9 Tips To Take Shopping With You At Warehouse Stores

One of the best parts about working here at Consumerist is our dedicated legion of readers providing a vast array of expertise that’s perfect for sharing with everyone. That’s why it was great to hear from a worker in a big warehouse store who writes that he wanted to pass along the knowledge he’s gleaned on the job to help all of you have a successful shopping trip. To the tip list!

1. Know your surroundings: You’re not shopping some shiny, slick boutique. By their very nature, warehouses are ginormous spaces and are actual working warehouses, which can be dangerous. Our tipster says if you take one thing away from his advice, it’s to never forget that you’re in a warehouse — complete with moving forklifts and enormous carts or flatbeds pushed by distracted shoppers. Stay alert — and keep a firm handle on your kids and out of harm’s way.

2Spur of the moment doesn’t cut it for large orders: Of course warehouses sell items in large quantities, but you’re not the only person looking to buy 200 cases of juice boxes. No, really.

3. Bring the right wheels: You’ll also need to make sure your transportation can handle what you’re buying — “A queen size mattress will not fit into your Toyota Corolla,” notes our tipster.

4. Timing is everything: Avoid the first weekend of the month, if possible — it tends to be a bit of a zoo.

5. Keep an eye on your personal belongings: This goes for any store, but especially in such a large area where you might leave a purse on your cart while you trot off to another aisle in search of those 200 cases of juice.

6. Pay attention to the signs: Unlike grocery stores where the price is usually below the item, in warehouse stores they’re often above the item. Make sure you read the name of the item on the sign and check that it matches the product you’re grabbing off the shelf.

7. You’re not at Best Buy: “If you want expert advice on a specialty item (electronics, luggage, jewelry, etc.), my advice is to go to a store that specializes in that category, or research online. I’m always willing to help as best I can, but we do not have people trained in these categories.”

8. Be flexible when it comes to selection: While a warehouse store allows for savings on large quantities, the selection is often a lot smaller. So if a store doesn’t have your preferred brand, don’t yell at the workers — it’s not their call on which items are stocked.  Our tipster adds: “At our store, we do submit requests to home office, so feel free to ask, but it usually takes a number of requests to get an order placed.”

9. Check the website: Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t forget about the Internet. The store’s site might have certain items online that aren’t available in-store.