I have a confession to make. I love warehouse stores. This traces back to when I was in high school and Price Club (later Costco) opened up a store in Sunnyvale. Man that was a big deal. I used to go with my mom when I was home from college and she would buy me supplies like 6-packs of socks and underwear and towels. It was very exciting. There was always someone in the dorm with a membership, so we'd go there to stock up for parties. That was exciting too.
When I moved back to the Bay Area the same Costco was conveniently on my way home from work. Life was good and I got in the habit of going there every few weeks. Although you may think it's weird for a single person to buy stuff there, well, that is true. Nonetheless, I know lots of single or childless people who frequent Costco. Anyway, I had to learn what I could get away with buying in bulk, and what I couldn't.
When I moved to Ithaca I had major sticker shock over the cost of groceries here. This was not helped by the absence of Trader Joe's and Costco. I tried for about a month and then gave in and joined Sam's Club, which is about 45 miles away. That was ok for the occasional trip to get staples, but it couldn't compare to Costco and it was inconvenient.
Fortunately, the other player in the warehouse club arena, BJ's, just opened up a store here in Ithaca. This is a damn good place to open one, and not just because I'm biased. Although it's a bit of a liberal hippie college town, Ithaca is a town of people sorta like me and we love love love the big box stores, and there were no warehouse stores in a 40 mile radius.
It opened this weekend, although the grand opening isn't for a week. I went there today and it was quite busy by Ithaca standards. Unlike Costco or Sam's Club, it makes no pretense to supply businesses. There's a more upscale mix of products than Sam's Club, and it is smaller than the other two. Prices are somewhat higher, but nonetheless I think that it will still be cheaper once I factor in 3 gallons of gas. I will more than make up my membership fee in yogurt alone. I am happy to be able to do my yogurt/lettuce/cottage cheese/cat litter run on the way home from work. I will still spend too much money at Wegmans, but if it keeps me out of there once or twice a month, it will be a good thing. I've never really figured out how to avoid temptation at Wegmans.
My real confession is that at the moment I have memberships in Sam's Club, BJ's, and Costco. Don't ask. I had to renew my Costco membership last year so I could spend a large rebate. I'll remedy that this summer when my Costco and Sam's Club memberships expire.