I shop at Costco for many reasons that I've spoken about.
Costco is a merger of Costco Wholesale and Price Club. It is the 5th largest retailer in the United States and 7th in the world. And "As of March 2011, non-supervisory hourly wages ranged from $11.00 to $21.00 in the United States" which is quite above the minimum wage in the US.
Compare that with something that someone sent me (verification by a group called 9to5): As the largest private employer in the world, Walmart sets the standard for job quality. That standard is so low that hundreds of thousands of its employees are living in poverty, even many who work full time.
Walmart policies increase employee reliance on public assistance:
- 80% receive food stamps.
- They rely on $2.66 billion in public assistance each year; amounting to approximately $420,000 per store.
- They make up the largest group of Medicaid recipients in many states.
- The average full time Walmart worker makes about $15,500 a year. Meanwhile, the six members of the Walton family have a combined wealth of $93 billion - more than the bottom 30% of all Americans combined.
What I have experienced is that both Costco and Walmart are listed as "Big Box" stores, and the prices at Costco are a few pennies more, the business model of Walmart and Sam's Club is to make a huge profit by not paying workers (let them live on Food Stamps), don't promote women [for law suit information see: http://www.walmartclass.com/public_home.html ] and have unhappy workers. The $15,500 annual income amounts to about $7.45 per hour.
My brother in law had reason to help a friend find something. They went to look for the item at Sams Club and then went to Costco. He said the differences were easily seen. Workers at Costco were happier, were smiling, and would take you to where the item was, not just tell you where to go.
Costco has 55 Million members, Sam's Club has 47 Million members although having more locations. [Data from Wikipedia]
For a few pennies more, I'll shop at a store where the employees are happy, promotions are made on merit and not on gender, and where the profits are being shared with the workers for their work rather than lining the pockets of 6 people who don't need any more wealth.
Action: I will be sending a letter to each person on the Woodbury City Council, the Mayor and the Planning Commission; OR visiting with them to encourage them to support a Costco coming into Woodbury.
I encourage everyone to visit a Costco, if you haven't already. The nearest one is in Maplewood just West of the Maplewood Mall.