Saturday, January 3, 2009

Better In Bulk (and this isn't about my hiney)

While I am entirely too snooty to darken a automatically opened door to Wal-Mart, I love Sam's Club. If you live in Iceland and aren't familiar, Sam's Club sells huge quantities of things at wholesale prices to businesses (but is also open to the public). So, you can get a 20 pound tube of sausage at half the price per pound you would pay at a grocery store. Sam's Club and Wal-Mart are owned by the same company- God. Wait, no, that would be Sam Walton- or his family since Sam is dead.

I have read several articles (the portion of this book about Wal-Mart is the best) and seen TV programs about the rise of Wal-Mart and how they take out local businesses. But the people that trash the company are the same ones that flock there because they have lower prices. It's a vicious cycle.
I just go to Target for things I don't need 144 of to avoid the inner conflict. Is that so wrong?

I used to be all for Costco (and even thought they were better than Sam's- I hope you didn't miss up there that I'm a little snooty), but then they built a new Sam's (clean, well-lit, etc.) much closer to our house, so I'm a re-convert (since I loved Sam's first). I am Cheapy Saleserton and love a good deal (thanks to my dad), so this place makes me happy. Now, the trick is to buy things that you will actually use a lot of and not let it go to waste. I have perfected this to an art form.

I started jotting a list to include here of all the things I regularly buy at Sam's. The list includes 37 things at this point. That's just a little embarrassing, so know that I do a lot of shopping there.

In lieu of my long list of favorites that I buy at Sam's, here are my tips if- for some reason- you are a Sam's novice.

1) Get a business membership, if possible. It costs an extra $10/ year, but I used my company info and now I can go at 7:00 am with the special people. There will be people buying cartloads of cigarettes and mozzarella cheese (hopefully not in the same buggy), but there won't be many of them. Early in the morning is the BEST time to go to Sam's. You might even get to hear their meetings in the cafeteria where they go over what has sold the best, stock prices and then, of course, the Sam's "S-A-M-S" employee cheer.

2) If you have to go on a Saturday, go at lunch. You can get a whole meal of little tiny samples if you can fight off the other people trying to get that half of a Bagel Bite. You have to be ruthless. Leave your manners near the old lady who checks your card at the door. And you can cruise by a couple of times if you act like you really might buy that sample. Those little sample ladies love it when you act like you might take home their 14 pound lasagna platter if you could just have one more bite.
Or send your children for several. They have no dignity under 5 and cannot be blamed. Just pretend like you are getting on to them and then eat the samples with a face that apologetically says, "I guess this is just what we have to do" with mock embarrassment. In my mind you should shake your head a little in disgust while you chomp down with a tiny little spoon.

3) If you are there on a day when they don't have free samples and you are there at lunch, eat at their cafeteria. The food is horrible and greasy, and there are very limited choices, but you can get a foot long hot dog and a gallon of soda for about $1.50. Really. Oh yeah.

4) Never, no never, buy a huge gallon of peeled garlic cloves- unless you are fighting off vampires. Just trust me here. It will never get used. And your refrigerator will smell like an Italian died in there.

5) Get gas there. It's easy to get at the cafeteria, but they also sell it outside at pumps. (And you can also pick up a pack of 485 antacid tablets if you get the cafeteria induced kind.)

My love for Publix is well-documented, so please don't think that I've switched my alliance. But I have a little bit of pantry space and a deep freezer in the garage, so I'm okay with larger quantities on some things. Oh, and I'm cheap. Did I mention that?

I hope you love Sam's (or Costco, if you swing that way) like I do. I spend a lot of time there. You might have picked up on that since I know the employee cheer. Really, where else would you buy toilet paper? You know you're going to need that for a while. Or baby wipes, batteries or frozen pizza? I should go work for them in their PR department. Do you think they'd let me work there if I told them I wouldn't step foot in Wal-Mart?
If only a one-size-fits-all blue vest looked good on me...


becky said...

um, we go every week. especially for milk. it is less than 3 bucks there. we buy 3 gallons and freeze one. we get our diapers there (b/c i am a pampers snob) and wipes and toilet paper and paper towels. and frozen chicken tenderloins. and there are other things, but it is leaving me at the moment. and of course gas, both kinds.

LOOK WHO'S MARRIED!!!! said...

you crack me up. i have recently converted from the mainstream grocery stores to costco...thanks to porter. i find it hard NOT to buy things at costco simply because the prices are so amazing. i rationalize to myself...of'course, we'll use 14 asparagus before it goes bad. lol.

and costco will surprise you with some awesome items. i got a pair of SEVEN jeans last week for $100. amazing!!!

Tara said...

I totally agree with you about Sam's. I go there for their filet mignons (you can get 4 for between $25! And good wine for cheap as well. I'll start going there alot soon with the baby for formula (I used Member's Mark for Brooks the first year). You can get a HUGE can of it for around $19 and it lasts 2 weeks! It has the exact same ingredients as Enfamil. I also get Pampers and wipes there. It's wonderful!

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Oh, how I miss Publix!! We have nothing like it here in NM.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I'll have to admit- Alabama peanuts are just as good as Georgia peanuts! :>)

BASSakward Tales said...

ok..thanks for the info...i read your blog to my hubby...maybe he will now go get that sam's card like i have been begging him to (he works 2 miles from one) - i just spent $00+ on groceries for 2 weeks at Wal Mart ...I almost died...and toilet paper, clorox and such were involved...thanks...

holly said...

you are too funny! i have memberships at both bulk places, but love Costco for their organic chicken, milk and peanut butter...and the $1 frozen yogurt ;)

Sarah said...

hilarious. perfect. do you have a long lost twin?

Jenifer said...

This is great, Hillary. This sounds exactly like me. Every line I read I was like... yes! or me too! You're so funny. I'm having alot of fun reading your blog. Someone mentioned you maybe having a long lost twin... maybe you're really a triplet?

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