By Sahid Fawaz
Think all retail stores are the same? Think again. Here are four reasons why you should consider Costco over Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and other retail companies the next time you go shopping.
1. Costco pays its workers better wages
According to an in-depth Slate article:
A Sam's Club employee starts at $10 and makes $12.50 after four and a half years. A new Costco employee, at $11 an hour, doesn't start out much better, but after four and a half years she makes $19.50 an hour. In addition to this, she receives something called an "extra check"—a bonus of more than $2,000 every six months. A cashier at Costco, after five years, makes about $40,000 a year.
The better wages does not mean good news for only the Costco employees. The entire U.S. economy benefits because better wages means greater spending power from workers, which increases consumer demand and grows the economy. The reality is that the average Costco employee has more power to stimulate the economy via his or her wallet than the average Sam’s Club employee.
In addition, better wages have the potential to create an upward pressure among competitors who have to then offer comparable pay to attract the best employees.
2. Costco places less of a burden on taxpayers
By offering more affordable health care coverage, Costco employees are less likely to turn to the government for health expenses than their competitors’ employees. Costco employees pay only 12% of their health care premiums, versus over 40% by Sam’s Club employees. This is one of the main reasons that over 80% of Costco’s employees have health care coverage, versus less than 50% of employees at competitors such as Wal-Mart and Target.
3. Costco stores use union labor
Approximately 10% of Costco’s labor force is unionized and represented by the Teamsters. While we would love to see that number reach 100%, the reality is that Costco stands far apart from the rest of the retail industry which have no significant union presence in their stores, with a few exceptions such as some Macy’s locations.
4. Costco’s management philosophy is more aligned with workers’ interests
When was the last you heard a Wal-Mart CEO advocate for an increase in the minimum wage? Or a Target executive preach about the need to pay workers a strong wage to boost consumer demand? Probably never.
Do you enjoy shopping at Costco more than at other retail stores? Please let us know in the comments!