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Those same people can't afford to pony up $55 for a Costco membership at the start of each year.

It's a vicious circle. Although they could probably save by buying in bulk at Costco, the Costcos I've seen/visited tend not to be located in the poor part of town. Industrial areas: yes; Upscale shopping malls: yes and always near freeways. But not the Bowery district or the "wrong" side of the tracks.

This means the poor must ride public transport to/from Costco. Also, I suppose, there are limits to how much baggage one can bundle onto a bus.

So at least part of the money saved on food & clothes at Costco would be spent on public transportation.

A 20 minute trip for me from my home to the local Costco would probably take me several hours by bus with maybe a transfer or two. Then again a 20 minute trip home for me by car vs. hours by bus.

There's no doubt in my mind that the poor are being ripped off by the small stores in their neighborhoods (a liquor store up the street from one of my stores used to sell toilet paper by the roll to the tenants of the federally subsidized apartments nearby)

On the other hand grocery stores like Safeway/Albertson's tend to have greater "shrinkage" and "loss control" costs than stores in the more affluent parts of my town.
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