The Discount Warehouse is a type of store with many distinct features. The scope of its merchandise is wide-ranging like in department stores. There are electronics, books, CDs, DVDs and VHS, household materials like detergents and soap, and of course, last but not least, food.

The way a discount warehouse differs from a department store is that it sells at lower prices. To be able to do that, the store managers restrict their product selection to items that are sold to them at a cheaper price by the distributor.

Therefore, compared to a department store, a discount warehouse will stock many less varieties and brand names of a specific product. And there's your caveat emptor: you get a lower price but less selection. Say you have a brand of coffee that you like. Folgers, maybe. Well you might just be out of luck because the warehouse will only stock Maxwell House.

But wait, there's yet another drawback too. The discount warehouse tends to sell food in large quantities. There are the triple-box cereal packs, huge boxes of tea bags, and several videos bundled together under one item so that if you wanted to buy them separately you wouldn't have the choice. Not only that, but if you discover that a certain food is not to your taste after you buy a huge quantity of it, you are stuck with it for a long time until you use up the whole enormous amount.

But all that complaining about little variety and high quantity is nothing when compared to the real problem with discount warehouses. The most nightmarish thing about these establishments is that trying to find a specific item is extremely frustrating. Discount warehouses don't put much effort into organizing their stock. That's because their merchandise changes on a regular basis. They get different stuff everytime, depending on whatever "bargain" they can dig up from a distributor so that they can offer you, their much valued customer, the low prices that you expect from them.

Therefore, if you come in to buy something you already purchased last week, don't think you just walk up to where it was then and put into your shopping cart. That's because some new huge shipment came in that had to take the place of last week's purchase and consequently it had to be moved somewhere else.

So reader, be forewarned: If you want to frequent the discount warehouse, you must be prepared to spend lots of time searching for what you want to buy. Everytime you do your shopping at the discount warehouse, you'll end up wandering your way through a confusing labyrinth of aisles desperately hoping that you'll eventually find the product you are looking for.

What makes things even worse is the illogical aisle organization. I've already explained that the warehouse won't put much time into organizing their stock because it changes so often. So that's why you shouldn't be surprised or angered when you notice that the same aisle contains toys, brillo pads, and tampons. Once you do notice that though, your usual shopping strategy will have to be discarded.

Sure, at your supermarket you got used to searching for items by reading their contents on the aisle. There's the frozen food in aisle 1, there's the cereal in aisle 2, etc.., etc... But at the warehouse things are different, so take a deep breath, forget that aisle descriptions ever existed, and names and start randomly rummaging through whole store looking for that silverware you want to buy.

It's not so bad; you'll get a lot of exercise for all the rounds you'll make back and forth between the different ends of the store. Whoever thought it'd be possible to incorporate an exercise program into a shopping routine. Pay attention, Suzanne Sommers: There's your next opportunity for a new concept in fitness.

You know, in fact, all that exercise is such a wonderful benefit of searching for your item in the warehouse, that you might not even be at all upset if the item turns out not to be there after all. That silverware that you saw last week might now be out of stock.

That's because it was probably a very limited quality that sold out as soon as it came in. That type of thing tends to happen a lot at the discount warehouse because it purchases small quantities of leftover discontinued products at bargain prices. And now that it has been sold out, you'll never see it again.

Incidentally, this is one thing that makes shopping in a discount warehouse exciting. If you are lucky, you might be able to snap up a bargain that won't come up again. So perhaps if you find a huge box of gourmet chocolate at a super-cheap price, that might make all that time frantically running through the aisles worthwhile.

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