I know this is controversial but I thought it might be fun to share thoughts on this.
I am a dissenter and do not pay for a membership. Instead I use the Costco gift card for non-members gambit. It does work; I just did it yesterday. BTW, you do not have to do anything special. You just show them the gift card on the way in if anyone asks–they never ask us. Then get your stuff and check out. The clerk has to call someone over to approve it but we never have problems with it. We do not shop there often (see below) and go to different clerks so they do not get to know us.
OK, on to the main topic. Why not paid Costco membership?
Background: just my wife and me and we like to shop bargains.
They do not carry the same stuff all the time, deliberately keep moving stuff around and do not label the aisles to force you to go through the whole store to find your stuff.
They only carry one kind of any item so they do not have to manage a large inventory. A typical Costco only stocks about 4,000 different items, a small fraction of the 50,000 at a typical supermarket or the 100,000 at the average Wal-Mart .
The limited selection is really annoying. Some examples:
unscented moisturizing lotions NA
non-whitening toothpaste NA
non-sweetened bite size shredded wheat NA
As to price, you can easily beat them if you shop the sales.
top sirloin steak Choice: Costco $8/lb Safeway $5/lb
whole chicken: Costco $1.29/lb (must buy 2 or 3) Safeway $0.79 /lb for one chicken
blueberries: $4/lb must buy 2 pounds–Sprouts $2/18 oz
almond butter: Costco $8/lb in 2.5 pound jar. Trader Joe’s $5.99 for one pound jar. (nut butters are fatty and get rancid fast)
eggs: Trader Joe’s always beat their price and you only have to buy a dozen at a time.
As to Costco Travel again you can easily beat them. For example on rental cars, shop carrentalsavers.com or priceline.com to get the lowest price. Can be cancelled at any time. Enter your price into Autoslash.com and they will notify you as lower prices appear.
Positives for Costco (and reasons I sometimes shop there)
- Good prices on a few items especially on sale: We buy toilet paper, sardines, and store brand monterrey jack cheese there.
- We like the samples when we go there although I have not found any that I would buy–mostly pre-prepared stuff and we like to cook from scratch.
- Good prices on prescription medicine but here in California you do not have to be a member to buy it.