In case you missed it in last Sunday's paper, Sam's Club is offering new and renewing members a $10 gift card that can be used at Sam's Club or Wal-Mart. (The paper also has a free pass coupon for nonmembers in the A section.) The offer is good through March 31. The membership will cost you $40 per year for an Advantage membership or $100 per year for an Advantage Plus. You can get the $10 gift card regardless of when your renewal date is.
I'm a member of both Sam's and Costco. No, I don't know of any membership discounts from Costco, but one advantage that Costco members have enjoyed for the past year is the monthly coupon booklets. They offer significant savings, with more than 50 coupons in each booklet.
One excellent deal in this month's booklet is the Little Giant Megalite Model 17A ladder for $170, regularly $200. It's the 24-ladders-in-one model with the maximum height of 15 feet. It weighs 31 pounds and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. That's slightly different from the As Seen on TV Little Giant model (No. 17), which also has a weight capacity of 300 pounds but sells for $360 with shipping and handling. Considering that the Costco version offers the same features and is several pounds lighter, the savings amount to about 53 percent. This price even beats the Minnesota State Fair price.
A representative at Little Giant (www.littlegiantladder. com) said that the reason Costco's model weighs less yet supports the same weight is because the Costco model has an extra brace. The Classic model sold online and at the fair is made of a slightly heavier aluminum.
Still not convinced it's a good deal? Hold on. (I'm in my State Fair pitchman mode now.) You can also order the Little Giant from Costco.com for the same price and get free shipping, until April 3. It's a big convenience not to have to haul it home from the store, but you'll have to recycle or discard the cardboard used in packaging.
Not a Costco member? Here's a deal for you, too. You can order the same ladder at Costco.com for $170 shipped and pay only an extra 5 percent as a nonmember. Now there's something for Sam's Club bigwigs to consider. Start letting nonmembers buy from your website if they're willing to pay a little extra. Currently only members can order from Samsclub.com.
As long as I'm in comparison mode, I'd also like to see both warehouses offer additional organic products. Both companies offer organic greens and raspberries occasionally. Costco has organic chicken and hamburger. Recently I discovered a twin pack of Pure Nature organic Valencia orange juice cartons ($7 for 128 ounces) at Costco. Great stuff, although the frozen organic concentrate at Trader Joe's is cheaper ($2.49 for 12 ounces before adding water). It doesn't taste as good as the Valencia, but I prefer the minimal waste of a frozen concentrate can.