosphere of Costco much better.

10 TVPirate April 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I’m going to have to go with Sam’s on location and nostalgia alone. They’ve been there the longest by far… remember when it was Pace for a minute? Price Club in North Concord was the best, by far. The Concord and Antioch Costcos are just “eh.” That Martinez Costco sucked – always long lines without enough checkers.

11 Yolanda April 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

That’s a no brainer. Costco. Because it’s NOT owned by Wal-Mart.

12 Anonymous b April 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I live alone and I travel a lot, so neither one really works for me. I’ve gone to Costco a few times (using a gift card that my sister-in-law kindly got for me), in search of specific items.

Even if I had a large family, though, I wouldn’t shop at Sam’s Club – I am against Walmart’s business practices, and boycotting Sam’s Club is part of my personal protest against them (along with boycotting Walmart).

13 Anon777 April 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Costco, I guess just because I’ve always gone there. I have the Executive card and get the cash back deal that pretty much pays my membership each year. They are wonderful at returns….never give you a hard time. And, I can be in/out of there with a full basket in under 20 minutes!

14 Cheryl in WC April 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Costco, because I’d rather not give Walmart my money if I can avoid it, and it’s closer to home.

15 biggin April 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM

sams always

16 The Mick April 26, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Sam’s Club. Same selections, easier parking and no lines

17 Winston April 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Costco. Better merchandise than Sams and less evil than WalMart. Plus, my executive membership pays for itself with the rebate and I get my Dental coverage through them as well.

18 Carol April 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I have membership to both but Sam’s is easier. It’s never as crowded, has the same quality meat. And I drive right by it on my way home from work.
Costco may have more items in inventory but I hate the parking lot and crowds at the Concord store.

19 PH Fan April 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Costco…and only if I have to.

20 Ian April 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Definitely Costco!!!

21 some guy April 26, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Dumped Costco, now its just Sam’s.
Plenty of parking, and MUCH shorter lines. Same quality of products at both. But Like ANON said, just because its bulk doesn’t mean its a deal. shop around…

22 Laurie April 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Although I have a Costco membership, I rarely use it. Mostly shop at Smart & Final. Less hectic. Not all the fluff. Mainly just groceries and they have good prices.

23 IBEW Local 302 Family April 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM

#11 & #12 – YES!

That’s EXACTLY why we don’t shop at Sam’s (or Walmart). We have 4 kids and will gladly go elsewhere and pay higher prices. I refuse to spend money at Walmart or Sam’s because of their business practices. By the way, there is a reason why Walmart is so cheap, but that’s for another day to debate.

24 LisaLav April 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Costco…… But not to change the subject does anyone know why CPD has Davis Street Blocked???

25 KJ April 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM

I agree with Yolanda (#11) — Costco, because it’s NOT owned by Wal-Mart.

I go first thing in the morning, and don’t have a problem with crowds. I like the selection, quality and price.

26 Wally April 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Sam’s…simply because it IS owned by Wal-Mart and I know how much that pisses some people off.

Don’t believe all the union-sponsored BS about WM. It really is a great American success story, just like that other whipping boy of the “activists” who stores that have the gall to turn a profit: McDonald’s.


27 margoc April 26, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I have memberships to both but I prefer Sam’s. 5 minutes to get there and hardly any long lines to wait in for check out. Sam’s rocks!

28 anonamel April 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Really they are both good for different things.

Sam’s has a far better selection and price on certain household items such as detergent and cleaning supplies. Costco has a better selection of organic produce. I like the meat at Sam’s slightly better.

Sam’s parking and shopping experience is much more enjoyable… Costco on the weekend is pretty cutthroat and the people drive me insane!

For the food court… Sam’s for hot dogs , Costco for pizza =)

29 livesteam April 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Would rather have a membership at Sam’s but they do not carry hearing aid batteries and what we save on them at Costco almost pays for the membership. The parking at Costco is horrible…less people and more parking at Sams

30 Bobby Sands April 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Neither one of these organizations is one that Claycordians should support. These destroy small businesses and local entrepreneurships.
The comparitive jobs and tax bases they provide are significantly less than what would happen with local small business in a non-franchise environment.

31 Patti April 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Costco has a much better selection {wider variety} and better samples and more of them . Costco has terrible womans clothes. horrible parking but a nice nursrey Sams less crowded and more convienent local better womans clothes …..shop at both but more at Sams for conviencenice

32 D April 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Costco, they pay there people better and give them benifits and arent the evil Wal Mart corporation that has a significant role in the offshoring of our manufacturing base and the destruction of the middle class…. It matters where you spend your money.

33 JJ April 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM

While Costo may has a lot of selection and items I may not find at Sam’s, I rarely go there because of the parking and the lines. Sam’s is my choice.

34 Ian April 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM

This reminds me, I need to go to costco!

35 momof1 April 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I have both. I prefer Sam’s for a quick in and out. I keep Costco for movie tickets and the California Black Bread (yummy!).

36 Mother of poo April 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM


Why is this poll being posted on Claycord? This is really strange to me.

37 hewhoiscalledj April 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Hey Bobby Sands, I totally hear you about supporting local small businesses.. It’s why I’ll go into Ace Hardware before any trip to Home Depot. But on the plus side of things… these large companies employ a lot of Claycordians while also paying more (hopefully) in taxes and there is something to be said about that. If I can get something at Trader Joes, I’ll go there first but Sams and Costco arent all that different than Safeway. Neither one supports the little guy.

38 ACC April 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

I hate both of them but go to Costco as I have friends who are Costco employees. I have to take a valium just to shop there, thank god I only have to go once a month. People stop in the middle of aisles with no regard for the people who are behind them or that they are blocking entire aisles. And the food sampling – do you not eat before you go shoping? That’s the rule. Eat before you shop so you don’t buy a bunch of crap when you’re there. That’s my rant. Oh, this wasn’t the RANT post. oh well. That’s how much I hate Costco.

39 CW April 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I miss BJ’s Wholesale. Much better than either Costco or Sam’s. Costco is annoying that they don’t accept any credit cards except for AmEx. Sam’s doesn’t sell gas and tends to skew a bit downscale in their product line.

40 Connie Dobbs April 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Walmart was the only place I could afford to shop after paying my union dues…

41 Mr. Anon E. Mouse April 26, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Neither. I agree with bobby sands on this one. Support local business!

I never understood the big box chain bulk discount store idea. I guess it’s just corporatism like fast food franchises. Why would you shop healthy (and more time consuming) local farmers markets and shops when you can get well-preserved bulk “foodstuff” for pennies on the dollar. The outcome of the “food revolution” of the late 20th century? Over 50% of the population is obese, 25% have type 2 diabetes and heart disease is on the rise.
Why should I buy Slow-Death-in-a-box™ for 78 cents a pound at Safeway when I can get it for 50 cents a pound at Wallyworld!!! And it has a 100 year shelf life! Sweet! I just saved 28 cents! Nevermind the cost to your health, society and YOUR LIFE SPAN! :P

42 KenInConcord April 26, 2011 at 3:34 PM

We belong to both a regularly shop both. Products SAMs has a changing variety. Costco seems to always have the same stuff.

As for quality of customer service. Our impression is the the cart collectors at Costco are more professional than upper management at SAMs. And its all down hill from there!!


43 sams and costco April 26, 2011 at 3:39 PM

it depends , costco is bigger and the package size of things have more in it. costco also has gas. sams club has a variety of different things that cost less and are smaller sizes so it really all depends on what you are looking for they are both different stores out there for the peoples preferences

44 Ayne L. Swab April 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Why the Walmart hatred? You’re just parrotting the BS you hear. Do your own research. Walmart employs a boatload of people that need work. It really is a great American successs tory!

45 Concord / Antioch Costco April 26, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Gas for me, pizza for the kids, tub of mini frozen eclairs for the wife and $90 Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne for the girlfriend, they have it all…

46 George April 26, 2011 at 4:51 PM

I like Costco, but they both are loosing me to Amazon! usually free delivery, no sales tax, much better selection, often better prices, no parking issues, 24 x 7 service, no travel time, no gas expense. (Sales tax goes to replace the revenue that should logically come from property taxes on local commercial real estate, so i say the hell with it.)

You can even subscribe to things like paper towels, diapers, and toilet paper so they show up at your house about the time you need them. Take your accounts with you to your new home in the reasonably priced rest of the country and have a batch of staples waiting for you when you get there. Let UPS carry my stuff upstairs!

A great deal of the expense of locally sold goods is RENT. Who needs that?

Costco and Sams are for people without computers. Not us here I imagine.

47 Bobby Sands April 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Spending money at your green grocer, local meat market, local hardware store and avoiding at all costs chains, non-USA made everything is the right thing to do. You who lament what America has become who do not support American Small Business are the problem. Shame on you all.

48 Anon April 26, 2011 at 5:07 PM


With my experience Sam’s Club is just a little higher end Walmart. Plus if you do a comparison on price per piece Sam’s Club tends to be higher than Costco.

The quality of what you get at Costco is superior to the quality at Sam’s.

49 Lor April 26, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I go to both Costco & Sams. I love the quality of the items Costco sell, but love the convenience of Sams. The bakery at Costco is better than Sams. Look over the Sams baked goods and they all look so artificial. If I had to choose one, I don’t mine the inconvenience for the quality and freshness of Costco. I love Costco!

50 Atticus Thraxx April 26, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I don’t shop. Have my staff do it. Limits my exposure to you peasant folk.

51 sam walton April 26, 2011 at 5:35 PM


I can find parking and can shop without having to deal with mass crowds. Everyone, please go to Costco and leave Sams the way it currently is, a pleasant place to shop.

52 trixy April 26, 2011 at 5:39 PM

I have both, only because my Sam’s membership was free… Yes Sam’s is way less crowded but its Wal-Mart and I cringe when I’m in there… COSTCO hands down!!!

53 Marianne clevenger April 26, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Well quite frankly I prefer costco to sams any day.. over all better quality merchandise Besides My family has been part of costco since the first one opened here in martinez ca. now they all work for costco still, in ky,co,and oh… costco rules hands down peeps sorry…

54 RanchgirlCA April 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM

The Concord Costco. They have lower prices than some other Costco locations because of Sam’s club being close by. Also, I prefer PH Target over WC for everyday stuff, because they have lower prices as well due to the closeness of Walmart.

55 concordsolanodave April 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Sam’s. It is right across the street from where I work and not so “ghetto”.

56 NiteMom April 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I had both until my Costco expired, its about 100 bucks to renew my Costco membership and only 35 bucks to renew Sams. The gas is cheaper but not the cheapest around.

I have a business membership and Sams club allows me to shop 2 hours before they open, Costco doesnt have this option.

57 bsa April 26, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Cost-Co for all meet soMe produce and drug items Whole Foods,W.C. for produce price is hihg for produce but it’s all ways fresh and they have a huge selection of cheese.

58 anon April 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Neither. Just go to Winco, prices and portions are comparable to Costco / Sam’s without the membership fee or receipt harassment getting out of the door.

But really – I worked at both. Costco is Superior to Sam’s. Sam’s management spends the majority of their time inside Costco stores!
Ahh, the old days of being a caller: 82108, 28, 60679, 68509, 38781 Eventually you knew the 2 to 6 digit item number of everything in the store.
Costco is the leader, Sam’s is the follower. Like Burger King is just a copycat of MacDonalds.

59 @Bobby Sands April 26, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Try living on a tight budget with a family…you will buy and shop where you can afford. If I have to buy China made clothes for my family, I will.If you have a family/kids, these big box stores offer one-stop shopping that saves time and gas.
Tell me please, what is truly American made these days?
Walmart, Costo and Sam’s create jobs nationwide, when sometimes jobs are hard to come by.

Mom & Pop shops are gone for a reason. When I buy a product from a store, I would like to know that it will still be around when I need to use my warranty.

60 American business April 26, 2011 at 7:42 PM

You morons who talk about smal business and mom and pop, this isn’t 1950, capitalism is working. If mom and pop can’t hack it, then oh well.

Costco is needed. I buy tp, towels, organic milk (it is cheaper but not by much) and everything my kids eat in bulk, which is the only way kids eat.

61 Kian April 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

The problem with Sam’s Club is that they do not have gas. Costco has gas that is about as cheap as you can find. You can save a great deal of money by getting gas at Costco.

Sam’s Club pays their employees much less than Costco. Costco pays their employees well and treats them much better. People who work at Costco say that it is a good place to work. However, Sam’s Club is part of Walmart and Walmart does not offer as good a benefits package as Costco.

Walmart is a company that is bent on offering low prices at the expense of paying as little as possible to their employees. Costco, however treats their employees well and offers low prices to their customers.

If you have a choice between an ruthless company like Walmart and a company that at least treats their employees well, I would rather support a honorable and well paying company like Costco.

62 Mom of 2 April 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Costco all the way. Sam is owned by walmart and is low class.

63 J April 26, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Costco has a bigger selection bc it’s bigger. It has a great selection of products for events/parties. It also has a larger produce selection. The fat free yogurt is the best i have ever had. HOWEVER it’s more expensive then sams club on 70% of the items I can buy at sams by a few cents to upwards of 5.00/item. I have yet to go to costco n not feel like I’m being herded like cattle and amongst ppl who don’t know which way they r walking. Costcos parking is horrible. Sams club has wider clearer isles n ppl know which direction cart traffic is going bc it’s lay out is far more
superior. The line for memberships and returns is more efficient b speedy at Costco by far. SAMs club ppl constantly need to wait on a manager for thing that is busy helping or authorizing things fir ev cashier in the building. the wait in line at same is starting to get as ling as costco n I have noticed their prices going up. SAMs has also been less consistent with keeping products I frequent in stock over the last year. I think both have room for improvement when ur paying to be a member n sometimes thugs aren’t hat much cheaper n u cant get out of these store without spending more bc ea item is $ 5-10+ I frequent SAMs mire bc the parking,walkways , n ant if ppl is far less irritating.

64 Cowellian April 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM

I used to work on Stanwell and watched Pace Club go up. At one time, I had memberships at Pace, Price Club, and Costco at the same time. Price club was my favorite.

65 hometowngirl April 26, 2011 at 9:03 PM

We shop Sam’s club most often, but when feeling adventuresome and have time to spare go to Costco because it’s fun to sample and look around – pianos, kayaks, play equipment and water toys – oh my! But seriously, Sam’s is a quick place to run in, get what you want, and get on your way and they carry some great products. The parking at Costco is horrendous most any time, any day. As far as gas, today the line for gas was a 20 minute plus wait! We would have saved $2.56 with our 16 gallon fill up, but time is worth something.

As far as comparing which stores pay or treat their employees best – I’m sure most of us frequent many stores that are notorious for not paying well – how about the dollar stores, Target, etc. Nordstrom is a wonderful place to work – pays well, benifits, etc. but are you going to shop there because of that or stick with Target and Macy’s?

66 anon2468 April 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

I used to shop at Sams/Walmart until I saw a documentary called “WALMART–THE HIGH COST OF DOING BUSINESS.” This documentary changed my mind about Sams/Walmart.

67 2BITS April 26, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Went to Sams Club for years because it is much less crowded and I do not do well in crowded stores. Now have switched to Costco. I have anxiety attacks there but they have way more variety.

68 Kian April 26, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Where was Price Club located?

69 B-rye April 26, 2011 at 10:07 PM


Never been to sam’s club so I can’t ……..really………. say i dont like em’ but they are owned by Wal*Mart so…..

70 KAD April 27, 2011 at 12:06 AM

We belong to both Sam’s and Costco. I was mostly shopping at Sam’s Club, even though I hate Walmart. Sam’s Club lost some of my business because they stopped carrying 1 item I was buying every week. I shop at Sam’s because of the guick in and out – better parking, less people shopping, better customer service.
You can actually find someone to help you at Sam’s when they move things around. I never shop at Walmart because of how they treat their employees. I know , I know Walmart owns Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club also has items on sale.You can locate sale items by the “1” at the of the price. That way you know they are marked down. The employees at Sam’s are very helpful and nice. You can’t find anyone at Costco to help you when you are shopping in the warehouse.

71 COSTCO for Dog Food April 27, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Kirkland dry dog food is rated right up there with the more expensive brands, and about $15 less..


Fortunately, I am able to go on weekday mornings when store is almost empty

72 anown April 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the mere mention of any kind of chain store elicits non-sensical whining about “the little guy” and “Mom & Pop” stores. Morons, stores that drive down prices ARE good for you, “the little guy.” And Mom & Pop? So I’m supposed to buy their overpriced products to support THEM and maybe a few employees…as opposed to supporting stores like Costco and WM/Sam’s that give me lower prices AND are employers of hundreds of local “little guys”? Makes lots of sense. If Mom & Pop can’t compete, too bad, so sad.

73 Cowellian April 27, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Price Club used to be on Bates, off of Pt. Chicago, North of Highway 4. Costco was just down the road on Arnold, where Walmart is now. So when Costco bought Price Club, they had two “Price Costco” stores within a couple of miles of each other. After a short while, they closed both stores, moved to Monument, and reverted to the Costco name.

I’m not sure when Sam’s Club bought out the Pace store.

74 Killjoy April 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Even if the gas is only a couple of pennies cheaper than elsewhere, it makes a huge difference when you are filling up a 30 gallon tank in your truck, and a 37 gallon tank in your speedboat.
And I can go through both tanks in one day. ;)

75 Goat Head April 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I was a Sam’s member along time ago just to buy some tools which were a good deal but their groceries were more then Safeway so I let it lapse besides there owned by Wal-Mart and I hate them so I’m a COSTCO person now. I buy gasoline and some food items but only go in the store about once a month.

76 Scooter April 27, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Costco for Xmas prime rib and Foster Farms chicken. Sam’s for everything else, short or no lines and plenty of parking.

77 ozziethedawg April 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

the worst thing about costco is the morons milling around the free samples like they’ve never seen food before. your fatass does not need any free samples, now move it.

78 Tyson F. Gautreaux April 27, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

79 Rich Falk April 28, 2011 at 4:39 AM

Being a Union Member for all of my working years I simply can not go to a Sam’s Club. Sam’s is part of the Wallmart chain that is against Unions.

80 @ Rich April 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Which is why I love Sam’s and “Wallmart”.

81 Alan April 28, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Costco, because the quality of merchandise is generally higher.

82 Alan April 28, 2011 at 6:59 PM

And Costco is also better to their employees.

83 Newman April 29, 2011 at 1:28 PM

It’s difficult to beat Costco for generics. I get my generics at Costso for a fraction of the cost of getting them at CVS using my insurance. My $15 co-pay gets me 30 days supply of generics at CVS, while the same $15 (or less) gets me 90 days of the same generics at Costco. I don’t know if Sam’s has a pharmacy. Maybe they do, but I refuse to support China*mart, so it’s Costco for me.

84 Just me April 30, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Costco may pay a little more because they take half of it for union dues! Sam’s lets you keep all your pay! And they have great benefits! Sam’s rules!

85 Mr. Ree May 1, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Costco practices discriminatory hiring against older workers, so that alone is enough reason for me NOT to give them a penny of my money.

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