You are looking at Bossy’s BJ’s Wholesale Club membership card, and first can we all agree that this is the worst identification photo you’ve ever seen?
Bossy’s history with BJ’s goes back to the year 2000, when her beloved British neighbors would brag about the enormous whole salmon filets they purchased for only $10.99. The enormous whole salmon filets that came two to a package, but that didn’t stop the salmon from being located next to the Radial Tires.
A couple of years later, Bossy lost her heart during a trial membership when she discovered BJ’s sold the best assorted italian olives she had ever eaten. And those olives came in a fishbowl for only $4.99.
Bossy could never take full advantage of BJ’s because she doesn’t have the storage space for buying in bulk– but during her twice-a-month visits to the store, Bossy would purchase olive oil and crackers and a certain eye cream and cereal and brownie mix and balsamic vinegar and a certain brand of paper towels and cheese and a fishing net’s worth of garlic, and if Bossy had the time to repackage into handleable serving sizes: meat and chicken, and even fish.
Bossy and her husband never purchased electronics at BJ’s or used their photo developing services or dug around in the mountain of cotton t-shirts available in every color, but occasionally Bossy would treat herself to a bouquet of long stem roses, 24 for $9.99.
But BJ’s became less convenient, and then Trader Joe’s opened nearby which offers similar prices for quality food. Which made sense to Bossy since she could never get a handle on her BJs savings when she tried to factor-in the membership fee, because we all know Bossy is a genius at math.
And so a few months ago, Bossy went to BJ’s and was told that her membership had expired. At the time she chose not to renew, but Bossy still thinks about certain deals there, and she still wonders if it’s worth the $45 membership fee.
Opinions? Bossy needs you. Especially since she’s craving olives, and no— not in this way.
Don’t forget to check out the amazing resource of participating Poverty Party bloggers below, because the list is constantly updating. And comb the comments for links to the latest Poverty posts across the web!
Liz saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:04 am
I had no idea that Bossy’s real name was “Household Member”. Huh. Go figure.
I am a devoted Sam’s club member because I am all about the bulk, both in my middle region and with my strawberries and household cleaning products.
Julianne saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:05 am
You and Martha need to split the membership cost, both go shopping, ring it up and pay in cash. Works for me and my mother.
corrie saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:06 am
My BJs membership expires in January, and I’ve already begun to contemplate whether or not to spend the $ to reup. I have promised myself to ADD UP all my “savings” to see it I EVER remotely come close to the fee…. but alas never have I kept this promise.
I do think though that it all is a wash in the end.. no BIG savings. Sorry, but I am leaning towards no renewal.
marialice saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:32 am
i use costco and was able to get a great deal on car insurance through them that totally paid for the membership….plus you get to use the concierge service when you buy things like computers — you’ll always get a tech support rep that is in the united states and they double the warranty. if there is one thing that you’ll get that will save you 45 bucks (like insurance or prescription drugs) then go for it.
Cat saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:36 am
Bossy, just wait a couple of months and they will send you a free 30 day membership. I do that and buy any big stuff I might want, but I never pay for a membership.
janet saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:42 am
I still think BJ’s is worth it, even though my kids are grown and gone. If you have no cabinet space (me neither) you can always buy bulk paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo, cereal – and keep it down cellar.
Also if you and Martha share a card, you don’t need to shop together. They really don’t care who’s picture is on the card you are using. I got a second free card for my husband and it has no picture! Do that.
Bobbie saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:56 am
Umm…. we belong to Sam’s Club AND BJ’s (a new BJ’s opened and the membership fee was reduced…). The gas at BJ’s is always at least 10 cents/gallon cheaper than anywhere else around.
I used to call Sam’s Club the $100 store, because that’s how much I always spent, no matter what I bought. Unfortunately, it’s now more like the $200 store. On the plus side, I have a Sam’s Club Discover card (paid in full each month) that I earn $ back on with every use (up to $148 so far this year).
Lauren saysNovember 21, 2008 at 10:57 am
We have Costco here which sounds like the same thing and my mom has a membership, so I just go with her and pay her back for all the items I added to her cart. Maybe you could do something similar with your mom or with Martha? Split the membership fee two or three ways, then go shopping together!
TanyaK saysNovember 21, 2008 at 11:06 am
I have a friend with a Sam’s Club membership and one with a Costco membership. When I’m getting low on stuff, I call and ask them to “pick up a few things for me” the next time they’re there. Not only is it delivered right to my house, but I’m not tempted by the roses (or t-shirts, or big screen TV’s). Also, no membership fees!!! There are reciprical favors like babysitting involved, but I’d probably do that anyway.
tamela saysNovember 21, 2008 at 11:14 am
This is a one day shopping pass, but you do have to pay a 15% nonmember fee.
Kelly at The Glass Dragonfly saysNovember 21, 2008 at 11:22 am
I buy in bulk things like paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and shampoo.
And um, no, not the worst membership ID photograph! I claim that one as my daughter loves to pull my membership card out of my wallet at random times so that she can laugh at me!! She is 19 years old!! Seriously. Worst picture ever! Ugh.
MariaV saysNovember 21, 2008 at 11:34 am
The membership fee is worth it for me. I can buy the items I use the most in bulk.
Perhaps, you and Martha and some of your other friends can team up. I have a few friends who share a membership. They go shopping together (score, saves gas) and split items like rice, pasta, vegetables, frozen foods, butter, sauce, spices, etc. They are short on storage space, so this is ideal.
halfdime saysNovember 21, 2008 at 11:37 am
If you’re like me and don’t have room for bulk it may not be worth it (especially with trader joes!!!) I used to go to costo and would stuff extra pantry items and toilet paper under the beds and stuff…I’ve since ditched my membership and started to use coupons and then use them when the items go on sale and get double savings. I found that I can get just as good or better prices, don’t have so much stuff to store, and don’t end up wasting or forgetting about it. Although, if I could share a membership and then split some of the bulk items between someone else it would be worth it.
Naomi saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:15 pm
I quit my Costco years ago. A car load of stuff and no where to put it. I can get great deals at my local grocery store using my club card and coupons. Plus I love Trader Joe’s and Henrys (Whole Foods Market) They are closer. I would spend 20 minutes driving each way to Costco and less than 5 to the other stores.
But my mom lives close to a Costco and I have her pick up our favorites when we are running low. I sometimes go shopping with her.
mrs. G. saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Renew only if you can go and not buy extra shit you don’t really need.
I have a new PP post up about how my husband bought a new big ass TV to save us money. I think you and he took the same math class.
Little Miss Sunshine State saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm
We do COSTCO. We live less than 2 miles from the store.
Yesterday we did the liquor trip. This is what we got for
$155. Bailey’s 750ml. (All the rest are 1.75L) Absolut Vodka, Bombay Sapphire, Captain Morgan,Maker’s Mark,
Kahlua. That will get us WAY beyond the holidays.
I shop there once or twice a month for
bread, crackers, canned tomatoes, olive oil. The cleaning products that come 3 in a package, I share with my daughter. My usual shopping trip is about $60.
I have no health insurance. My prescriptions that I pay cash (not available for $4 at Wal-Mart) are $30 less that other pharmacies.
Martha saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:47 pm
TOTALLY WORTH IT!!
I belong to Sams club and easily pay for our membership with savings on diapers and wipes alone….not to mention giant tubs of baby spinach for 3.49. I buy almost all my staples there; sugar, flour, olive oil, hamburger, froz chicken breasts. Then there is the gas discount, not major when you only need 12 gallons but it helps. Does your BJ’s sell liquor because OMG does that savings add up! Costco and Sams have the best booze prices around.
I keep a little pocket journal and write down what I pay for certain things I buy all the time (meat, flour, sugar, tp, etc). Then I know if a price is actually a good deal.
However, I have the space to stock up like I’m waiting for Armageddon.
I agree with the split the membership idea, best of both worlds.
Did I mention how much you can save on tires?
In general I find that the prices come pretty close to an awesome sale at at grocery store but I don’t have to wait for a sale.
Costco is my true first love but I settled for Sams because Costco is all snobby and won’t come to our hick town.
Janene saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:49 pm
I have been thinking about this myself lately. I pay $40/yr. for a Sam’s membership and go there almost every week which I figured costs me around $1/wk. I recoup my cost in milk alone since we go through about 5 gallons/week (family of 7). I buy meat, paper products, laundry soap, wine, cookies, etc, whatever we use a lot of, as long as the price is cheaper at Sam’s than Wal-Mart. Then I fill in the rest at Wal-Mart and don’t have to mess with coupons, watching sales, going to 5 different stores, etc. I just watch the prices and get in and out of Sam’s as fast as I can, otherwise I buy things I don’t need and end of not saving! After 22 years of grocery shopping, this is the most efficient and cost-effective system I have found. You also get a $0.05/gallon discount on gas at Sam’s with your card, so I fill up when I go there. Our Sam’s has a liquor store now too, which saves a few dollars when my husband wants to indulge his Vodka habit!
Mr Farty saysNovember 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm
I just LOVE – oh, not that kind of BJ’s. Damn.
Tootsie Farklepants saysNovember 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm
We have the Costco Executive membership at $100 a year. Guess how many times we’ve gone this year? Exactly once. It wasn’t worth it for us.
At least your eyes are open in the photo on your membership card. Unlike, um, mine.
Also? BJ’s Heh. you said bj.
Tuli saysNovember 21, 2008 at 1:07 pm
i must look into the splitting of a COSTCO membership with my best pal! What a good idea!
Lauren saysNovember 21, 2008 at 1:29 pm
Bossy, I am sorry, but you look like Hillary Clinton in that picture…
the new Mrs. C saysNovember 21, 2008 at 1:41 pm
My new Mr. and I just had this very discussion last weekend. Before going to Sams club, while at Sams club and after we left Sams club.
‘Stupid to pay for a membership when we don’t have room for buying in bulk.” “ Need the shelving unit that can only be found here.” We renewed our membership. $40. Now, Bossy who is a genius at math, how much do we have to spend to actually SAVE the $40? My head explodes every time I try to figure it out. I think that means it’s time for wine in a box.
cgogis saysNovember 21, 2008 at 2:04 pm
I want to know why your poverty posts don’t show up in my Google Reader?! I’ve missed some great posts!
operagal saysNovember 21, 2008 at 2:07 pm
I go to Sam’s too, and ask whoever is around (mom, m-i-l) if they want to go with, or split some of what I bought.
It ALWAYS works out, since I get an additional business discount on top of the reg. membership.
The price on coffee alone makes it a deal…
VeryMary saysNovember 21, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Very Mary suggests that olives, while good, do not compare to the feeling of saving $45.
Christina saysNovember 21, 2008 at 4:04 pm
I saw Hillary Clinton when I saw that photo, too!
I’ve been trying to talk Mr. C into joining Costco. (With two boys, we go through gallons of milk a week, for example.) Curious to know if it’s worth it.
Michelle saysNovember 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm
Paying a membership fee to shop in a store. I’m sorry—but that is bullshit. In my area we only have Sam’s club and I refuse to pay money to allow me to shop in a store that is known for treating its employees badly. Walmart and Sam’s suck the soul out of America. Srew it–pay a little more and fight the man. (Damn good thing I don’t have an opinion, right?)
LizP saysNovember 21, 2008 at 6:21 pm
We have Costco, not BJ’s, here in OR. We are executive members (which costs $100) and have the Costco AmEx card. We get a rebate from Costco and one from AmEx that total over $500 a year, so it’s worth it for us. We buy diapers, milk, formula, batteries, paper products. I make sure that the unit costs are cheaper than what we could get at the store. With 6 people in the house we just need to buy in bulk. And our Costco has gas … at $1.89 a gallon today. That’s up to 50 cents a gallon cheaper, depending on where you go.
I’m with the others who suggested sharing a membership with someone. I’ve been a “personal Costco shopper” for a couple of people who just pay me back.
anne marie in philly saysNovember 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm
ditto the hillary clinton comments!
I am with michelle – why in hell should I have to pay to shop at a certain store? with prices the way they are, THEY should be paying ME to come inside!
in my house there are 2 people and 2 cats. I shop at aldi’s and redner’s warehouse market. I go twice a month; that’s it. aldi’s has good quality food for great low prices.
Alissa saysNovember 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm
We only have the Costco membership because we sat down and did the math and at over $.20/gallon cheaper, its worth it for the gas alone. Unless you have a bunch of hungry teenagers to feed, then maybe you can save $50/year in cream cheese and bagels.
And, sadly, no, that is not even close to the worst ID I’ve seen. And this is not just me bitching about my own photo. Every single coworker of mine has the worst mug-shot of and ID ever. Evah!
rockle saysNovember 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm
we shop at bj’s, and for us it’s totally worth it just for the savings on cat food, cat littler, diapers, and footie pajamas, believe it or not. especially at holiday time, they have great savings on stuff you can actually use. and i’m not sure about your particular bj’s, but ours (which is also in pennsylvania) has gas for around $0.12/gal cheaper than anywhere else, which also makes the trip worth it.
so, in my opinion: worth it. and if you can share the membership with martha, DEFINITELY do it.
Peg saysNovember 21, 2008 at 8:29 pm
I think I have to also vote no on the membership. Once you have paid off the credit cards, auto loans and HELOC, you’ll have gobs of cash each month. BJ’s will still be there with their olives and eye cream.
blackbird saysNovember 22, 2008 at 7:50 am
Ditch the membership – shop wisely. I haven’t been there in years, though I do miss the big olive oil. I never had any place to keep all that stuff and my brother was a manager there for a while and said that most of the stuff they sell is pretty close to regular prices.
JK saysNovember 22, 2008 at 1:25 pm
Don’t feel bad about the Hilary Clinton comments. I look like Ernest Borgnine on my BJ’s membership card, well, if he were a 40 year old woman with medium length hair and sunglasses on her head.
I agree with the above comments and say join with a friend (or two, let’s not forget Bossy’s camera shy friend, Amy) and shop together in a VERY LARGE CAR (or meet up at the store). It’s worth it. Our BJ’s has excellent wine prices and selection in addition to the great food. OH the Starbucks Winter Blend Coffee is only available for a short while and it is delish! How about the cheapo wrapping paper & cards? And cleaning supplies? Oh, do you wear Levi’s? They have those cute boot cut 515’s for 19.99! Those are great everyday jeans & flattering. Oh, and the flannel pants, and the …
Renee in Seattle saysNovember 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm
I belong to Sams Club AND Costco, and have a large family, so it totally pays off for me. I can save enough to pay my membership in two shopping trips… no joke.
However, with only 3 of you, not so sure.
Like the suggestion to share the membership. Or, just ask a friend if you can tag along now and then and make your purchases using their card. Then you get the best of both worlds.
Helen+ilana+Hi saysNovember 22, 2008 at 2:45 pm
No we most certainly cannot agree that is the worst photo id picture ever! Obviously you have not seen my passport photo.
and i’m not showing it you either……………
Adorable Girlfriend saysNovember 22, 2008 at 4:24 pm
You should renew. Only after you ask for the 3 months free deal or what AG got — the 16 months for price of 12. The deals are really worth it, especially if you use the coupons they send like AG does.
Now, could you find someone like Martha or Bossy Mom or Sister-in-law to go in halfzies. You see, you go together. Get two cards, one for you, one for her. One of you holds the membership in her name, but you split the cost and go home for 1/2 the price as a member!!!
Cactus Petunia saysNovember 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm
Costco lost its cachet for me when I spent a year running the Little League concession stand. Pushing around a flatbed cart once a week loaded with about 300 pounds of hot dogs, hamburgers, giant cans of nacho sauce and dozens of boxes of Red Vines and Snickers got old really quick!
hana saysNovember 22, 2008 at 8:37 pm
I agree with #38 AG – share with Martha or mom. With three of you, it may not make as much sense when there were four of you (and the fourth’s posse of friends …. growing boys, ya know).
Melanie saysNovember 23, 2008 at 6:21 am
I found that we spent more and ate more when we had a Sam’s card. If I bought moon pies at the grocery store (12 pack at $0.20 each), we ate 12 that week. It I bought moon pies at Sams (48 pack at $0.15 each), we ate 48 that week. So – less per unit on moon pies each week, but much more in total moon pie expenditure. Plus – we were getting fat. Neither of which is good.
Heather saysNovember 23, 2008 at 11:30 am
Aren’t you up for secretary of state?
Sharon saysNovember 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm
We belong to Costco and it makes sense for us, but we go every week and the gas prices can’t be beat. Yesterday it was $1.68 a gallon!
Linda260 saysNovember 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm
When we lived in Maryland, we had both a BJs and a Sams Club membership. Different items at different stores – the “drugstore” type items at BJs – contact lens solution, toothpaste, vitamins, etc. more than made up for the cost of the membership. BJs also had better clothing items – I got a fantastic rain jacket/coat, there for peanuts that is still looks great after 5 years. Sam’s was good for food and books. Now we’re in Nevada and, alas, no BJs. We still belong to Sams, though. We do buy in bulk, about once per month. If you’re in the market for a big ticket item – car tires, electronics, etc – getting a membership is well worth it just for that.
donna in mid michigan saysNovember 24, 2008 at 8:08 am
I have a pretty good poverty post about Citibank bailout. They helped me get so far INTO debt….yeah…I say…no Bailout.
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