People are talking a lot about how Costco treats workers better than Wal-Mart and does well and that it offers a better "big box store model".
I don't know how widespread Costcos are or how many people actually shop there, but I think it's important to recognize that these are not exactly the same shopping experiences. You have to pay a big up-front fee with Costco that you don't with Wal-Mart. And it's different products. Costco let's you buy a lot in bulk. Wal-Mart has some bulk purchase aspects to it, but mostly it just has a whole bunch of cheap stuff.
We were Costco members for two years, but if you're just buying for two it's not the most cost effiective way of shopping. Ten years from now I could see us joining again.
It just makes me wonder: is Costco able to be better to its employees because its actually not as low-cost of a store, it just seems that way because it has a warehouse/wholesale-type feel to it? Everybody's been making a big deal about the differences on the side of labor costs, but there are big differences on the other side of the ledger as well.
Costco is great for salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, and beer. We got our flat-screen there too.