What is Warehouse Shopping?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2019
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Warehouse shopping is a form of retail shopping involving the purchase of products in bulk. Sometimes referred to as wholesale shopping or bulk shopping, the idea behind warehouse shopping is to buy household goods that are used regularly by the family in larger quantities at a lower per unit cost. In theory, the end result of this activity is to allow the household budget to cover more purchases than would be possible otherwise.

The process for warehouse shopping varies around the world. In some countries, it is necessary to join a warehouse club before it is possible to shop in the facility. Often, this membership shopping arrangement involves nothing more than a modest annual fee. In general, the membership pays for itself after only a few bulk purchases.

A second approach to warehouse shopping is simply the ability to shop in a warehouse that has been opened to the general public. Often, these types of warehouse shopping opportunities contain large lots of household goods that were acquired from closeout sales or goods that were slightly damaged in transit and sold at a loss. The damage is usually cosmetic and does not impact the function of the items. This allows consumers to purchase as many units of an item as they like, but pay a unit price that is significantly lower than the cost of a unit of the same product that was not damaged in some way.


With just about all warehouse shopping facilities, the consumer is responsible for transporting the goods from the premises. While this is relatively easy when purchasing household goods such as canned or paper products, it can be a more complicated task when furniture or other larger items are involved. Some warehouses offer delivery for a fee. However, the delivery fee may effectively make the overall cost for the item no cheaper than purchasing the same item at a local retail outlet that provides free delivery.

While shopping at a warehouse does appear to have a number of advantages, the growing trend of warehouse shopping has created some situations where the unit price for some goods is not appreciably different from the pricing that is found in discount retail stores. While there is no doubt that warehouse shopping in general is one of the more cost-efficient types of shopping, a consumer is well-advised to compare the prices available at the local warehouse to other shopping options in the area. There is a good chance that the savings on particular items will be non-existent or minor at best.


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Post 4

Membership to my local warehouse is $100 a year, but it is worth it. I can really stock up on food when I go there, and I don't have to buy dry groceries but about once a month!

One thing I save a lot of money on is dogfood. I have four big dogs, and I typically go through a huge bag a week.

My local grocery store only sells forty-four pound bags, and I have to pay $22 for them. At the warehouse, I can buy a fifty pound bag for that same price! Those extra six pounds of dogfood really do make a difference, especially over the course of a year.

I can also buy cases of canned vegetables, soup, and pasta at a discount. Since there are only two people in my household, a case of food lasts quite awhile.

Post 3

@Oceana – Yes, I am always careful about examining warehouse items before I buy them. I once bought a toaster that did not work at all, and then the warehouse wouldn't give me a refund, because that is just their policy. It is why they sell things so cheap.

Sometimes, small appliances like toasters and coffee makers are scattered all over the warehouse shelves. People have removed them from the boxes to examine them, and I suppose they must have found something wrong with them, because they are still there.

However, I do save money by buying school supplies for my kids at a warehouse. Nothing is wrong with their notebooks, folders, and pencils, and I can get more of them for my money there.

Post 2

I go shopping at a local warehouse for dresses, and I have saved quite a bit several times by shopping there. I was able to find a formal gown to wear to a New Year's Eve party for just thirty bucks, whereas it would have cost hundreds elsewhere.

I also have been able to find designer brands marked way down. I do always check to make sure the zippers work and that there are no flaws, because you never know what is from overstock and what is slightly damaged.

I once found a rack of cute dresses that I loved, but after trying on five of them, I found that every single one of them was damaged. The zippers were either broken or not working, so it is always best to try on clothing at a warehouse before buying it.

Post 1

The delivery fee is pretty sneaky. I bought a new living room set that included a sofa and two chairs, and I thought I got a great deal, until I learned how much the delivery was going to cost me.

If my husband and I had known that the warehouse didn't deliver for free, then we would have borrowed his dad's truck with his trailer attached to load it up ourselves. However, his dad was out of town, and we didn't have an extra set of truck keys, so we were stuck paying the delivery fee.

If I ever buy more furniture, I'm going to get it from a place where delivery is complimentary. I didn't save any money by buying it from the warehouse.

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