09:32 – We visited Sam’s Club yesterday with Frances and Al, who are members of both Costco and Sam’s. On items that both carry, the prices were very similar, a bit higher or lower, but nothing that would make it worth driving across the street. In this case, literally. The two are within about a quarter mile (400 meters) of each other.
From the appearance of the customers and the cars out in the lot, the two obviously have different customer demographics, albeit with a fair amount of overlap. Costco is mostly middle-class to upper-middle-class customers, while Sam’s is mostly middle-class to lower-middle-class. I did notice that Sam’s staff seemed a lot friendlier than typical WalMart staff, although not nearly as friendly as Costco staff.
At any rate, we ended up filling a shopping cart with mostly canned goods–cases of Campbell’s creamy and chunky soups, canned meats and vegetables, Chef Boyardee, and so on. Barbara also picked up some frozen stuff and a couple gallons of orange juice. The total was only $264, so it wasn’t a big run.
If Frances is willing to take us, we may try visiting the other Sam’s Club in town, which is much closer to us. But I think Barbara and I are agreed that we probably won’t bother joining. We get most of what we need at Costco, and Frances said we were welcome to meet them at Sam’s any time we wanted to do a run there.
11:24 – The guy just showed up to replace our garage doors. The existing ones are uninsulated single-layer steel, and have been there since not long after we moved into this house in 1987. The new ones are also steel, but two-layer with a layer of R10 insulation between them.
We got two quotes, the first from Costco and the second from the company that replaced one of the openers a couple years ago. The two quotes were within $50 of each other, straddling $1,700 including tax. The Costco contractor was going to replace the tracks. The second guy said he could replace the tracks if we wanted but the existing ones were perfectly good, and in fact were better than new tracks, which are made of lighter-gauge steel. The second contractor also showed us the difference between the hardware they used and the hardware the Costco contractor would use. The second guy’s hinges and rollers were significantly better, and the opener they planned to install was also heavier duty. So we went with the second contractor for $50 or so more.
Supposedly it’ll take three or four hours for the installation. Colin is outraged at what he hears going on down there, and I suspect I won’t get much done until late this afternoon.