This Cult Favorite Store Is Even Better than Costco

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

You love Costco, I love Costco, we all geek out over this bulk-sized Narnia. But what if I told you there was something even better than Costco? Something that only people in a small-ish pocket of the country really seem to know about?

Well, I am telling you that! Keep reading to find out what I’m talking about.

(Image credit: Mike Mozart)

It’s called BJ’s Wholesale Club, affectionately known as BJ’s (let’s keep it clean here, folks) by residents of the East Coast. The are 210 clubs in 16 states from Maine to Florida, although the heaviest concentration of them is in the Northeast.

I thought everyone knew about BJ’s … until I did a quick informal poll at the office. Most of my coworkers told me they love Costco, but they had no idea about BJ’s. So, allow me to explain: BJ’s is like Costco, but better for a few reasons.

1. It’s cheaper.

Since I grocery shop for a household of three, buying in bulk without having to dig for change in the couch gives me the chance to exhale for a moment. And these lower prices are not just in my imagination: Personal finance expert Lauren Greutman compared 40 items at Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s and found that BJ’s was least expensive on more items than the other stores. In addition, I find that BJ’s has a much better coupon game, promoting deals both for online and in-store purchases. Where you at, Costco?

2. The snack options are more exciting.

While BJ’s carries plenty of healthy options, the comfort food and snack options (hello, teriyaki beef jerky) are where it shines. If you’re throwing a party, this is where you want to go for unique treats like coconut trail mix and bacon mac and cheese bites.

3. The rotisserie chickens are tastier.

I’m gonna go ahead and say it: Costco’s rotisserie chickens can be a little dry for my liking. The birds are the same price at both stores, but I’d pay even more for BJ’s rotisserie chicken any day of the week.

4. The free samples are better.

People often joke about how they head to Costco to load up on free samples and call it lunch. BJ’s also distributes free samples, but you’ll notice the menu is a little more on the heavy side. A more filling lunch! Instead of chips and dollops of yogurt, the BJ’s closest to me in Westchester, NY, has given out things like clam chowder, jerky, and pizza.

5. The checkout situation is way less chaotic.

Costco is known for its miserably long and slightly unorganized checkout lines. The situation at BJ’s, however? It’s downright pleasant. The lines aren’t scattered or hectic, and there are plenty of cashiers to get people through (none of that “Sorry, this aisle is closed” nonsense!). BJ’s checkout system is a little less kid-friendly when it comes to impulse buys at the checkout, but I’m guessing most people will find that as a plus.

BJ’s currently operates in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

For more specific locations, you can find your city here.

Have you been to a BJ’s? Do you agree with us? What else do you love about it? Or what do you think Costco does better?