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A piece from Smart Money looks at the downside of membership warehouse clubs, among them:

Time is money. “For the annual membership price of $35 to $100, discount hunters can spend their weekends stocking up on 36-roll packages of toilet paper and nuclear-canister-size boxes of detergent. Too bad they also spend plenty of time doing anything but shopping,” with checkout lines often lasting 15 minutes or longer because not all registers are open.

In addition, Smart Money writes, things don't necessarily get more convenient after the checkout experience: “As club members have long known, it can often be a hassle just leaving a warehouse store. You'll wait for one of the club's employees to inspect your receipt, a procedure that will usually add several minutes to your outing.”

Credit crunch. “Since Sam's Club honors only the Discover card, Mastercard, and debit cards, many shoppers decide to get a Sam's Club personal credit card. But before you sign up, beware: The standard card comes with a 23.15 percent APR, which is about nine percentage points higher than the current average for variable credit cards, according to”

Vanishing variety. “Warehouse membership may have its privileges, but it doesn't provide much variety. The most mammoth clubs carry only 4,000 to 7,000 different products, one tenth of what your average supermarket stocks.”

Gray matters. Smart Money reports that US club stores “are often big buyers of gray-market products, either because the goods are priced cheaply or because the manufacturer will not sell directly to the store.” This means that the merchandise was supposed to be sold only outside the US, which means that warranties are not effective in the US” – something often not told to consumers until after they have a problem.
KC's View:
Most of this stuff I knew about, but as a regular Costco shopper, I have to say that the primary reason that I shop there is because I can buy stuff in sufficient bulk to avoid other trips to various stores. The time spent in the checkout line or waiting to get to the parking lot is small potatoes compared to the other time saved.