This past week I visited Sam’s Club with my daughter-in-law. We had a guest pass to try out their store, which is membership-based. I had explored this discount grocery store years ago and was not impressed, but figured it was worth a second look. Before going, I wrote down food items that I regularly use, and the Aldi price for each one. Since most items at Sam’s Club are sold in multi-packs, I had to calculate out the cost per unit to see if it was any cheaper than Aldi’s. Here’s a sampling of what I found:
tub of slow-cook oats Sam: $3.75 Aldi: $2.39
coffee Sam: .20 oz Aldi: .30 oz
brown sugar Sam: $1.07 lb Aldi: .65 lb
broth carton Sam: $2.50 Aldi: $1.79
cheerios/toasted oats Sam: $2.94 Aldi: 1.39
frosted wheat square cereal Sam: $3.63 Aldi: 1.79
granola cereal Sam: $3.64 Aldi: $2.39
beef hot dogs (8 count) Sam: $2.39 Aldi: $2.49
kleenex Sam: $1.49 Aldi: .89
frozen veggies Sam: $1.49 Aldi: .95
eggs – dozen large Sam: $1.32 Aldi: .69
milk 2% Sam: $2.09 Aldi: $1.99
half & half quart Sam: $2.22 Aldi: $1.69
bananas Sam: .46 lb Aldi: .44 lb
sour cream Sam: $1.05 Aldi: .99
butter Sam: $2.75 Aldi: $2.55
fresh pears Sam: $1.10 lb Aldi: .96 lb
apples Sam: $1.07 lb Aldi: .96 lb
Comparison was made difficult by the odd quantities and sizes Sam’s Club carries. I’m sure this is a marketing technique designed to make it hard to do side-by-side calculations. I also noticed that there was very little selection of some items, like jams and jellies. At Walmart you have at least a dozen flavors, at Aldi’s five or six flavors; at Sam’s you are stuck with only grape and strawberry. As for spaghetti sauce, you had only one choice at Sam’s. Walmart offers half a dozen choices, and even Aldi has a few different types.
I did not buy anything, as all the items I was interested in were either more expensive or in a quantity too large for our family. My daughter-in-law found four items, but when we arrived at checkout, the one-time guess pass didn’t work. The cashier shrugged indifferently and said we would have to sign up for a membership to purchase the items.
This brings me to the final point about Sam’s Club: to shop at their store, you need to allow a fair amount of your personal data to be stored in their computer system: They input the information on your driver’s license/state ID – name, address, date of birth, and your picture! Why do they need that information? If you have cash or a valid credit card, that should be ALL they need. There have been so many database breaches in the last few years that we should all be leery of anyone asking for information that they don’t need.
So the daughter-in-law and I walked out of the store with nothing but our common sense. We will stick with the other grocery stores in our area that offer reasonable prices and less privacy invasion.