It’s one of the brands I love.
We have shopped there for years, first in Michigan and now in Colorado.
Of all the stores where we shop, it’s probably my favorite.
That said, Costco does have its faults like any other store.
So I thought I’d post what I love and hate about Costco and let you chime in with your opinions as well.
What I Love About Costco
Here are some of the reasons Costco is a top choice for us:
- Returns policy: Costco’s return policy is well-known — they take almost anything back. Yes, there are restrictions (on electronics, I believe) but for the most part, returning things that don’t hold up, don’t taste good, etc. is easy as pie. This works to their advantage, of course. Not only do they earn great customer loyalty but it increases sales. I can’t tell you the number of times we wondered whether to buy something or not, then said, “Why not? If we don’t like it, Costco will take it back.” More often than not we end up keeping the item.
- Gas prices: Costco is a bit of a drive from our house, so we don’t make trips just for gas, but when we are there we fill up. Our local grocery store gas station is pretty competitive and Costco’s prices are generally 10-20 cents per gallon cheaper. That said, if we have store points we can often do better at the grocery station (we generally get enough points each month to reduce gas prices by 20-40 cents a gallon).
- Travel services: When we took our first cruise, we researched options and prices like we were planning the invasion of Normandy. The best price we found? At Costco. Plus they threw in a few freebies. We ended up taking a total of three cruises with them. Plus they ended up saving us $10k by allowing us to cancel a cruise after hurricane weather made the itinerary uncertain.
- Electronics guarantee and help: Two things are great when you purchase electronics at Costco. First, they extend the manufacturer’s warranty by two years. Then, if you pay with the Costco credit card, you get two MORE warranty years (not sure if this is a permanent policy or they just ran it as a promotion when I bought my computer). Second, you can call their tech help line with any questions you have in setting up your electronics. I’ve used this a couple times and it’s always been quick and helpful.
- Kirkland brand: Simply as good as (or often better than) national brands and at much cheaper prices.
- Phone options: My understanding is this — Costco offers the same prices/promotions for phones and service as the major carriers. BUT, Costco often runs promotions that throw in free Costco gift cards, thus reducing the prices way below what the carriers offer. When we got our phones, we each received $300 in Costco gift cards.
- Meat: Their meat is very good (consistently better than what’s at our grocery store) and at great prices. They will sometimes run killer deals on Prime steaks as well, which makes for a nice treat for our family.
- Rotisserie chicken: $4.99 for a whole chicken! That’s already cooked! How can you beat that? I recall talking to a grill salesman at Costco and he said how great it was to cook chicken on his grill. I asked why I would want to do that when I could buy one over there (I pointed) for $5 that was already cooked and took me no time or effort. He had no response. We usually get two meals out of a chicken. The first is the chicken itself. The second is chicken soup my wife makes out of what’s left over.
- Prices: Of course. Not always the lowest prices, but generally better than any other options on a per weight/use basis as long as you use it all. As you might have guessed, we only buy stuff we use all of. (If you don’t use it all, the cost per use goes up big-time.)
There’s more I love about Costco, but these are the highlights.
Besides, I wanted to leave some for you to add. 🙂
What I Hate About Costco
Of course it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are some things I don’t like about Costco, including…
- Samples: These are a double-edged sword. I do like them in general, but samples often result in extra purchases we may or may not need. In addition, some are pretty tempting for a guy like me who’s trying to eat well.
- Checkers: There are often too few at our Costco and the lines can get pretty long. As such, we avoid the really busy times like the plague.
- In and out items: They bring items in, I fall in love with them, and then “poof!”, they are gone. Ugh.
- Moving products around: I can’t imagine how much time they spend moving items from here to there, but just when you get used to the fact that an item is in one location, it’s moved all the way across the store for some reason.
- Stuff in the middle of the store: There’s a huge amount of merchandise (clothing, toys, household goods, etc.) in the center section of the store. Go in there at your own risk! It’s just a mass of merchandise that often seems like a mess.
These aren’t big issues for me, but they are nuisances.
So, that’s my list of the pros and cons of Costco. Anyone have anything to add? What did I miss?