FOR THE REFINED PALLET
Warehouse clubs such as Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's Wholesale Club promise savings on everyday household items including paper goods, bulk food, electronics, and even prescription drugs. But there are also some truly off-the-wall items that can be found in warehouse clubs, often for a fraction of the price shoppers would normally pay. In Cheapism's continual research on Sam's and Costco, as well as BJ's, we've stumbled upon some surprising offerings.
Yep, you read that right: Costco sells coffins. Starting at about $950 and ranging up to $3,000, coffins can be ordered online from Costco with the option of expedited shipping.
While Sam's Club doesn't spring to mind for fine jewelry, the warehouse club has a surprisingly big selection of engagement rings, including more than 630 styles online. Prices start around $700 and inch their way to more than $30,000.
Hankering for Hunter boots? What about popular Sorel boots or high-end leggings? Costco sells them all -- just not all the time. Check the website regularly to spot designer steals. We've seen Hunter boots for as low as $80, and they normally cost about $140.
DOOMSDAY SURVIVAL GEAR
While the zombie apocalypse may never come to fruition, Costco and Sam's Club help members prepare for anything. A four-person, one-year emergency food supply at Costco comes with 31,500 servings for $4,000. Water storage is another must-have in case of an emergency, and Costco and Sam's Club come to the rescue with barrel kits for about $130 and 275-gallon tank filtration systems for $1,300.
BJ's, Sam's Club, and Costco all put together cheap wedding flower packages. At Costco, the offerings start as low as $120, for wedding party boutonnieres and corsages, and grow to $750 for 40 pieces as different kinds of arrangements are added.
Costco may be better known for refrigerator-size bundles of toilet paper, but members bought nearly 400,000 vehicles through the warehouse club in 2014. Shoppers explain to Costco Auto Program representatives what they want in a car, and participating dealers call back with offers. Although the process may not result in the lowest possible price, it appeals to consumers who want a good deal without haggling.
PHOTO REPAIR AND MORE
Warehouse clubs provide an impressive array of photo services beyond developing pictures. Sam's Club and Costco transfer VHS tapes and slides to DVD, for example. Costco's pro photo repair service can restore old pictures and go as far as adding color or removing people from an image.
At BJ's, members can buy a large shed for outdoor storage at prices starting around $1,250, including delivery and installation. Buyers can customize the structure's size, siding, and roof color (and upgrade or add other features at extra cost).
For entrepreneurs with growing businesses, Costco and Sam's Club sell far more than desks and chairs. Think entire cubicles, starting with single steel-and-fabric panels for $135 or a complete "Office-in-an-Hour" for $1,140 at Costco. While Sam's Club has fewer options, small-business owners will find the fancier hardwood and hand-applied parquet wood veneer Brookhaven cubicle wall at some locations.
If you live in a house without a fireplace, it may feel like something is missing. An electric fireplace is a relatively easy and cheap way to add that cozy ambience. The warehouse clubs offer options starting at about $400 that look like the real deal and even put out heat.