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Sam's Club vs. Costco Tires and Auto Services
Sam's vs. Costco Pharmacy and Wellness Services.Sam's and Costco offer several health and wellness services, including a pharmacy with discounted prices on items not covered by private or a state/federal insurance program. But if you don't have insurance for medications, Sam's Club is ideal. For $4, the superstore can fill a 30-day prescription for select medications; a 90-day supply goes for $10. If you join as an Advantage Plus member, you save 8% off name-brand medications and 40% off generic medications that aren't part of the $4/$10 prescription plan. We didn't find similar discount deals at Costco pharmacy apart from already low prices on medications. Costco members can get flu shots through the pharmacy.
Optical services are available at both wholesale clubs as well. Some Sam's Club locations have an optometrist on site and the club accepts vision insurance. The day we visited the store, the starting price for contacts was $13.85 a box. Costco operates a vision center in most locations, where eye appointments can be made with trained optometrists. Both Sam's and Costco sell frames, but we couldn't find comparative pricing information.
Both superstores also offer hearing services, including free hearing tests for members. Costco goes a step further with its free hearing-aid testing, which includes a free cleaning and battery change.
Health screenings can be done at Sam's Club and Costco pharmacies. Costco makes this service available only at select locations and it was hard to gather useful information about it, but we did learn that some stores offer osteoporosis and heart screenings for free through the pharmacy. Sam's Club follows another model. Each month features a different free screening; for example, June is men's health and July is kids' health. Screenings are conducted by trained professionals and offered at select stores one Saturday a month to the first 100 members who show up. Sam's Club also offers a $99 personalized prevention health plan worth $229.
Sam's Club vs. Costco Online.The online experience is everything in this technology-driven era, and Sam's Club and Costco both host organized, straightforward websites. In fact, the organizational structure of the two is very similar and navigation is quite easy. Both wholesale giants encourage members to create an account. You can also sign up online for a membership. To make shopping even easier, Sam's Club's Click N' Pull perk lets members buy online and pick up the next day at the nearest location.
Despite the organizational appeal of the websites, the few wholesale clubs reviews we could find are harsh. On Epinions, shoppers report that the Sam's site is slow, the offerings are limited, customer service for online orders is terrible, shipping takes forever, and the online ordering process is confusing and frustrating. Similar assessments are shared in other wholesale clubs reviews on Epinions about Costco's online services, although Costco earns slightly higher ratings than Sam's Club. The main barbs lobbed at Costco include very slow shipping times, misleading product information on the site, and even one complaint about a delivery filled with cockroaches.
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