Costco vs Walmart

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by ElectronGuru, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I've seen Costco held up as model of how things should be done. And Ive seen Walmart held up as a model of how things shouldn't be done. But thinking it through, the two stores are actually quite similar. Low prices, big concrete building, large quantities, food, sundries, electronics, automotive. So if they are selling the same kinds of things in largely the same way, how can they be so different?
  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    For me it's about the way they treat their employees which is night and day different.
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    I have worked for both and I can assure you costco is vastly different.

    Staff wise pay and benefits costco is a big win.

    Stock quality and price again costco win
  4. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

    May 23, 2010
    Shady Dale, Georgia
    Costco with its 126,929 full and part time employees in its 649 warehouse stores across the USA versus Walmart 1.4 million employees. Huge differences. No one is ever forced to work for Walmart. As a matter of face, they apply for it. The interview for it and ask for it. As long as people continue to fill the open positions why should Walmart pay more or provide better benefits?

    Walmart does not exist for the customers or employees. It exists for the stockholders.
  5. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Politics aside, Costco has a much better atmosphere to shop at.
  6. haxrnick macrumors 6502a


    Aug 4, 2011
    Completely agree with this. Their employees always seems happy to be working.
  7. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    Unless you go on the weekend. It's a freaking madhouse during the weekend and everyone's IQ seems to drop 100 points and lose their common sense.

    Two weeks ago I went to Costco on a Saturday. Finding parking is tough so it makes everyone desperate to find one. There was space I can't really describe what it was it was almost like a spot for a motorcycle with a cement parking stop going parallel with the paint lines. This person in a BMW 5 series comes up and tries to get into the spot which is clearly not meant for a car. She drives over the cement stop scrapping the right side of the car.
  8. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA

    To shop at? Lets compare

    Wal Mart:

    Many things are actually overpriced in comparison to Costco
    It's full of Wal mart people
    Many goods are bottom of the barrel
    There is a lack of workers on the floor to assist you in finding anything
    They do not offer any high quality products nor quality food.
    Any type of prepared food or eatery is AWFUL.
    It is not as cheap as you think.
    Workers are unhelpful and apathetic, probably due to hours being cut and awful wages.
    You can tell their idea of selling is " throwing random crap at the wall and see what sticks "
    They NEVER have enough registers open, I assume to cut labor costs.


    Well Maintained
    Logical Layout
    Smaller selection of goods, but the goods being sold tend to be much nicer, Costco only sells around 4500 products at a time, compared to Wal marts 125,000. So even if it is Chinese made goods, only the better ones ever get into Costco
    Even counting in membership, Costco often beats Wal mart at pricing
    Costco has a HUGE selection of fresh produce and high quality meats, while I normally don't buy them, expect during Winter ( many farmers markets and local farms close in the winter here in NY ), but I can tell its a step above Wal Mart offerings
    The prepared food section is awesome, so are those 1.50 hotdogs ;)
    The workers are all over the floor and know where items are, and generally know a lot about said items.
    The workers tend to be much nicer and happier, because they are paid very good wages, wages I should mention, many claim are " unprofitable ", but Costco is one of the most profitable retailers out there.

    Costco also has a VERY different Corperate culture than most companies, as evidenced in the " Costco Effect ", Costco likes to think " how cheap can I sell this product? " Rather than someone like Wal Mart who thinks " how high can I go with this? "

    I am not a fan of big box stores, but if I have to go to one, its Costco. At least they pay a living wage with benefits, with enrages wall street to know end ;)

    Their store brand " Kirkland " is also awesome, they put so much work into everything that no one can tell the different between Kirkland and major brands.
  9. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Mar 30, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    It isn't much of a choice if Walmart is the only employer hiring in your county.

    This is the Milton Friedman "corporations should be sociopathic" theory (of corporations).

    This is the stupidist idea Friedman ever had. He should have stuck to monetary theory/history, where he made significant contributions. But, since we are stuck with it now, the only thing to do is regulate corporations into behaving better-- there is no other option.

    As for shopping -- my perception is that Costco employees are much happier to be there than WalMart employees. As a consumer, if faced with such a choice, my bias is to shop at the place where the employees seem happier to be working there.
  10. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Yep, my experience too. There are 2 Costcos to serve the STL area (as opposed to a dozen or so Sams) so they are always packed. And all of the shoppers there are dumber than me :p
  11. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    Your premise is wrong.


    * neither sell the same kind of things (Walmart seeks small quantities, Costco by and large larger quantities)
    * nor sell the same quality of goods
    * nor sell the same selection of items
    * nor sell the same way (Costco being a club with membership fees)

  12. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    They are, because to buy at Costco you have to pay for membership. I guess you mean Sam's Club. Anyway, Costo provides better quality products.
  13. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

    May 23, 2010
    Shady Dale, Georgia
    Costco also charges $55 per year to shop there where Walmart does not.
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Sams Club, same model, owned by Walmart.
  15. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    The savings you get at Costco easily make up for that 55 dollars a month.

    55 dollars may has well be 1 cent.

    Hell, I bought a new couch at Costco last year for my man cave, Macy's price was 1,900 dollars. Costco sold it for 850 dollars. My membership just paid for itself for decades.
  16. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    Costco doesn't have enough stores and they tend to close too early, and their no bag policy is ridiculous. Their policy of only accepting american express is ridiculous, and their membership is pretty expensive.

    I can't imagine who in the right mind buys gas at costco because the lines always look like something out of a textbook about the oil embargo crisis in the 70s.

    Walmart is the epitome of cheap though, I am lucky right now to live by a walmart that doesn't have that many customers, so their service is pretty good and the lines are very short, but it's still a walmart. They don't do anything "nice" everything is about the bottom line and keeping things as cheap as possible...

    but for who? The prices aren't even that great.

    But the same can be said about Costco. Almost everything is priced the same as say, safeway, but the packages are bigger so you pay proportionally more.

    I do think Costco is a good company and love their model of paying employees, but I wish they had more stores and weren't so centered around herding cattle .. err. customers through huge lines and early hours
  17. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    Bring your own bags, I've been doing it everywhere I go, reuseable bags are bigger, less likely to break, and don't create tons of plastic waste, I also actually really enjoy how they let you use excess shipping boxes, makes it easy to carry lots of stuff at the same time. 55 dollars? That is literally pocket change.

    Do what I do, stop at the ATM ( every store has one in the front ), and just take out like a grand, and you will be fine. Or just write a check.

    I personally don't buy gas at Costco at all, a local station sells Ethanol Free Fuel, that's what I buy. I don't want corn in my sports cars. The Truck? Costco gas is fine, otherwise nope.

    Just wait until that Wal Mart gets more popular and the Wal mart people come into it.

    At Costco? They beat Wal Mart prices pretty often, they have a policy of marking nothing up by more than 15%. They also don't carry super low end stuff like Wal Mart.

    Depends, Costco beats most chains in prices, but they do sell in bulk, I tend to only buy non perishables at Costco, or if I am gonna make a big donation to chairty, I'll buy tons of meat, dairy and produce and all that, take what I'll use for a week, and give the rest to food banks and soup kitchens. When you factor in the bulk, Costco is the better deal. I also buy lots of electronics at Costco, they even beat Amazon sometimes in price.

    They don't herd people any more than any other Big Box store, what I do like about Costco is their incredible pay and benefits to their workers, they also have a commitment to not stock crappy goods, take a watch at the " Costco Effect " I think it is called, Costco has a commitment to store brand quality and only stocking well made goods, that most big box stores don't have. The Kirkland brand is pretty well thought out, and most of kirkland is US made.

    Early hours? They are open till 9 every day, and 6PM on Sundays, seems good enough for me. I don't plan on buying 1,000 dollars worth of stuff when I'm drunk at a Wal Mart at 3AM, and yes in college I have been drunk/high at the Tallahassee East Wal Mart buying chips and fried chicken at 3AM ;)
  18. G51989, Mar 30, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014

    G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    While they may be true, is does not change the fact that Wal Mart caters to the bottom of the barrel, and this is clear to see with dirty stores, cheap products and a general lack of attention to detail or customer service.
  19. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    costco is not that cheap and their selection sucks. when i was a member i used to buy this one brand of cereal they have at whole foods, but costco only had one flavor of it. out of at least a dozen that the company makes.

    after a while it was a PITA to drive there, pay for parking, spend like 3 hours in the store and always come out paying more than i wanted to. and then i still had to go to the local store at least once a week to buy some stuff. their fruit and veggie containers are so big, they would spoil before i finished eating it.

    wal mart might pay people less but they have a higher cost of operation because they stock a lot more items. i rarely go to wal mart, but the ones i've been to are clean and the people have been a lot more helpful than costco where there is rarely anyone on the floor to help customers. they are always in forklifts stocking the shelves
  20. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    Oh my, where to start...

    Sure, they won't open stores in unprofitable areas.

    Also, they carefully select areas that have the right target demographic mix.

    Hours: well, yes, sometimes I wish they were open longer on Sundays, but hey, their business model obviously works quite well with those limited hours,

    Plus, not having to work late is a plus for their employees.

    No, it's not. You get free boxes. If you need plastic bags, just keep them in the trunk of your car. There fixed.
    And you did the environment a favor.

    No, it's not. Amex is the best credit card out there, bar none.

    $55 per year is expensive ? Seriously, if you just buy a six pack of beer per month, Costco is not the right place. If you buy larger quantities of stuff, the $55 pays for itself easily in a few months.



    I have never seen a Costco w/o free parking. And I have been to quite a few.

    Where are you at ?

  21. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    NYC i have a choice of a few Costco's
    the newest one is in a basement of a new mall where i have to pay for parking. it's 10 minutes from me

    the others are all free parking but either far away or a lot of traffic/traffic lights on the way to eat up the gas

    and the prices aren't that cheap. i can shop at whole foods and not spend that much more per month on food than what i spent at costco and the quality is way better. at least at whole foods their ground beef won't break your teeth when you try to bite into it

    like 10 years ago when i used to buy a lot of meat at costco i would spend an hour dividing it up into smaller freezer bags because it would get ruined in those huge packages
  22. ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I tried to write the sentence as open as possible (non declarative) to allow for difference of opinions. Overall though, my premise is: if Costco can do so well by their owners, employees, and customers, what is keeping Walmart from doing the same?

    I think of it like Amazon Prime, the cost is offset by the savings. Certain levels also pay 1% back, such that it literally pays for itself (with regular use).

    A number of their policies bothered me initially, but the more I thought about them, accepted them as measures that would save me money. Credit card fees cost money, bags cost money, weird hours cost money.

    The hardest thing for me (as has been mentioned) is the quantities on perishables. They have some of the best ground beef anywhere, and you cant buy it unless you take up half your freezer or are hosting a regional Boy Scout picnic!
  23. G51989, Mar 30, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014

    G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    Costco beats all their competitors by nearly 30% in price.

    Costco only stocks the higher end brands, no low end brands like Wal Mart.

    Unless you are talking about the one in Queens, not true. That is the only Costco I can think of that has paid parking.

    You clearly are not the kind of customer who should be at Costco, unless you want to buy in Bulk, stay away, they aren't for you.

    Wal Mart also stocks the bottoms of the barrel items.

    Maybe you got lucky where you live, but Costco ranks much higher than Wal Mart in Customer service all around the nation.


    Watch the Costco Crave.

    Costco as a company isn't even interested in hiring your typical managers or businessmen or executives, they are all turned down. The company mainly hires from internally.

    Costco and Wal Mart are very different, Costco has strong culture of responsibility, value, morals, and high quality goods, Wal Mart is all about selling low, and paying low. Wal Mart does not offer quailty products, just the cheapest.

    Can people shop there if they want? Sure. But this is a fact, I am above Wal Mart. I refuse to spend my money at dirty stores staffed by underpaid workers and owned by spoiled brats.

    Wal Mart was not always this bad, tho once Sam Walton Died, the spoiled kids took over. Ruined it.

    Costco mainly profits on your membership and a tiny amount on products, they have to save money where they can, I actually like the boxes more than bags, less change of breaking.

    At least at the one I go to, the meat department will cut up a smaller batch if you just ask.

    I also enjoy how the new CEO, follows how the orignal founder did things, visits every store he can every year, talks to the workers, talks to the customers face to face, finds out what they want, what they want different and all that, it brings a personal touch to Costco that a company like Crap - Mart just cannot match.

    But what do you expect from the people who run Wal Mart? Spoiled kids who never worked a day in their life, had everything handed to them. Sam Walton would be disgusted at the current state of Wal mart.

    Costco has no PR department, they have no handlers for their CEO, and no advertising department. They don't advertise, they don't promote " sales ", yet people are lining up to get in, and vendors line up to get into Costco, while many vendors avoid Wal Mart.
  24. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Are you talking about the one next to Lefrak City in Queens? I never been to that one, and it's pretty close to me. But of course I would expect to pay for parking in that congested area, which Costco basically shares with other businesses.

    I'm not a big shopper of food items at Costco, but I always get the best deals on things like TVs.

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