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Photo Printing, Electronics, and Travel Services

Photo Printing.

Costco photos are 13 cents for a 4x6 and 38 cents for a 5x7. At Sam's Club, photo printing costs 17 cents for a 4x6 and 38 cents for a 5x7.
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We found just a few reviews for the photo printing services at each superstore. Despite some qualms about customer support in Costco's photo developing operation, print quality surprised the reviewer atTopTenReviews, who notes that big businesses sometimes don't pay lots of attention to small-bore activities like photo printing. Sam's Club photo printing delivers excellent quality and service, according to TopTenReviews, although Sam's doesn't offer many options -- only one finish, for example, when ordering for home delivery or in-store pickup.

Electronics.

Electronics are big items and often a reason consumers join a wholesale store such as Sam's Club or Costco. In our comparative shopping expedition, we noted that both clubs offer a large variety of items at just about the same prices. For example, a 32-inch 720p LCD HDTV by Samsung is $338 at Sam's Club and $339.99 at Costco; that same model costs $349.99 at Sears and $399.99 at Target.

As you debate whether to join Costco or Sam's, it's worth noting the differences between their delivery, installation, and assistance options. If you're thinking of making a big-ticket furniture purchase like a desk, bed, or couch or buying a big electronics item like a TV, computer, or camcorder, put your money on Sam's Club. Sam's delivers and installs items purchased at the store; services range from basic delivery (starting at $59) all the way up to premium delivery (starting at $159), which includes installation. Sam's also installs electronics (starting at $89) and Tech Experts are available 24/7 via phone to help with troubleshooting and setup. If you buy a Sam's Club Plus Membership, you get an extra year warranty for free with the purchase of any warranty. Costco has no delivery service for items bought at the store -- you purchase it, you transport it -- but it does offer television installation (starting at $89.99) through an outside vendor. A second year on the manufacturer's warranty on televisions, computers, and projectors is provided, and free technical support for select electronics is available.

Car Rental and Travel.

It costs lots of money to take a vacation and frugal shoppers know that any discount helps. Costco is the clear winner in this category. As of March 2011, Sam's Club no longer offers travel reservations and discount services. Costco continues to offer good deals on select vacations in places including Florida, the Caribbean, and even Ireland. The superstore also gives a huge discount on car rentals, and for some consumers that benefit is the tipping point. As one in-store customer pointed out to us: "We've always been Sam's Club members, but then we discovered the car rental discount through Costco. The Costco membership is so much more valuable to us now because it makes renting a car so much cheaper on our yearly vacation." For others, Sam's is still the one.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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