I asked a friend once why she didn’t shop at Costco. “Because when I do, I buy stuff I don’t need.”
With another friend, I joked that it was hard to get out of Costco for under $100. “Under $100?” he quipped. “More like $200!”
I’m of two minds about Costco; I’m drawn toward it, and have resistance to it.
There was my misfortune a few years ago with Costco’s red, medium sticker on my sweater, worn at a memorial service; no, it wasn’t Costco’s fault, but it remains a well-seared-in, unpleasant memory.
Costco is to blame, though, for being a place with too much tempting stuff; I’ve admitted to having a love/hate affair with stuff; Costco takes those feelings and gins ‘em up. So, yeah, I have some Costco…baggage.
But there are also things I love about Costco; things that keep my membership alive and active.
Here are 5 things I really like about Costco. They’re my Costco Greatest Hits.
1. Gas Prices
There might be random stations in town that occasionally beat Costco, but Costco’s prices are consistently lower than most stations near me. Costco’s consistency is key to why I make it a habit to fill up when I’m there.
2. Awesome return policy*
Costco makes it easy to return things, whether I just got through the checkout line and thought better about that rice cooker, or I’ve had something sitting on a shelf for 6-months and realized I’m never going to use it. While most things seem to be accepted without question—often without the original receipt—some electronics have more return-restrictions.
(* The down side of Costco’s return policy is it encourages spontaneous purchases, not all of which get returned!)
3. Car Rentals
I need to rent a car about once a year. When I first started doing this, I scoped out a bunch of aggregators and travel sites; I checked car rental company websites; I looked at discounts offered through my professional affiliations. After comparison shopping, I concluded Costco consistently delivered competitive (often the lowest) prices. Booking a car online is easy, making changes is easy, and payment isn’t required until pickup. I stopped using the other sites.
4. Household Staples
There are certain staples I get at Costco. I don’t know if their prices are always the lowest, but they’re reasonable, the quality is good, and I don’t have to shop around, making life easier. It helps I have space in which to store things, given the super-sized portions Costco products come in, but with certain products it works: organic olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pesto, butter, organic peanut butter, quinoa, canned beans and veggies, frozen fruit (go smoothies!), paper products (think T.P.+), toothpaste and batteries. That’s certainly not my complete grocery list—and I’m sure I left off some essentials—but these are some of the things I depend on Costco for.
5. Costco Curation
I appreciate Costco because they pre-select products for me to choose from; they do the curation I don’t want to do. I’m happy with the products Costco offers. When I go in for basics, I prefer having only two or three options to choose from. The local pharmacy—with its wall of toothpaste brands and sizes and flavors and whitening promises—makes my head hurt. Then I need aspirin, and get further overwhelmed by more choice-overload. Every purchase in every pharmacy aisle produces choice-exhaustion. While Costco sells lots of different products, they only have a couple of any one product I’m looking for. That, for me, is one of the best things about Costco. When I want more choices, there are lots of places to choose from.
Are you a Costco shopper? I’m sure there are lots of Costco benefits I’m clueless about; any recommendations to help me squeeze more juice out of my membership? What are your Costco Greatest Hits?