On my way into Sam's Club in Orlando, Fla., I am greeted with an offer on keys. Today, the enthusiastic young woman explains, someone will cut and program copies of my keys while I shop.
It's not an offer I usually encounter, but that's sort of the nature of wholesale clubs. The shopping experience is for people who are serious about getting stuff done and saving while they do it.
Warehouse or wholesale clubs date back to the 1970s. The format of the stores is a bulk outlet where buying items in greater quantities affords discounted prices. Customers must pay membership dues in order shop.
While the idea was popular in the 1980s, the U.S. now only sports three big players in the world of big buys: Seattle-based Costco, BJ's Wholesale Club and the Walmart-owned Sam's Club. I paid a visit to each of them to find out exactly what you can expect to get for your membership fees.