I remember how I felt the first time I entered a membership warehouse club: gleeful, giddy. It was like Christmas morning. There was SO much stuff in massive containers at such cheap prices! Like most rookies, I bought multiple quantities of everything I usually bought (Barilla pasta, Life cereal, Horizon milk, etc.) before seeing how much cheaper the house equivalents were. But is the quality really, truly, honestly the same?
Lots of websites say it is. According to DailyFinance.com (http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/07/13/10-products-to-always-buy-generic), the top ten things you "should" buy at warehouse clubs are:
1. Over-the-counter medications
3. Pantry staples.
6. Electronic cables (?!)
7. Make-up other beauty products
9. Salad mix and produce.
10. Baby formula
No, no, no, no, no! Fresh stuff goes bad when you have a small family like I do. Are we REALLY going to eat four pounds of oranges before they rot? Mine won't even when they swear on a stack of Bibles or video games that they will. I recently threw out a bunch of oranges with so much Penicillin growth it could saved half the population of Africa. And baby formula? My babies were done with formula while I still had boxes of that c*ap left. Sometimes parenthood gets trumped by economic common sense.
Costco's house brand is called Kirkland Signature. According to the website Brand Culture, Kirkland "demands superiority" over name-brand goods (http://www.brandculture.com/the-one-brand-breaks-all-rules-costco-kirkland-signature ). And I do, in fact, buy some of the Kirkland products, so here's what I think of them, especially as they compare to name-brand items:
1. Kirkland Facial Tissue - I don't busy fancy schmancy tissues with aloe, Vitamin E, or any other trendy stuff on them. Tissues are where you put boogers when they piss you off (or, in the case of my kids, when Mom tells you to stop using your shirt). The Kirkland stuff is just as good as your basic Kleenex and buying tissues in bulk is never stupid since they never expire. Plus, you know you're going to need them at least several times a year. If you've got the room to store them, I'd recommend you buy Kirkland tissue.
2. Kirkland Cheese Pizza - If I'm making frozen pizza it's because I don't feel like cooking or because the teen has his mega-hungry posse over. My kids and most I know are not fussy about what kind of pizza they eat. Label it Pizza, make sure it has sauce and cheese on it, and you could probably cut down on what you put the curb on recycling day by using up your leftover cardboard. Kirkland is decent, it's cheap and easy, and I don't taste much of a difference from some of the name brand frozen pizza like Tombstone or DiGiorno. It's not everyday food; it's "just in case we have a lot of kids I need to feed cheaply" food.
3. Kirkland Organic Diced Tomatoes - We eat a LOT of crock pot chili in the winter and I get tired of lugging individual cans home from the supermarket. That's why I buy a case of this stuff from Costco. The quality is the same as Eden Organic or Hunt's but not much cheaper. If you can store it, go for it.
4. Kirkland Bottled Water - I bought this during the summer for the kids to take to camp. They came home and they told me they'd rather be dehydrated than drink this drek. Compared to other brands, Kirkland has a slightly soapy taste. Sure, it's better than drinking my town's tap water which is chemically, but here's where I'd rather spend a few extra pennies on stuff the kids will actually drink.
5. Kirkland Bath Tissue - Just as with tissues, bath tissue is a "keep this c** off your hands" receptacle for human waste. I don't need it to have any bells and whistles so I buy it as cheaply as possible. Hubby doesn't like Kirkland because it's not as gentle on his manly posterior as other brands, but the cost more than makes up for that. I mean it's not sandpaper. We use it, I have the space to store it in, and he deals with it.
6. Kirkland Canola Cooking Spray - Supposedly this stuff "compliments the natural flavor of food." I don't care. All I need it to do is keep meals from sticking to the pan. It tastes like Pam, works like Pam, but was $2 cheaper this week than the name-brand stuff. I bought it.
7. Kirkland Salted Almonds - BUY THEM if you like almonds! They're crunchy, salty, and, for me,
|We can't get enough of this healthy snack!|
8. Kirkland Ground Saigon Cinnamon - A "what the h**l was I thinking" purchase, according to my cinnamon connoisseur spouse, this brand is not as flavorful as McCormick's. I wish it was because he's not using it as much as he was the name-brand (he puts it on cereal, oatmeal, cookies, in yogurt) and I may be passing this very container down to my grand kids.
9. Kirkland Walnuts - Same stuff as the more expensive brands, MUCH bigger package, and we consume them with gusto. They can go bad so keep them in the fridge for up to 6 months or freeze them for up to a year.
10. Kirkland Baby Wipes - My kids are LONG out of diapers, but we still buy these for cleaning faces, washing hands in the car, taking off make-up, etc. They're not as soft as some of the name-brand wipes and are a bit thinner than Johnson's. When my kids were babies, I spent extra on the name brand wipes because these just weren't as good. Now that we're not using them on babies, they're perfectly fine for general cleanup.
Again, some of the things to consider when you're buying these, or any products from a warehouse is whether you have enough room to store the stuff and whether you're really going to go back to the warehouse just to return one item that doesn't perform the way you wanted it to. If you have the room and you don't need top-quality stuff, Kirkland is fine for a monthly trip. Is the quality better? Sometimes, but there's no guarantee. It's up to you, as the buyer, to beware.
Thanks for reading. Please recommend this blog to your friends, relatives, acquaintances, manicurist, pizza delivery person, etc. I hope to see you again in a day or so.