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09/14/14

Price clubbed: Don't go bulk unless you mean it

I admit it, I got hooked.
I was in the midst of planning a duel birthday party for myself and my wife, and the guest list grew by leaps and bounds to the point that my modest meal planning took a turn to the tune of nearly 100 people.
My freezer was nowhere near ready for that kind of humanity. Neither was I.
And with that, the lure of the big box price club called to me, whispering into my ear about how convenient the store would be and how I could get everything for the aforementioned party in one fell swoop.
Guess what? They were totally right. The party was a rousing success, and everyone left fed with plenty of leftovers remaining. The big box price club membership store delivered frozen appetizers for the masses, massive fruit trays and enough cold veggies to feed a small army.

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They also got $50 up front as part of the yearly joining fee. At the time, it is a small price to pay, particularly being in a time crunch and needing bunches of foods in bulk.
The sad ending to this story isn't that the party failed miserably but rather the fact that I haven't used that card since the day before said party. Chances are, I probably won't be using it any time soon, either. Losing the $50 isn't really the issue but rather thinking through that day's purchase and really asking whether or not the membership, Sam's Club in this instance, really was more spur of the moment rather than an investment that would pay off over the course of an entire year.
The bulk membership, for some, is a way to stock up on anything from paper goods and supplies to enough sunflower seeds to last an entire Major League Baseball season. That eclectic mix of products and items make these types of stores hard to resist, since they're marketed as buying in bulk to save money (and time) on all the items you'll need.
But even though all that sounds sensational, joining a membership bulk club or store doesn't always pay the way you believe it will. Quite simply, if you make it a point to go and use the membership, it is money well spent. The flip side to that is the person hosting the get together once a year, buying a membership and realizing that they probably won't use it again until they turn one year older the next time around the rolling calendar.

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