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Mandy-Jane
06-20-2008, 12:20 PM
Okay Americans. Tell me about Costco.

Is it really good? Is it worth shopping at? Or is it a big deal over nothing?

There's one just about to open up in Melbourne, (not that I shop in Melbourne, mind you) and it seems bizarre to me that you can buy your meat and your jewellery in the same place!

Is there a minimum that you have to buy? Is it good quality? Will it be full of money-hungry people trying to get as much as they can for as little as they can?

What's the story?

JJ Cooper
06-20-2008, 12:29 PM
Sounds like Aldi on steroids. Do we really need another one of these? What about the little guys?

JJ

Mandy-Jane
06-20-2008, 12:43 PM
Sounds like Aldi on steroids. Do we really need another one of these? What about the little guys?

JJ

Yeah. It does sound a bit crazy. Although they did say it would employ 250 people.

Anyway, I just wondered.

KTC
06-20-2008, 01:59 PM
We have them in Canada too. We had membership, but found it wasn't worth it. We'd go for two items and come out with $200 worth of stuff... every time. I guess it depends on how you use your membership. The dark side is alive and well and living in the Costco aisles.

alleycat
06-20-2008, 02:06 PM
Many people here like Costco, and swear they can get great deals there. I don't really hear anything negative about the stores. Still, it might have the best deal on a particular item, or it might not. Here in the US there's also Sam's Club and Best Buys, which are somewhat similar . . . not to mention giant Wal-Marts.

KTC
06-20-2008, 02:10 PM
Yeah... we have giant WalMarts too. I find that Costco was better maybe 10 years ago. Now places like WalMart can blow anybody out of the water.

Puma
06-20-2008, 02:14 PM
The super stores (warehouse clubs) - Costco, Sam's Club are good if you want to buy a case of canned peas. If you want to buy a single can of canned peas, you won't find it there.

Costco is just big tables of stuff (books included, at Sam's Club - clothes included). I'd never go in there with a shopping list because I don't think I'd find what I was looking for (I rarely go there anyway). Puma

KTC
06-20-2008, 02:18 PM
The one thing I remember is a vidalia onion salad dressing... best in the world. But you had to buy 2 bottles and each bottle would last you about 2 years. Yes... big big bulk purchases.

alleycat
06-20-2008, 02:20 PM
The super stores (warehouse clubs) - Costco, Sam's Club are good if you want to buy a case of canned peas. If you want to buy a single can of canned peas, you won't find it there.
What, you don't need the 24-pack of pork chops? Or the 55 gallon drum of tomato paste?

I find the whole "membership store" concept a bit annoying. It's such a marketing gimmick. The idea is if you pay to join, then you'll continue to shop there rather than looking anywhere else.

CACTUSWENDY
06-20-2008, 02:23 PM
If you have a large family and lots of money they are great. Like others have said, they sell in bulk and you always walk out with a bunch of stuff. If I had the family and the money I would like their stuff. Usually they carry top of the line stuff. Here they also have cheaper gas stations. A lot of times if you find a good item you have to buy it at that time because it may not be there next week.

My two cents.

KTC
06-20-2008, 02:26 PM
I find the whole "membership store" concept a bit annoying. It's such a marketing gimmick. The idea is if you pay to join, then you'll continue to shop there rather than looking anywhere else.

That was always a problem I had with it too. My wife vetoed my argument, though.

Mandy-Jane
06-20-2008, 02:28 PM
Oh no, you mean you have to sign up and be a member? I hate that!

I did see something on our news report that said you could get toilet paper for some ridiculously low price, but you had to buy 7 packets or something!

Hmmm, not looking so good!

KTC
06-20-2008, 02:29 PM
Oh no, you mean you have to sign up and be a member? I hate that!

I did see something on our news report that said you could get toilet paper for some ridiculously low price, but you had to buy 7 packets or something!

Hmmm, not looking so good!

Membership was $40 the last time we had it... I think it's gone up. You have to get your little picture taken and have a membership card. And only the card holder can pay at the till.

alleycat
06-20-2008, 03:29 PM
That was always a problem I had with it too. My wife vetoed my argument, though.
Remember when Sam's Club first started? People was actually proud that they could get a Sam's Club membership, and would offer to take their less fortunate friends there.

alleycat
06-20-2008, 03:34 PM
Membership was $40 the last time we had it... I think it's gone up. You have to get your little picture taken and have a membership card. And only the card holder can pay at the till.
They're probably laughing their heads off at the corporate office. "We treat people like we're the DMV . . . and they like it!"

KTC
06-20-2008, 03:35 PM
EXACTLY! Communist pricks.

ACEnders
06-20-2008, 04:24 PM
Costco's okay for certain things. If you like to buy in bulk, then it's worth it, and here where I live at least, the fresh meat and sea food is really, really good. But if you don't have the cash to spend up front, then it's not worth it. And unless you have a huge family, the fresh fruits and veggies are no good b/c you'll never eat it all before it goes bad.

We only use Costco for a few things - the milk is cheaper (and still only comes in a gallon), we buy sparkling water for my husband (spoiled boy), and I get my photos developed there. We just don't have enough money to spend $200 on meat, even if it does last for months.

ACEnders
06-20-2008, 04:24 PM
Membership was $40 the last time we had it... I think it's gone up. You have to get your little picture taken and have a membership card. And only the card holder can pay at the till.

It's $50 now.

Ken
06-20-2008, 04:50 PM
I had a job handing out food samples at a Costco a few years back.
Neat job, overall, giving me lots of time to write during lulls.
One lousy thing, though, was that the store scrimped on heating.
It was winter at the time so I was freezing, even with a coat and hat on.
Would've of worn gloves, too, but that would have made it difficult to spread the jam.

maestrowork
06-20-2008, 05:11 PM
My parents and friends love Costco. I don't really shop there -- I have no needs to buy things in bulk, etc. My parents would buy everything in bulk (toilet paper, cooking oil, soap, etc.), mostly household goods. They also bought an HDTV there for $900 -- that's an outstanding price.

So it depends on what and how you shop. If you're single-item shopper like me, then it's really not worth it. But if you have a big family and/or you have specific things you need that Costco offers cheap alternatives or in bulk, etc. it may not worth the membership.

ChaosTitan
06-20-2008, 05:14 PM
They sell more than just bulk food. You can also find great deals on clothes, books, electronics, and other non-perishable merchandise. I don't use Costco, but a friend of mine is a manager there. If nothing else, they seem like a great company to work for.

sheadakota
06-20-2008, 05:16 PM
Like others have said- it is good if you need to make large purchases or have a large family- I was watching that real life program about the family who have one set of twins and one set of sextuplets. They shop at Sam's club once a month and spend over a grand there- for families like that places like Costco and Sams club are worth the price of admission.

Jersey Chick
06-20-2008, 05:29 PM
The Costco here is okay - my mom and I split a membership (she literally lives right around the corner from me). They have the best deals on Vitamin water - which I buy by the case. And batteries - 600 batteries for $4.95 - can't possibly top that (okay - it wasn't 600 batteries, but something like 36 or 60 - but the price was great). I also have a can of coffee that will probably last me until my 7 year old leaves for college.

However, the drawbacks - the place is always a zoo, they don't take coupons other than their own, and they don't always carry the brands I use (and I'm picky about certain things, other things - not so much)

I go there maybe 6 times a year, so it wouldn't be worth it to have a membership on my own. Not yet, anyway.

dobiwon
06-20-2008, 06:46 PM
We shop at Cosco and for us it's definitely worth it. Their prices on frozen foods are unbeatable, provided you are willing to buy 8-10 pounds of frozen chicken breasts, 10-12 pounds of 1/4-pound sirloin burgers, double packs of family-size frozen lasagna, etc.

They are also great for buying presents for birthdays, Christmas, etc., provided you buy throughout the year. Their merchandise changes regularly--often what you bought last month won't be there this month.

It is difficult to come out without having spent $200-400, so we only go every couple of months. The also have very good prices on office supplies such as paper and printer cartridges, provided they have the ones you need; their selection can be limited.

Clothes are another good deal. I can buy brand-name dress shirts for $10-14 that even Wal-Mart sells for $19. Same with slacks and jeans.

Jean Marie
06-20-2008, 07:09 PM
My pup gets his pigs ear and chicken strips treats at Costco. He gets an ear in the am and a strip at night for dessert.

I get swim suits there and socks, no, I don't wear sock to the beach!! Let's see, a new beach chair, last year. New glasses every 2 years, way worth it.

Fresh meats and chicken are excellent and can be cooked and or frozen and used later.

So, it really depends on how you shop and what your needs are.

Eskimo1990
06-20-2008, 08:18 PM
We have a membership there. That used to be where we would shop for all our needs but then they built an Adli's (I think that's spelled right) near our house, and so we only shop there now.
Like others said it's VERY hard to go in there and not spend over $100. It can be done though my dad did it once, went in for milk and came out with just milk. Course he had to keep his head down the entire time. lol.

Upbeat
06-20-2008, 08:41 PM
When Costco opened in Oak Brook, Illinois I wrote for a Chicago newspaper.
One assignment was the Opening.
When I called their Seattle office for information the President of the company answered the phone.
He revealed among other things that one way Costco saves money (to offer lower prices) is by not advertising or paying an ad agency.
At that time membership grew via one's business connections.

Mandy-Jane
06-21-2008, 03:26 AM
Thanks everyone. Good information.

William Haskins
06-21-2008, 03:28 AM
"welcome to costco. i love you." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8zNsUTWsOc)

donroc
06-21-2008, 03:46 AM
Mandy-Jane, they will allow you to go in without being a member so you can check out the aisles and compute if you really would come out ahead by joining. Be aware they display many items that cause one to impulse purchase.

MarkEsq
06-21-2008, 04:20 AM
We are a family of five and it's great for us. And not just for food - last month we bought a five-person tent. It was advertized at just $90 - when we got to the checkout the spotty youth behind the counter said, "Oh I have a coupon for that, $10 off, if you want." We wanted. We've used the thing once already and even if it falls apart on the next use it will have been worth it.

Joe270
06-21-2008, 04:47 AM
I lived in San Antonio where there is no grocery competition, only HEB. HEB sells 'select' beef at ridiculous prices, like $9 a pound for ribeyes. 'Select' beef sucks.

Costco was selling choice ribeyes at under $5 a pound. You have to cut your own, but I prefer that anyway.

Now that we have moved to Vegas we still go to Costco for the meats they sell. Von's grocery doesn't have good beef, Albertsons has good meats but high prices. Smith's has good pork and chicken, so we go there in a pinch, but the prices are still high compared to Costco. Forget about Food For Less.

I love it that there is grocery competition here, but it seems the stores have to be very cautious what they stock in the butcher section. They can't afford to not sell all of it. So selection seems lacking sometimes, but I can always find what I want at Costco.

We buy a few other items there, but not much. Pistachios are a good buy there. Huge tubs of perishables, though, just seem like a waste of money.

stormie
06-21-2008, 04:59 AM
At first I refused to set foot in a giant warehouse where people seemed to go just to eat their lunch (plenty of food samples, so people go to graze).

My husband's company gave him a discount to belong. I reluctantly went. I was hooked. If you have the room in your house, you buy in bulk. That's where the savings is/are/whatever. We've even bought a refrigerator there for the basement at a really good price with delivery included. You can buy three-packs of ink for the printer for half the price you'd pay at an office supply store.

And the bakery items are really good. :D

We only go once a month, and stick to a list. (With my husband, that's hard to do.)

threedogpeople
06-21-2008, 10:38 AM
I go to CostCo every 4-6 weeks. There are only two of us but I'm lucky to have great storage and a small freezer.

Paper towels are individually wrapped in a bulk-pack of 12 rolls. TP rolls are individually wrapped in a bulk-pack of 36 rolls. There are 100 paper plates in a package (3-4 month supply). Dishwasher soap comes in a 48 count pack so it will last about 2 months.

I love their thin crust chicken pizza; a 3 pack costs less than a single pizza costs "out".

My hubby likes the Kirkland brand shampoo. It comes in a large pump bottle, two per pack. It lasts at least 6 months. I also buy dental floss (6 packages at a time), tooth paste, eye drops, contact lens, lip balm, tooth brushes, razor blades, etc. They carry great brands at good prices. On the cosmetic items, their pricing is similar to super sale prices out in the world but you can get the price at Cost-co all the time.

Their Kirkland solid white Albacore tuna, water packed, is the best I've ever eaten. There are 6 cans per package and it costs about $2 per can.

It helps me keep more green by cutting out lots of small disposable plastics:

I buy super size (in a can) condiments and refill my small containers (for example, mustard is about $3 for a GIANT container which will refill the small fridge container 5 or 6 times using my handy funnel). I buy liquid soap refills and refill my containers. I buy bulk oats, flour, rice, brown sugar and keep the extra in my freezer so it doesn't go bad or become pest food.

Their dog beds are fabulous; a $20 bed can be washed over and over and will stay nice and fluffy for at least a year.

In the winter their produce is frequently cheaper; I buy their 3 pack English cucumbers, organic field greens, coleslaw mix, etc. In the summer, they aren't competitive with the farmers' markets.

I buy their 3 pack of whole chickens. I don't buy their beef because it tastes & smells "funny" to me (has a chemical/plastic smell).

I buy batteries, ink cartridges, computer paper, etc. I keep my eyes open for electronic deals. This past month, I got an HP color ink jet - wireless - 4 in 1 printer/scanner/copier/fax for $175! It was the last one that they had and it had been marked way down.

I don't buy canned goods there (things like corn, green beans, etc.) because you can get better deals at the regular market; esp. when they have case sales.

I buy milk, butter and eggs only if I need them. Butter (and milk) can be frozen for later.

I love their bagels. You have to buy two six packs but I freeze them 4 to a bag so it's no big deal. Their flour tortillas are great too (freeze the extras).

Their Kirkland brand jeans are a great value, they just had the mens' sizes on sale for $9.99 per pair!!! They usually cost $14.99. They carry 'World's Softest Socks' which I love. I keep my eyes open on the clothing, they frequently have designer brands at great prices. I just got two DKNY summer shirts for $15 each.

SO, it's a great place to shop if you have room to store the extras (and the discipline to keep it organized and rotated). It's also a great place to shop if you go with a friend and split the bulk sizes.

I have a Cost-Co AMEX and got a $400 check at the end of the year.

Judy

stormie
06-21-2008, 06:48 PM
Wow, Judy, I'm impressed! And I have to say, the Kirkland brand on all of the products I've tried, is very good. Consumer Reports even mentioned that out of all the warehouses, Costco is the best.