About a year ago, I got a membership at Costco for the first time. I plan to renew it. Here are 11 reasons why.
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart (Creative Commons)
- Less cost: A recent study was done that compared a Costco shopping trip to Kroger, Kohl’s and specialty retailers like Best Buy. When it was finished, they observed that even though Costco couldn’t offer the same wide range of products, the total cost was 25% less than competitors’.
- Quality products: Everything I have bought from Costco has been excellent quality. Often their food is top grade, organic and/or gluten free. When you buy frozen broccoli florets from Costco, you’ll actually get florets and not stems. I can barely palm their massive toilet paper rolls with one hand (for all that juggling I do).
- Buying in bulk: Two great points here –
- Quality products can be bought at a discount price due to purchasing in bulk = WIN.
- Making less trips with two kids = WIN.
- Competitive gas prices: Costco members have exclusive access to their gas stations. Prices are not displayed to traffic; prices are at the pump. We’ve observed that prices are consistently LOWER than competitors.
- Great to its employees: This excerpt is from Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2013 profile of Costco:
Despite the sagging economy and challenges to the industry, Costco pays its hourly workers an average of $20.89 an hour, not including overtime. By comparison, Walmart said its average wage for full-time employees in the U.S. is $12.67 an hour, according to a letter it sent in April to activist Ralph Nader. Eighty-eight percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored health insurance; Walmart says that “more than half” of its do.
- Personal assistance at checkout: I’m 5’1″. I’m nearly eye level with the shopping carts at Costco. Having friendly and engaging staff ready to unload my bulky items is great. A live person rings up my total. They love chatting with my kids and are always cheerful. The lines are never long. It’s a very positive experience, every time.
- Cash back on membership: Costco has three types of membership:
- Gold Star – $55 Annual membership fee.
- Business – $55 Annual membership fee. Allows up to 6 other cardholders for business.
- Executive – $110 Annual membership fee. Allows 2% cash back on most Costco purchases, with money back guarantee. So basically, they cut you a check that is guaranteed to equal or exceed the cost of your annual membership. IT PAYS FOR ITSELF.
- Samples: Sometimes my hubby and I choose to stop at Costco just for the samples. You think I’m kidding. We’ll ask, “If it’s lunchtime and we need some groceries anyway, should we stop? They’ve got samples.” Brilliant marketing.
- No money spent on advertisements: By not spending extra on advertisement campaigns, Costco keeps its costs down, thereby maintaining a larger profit margin. Here are several other unorthodox business practices for Costco.
- Food court: Where else can you order a hot dog and 20 oz. drink for $1.50? That has been the price for 29 years – and it doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.
- Spacious parking: When I have to get two children tucked into their car seats, and unload a cart full of large groceries, having the extra wide parking lanes at Costco is marvelous.
I still shop at other stores for some of my fresh produce and deli meat, because of their shorter shelf life. Also, be aware that Costco has shorter hours of operation, opening at 10:00 AM (except on Saturdays at 9:30) and closing at 8:30 PM on weekdays and 6:00 PM on weekends.
Other than that, it’s Costco for the win, every time.
What’s one thing you didn’t know about Costco before reading this post? Is there anything you would add?