Falling Out of Love with Wholesale Warehouse Discount Club
I used to love the thought of going to the local wholesale
warehouse club, where the products are stacked up to the
warehouse ceiling and the shopping carts are brimming with rolls
of toilet paper and cases of cheese snacks. Where else could you
pay a memberbership fee of a thirty or forty dollars per year
and have access to products by the caseload at a discount?
After joining such a club I realized that not all the prices
were cheaper than the non-membership store just across the
street. So we decided to shop carefully and only buy those items
that were cheaper. Of course, we also ended up buying in
quantities that we didn't need. So, when we did find bargains,
we ended up with a supply that would last us a couple years.
After adjusting our shopping strategy at the warehouse club to
take into account our need to be aware of the higher prices and
inconvenient packagaging, we realized another thing. It's not
convenient to stand in line with three items, when everyone else
ahead of you has their carts overflowing with merchandise. It's
clear that not everyone cares about actual value and some folks
only want perceived value (you know, a case of maple syrup at a
3 cent discount). So, we soon tired of standing in lines for our
handful of items.
We decided that if we were going to get only the best value
items in the quantities that suited our lifestyle, that we would
only need to make a few trips every couple of months so that we
could get everything we wanted without spending all that time
standing in line several times per month. But guess what
happened? We noticed that each time we'd go in for items on our
list that the items sometimes wouldn't be carried anymore. We're
not talking about items being out with an empty space on a
shelf. We're talking about something else is placed where that
item was and the store employees telling us they don't carry it
right now, and that we should fill out a comment card if we want
to get the items back in stock.
With items on our list not being in stock, we still found
ourselves standing in line with a handful of items - instead of
the cartful we'd planned on.
It'sfrustrating enough realizing our membership wasn't buying us
much more a few well-packaged, well discounted products -
combined with long lines and a parking lot that would make most
race car pit crews shudder in fear.
Wholesale warehouse shopping clubs almost seem designed for
those who don't discriminate on price, who love inconvenience
and inconsistency in product availability, and who want to build
their afternoon or evening around a shopping trip to a single
Why would people build their shopping lifestyle around that type
of shopping experience? Perceived value?
It doesn't make sense for my household to change our shopping
style (as we had attempted) to fit the wholesale warehouse club
retail format if it turns out to not work for us. It may make
sense for yours.
We were at dinner with some friends of ours when they told us
about an online discount club with a huge variety of products
and a very modest membership fee. I was expecting more caseloads
of cheese snacks and a hundred dollar membership fee - but
that's not what they showed us.
What we saw was a membership fee less than the local warehouse
club, and products that was need and use every month - orderable
online and delivered to our door - without putting shopping cart
dents in our car.
We checked it out. We signed up. We tried it out for several
months. And every since our shopping life gets easier.
Now every month I make my shopping list online through our
online membership. For the first thirty days of the month I
build my online shopping list whenever it's convenient for me,
and shortly after the first of the next month we find packages
at our door. The next month it's the same.
It's the opposite of the old bricks and mortar warehouse club -
it takes me less time to make it work for me. It works around my
shopping style, rather than forcing me to change my lifestyle to
find the right bargains and most convenient time to go to the
Yes, I can still get a case of rolls of toilet paper and cheese
snacks - but I never stand in line, I never have to lug my
purchases through the parking lot in the rain or snow, and I
never have to worry about finding new door-dings on my car.
The biggest benefit of membership in this club is convenience.
And with life being as busy as it is for us - I have fallen in
love with having my shopping list only a few mouse clicks away