Is Costco membership worth it?

Is Costco membership worth it?

Not true. Every other store I patronize has signs on each aisle telling you what is available on the aisle. They always put stuff in the same location. If they move location, they put little signs telling you the new location.

In other words, the other stores value their customers’ time. Not so Costco .

pattyb53 writes

Costco has good quality meats, sweets, breads, blueberries, etc.

So does Sprouts, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and if you shop the sales you can get your stuff for lower prices than Costco.

I only shop at Costco when they have stuff I like on sale. Therefore the sardines. Trader Joe’s also has good sardines at the same price as Costco without the sale but the sale this month on Season’s sardines for $7 for 6 cans is a good deal. Hence my unfortunate experience with Costco hide their stuff policy.

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It’s pretty common for all retailers to prominently display products that are on sale in addition to their regular shelf space. It’s also a common employee shortcoming to forget to move product from the display to restock the regular location; large deliveries just get dumped on the display, often out of laziness. They aren’t trying to hide it; the whole point of it being on sale is to sell more, not less.

Costco and grocery stores have scores of tricks and strategies to get you in the store and buy things.

“Costco rotates inventory to create a higher demand for certain products. “They might keep a specific product out for two days, and then pull it back into storage,” says Ortiz. “When other customers begin searching for this item, and can’t find it, they are informed that it’s ‘sold out.’ Those same customers are less likely to put off buying something next time around, just in case it is rotated out.””

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“We move items on purpose…the more time you spend scanning the shelves, the more likely you are to notice (and buy) other items”

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From the linked article:

but it also knows the more time you spend scanning the shelves, the more likely you are to notice (and buy) other items.

Unless you are like me and other un-brainwashed customers who choose to take their business elsewhere.

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Costco is not unique. Most other stores do the same thing. There are scores of tricks grocery stores have to get you in the store and move you into buying things, even using the layout of the store to govern where you go and what you see.

Hiding stuff does not happen at any of the stores I frequent. As I mentioned I only go to Costco every few months when they have a good sale. I will do so even less in the future given my experience.

Most other stores do the same thing.

You should look for other stores to patronize

Says the guy with a Costco membership that spent 30 minutes buying 6 cans of sardines.

Maybe consider cancelling your membership and turn “less” into never. You’re currently paying them for the privilege of rarely shopping there. You are their ideal customer.

If you read the OP of this thread you will learn that I am not a member. I use the Costco cash card gambit.

I also bought one of their $5 rotisserie chickens, which are almost surely a loss leader for them. Because of the hot display requirement they cannot hide them as easily as the other stuff in the store.

So I do not think they make much profits on me.

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I did not say they do zero things to attract me. They have good prices, helpful employees, attractive stores.

And especially they do not deliberately provide a frustrating shopping experience by hiding their products.

My fault on that. I haven’t been back to the OP in a while. You’re right that they don’t profit from you, they just waste your time. I don’t see why you bother with the cash card gambit considering the issues you’ve run into.

Y’all are doing great keeping this thread hot, so I hesitated to jump in. But I find retail optimization a fascinating topic. And placement of product in the store is a thing. Data analytics can quickly show the effect of having product in various places in the store and that can shift over time.

There are the obvious things like products at eye level selling more, and this extends to kid’s cereals on the bottom shelf. But even things like whether screws are nearer the end cap than nails at Home Depot is a consequence of the data collected in stores where variations have been tried.

And the reason there is so much Campbell soup has little to do with how much the store is going to sell. The store gets revenue from allowing Campbell to overwhelm the competition on the shelf.

It’s a science. We are the guinea pigs.And it is working great for the retailers.


You are right. I am rethinking my patronage. My wife and I are shopping hobbyists and Costco is nearby with other stores we shop at also nearby. As mentioned, we seldom go there but at some point we have to say enough.

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Ours is never crowded, but then again we deliberately never go on a weekend, or weekdays after 4.


Ah, this is an interesting topic.

Personally, for us, we use the membership for gas. My wife and I each commute about 20 miles round trip each day. I pass by a Costco in the mornings and will fill up when I’m running low. It’s never busy in the mornings, I can just drive up and fill up without waiting in the 1970s-esque gas lines. My car “recommends” premium fuel and Costco’s price for 92 octane is significantly lower than the competition around here - usually 60 to 70 cents per gallon lower. I could play Kroger’s fuel points game but I’d have to be doing MS or something similar to keep getting 70 cents off a gallon which is too much of a hassle imo.

With almost everything else, I agree with onenote. Costco shoppers are a self selecting group of some of the rudest people I’ve run across. They roam the aisles with their massive carts oblivious to anyone else that might be in the store. The checkout lines are crazy, even on weekdays since they shut down registers and have the smallest number of staff working the front as possible. Staff is completely useless - Costco may pay higher than their competition, but that hasn’t translated into better employees imo. Their shopping experience is easily the worst in the area, and that includes bottom dwellers like Safeway and Albertsons.

Wifey and I look at the monthly coupon book, see if anything looks like a good deal (which for us are usually Oral-B toothbrush heads, toothpaste, laundry and dishwashing detergent, and a few other one-off items), and decide if we want to make a stop. More often than not, we don’t actually shop in the store each month.

To me, it isn’t that I expect to pay the absolute lowest price for every single item- more that I’m going to pay a fair lowish price with one-stop shopping. And as I mentioned earlier, my alternatives would be mid to high-end local grocers, not Walmart or Aldi.

The trick with Costco is going before they close. They’ll open registers just so they can close the store down faster. The samplers are also all packed up by then which reduces congestion. The price of coffee - $8.99 for a can in my market - has not changed in years, since I started buying it for the office. I do agree they sometimes do stupid stuff like not sell the regular frozen blueberries so they can push their organic ones but I’ve never had a problem with their return policy and the reduced choice means that you are almost guaranteed a good product.


Ours always has people but its usually ok when I go.
With 7 people in a family Costco is a real life saver.

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“Free” Costco membership ($40 statement credit + $20 Costco cash card) for FIDO cardholders only. Valid for new Costco memberships only. To qualify as a new member, an existing Costco membership must be expired for 18 months or more.

Costco shootings are trending