Costco holdout considering membership

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NorCalDad
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Costco holdout considering membership

Post by NorCalDad » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:41 pm

We've held out on not joining Costco. Not because I don't think we'd enjoy it, but because the Boglehead frugal side of me thinks that many friends and family end up spending a lot more by joining than not. And because I think I could become one of those people who ends up replacing appliances a few years before we need to because I saw something on a Costco trip.

I've seen past threads on what to buy at Costco, so I'm not looking for a list of items that are cheaper in bulk. I'm wondering if any of you have done a calculation to see whether you end up saving more by joining. Do you Bogleheads end up buying only staple goods and have a good strategy for avoiding the temptations? There are times when we run out of staples and I just think it'd be easier to get them in bulk once a quarter. We do not have much freezer space, but we do have some storage available. Thanks.

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fatlittlepig
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by fatlittlepig » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:46 pm

It's worth it.
NorCalDad wrote:We've held out on not joining Costco. Not because I don't think we'd enjoy it, but because the Boglehead frugal side of me thinks that many friends and family end up spending a lot more by joining than not. And because I think I could become one of those people who ends up replacing appliances a few years before we need to because I saw something on a Costco trip.

I've seen past threads on what to buy at Costco, so I'm not looking for a list of items that are cheaper in bulk. I'm wondering if any of you have done a calculation to see whether you end up saving more by joining. Do you Bogleheads end up buying only staple goods and have a good strategy for avoiding the temptations? There are times when we run out of staples and I just think it'd be easier to get them in bulk once a quarter. We do not have much freezer space, but we do have some storage available. Thanks.
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supersharpie
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by supersharpie » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

It's worth it for the free samples alone! I probably eat $100+ of samples throughout the year. Beyond that they offer a really nice wine selection at below market prices.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by tomd37 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:59 pm

We joined Costco many years ago when my wife was wearing contact lenses. They turned out to be half the price at Costco compared to the optometrist business. I have found their eye glasses to be significantly lower in price. And as we age into our late 70s changes in prescriptions come more often. We do pretty well to limit our purchases to just what we went for that day. I often get odd looks when I stand in the checkout lane with just one or two items. Sometimes people even let me go ahead of them with their large orders. :wink:
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oxothuk
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by oxothuk » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:00 pm

My advice - don't go there when you are hungry. Unless you go on a weekend, that is, when there are usually so many samples on offer that it seems like a free 'tapas' joint.

My wife and I took a 2 week vacation to Hawaii last month and found Costco gas to be 50 cents per gallon cheaper than elsewhere. That alone recouped half the cost of our membership.

Here at home we find we can get the fresh-squeezed OJ at Costco for less than what the concentrate costs in the supermarket.
Last edited by oxothuk on Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

red5
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by red5 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:03 pm

I think our basic membership cost $55.00 for a year. We save that in milk alone. Just using milk as an example, we can buy it at Costco for about $0.75 cheaper than anywhere else (that I've seen). We go through about 3 gallons a week. Thus we save about 0.75*3*52 = $117.00 just in milk alone for the year. Then there's the other stuff we buy there (like gas, some fruits and vegetables, some cereals, half and half).

The main thing is to discipline yourself so you don't buy things that you would not otherwise purchase (as you hinted in your post). We do half our shopping at Costco and the other half another local grocery store and we buy products at whichever store offers them at a lower cost. If you can stay disciplined then Costco can save you a bundle.

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fatlittlepig
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by fatlittlepig » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:09 pm

Costco Kirkland car battery died after 5 years I popped it out and took it to costco since it had a 84 month warranty they prorated it and gave me a partial refund which i used to buy a new battery. Can't beat that.
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dlw322
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by dlw322 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:10 pm

The savings on gas alone pay for our membership. For us the costco happens to be only a mile away and the cheapest gas in the area by far

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Post by Curlyq » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:23 pm

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by nisiprius » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:24 pm

For us, it's probably close to a wash as far as actually saving money goes, but it's a nice store that has a lot of things that don't duplicate the stock of other stores in the area. The main appeal is we like to include it on our list of places to shop. If they have things you want, they're pretty good on the things they have. Two years ago my wife was grumbling about the cost of the membership and wondering whether to keep it. Since then, she has bought eyeglasses at their optician shop, and was very pleased with their selection and price, and a new computer.

She just wanted a plain vanilla desktop, with Windows 8 preloaded, and she wanted HP in the perhaps mistaken belief that it would be easier to get it to work with her HP all-in-one (I think she solved the problem...) The computer wasn't a big heavy decision but with the decline of places like CompUSA and Circuit City it's harder than it was, and after setting foot in Walmart, Target (NO desktops!), Staples (high prices), a "Microsoft store" that turned out to be basically a tradeshow kiosk in a small with no desktops to sell, and Best Buy (forget what the problem was there), Costco had just what she wanted at just about the price she wanted to pay.

We probably shop there once a month. What they do, they do well. There is a BJ's wholesale club within 1/4 of a mile of Costco and for several years we had memberships at both--she was able to score a free BJ's membership because her employer used it. When that ended and we decided we didn't want both, Costco was the one we preferred.
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Watty
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by Watty » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:24 pm

good strategy for avoiding the temptations?
Like anywhere else you make up a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.

One thing about Costco is that it isn't just about the bulk items but it is about the quality. Their meat is an order of magnitude better then the chain grocery stores around here.

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frugaltype
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by frugaltype » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:32 pm

As a single person, I really can't see buying 16 packs of toilet paper and the like. I never go grocery shopping when I'm hungry or do impulse buying.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by fatlittlepig » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:48 pm

I honestly have no idea what you are talking about in terms of the packaging. They use old boxes to help pack your stuff, that seems to me to be environmentally friendly thing to do. The stuff there is not over packaged.
Curlyq wrote:I keep a price book for regular purchases and found that Costco was not the cheapest place to purchase my grocery list. I found that my local WinCo shop and Walmart were easily cheaper for the items that I buy. Also, to get the Costco in my town, I'd have to drive a piece and it's located in a very crowded area with lots of traffic. The time and hassle and waiting in those long lines did not appeal to me.

Another reason that I don't like Costco is the use of heavy packaging. My recycling bins overflowed to the point of ridiculousness when I shopped there. Items are individually packaged in plastic, then shrink-wrapped, then packaged some more. The impact on the environment of Costco alone is probably greater than a couple of dozen regular stores (I'm just making this up, but it's significant). If you care at all about the environment, the packaging at Costco will get your attention.

I think that if you are a "shopper," in that you like shopping and buying things (and I guess eating the samples it sound like! :sharebeer ) and you don't mind filling up landfills with plastics, Costco is the cat's meow. If you are less prone to buying processed and name brand goods and are trying to lighten your impact on the environment, then Costco may not be the place to shop.
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hansp
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by hansp » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:13 pm

One factor to consider is time. Around me, whenever I'd go to Costco (evenings after work and weekends), they were always packed and it could be a bit crazy navigating parts of the store and a good 10 min or so wait in the checkout line. Same thing w/ lines for gas. Obviously, it may not be the same around you, but something to be aware of.

We had a membership for 5-6 years, but found the hassle of shopping there eventually outweighed the savings.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by momar » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:36 pm

fatlittlepig wrote:I honestly have no idea what you are talking about in terms of the packaging. They use old boxes to help pack your stuff, that seems to me to be environmentally friendly thing to do. The stuff there is not over packaged.
I find the way they package apples to be completely obnoxious, but everything else is the same as the grocery.

I also agree with one of the previous posts about the quality. The steaks we get at Costco are much better than the steaks I might get at Safeway, which I wouldn't buy after a few bad experiences.

We got chicken thighs at 1.19 per pound last week. That blows away the price at Safeway.
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by bertilak » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:14 pm

supersharpie wrote:It's worth it for the free samples alone! I probably eat $100+ of samples throughout the year. Beyond that they offer a really nice wine selection at below market prices.
That's known as the "Senior Buffet!"
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fatlittlepig
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by fatlittlepig » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:27 pm

In addition costco is a good well run company that treats its workers well and pays them a good wage from what I have read.
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by rotorhead » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:22 pm

We are only two, but my wife and I find Costco to be a pretty good deal. Many of their items are of no use to us - we don't need 55 gallon drums of orange juice, etc (slight exaggeration!). However, we have found their prepared foods to be excellent value; very tasty, and the price is good. A few that we enjoy are lamb shanks, osso bucco, shrimp scampi, mussels from Prince Edward's Island, Moroccon Chicken, salmon, shrimp wonton soup, etc. Their meat is very good, especially the lamb racks and chops. Occasionally they have fresh seafood - lobster tails, clams, mussels that are excellent. Right now they have fresh blueberries at about $5 per pound which are excellent. Their wine and spirit prices are no better than Total Wine, but they do have pretty good selection.

Just know what you need when you go there, and maintain discipline. It's pretty good value. We have found about 5:00 - 7:00 pm weekdays is the best time to go in our area. The old folks munching the goodies have gone, the small business people are at work; so the store has cleared out a bit. They have a sale on tires twice a year, savings of $70.00 per set on Michelin's or Bridgestone's, so that's a good deal.

They have a great return policy on electronics, but their prices are not always the best for those items. By the way, their hot dog and soda for $1.50 + tax is one of the best lunch deals you'll find anywhere!

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Toons
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by Toons » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:27 pm

Go ahead and join,you won't regret it :happy
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by jasg » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:36 pm

bertilak wrote:
supersharpie wrote:It's worth it for the free samples alone! I probably eat $100+ of samples throughout the year. Beyond that they offer a really nice wine selection at below market prices.
That's known as the "Senior Buffet!"
I call it "Tapas del Costco".

Quality is great, especially meats, cheese and produce. $5 chickens are a couple of meals for two. Pharmacy is the best deal around.

I have the "Executive" membership - $100/year but the cash back bonus always covers it (no bonus in normal membership).

Gas and tires are also great and their customer service is fantastic. Few problems with returns, double warranty on electronics.

The clincher for me is that they pay a living wage and always close on holidays to give employees the day off.

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Boglenaut
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:37 pm

A good Boglehead family can get their money back just in the free samples.

{Edit - supersharpie beat me to it. :sharebeer }

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by rj49 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:43 pm

People tend to fix on the everyday savings, but not the times they go in for milk and come out with a 55" screen tv or any of the other toys and devices you have to pass to get there. I found using gasbuddy and my 5% Penfed credit card saved me just as much on gas, and I didn't have to wait in any absurd lines. Zenni Optical still beats Costco glasses by $100 or so. The other negative for a single person or 2-person couple is that you end up with the inconvenience of storing bulk items in cupboards and the freezer--I still have dental floss I bought 5 years ago there, and tea bags I got 10 years ago. Then you inevitably give up some of your savings back at the snack bar ("but the hot dogs and lattes and ice cream sundaes are such a deal, I had to have one of each!"), where you shuffle through more lines behind large people with carts full of 50-roll packs of toilet paper. I also found I ordered a fancy automatic espresso machine I didn't need for over $500, which wiped out whatever savings I had (fortunately their generous returns policy helps compensate for impulse buying if you have remorse). Everyone's different, but to me it's like shopping at Walmart--the unpleasantness and complete excess of the place isn't worth whatever savings I might have there. But they will refund their membership fee if you're not satisfied, so you could try it out and monitor your purchase patterns and see how much impulse buying you do and whether or not hassle bulk buying is for you.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by steadyeddy » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:08 pm

Costco allows shoppers to use gift cards without a membership, so a gift card recipient has a good chance to sample the shopping experience.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by bottlecap » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:10 pm

Most of the time, I leave Costco empty-handed. They do have good food, but you have to be buying for more than two. The best deals tomme are when you need something more expensive, furniture and what not. I can definitely say that we sometimes walk out spending more than we anticipated, but its usually because we saw a good deal on a quality piece that we needed anyway. The website is good as well.

We've bought couches, a child's bedroom suite, end tables, a matress, a patio set, a wine refridgerator and an ottoman. Its not Henredon, but it's well-priced, nice and wears well. I don't like shelling out the money every year, but they do do cash back and we've saved more than we spent in membership. Not everything is a great deal, but if you have been shopping for something, checking Costco usually reveals some good deals.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by cheesepep » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:19 pm

I don't see the purpose of such a membership for myself.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by thirdman » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:40 pm

Costco buyers seem to get good quality products. The men's dress shirts are well made and priced. The produce is of good quality. I think the key is that Costco provides good value. We bought the dungeness crab and really enjoyed it. I bought a Weatherproof windbreaker, the same as in department stores for just about half price. Their Columbian coffee is much more reasonable than Trader Joes. Just a few examples. Of course we have a years supply of Kleenex and paper towels in the guest bedroom.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by barnaclebob » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:41 pm

Cosco has really good meat deals when comparing equal quality. It helps to have a good vacuum sealer and buy the whole untrimmed beef tenderloins.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by donaldfair71 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:45 pm

I bought a TV in October of '09 at Costco, had the standard 2 year warranty, didn't opt for the extended warranty.

In March of '12, the thing went black. Don't know what the problem was, but calling around I found out that I would be a minimum 2-300$ in on a fix. TV itself was $960. So I wasn't thrilled that a little over 2 years later, I needed to replace.

I called Costco, telling them what happened without really expecting them to help out, but hoping that I would be able to maybe get a little bit toward a new one. A similar model to mine that was $960 in '09 could be had for $5-600 bucks by '12. So I figured I would buy a new one anyway, just maybe let them know my situation and they would knock a little off because it was a few months past warranty. At the time, my membership had been expired for about 4 months.

Not only did they listen to me, they replaced it 100%!! They didn't have a 240 mhz lcd model like my broken one was. So they found a similar model (same manufacturer and size, just 120 mhz), and they also found a much larger plasma that they let me pick between. Both were valued at about 600$. I couldn't believe they did this for me. I can be pushy as anyone when I feel like I have something coming to me, but I didn't have to be with them. I basically came to them asking for pity, and they went above and beyond. After renewing my membership, I walked out with a brand new one. That sold me on Costco. I will buy anything I need that they carry for the foreseeable future.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by englishgirl » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:53 pm

I save enough in cat food alone to justify membership, but I found that I don't save on gas. Between 5% rewards on gas that my cc does not give for gas bought at superstores and the fact that Costco gas is not really cheaper than places like Hess in my city, the gas lines are not worth it.

What I've found with Costco is that if you are content with reducing your options, and stick to food and other necessities, you do save money. For example, take tea: If you WANT to have 5 different 20-bag boxes of different flavored teas to choose from, maybe Costco is not a great deal because they don't carry different flavors or small boxes. But a good tea is $5-$6 a box, so that's a $25-$30 investment. If sticking with a 100-bag box of Costco's rather excellent green tea is doable, then it is a big saving as it costs $15-$18. Although lots of people have mentioned meat as a big draw, as a vegetarian, I find the savings on things like rice, quinoa, nuts, and olive oil to be pretty good - I guess I eat more quinoa than the average person.

Just don't go into the areas with the electronics and appliances, unless that's what you're specifically looking for! I skip that part of the store, and most of the middle.
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by playtothebeat » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:36 pm

Love costco, especially for all those auxiliary non-food services and products. For instance, you can book travel through costcotravel.com. We booked a cruise and got an additional $200 of on-board credit which wasn't available through the cruiseline directly or any other sites that I checked. I also just booked a car rental which turned out to be about $40 cheaper through costco than through any other source I've checked.

They're great for electronics as well with the additional year warranty that you get from them.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by kramer » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:38 pm

I am single and when I lived in the USA I had a Costco membership for a time. My conclusion was that for a single person like me it didn't make sense but for a bigger household it would be great.

So I gave up my membership and just did my big box shopping at Walmart. The membership cost and additional time required to navigate Costco were just too high to justify it. And I often couldn't consume the large container size of certain purchases in time. Also, storage space for bulk items was an issue.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by Random Musings » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:44 pm

I think Costco is a well run store. Ours is conveniently located to our house so it makes sense for us just to pick up our milk there. Gasoline prices are low enough where the 5% card doesn't even win out. As with any other store, you still have to compare pricing, but it works in a lot of cases for us.

Due to convenience, we probably go there twice a week. Employees are very friendly, and we have know many who have been there since store inception.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by rixer » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:52 pm

I love Costco. They have the better products at good prices and a guarantee you can count on. The wife loves the way they package frozen chicken breast and hamburger.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by cheapskate » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:45 pm

I love Costco. Everyone pretty much covered all the points.

+ Great Tire shop. Good prices, they will fix flats for free, and do rotations as well.
+ Great quality on pretty much everything. I don't know how competitive the prices on various things are, but I know I will get good quality stuff at a fair price.
+ I know Costco gasoline is cheaper than most other gas stations. Usually 10-15 cents cheaper. At $0.10/gallon, the savings is $1.50 on 15 gallons. If you fill up at Costco once a month, that is nearly a $20 savings/year. Pays for about 1/3 of the membership.
+ Excellent customer service, inspite of the crushing crowds where we live.
+ I want to give business to a company that treats its employees fairly and well. We know a couple who work at the Costco pharmacy well, and know for a fact that what we read in the media about Costco's commitment to their employees is true.

- You got to be real careful shopping for perishables.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by joe8d » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:48 pm

Interesting discussion as rumor here is that Costco is finally coming to our area.Also another store, frequently discussed here, Trader Joe's is currently setting it first store in the area across the street from me.
All the Best, | Joe

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by interplanetjanet » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:07 am

cheapskate wrote:+ Great quality on pretty much everything. I don't know how competitive the prices on various things are, but I know I will get good quality stuff at a fair price.
This is something that really hits home. Their house brand ("Kirkland") is almost always a good quality choice, and they tend to carry higher-end merchandise than many other stores but at a fair price. If you want the absolute cheapest XYZ, you might not find it there, but my impression is that you generally get excellent value.
+ Excellent customer service, inspite of the crushing crowds where we live.
+ I want to give business to a company that treats its employees fairly and well. We know a couple who work at the Costco pharmacy well, and know for a fact that what we read in the media about Costco's commitment to their employees is true.
These are good points as well. The workers there are efficient and fast, and customer service has always been excellent for me. I've only been a member for two years and I would say that it's been well worth it.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by inbox788 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:41 am

I like some things about Costco and I'm a member, but not all is good. You have to be smart about what you buy or you will wind up spending more. You save a few bucks here or there, but one impulse buy can blow all the savings. Also, many of the good things requires long waits, like pharmacy, gas and tires, not to mention checkout lines and receipt Nazis. It's part of their efficiency, and you pay the price with your time. Some of their services are more designed to make make them money than help members, and quite a few good services for members have been shut down because Costco didn't make enough or squeezed the merchant so much they could not or would not continue.

http://consumerist.com/2010/06/26/wait- ... assaulted/

From the sound of it, YOU SHOULD NOT join. You will wind up buying things you never knew you needed and wind up spending more. Also, you seem to have access through family members or friends, and that suffices for occasional needs. If you wind up joining, don't say you weren't warned.

BTW, I would avoid buying electronics and computers from Costco. Real deals are few and far between. You do get a decent warranty, but you also pay more for it. I stick to online, best buy, staples, etc. and credit card warranty.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by sport » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:07 am

We are a family of two and make a lot of purchases at Costco. You have to be a disciplined shopper to make it work. Some items come in such large quantities that we will not buy them, even though it is something we use. Other things, are no problem. It should also be noted that many things, such as clothing items, come in quantities of one. We find that the quality is very good, and the prices tend to be very low, if not always the lowest. My estimate is that we buy more items at Costco than all other retail stores combined. They have a wide variety of items, but not a wide selection for each item. The only way to make best use of your membership is to walk through the store from time to time and see what they have, because some of the merchandise is always changing.
Jeff

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by swaption » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:39 am

Recently bought trimmed St. Louis cut ribs for 2.99 a lb. They will also sell full packer cut briskest for 3.99 a lb, and I can't find these anywhere. All this in an otherwise high cost area. Makes the backyard smoker quite cost effective.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by mbres60 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:07 am

donaldfair71 wrote:I bought a TV in October of '09 at Costco, had the standard 2 year warranty, didn't opt for the extended warranty.

In March of '12, the thing went black. Don't know what the problem was, but calling around I found out that I would be a minimum 2-300$ in on a fix. TV itself was $960. So I wasn't thrilled that a little over 2 years later, I needed to replace.

I called Costco, telling them what happened without really expecting them to help out, but hoping that I would be able to maybe get a little bit toward a new one. A similar model to mine that was $960 in '09 could be had for $5-600 bucks by '12. So I figured I would buy a new one anyway, just maybe let them know my situation and they would knock a little off because it was a few months past warranty. At the time, my membership had been expired for about 4 months.

Not only did they listen to me, they replaced it 100%!! They didn't have a 240 mhz lcd model like my broken one was. So they found a similar model (same manufacturer and size, just 120 mhz), and they also found a much larger plasma that they let me pick between. Both were valued at about 600$. I couldn't believe they did this for me. I can be pushy as anyone when I feel like I have something coming to me, but I didn't have to be with them. I basically came to them asking for pity, and they went above and beyond. After renewing my membership, I walked out with a brand new one. That sold me on Costco. I will buy anything I need that they carry for the foreseeable future.
Great service! However, did you purchase it with a Costco AMEX card? If so it doubled the manufacturer's warranty.

We are a family of two adults. We feel we get our money's worth by buying gas, eating the samples, and buying the few products that we do buy. We had at first tried the executive membership but didn't buy enough (gas doesn't count) to warrant paying that much so we are at the $55 rate. We rarely impulse buy and if we do it is a food item we sampled and really liked. We never buy the milk because the packaging of it is strange and I find it difficult to pour.

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HardKnocker
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by HardKnocker » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:20 am

Generally the savings people claim to get from discount clubs are over-rated. You can find same or better deals from many retailers nowadays. Adding in the membership fee to your equation further reduces your "savings". They do carry some unique items.

Costco caters to more affluent customers and has higher priced/more expensive merchandise. Their profit margins are quite high which is why they are able to pay higher wages.
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett

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Random Musings
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by Random Musings » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:17 am

cheapskate wrote: You got to be real careful shopping for perishables.
Agree. But there return policy makes it easy.
HardKnocker wrote:Generally the savings people claim to get from discount clubs are over-rated. You can find same or better deals from many retailers nowadays. Adding in the membership fee to your equation further reduces your "savings". They do carry some unique items.
Also agree. We don't impulse buy and do check pricing. But I also don't want to spend too much time, which also has value, looking for the cheapest deal. The executive membership deal isn't so bad, if you do get the $110 annual membership and only get $70 back from that for example, they will reimburse you the other $40.
inbox788 wrote:Also, many of the good things requires long waits, like pharmacy, gas and tires, not to mention checkout lines and receipt Nazis. It's part of their efficiency, and you pay the price with your time.
At our locale, tires are the most problamatic for waits (so we do during the week). Overall, we don't have other issues like long checkout lines and so on, but I think that is location specific.

The thing that ticked us off the most was that they replaced Nathan Hot Dogs at their food court and replaced with their own brand. We considered that a step down, but they probably did it to keep the price the same.

Costco isn't perfect, but there are far less issues there than other retail stores in our area.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by davidepope » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:19 am

HardKnocker wrote:Generally the savings people claim to get from discount clubs are over-rated. You can find same or better deals from many retailers nowadays.
Yes, but don't discount the time / driving required to find that "better deal" from a potential myriad of other sources. Costco brings all of the above together at a "good enough" price for us to make the weekly run totally worthwhile and enjoyable.

-- David

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by johnubc » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:21 am

Why is there an obsession with impulse buying and Costco? Why is it different at Costco than at other retailers? I bring my list and try to stick to it, unless I see a good deal - but, for me, that is for any retailer.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by bertilak » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:35 am

johnubc wrote:Why is there an obsession with impulse buying and Costco? Why is it different at Costco than at other retailers? I bring my list and try to stick to it, unless I see a good deal - but, for me, that is for any retailer.
Yeah. Those people better stay away from places like Krispy Kreme doughnut stores!

With me, any decent bakery is much more of a problem than Costco when it comes to impulse buying.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by 6miths » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:42 am

+1 on "Love Costco'

With 4 teenagers it is a great savings. Buy everything in big bulk when it is on sale. Top quality products, great prices, ridiculous return policy!
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

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prudent
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by prudent » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:44 am

Just as a point of interest, you do not have to have a membership to use their pharmacy or the optometrist.

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NorCalDad
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by NorCalDad » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:48 am

Thanks all. Good feedback.

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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by gkaplan » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:55 am

prudent wrote:Just as a point of interest, you do not have to have a membership to use their pharmacy or the optometrist.
As a non-member, I still could get glasses made there?
Gordon

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hand
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Re: Costco holdout considering membership

Post by hand » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:01 am

Costco is clearly better than my local groceries which I do not trust to charge correctly or to set a fair price. Between sales, loyalty cards, coupons, checkout "glitches" I get the uneasy feeling I'm being ripped off each and every time I go to the grocery store. At Costco, I get the feeling I am paying a fair price for decent quality with the occasional deal and skipping out on a significant amount of overhead, and don't have to keep an eye out for items where I am being gouged as markup is a max of 15%.

Costco has it's own downsides: the hordes living the McMansion lifestyle and consuming simply to consume - usually while blocking the isle, but for all the negatives, still better than feeling like I've been ripped off.

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