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BJ’s Wholesale offers free trial membership

Consumer Reports News: April 15, 2009 05:39 PM

Wonder whether you can live with the limitations of warehouse club shopping? Now you can find out risk-free without investing $45 a year to join. 

BJ’s Wholesale, with 180 stores in the East, is offering fence-sitters a free 60-day trial membership, which can be activated between now and July 6. To print out the coupon you’ll need to present to customer service, click here.

The club, which began in New England back in 1984, claims consumers can save more than 30 percent off regular supermarket prices, and we know from years of covering the clubs that substantial savings are indeed possible. 

Of the big three warehouse clubs, which also include titans Costco and Sam’s Club, BJ’s is the only one that accepts manufacturers’ coupons and allows payment via multiple major credit cards. BJ’s also claims to sell some merchandise in more consumer-friendly sizes, such a quarts of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, milk in half-gallon containers, and chopped lettuce in regular supermarket-size bags. Package size – gallon jugs of mayonnaise, for instance, or a dozen 1-pound cans of green beans – has always been a knock against the clubs, which is why they’re not suitable for everyone.

Of course, like the other clubs, BJ’s is still essentially a no-frills working warehouse with limited service.

Even if you don't buy groceries, a club can be a bargain source of eyeglasses, electronics, prescription medications, auto supplies, books, and other goods and services. At no charge, it's worth a try.

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