- Costco and BJ's Wholesale are both membership-based warehouse clubs. An annual Costco membership costs $60, while BJ's costs $55 a year.
- Costco and BJ's are very similar, but BJ's is more organized, has a Dunkin' Donuts kiosk instead of a food court, and has a self checkout so that customers can avoid lines.
But on recent visits, I found that Costco offers a lot more for the price of a membership.
Costco and BJ's Wholesale are membership-based warehouse stores selling groceries, clothing, furniture, and just about everything else.
Both stores offer eye and ear exams, a pharmacy, photo services, and a food court. Even the return policies are similarly generous, though BJ's stops accepting items after a year, while Costco will accept most items at any time.
Costco's yearly membership is $60, while BJ's is slightly less at $55. The annual cost of a premium membership is double the cost of the basic membership for both stores.
According to a grocery-store ranking from Consumer Reports, the higher membership costs at Costco might be worth it — it ranked higher than BJ's in cleanliness, meat and produce quality, customer service, store-brand quality, and prices of organic items.
To see for myself which store really offered the best deal, I went to a BJ's Wholesale in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a Costco store in Westchester County, New York. Here's what I found:
The first store I went to was Costco. I was able to walk right into the store without having my membership checked.
The electronics were the first large department of the store, with TVs typically ranging in price from $500 to $2,000. There was an impressive selection of brands and products, ranging from Apple Watches to household appliances. Random tables of clothes surrounded the TVs.
On the wall nearest to the electronics was a one-hour photo station, and nearby was an optical center.
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