There's a good financial argument to be made for the wisdom of buying household staples in bulk. Assuming you have the storage space, and assuming you're saving money compared with smaller periodic purchases, it might make plenty of sense to buy, say, a case of canned soup from BJ's, or a 36-pack of toilet paper from Costco.
Then again, some of the enormous, oversized merchandise sold through these outlets is a recipe for waste for the average household. If you wind up throwing away food because there's so much your house can't consume it before it goes bad, you're not saving any money. Anything that's so huge it winds up cluttering your house for years before it's used is not worth the hassle either. Then there are the items that are so large, strange, impractical, and expensive that they can't be considered sensible any which way.
Costco and its warehouse club competitors certainly have some terrific values—those $4.99 rotisserie chickens and $1.50 hot dogs come to mind. But there is also stuff at these stores and Amazon.com that is so insanely supersized they leave us scratching our heads. Granted, it would be pretty cool to have a 400-bottle wine cellar in the house or watch "Jurassic World" on a 105-inch TV …
Pallet of 72 Cases of Water: $448
If you've ever thought that buying a few cases of water at a time was just not enough, Sam's Club has got you covered. The Walmart-owned warehouse club sells full pallets of Nestle bottled water—72 cases, for a total of 1,872 half-liter bottles—for $448.
4-Pound Can of Tuna: $14.30
You can make maybe five tuna sandwiches out of a typical 5-ounce can of tuna. So if you are ever seriously craving tuna, or find yourself in need of enough tuna to produce roughly 67 sandwiches for a group in one fell swoop, consider this whale-sized 66.5-ounce can of Chicken of the Sea. It's sold by Costco Business Center at a price of $14.30, including delivery.
105-Inch TV: $25,000
Amazon reviewers had some fun a few years ago when the site listed an 85-inch Samsung 4K TV for $45,000. "I am coming back from the future to write this review, and to let everyone know you can buy this TV for $699 in 2017," one "reviewer" commented, wryly. "Take my advice and shop around, people," another wrote. "I bought a twelve-pack of these at Costco and saved a hundred grand."
By comparison the 105-inch LG LED TV listed for $25,000 at Amazon seems like a bargain.
Vending Machine: $3,998
Maybe your kids or the neighbors have gotten a little too greedy in terms of helping themselves to cool refreshing beverages at your place. Or maybe you simply love the way vending machines display drinks and you have some serious cash burning a hole in your pocket. Whatever the reason, Sam's Club facilitates the sale of many kinds of vending machines like the one above. There are machines that can be stocked with chips and candy too. And yes, they accept real dollars and coins and can be set up in business establishments. That's their true purpose. But there's no stopping you from getting one for the house!
55-Gallon Drum of Lube: $1,295
6-Person Sauna: $3,000
OK, so some people like saunas and would love to have one available for a quick shvitz just off the living room. It's hard to imagine that a warehouse club would be the first place people would think to buy one, however. But if this concept sounds quite reasonable to you, BJ's offers a Radiant 6-Person Cedar Infared Sauna for $2,999.99, shipping included. And yes, you have to order it online and get it delivered—they're not stocked in stores.
30-Pound Bucket of Mayo: $32
Sam's Club and Costco both list the industrial-size bucket of Gregg's Mayonnaise for sale, but it appears as if the product is available for sale only in select parts of the country. Fret not, mayo lovers. Another bulk-buying retailer, Full Pallet, has the 30-pound mayo buckets for sale for $32. Pair this up with some of the monster cans of tuna mentioned earlier, and you are in business.
24-Count Plastic Body Wraps: $40
We'd rather not know what you were going to do with one plastic body wrap, let alone two dozen. But you can buy a package of 24 for $40 (once shipping is included) via Amazon. Naturally, this is another one the Amazon peanut gallery has had some laughs with. "Would this fit a 6ft tall slender build man?" one person wrote into the product's Customer Question & Answer section. "He is realy [sic] starting to stink up my garage."
400 Bottle Free-Standing Wine Cellar: $4,000
Rather than dig out your own wine cellar, consider this free-standing model sold for $4,000 via Costco. It features temperature controls, controlled hydrometry and air circulation, and vibration-free design, and it comes with a lock and key so nobody sneaks a bottle without you knowing.
Emergency Survival 275 Meal Pack: $126.75
Sold in a weather-proof bucket with a 20-year shelf life, the Emergency Survival Food Supply package sold on Amazon includes 275 meals that reportedly each take 20 minutes to prepare just by adding boiling water. "Each serving costs about the same as the change in your pocket, but provides a healthy, low-cost substitute for fast food," the production description explains. When the zombies take over—or when the pantry's empty and stomachs are rumbling—you'll be able to select among dishes like creamy potato soup and cheesy rice casserole.