Author Topic: Do I want a Costco membership?  (Read 8842 times)

Dicey

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2017, 07:37:21 PM »
Question for those of you who have added others to your cards or are an 'extra' person on a co-worker's/family member's card.......how did you do that?  My daughter and her family have a membership card.  When we were visiting them and went with her to Costco, I went to the information desk and asked how to be added to her card.  They said it wasn't possible.   Is there some "sneaky" way around that?   Do the addresses have to be the same?   Same last name?   Thanks for any help/info.
Not sneaky, you just pay. Two adults using the same address can be on one membership, but I believe everyone else who has a card under that address pays an additional membership fee for it. There are some workarounds like shopping with a member, paying cash or using Costco gift cards, but they keep a pretty close eye on member's transactions to avoid shenanigans. That said, anyone can use the pharmacy or buy booze.
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lhamo

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2017, 07:38:11 PM »
You can get two cards for people who live at the same address on one membership. My mom let me have her extra card for years, but that was legit because we used her house as our US address. Recently switched to our own membership as mom is selling her house and we now have our own residence.

Things we get at Costco regularly that save us probably $50~100 a month:

Romaine lettuce
Wine
Rotisserie chicken
Cheese
Pesto
Half and half
Organic tortilla chips
Frozen salmon
Frozen meatballs
Frozen pizza
Granola
Granola bars
Protein bars
Dave's bread
Tortillas
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Nuts
Dried fruit
Rice
Spices
Hummus
Pita bread
Beef jerky
Peanut butter
Almond butter
Trail mix

Aside from lettuce we no longer buy fruit and produce there, simply can't use those amounts fast enough and prices aren't much better than grocery store sale prices.

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iris lily

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2017, 10:18:14 AM »
There are just two people in our household and the quantities at these warehouse places are ridiculous. We even have a full chest freezer and a refrigerator in our basement, but those are always full of garden produce, prep ahead dinners, and meatbfeom family farm area.

Also, the limited selection annoys me, I still have to go to a refular geocery store after going to a warehouse place.

I finally convinced DH to drop our membership to Sams Club. I always found it stupid to pay a "membership" fee to shop in a place anyway. I suppose it keeps out the riff raff,  but since these placs are along the highway and in suburbia, I doubt they would be overrun with homeless anyway.

robartsd

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2017, 11:33:14 AM »
I finally convinced DH to drop our membership to Sams Club. I always found it stupid to pay a "membership" fee to shop in a place anyway. I suppose it keeps out the riff raff,  but since these placs are along the highway and in suburbia, I doubt they would be overrun with homeless anyway.
I used to read DebtKid.com. He used his expired Costco card to access the warehouse for free samples and people watching. Of course he couldn't purcahse anything, but he was focusing all his finances on his debt emergency anyway. I imagine if he had approached Costco looking like riff raff, they would have inspected his membership card at the door.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2017, 01:36:55 PM »
I'm a big fan of Costco.

FYI, on the Costco Citi Visa card:  the 4% cash back that you get on gas purchases is not restricted to gas bought at Costco pumps.  While that 4% applies to Costco pumps, it also applies to any gas bought at any retailer, with an annual cap of $7500 in purchases ($7500*4% = max of $300 annual cash back).

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2017, 07:40:15 PM »
I'm a single mom of two (50% custody) and have a Costco membership. I love it for these reasons:

Returns
Some things I have returned to Costco for a full refund:
1. A toaster in which I had accidentally melted a fitbit charger (no, really, my apartment smelled like burnt plastic for days)
2. School pants with ripped knees (3 or 4 pairs)
3. Three-year-old car seats that I did not like once I converted them to booster usage
4. Cheese that went bad before we finished it
5. Frozen meatballs that the kids would not eat

Less purchase research
Need a toaster? Just buy the one they have for twenty bucks at Costco. If it is unsatisfactory, you'll get a refund. Hiking pools? Hook me up.

Occasion shopping
My five- and six-year-old boys like going to Costco. They like to use their allowance money to buy frozen yogurt; sometimes I also buy them a hot dog to share. I like going around eating samples. Sometimes I take a bite of each end of the hot dog, give the kids the rest, eat samples, and call it lunch.

One does definitely have to resist impulse purchasing but in general, it works really well for me.

Generally the only produce I buy there is clamshells of spinach or spring mix. Their bananas are awful.
I fully appreciate the fact that you are a single mom, that is not an easy burden to shoulder.  But do you honestly feel OK with your "returns"? 

Your negligence damaged a toaster so you asked for your money back.

Your kids played too hard in school pants and ripped the knees so you asked for your money back.

You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?

SERIOUSLY??



frugalparagon

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2017, 07:55:24 PM »
...
I fully appreciate the fact that you are a single mom, that is not an easy burden to shoulder.  But do you honestly feel OK with your "returns"? 

Your negligence damaged a toaster so you asked for your money back.

Your kids played too hard in school pants and ripped the knees so you asked for your money back.

You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?

SERIOUSLY??

Are you seriously going to guilt me for taking advantage of a store policy THAT I PAY FOR???

The return policy is a major reason why I pay $55 a year for my membership, drive across town, and buy stuff there that I could get just as cheaply elsewhere. (There are a few things that I get more cheaply at Costco, but not that many.) If Costco thinks it's a bad bargain, they are welcome to cancel my membership.

I do not see how it is any of your business.
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retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2017, 08:08:34 PM »
...
I fully appreciate the fact that you are a single mom, that is not an easy burden to shoulder.  But do you honestly feel OK with your "returns"? 

Your negligence damaged a toaster so you asked for your money back.

Your kids played too hard in school pants and ripped the knees so you asked for your money back.

You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?

SERIOUSLY??

Are you seriously going to guilt me for taking advantage of a store policy THAT I PAY FOR???

The return policy is a major reason why I pay $55 a year for my membership, drive across town, and buy stuff there that I could get just as cheaply elsewhere. (There are a few things that I get more cheaply at Costco, but not that many.) If Costco thinks it's a bad bargain, they are welcome to cancel my membership.

I do not see how it is any of your business.

Fascinating.  You didn't answer any of my points.

You are a human being that I would never want to do business with.

MOD EDIT: This is unnecessarily rude. Please be nice.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 05:05:05 PM by arebelspy »

Goldielocks

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2017, 08:21:55 PM »
...
I fully appreciate the fact that you are a single mom, that is not an easy burden to shoulder.  But do you honestly feel OK with your "returns"? 

Your negligence damaged a toaster so you asked for your money back.

Your kids played too hard in school pants and ripped the knees so you asked for your money back.

You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?

SERIOUSLY??

Are you seriously going to guilt me for taking advantage of a store policy THAT I PAY FOR???

The return policy is a major reason why I pay $55 a year for my membership, drive across town, and buy stuff there that I could get just as cheaply elsewhere. (There are a few things that I get more cheaply at Costco, but not that many.) If Costco thinks it's a bad bargain, they are welcome to cancel my membership.

I do not see how it is any of your business.

Fascinating.  You didn't answer any of my points.

You are a human being that I would never want to do business with.

Get off the high horse, already...   If you had almost no money, two kids under 6, and were a few steps away from EBT, but by virtue of your own super thrifty-ness and determination are making it work with minimal handouts, then I think it is OK to use a store return policy, especially if you do so without lying about the reasons why.

Look at it this way -- don't you think that this is a LOT of work for a single mom to go to, to return items of lower overall cost?  What life circumstances do you think would have a person make that much an effort for this amount of money?

Anyway, lots of people gladly return expensive camping equipment to REI and other stores with "lifetime" policies, even when it was due to their own abuse... what is so different about kids pants, and the other items?

The answer to your three questions is a clearly implied "YES" in the post above.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 08:24:35 PM by Goldielocks »

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2017, 08:28:40 PM »
...
I fully appreciate the fact that you are a single mom, that is not an easy burden to shoulder.  But do you honestly feel OK with your "returns"? 

Your negligence damaged a toaster so you asked for your money back.

Your kids played too hard in school pants and ripped the knees so you asked for your money back.

You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?

SERIOUSLY??

Are you seriously going to guilt me for taking advantage of a store policy THAT I PAY FOR???

The return policy is a major reason why I pay $55 a year for my membership, drive across town, and buy stuff there that I could get just as cheaply elsewhere. (There are a few things that I get more cheaply at Costco, but not that many.) If Costco thinks it's a bad bargain, they are welcome to cancel my membership.

I do not see how it is any of your business.

Fascinating.  You didn't answer any of my points.

You are a human being that I would never want to do business with.

Get off the high horse, already...   If you had almost no money, two kids under 6, and were a few steps away from EBT, but by virtue of your own super thrifty-ness and determination are making it work with minimal handouts, then I think it is OK to use a store return policy, especially if you do so without lying about the reasons why.

Look at it this way -- don't you think that this is a LOT of work for a single mom to go to, to return items of lower overall cost?  What life circumstances do you think would have a person make that much an effort for this amount of money?

Anyway, lots of people gladly return expensive camping equipment to REI and other stores with "lifetime" policies, even when it was due to their own abuse... what is so different about kids pants, and the other items?

The answer to your three questions is a clearly implied "YES" in the post above.
I apologize.
I never saw where she said she has "almost no money".  Nor did I see her say she was "a few steps away from EBT".

"What life circumstances do you think would have a person make that much an effort for this amount of money?"  My honest answer is that she is not a moral person.

"Anyway, lots of people gladly return expensive camping equipment to REI and other stores with "lifetime" policies, even when it was due to their own abuse... what is so different about kids pants, and the other items?"
No difference.  All of those people have no morals.

Goldielocks

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2017, 08:48:16 PM »
Ah, but if I buy a $300 Osprey backpack with a lifetime warranty, it is because I know that they will repair or replace it for free after 15 years plus of use / mis-use...  and that at least $100 of that cost is actually to support this amazing warranty that is built into their advertising and pricing model...


I mean, wouldn't you return a car battery under pro-rated warranty if it gives up after 12 months?  Or a TV with a manufacturer's defect under warranty period?  Expect Toyota to repair your airbag if it has a bad sensor?  Sleep on that mattress for 14 days and return it if it doesn't suit you?

Like a person with a huge capacity for eating going to an all you can eat buffet-- Is that amoral as well?  Should they volunteer to pay double just because they can eat (more than) double a normal person?

 Warranties are built into the pricing model originally, as long as you don't falsely claim anything and comply with the policy where the heck is morality coming into it? 

A business can quickly change policy if they underestimate the impact and make a mistake, after all.

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2017, 08:53:25 PM »
Ah, but if I buy a $300 Osprey backpack with a lifetime warranty, it is because I know that they will repair or replace it for free after 15 years plus of use / mis-use...  and that at least $100 of that cost is actually to support this amazing warranty that is built into their advertising and pricing model...


I mean, wouldn't you return a car battery under pro-rated warranty if it gives up after 12 months?  Or a TV with a manufacturer's defect under warranty period?  Expect Toyota to repair your airbag if it has a bad sensor?  Sleep on that mattress for 14 days and return it if it doesn't suit you?

Like a person with a huge capacity for eating going to an all you can eat buffet-- Is that amoral as well?  Should they volunteer to pay double just because they can eat (more than) double a normal person?

 Warranties are built into the pricing model originally, as long as you don't falsely claim anything and comply with the policy where the heck is morality coming into it? 

A business can quickly change policy if they underestimate the impact and make a mistake, after all.
There is a huge difference between legitimately using a warranty and fraud.

Fraud = destroying a toaster by your own negligence and then returning it for a refund.

Support fraud all you want, it is still fraud.

Morals, how do they work?

Goldielocks

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2017, 08:59:48 PM »
Ah, but if I buy a $300 Osprey backpack with a lifetime warranty, it is because I know that they will repair or replace it for free after 15 years plus of use / mis-use...  and that at least $100 of that cost is actually to support this amazing warranty that is built into their advertising and pricing model...


I mean, wouldn't you return a car battery under pro-rated warranty if it gives up after 12 months?  Or a TV with a manufacturer's defect under warranty period?  Expect Toyota to repair your airbag if it has a bad sensor?  Sleep on that mattress for 14 days and return it if it doesn't suit you?

Like a person with a huge capacity for eating going to an all you can eat buffet-- Is that amoral as well?  Should they volunteer to pay double just because they can eat (more than) double a normal person?

 Warranties are built into the pricing model originally, as long as you don't falsely claim anything and comply with the policy where the heck is morality coming into it? 

A business can quickly change policy if they underestimate the impact and make a mistake, after all.
There is a huge difference between legitimately using a warranty and fraud.

Fraud = destroying a toaster by your own negligence and then returning it for a refund.

Support fraud all you want, it is still fraud.

Morals, how do they work?

But it is not fraud when you say to the return desk "I dropped a plastic spoon into the toaster and fried it, can I still return it under Costco policy?"...   So utterly NOT fraud, if Costco then says "yes".   I worked at a different retailer's desk, and the answer there would have always been "No", and it still was not fraud of the customer to ask us.

On what planet is that fraud?
--Is it finding a possibly unintended loophole that takes advantage of a possibly poor business policy? -- you bet. 
Fraud?  No.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 11:57:53 PM by Goldielocks »

frugalparagon

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2017, 09:03:49 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest. It would be immoral if I took advantage of the policy by, say, buying food, eating most of it, and then returning it for a refund, as a premeditated plan. I only buy things that I intend to keep or use up, and I only return things that no longer meet my needs, and that is exactly what Costco promises.

I have never told Costco anything that isn't true, I pay for my own membership, and I never share it. Costco has earned a level of brand loyalty I have never given any other store. If I want to buy something, Costco is always my first thought. That will still be true when better days come and I no longer find it worthwhile to stand in line to get my $10 back for the ripped pants because that is literally the only way I can afford to send my kids to school in pants that are not ripped.

My conscience is clear.

On the other hand, I would consider shaming single mothers and children (seriously--played too hard??? He's a kid, he's supposed to) on the Internet to be, if not immoral per se, a dick move.

Goldielocks, he's just a troll. Thanks for having my back.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2017, 09:04:10 PM »
Ah, but if I buy a $300 Osprey backpack with a lifetime warranty, it is because I know that they will repair or replace it for free after 15 years plus of use / mis-use...  and that at least $100 of that cost is actually to support this amazing warranty that is built into their advertising and pricing model...


I mean, wouldn't you return a car battery under pro-rated warranty if it gives up after 12 months?  Or a TV with a manufacturer's defect under warranty period?  Expect Toyota to repair your airbag if it has a bad sensor?  Sleep on that mattress for 14 days and return it if it doesn't suit you?

Like a person with a huge capacity for eating going to an all you can eat buffet-- Is that amoral as well?  Should they volunteer to pay double just because they can eat (more than) double a normal person?

 Warranties are built into the pricing model originally, as long as you don't falsely claim anything and comply with the policy where the heck is morality coming into it? 

A business can quickly change policy if they underestimate the impact and make a mistake, after all.
There is a huge difference between legitimately using a warranty and fraud.

Fraud = destroying a toaster by your own negligence and then returning it for a refund.

Support fraud all you want, it is still fraud.

Morals, how do they work?

But is it not fraud when you say to the return desk "I dropped a plastic spoon into the toaster and fried it, can I still return it under Costco policy?"...   So utterly NOT fraud, if Costco then says "yes".   I worked at a different retailer's desk, and the answer there would have always been "No", and it still was not fraud of the customer to ask us.

On what planet is that fraud?
--Is it finding a possibly unintended loophole that takes advantage of a possibly poor business policy? -- you bet. 
Fraud? 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fraud

"No.a :  deceit, trickery; specifically :  intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right was accused of credit card fraud
b :  an act of deceiving or misrepresenting :  trick automobile insurance frauds"

Trickery/perversion of truth are key to fraud. If FrugalParagon told the truth (which I have no doubt she did, being an honest person, which is evident from her many postings around here), then she is simply using a return policy. It is up to the store whether to accept the return or not. And costco prides themselves on their return policy- it's a key selling point.

Definitely not fraud. Just a fantastic benefit built into the business model of a delightful company.
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retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2017, 09:10:12 PM »
Wow, I give up.

There are people on this forum that disgust me.

Please, take a hammer and smash a TV that you purchased at Costco 10 years ago and return it for a refund.

Have at it.

CrispySub

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2017, 09:12:10 PM »
If you are on the edge, Costco has an excellent membership fee refund policy.

Get a membership and try it out.  Buy things in bulk, stock up, get whatever you need. If you don't think you will continue shopping there because you don't need 8 steaks and 96 rolls of toilet paper, cancel your membership for a full refund.  Try it out for 1 month or 11 months.  You will either keep your membership or get a full refund.

In fact, I had a Costco membership a year or two ago.  The bulk food buying wasn't very effective for a single person, but I still saved money. I also bought the executive membership with a deal of $90 for the year.  I cancelled within that year and not only got a full refund, but a full membership refund on the normal membership price (I think it was $110 then).  So essentially, I unexpectedly was paid $20 to try Costco out and save money.

Your mom is right.  There is nothing to lose.


frugalparagon

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2017, 09:20:23 PM »
If you are on the edge, Costco has an excellent membership fee refund policy.

Get a membership and try it out.  Buy things in bulk, stock up, get whatever you need. If you don't think you will continue shopping there because you don't need 8 steaks and 96 rolls of toilet paper, cancel your membership for a full refund.  Try it out for 1 month or 11 months.  You will either keep your membership or get a full refund.

In fact, I had a Costco membership a year or two ago.  The bulk food buying wasn't very effective for a single person, but I still saved money. I also bought the executive membership with a deal of $90 for the year.  I cancelled within that year and not only got a full refund, but a full membership refund on the normal membership price (I think it was $110 then).  So essentially, I unexpectedly was paid $20 to try Costco out and save money.

Your mom is right.  There is nothing to lose.

Also, if you're on the fence about Executive, they will refund the difference at the end of the year and you can continue as a Gold Star member.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2017, 09:36:38 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest.
So your negligence damages a product, and you think that makes it OK to return it for a refund?

Please address that specifically.

Thanks.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2017, 09:42:31 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest.
So your negligence damages a product, and you think that makes it OK to return it for a refund?

Please address that specifically.

Thanks.

No no no. You already gave up on us. You even said so. =)

Please cease your trolling.

Thanks.
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frugalparagon

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2017, 09:45:53 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest.
So your negligence damages a product, and you think that makes it OK to return it for a refund?

Please address that specifically.

Thanks.

Sure. My understanding of my $55 (or is it $60?) membership fee is that it acts as purchase insurance against accident or changing needs as well as getting me in the door.

FWIW I think I'm actually a good customer on balance. While I return a lot of stuff, I tell everybody I know how great they are, including passing strangers who thought my five-year-old looked cute with his hiking poles. ("Thanks! Got them at Costco!")

Those pants that got ripped? I just bought 12 more pairs for the next school year. One of my coworkers was going to buy her daughter's  school uniforms at Old Navy but got the whole year's worth from Costco because I told her how great they were.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2017, 09:50:04 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest.
So your negligence damages a product, and you think that makes it OK to return it for a refund?

Please address that specifically.

Thanks.

Sure. My understanding of my $55 (or is it $60?) membership fee is that it acts as purchase insurance against accident or changing needs as well as getting me in the door.

FWIW I think I'm actually a good customer on balance. While I return a lot of stuff, I tell everybody I know how great they are, including passing strangers who thought my five-year-old looked cute with his hiking poles. ("Thanks! Got them at Costco!")

Those pants that got ripped? I just bought 12 more pairs for the next school year. One of my coworkers was going to buy her daughter's  school uniforms at Old Navy but got the whole year's worth from Costco because I told her how great they were.
Incorrect.  Your membership is NOT an insurance agent against your negligence.  It never was meant to be.

You are being inherently dishonest.

Honest to God, I feel bad for you.

Best of luck.

retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2017, 09:51:02 PM »
I am genuinely baffled why it would be somehow immoral to use a return policy when Costco clearly feels that offering the policy is in their best business interest.
So your negligence damages a product, and you think that makes it OK to return it for a refund?

Please address that specifically.

Thanks.

No no no. You already gave up on us. You even said so. =)

Please cease your trolling.

Thanks.

Please address my question.
Thanks.

snacky

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2017, 10:17:37 PM »

Retiringearly, you do you but maybe back off on telling other people about the ethical implications of their actions. Your morals aren't inherently superior just because they belong to you.

Back to the subject at hand: Costco! I just went on their website and discovered that they sell coffins. The more you know!
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retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2017, 10:24:13 PM »
Serious question:  so you feel it is OK to ask for a refund at Costco when your negligence damages a product?

Yes or no.

MOD NOTE: This is enough. You've made the point you wanted to make. There is no need to continue to repeat yourself.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 05:07:22 PM by arebelspy »

snacky

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #75 on: August 14, 2017, 10:28:19 PM »
If a policy allows for a behaviour, that behaviour is permitted. If they didn't want people doing that thing, the policy would prohibit it.

Is this somehow different from shopping for only loss leaders or signing up for a service just for the intro offer, then cancelling? Because these are all rational economic behaviours that many around here do.

And yes, I have personally returned things after many years and heavy use. The company (MEC, in my case) accepting that return graciously made a lifelong customer out of me, which was probably what they intended.
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retiringearly

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #76 on: August 14, 2017, 10:32:15 PM »
Did your NEGLIGENCE lead to your returning the product to MEC?

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #77 on: August 14, 2017, 10:37:36 PM »
Did your NEGLIGENCE lead to your returning the product to MEC?

Negligence is not a crime. You don't have to clean your toaster and change the filter every week, it is just recommended, but does not void the warranty. Unless it is specifically stated that the warranty is void by your negligence, then it's fine to take advantage of it I guess. Not everybody has time to manage the upkeep of their every item, some people have lives.

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #78 on: August 14, 2017, 10:41:04 PM »
What is your motive here? To identify and shame sinners? To become the self-appointed judge of appropriate uses of return policies? I am confused by your dogged determination to root out egregiously unethical* product returns.

Yes, I got a backpack repaired after my dog chewed the zipper. I was honest with them and they were fine with it. I also returned a winter coat after 5 years of use because I never liked the way the collar rubbed against my chin when it was zipped up. No problem.

*unethical from your perspective.
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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2017, 10:42:42 PM »
Serious question:  so you feel it is OK to ask for a refund at Costco when your negligence damages a product?

Yes or no.
Like everything,  context is key,
So a conditional yes based on:

The store allows this in its Ts&Cs
The store is aware of what happened, and decides to replace it anyway
The damage was not intentional
It was not done with the aim of defrauding the store.

Since these conditions were met, I have no issue with returning the toaster
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calimom

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2017, 11:35:30 PM »
OP, it would be pretty hard to pass up a fully paid membership, and if that doesn't convince you, and if the testimonials about cheaper gas and all the items you can affordably purchase there don't do if for you, check this Huffington Post piece from 2013:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/reasons-love-costco_n_4275774.html

For many reasons I'll  never shop at Walmart. We all have different values and goals with our spending.

Goldielocks

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #81 on: August 15, 2017, 12:04:40 AM »
Wow, I give up.

There are people on this forum that disgust me.

Please, take a hammer and smash a TV that you purchased at Costco 10 years ago and return it for a refund.

Have at it.

Specifically.
It is not fraud to smash your own TV with a hammer and to take it back and say...

" I was drunk last night and smashed my own TV with a hammer, and nothing else is wrong with it.  Will you refund it?"

At this point, it is up to the company and manager to decide if their policy covers this.   
Obviously if they said "no", I would not be surprised. 

robartsd

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #82 on: August 15, 2017, 09:19:31 AM »
You asked for your money back on THREE YEAR OLD car seats.
Product was sold as a convertable car seat, but did not function as well as expected after conversion. I think that due to the time in use, a full refund is not warrentted - as a customer, I'd be satisfied with a 25-40% refund in this situation. OTOH, I might have experimented with the car seat in its various configurations shortly after purchase to avoid the problem down the road.

You asked for your money back for cheese that went bad before you finished it.
Depends on how long after purchase/sell by date the cheese went bad, not how much of it got used before it went bad. I've recieved perisables that clearly did not stay good as long as they should have and returned them to Costco. I've had times where only one part of a multi-pack was bad, but Costco accepted the return of the remainder and gave a full refund.

You asked for your money back on food that your children DID NOT LIKE?
With the size of items Cosco sells, I don't think it is unreasonable to return items that didn't meet your expectations. I certainly would not be inclined to try a new product offered at Costco if it were not for this policy.

jeninco

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #83 on: August 15, 2017, 09:42:07 AM »
Let's try this in a different direction: if I purchase a product and it doesn't hold up as expected/advertised, it seems entirely reasonable to return it and at least ask for a refund. If the store provides one (because it is their policy, typically) then they have invested in customer retention. If they don't ... well, that's their choice, and I'll decide what I want to do going forward.

I have a pair of LL Bean boots on which I've entirely worn off the tread, and the uppers are separating from the rubber bottom. I don't expect a refund (I bought them in 1987), but I'd find it entertaining to send them back (and maybe they can recycle the components?)  I'm trying to balance the guilt I'd feel (because these things held up far past what I would reasonably expect)  with their lifetime warranty. I'm 90% certain that if I called, they'd tell me to just send them back and they'll replace the things. And that I shouldn't worry about it so.

I bought a pair of travel pants a few years ago that I took on a 3 week trip and wore every second or third day. Unfortunately, they came home saturated with the smell of rhino poop, and nothing I tried made them not stink. I went back to the store where I bought them and asked if there was some special cleaning stuff I could use (on a weird synthetic material), and they just refunded me for the pants. Ethical? I wore them a lot while traveling, but I typically keep pants for years, and they were unwearable.

RetiringEarly, while I appreciate your impulse to encourage people to act ethically, you're missing some context on FrugalParagon. Also, your stance is coming off as inflexible and kind of jerky: without knowing anything else about the person you're responding to, your "voice" here is quite aggressive. And since you didn't know how the conversation went when she returned the toaster, the aggression seems misplaced. (Based on what I've read from FP and what I know about Costco policy, I'd guess the conversation was "I totally screwed up and did XXX which broke the toaster. Can you help?" "Sure, fill this out and I'll grab you a new one." More a situation that will engender lasting customer loyalty then an example of fraud.)

And Costco partly has a generous return policy for exactly the "did not like" situation -- not many folks here would want to buy a 24-pack of something new'n'different without the option to return it if they found it yucky.

DarkandStormy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #84 on: August 15, 2017, 09:56:38 AM »
http://clark.com/shopping-retail/weirdest-returns-costco-employees-have-ever-seen/

https://customerservice.costco.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1191

Costco does track your returns, so I'm guessing if they see a concerning pattern they may address your membership.

That said, I wouldn't have the cajones/fortitude to return a 3-year old toaster that bit the dust because I messed up or food that my family didn't like (sample it first, maybe?), but people are free to do what they want and if Costco OKs it then good for them.

Re: REI - they used to offer lifetime warranties/return policies.  They've updated it to one year.  https://www.rei.com/help/return-policy.html

I wonder if Costco will adopt a similar one-year policy in the future.
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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #85 on: August 15, 2017, 10:12:38 AM »
or food that my family didn't like (sample it first, maybe?), b

How would you recommend doing this?

People talk a ton about the costco samples, but when we went on Saturday the only thing being sampled was gluten free pizza.  One sample.  So every other product in that store is an unknown.


I've returned food I didn't like to Aldi. I literally told the cashier "I'm sorry this was gross". I got a full refund, and they offered me another pack of the product (since it was double replacement guarantee). I did not take the 2nd product because the problem is that it was gross, not that it had gone bad.  If Costco has a similar 100% guarantee, it's reasonable to return food that you just don't like.

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #86 on: August 15, 2017, 10:26:31 AM »
or food that my family didn't like (sample it first, maybe?), b

How would you recommend doing this?

People talk a ton about the costco samples, but when we went on Saturday the only thing being sampled was gluten free pizza.  One sample.  So every other product in that store is an unknown.


I've returned food I didn't like to Aldi. I literally told the cashier "I'm sorry this was gross". I got a full refund, and they offered me another pack of the product (since it was double replacement guarantee). I did not take the 2nd product because the problem is that it was gross, not that it had gone bad.  If Costco has a similar 100% guarantee, it's reasonable to return food that you just don't like.

I've returned a terrible food item to Trader Joe's once (a new yogurt, it was literally inedible, I've had milder goat cheese. I couldn't tell if it was rotten or awful. Turned out, just awful). The cashier actually *thanked* me, and said that all the returns of that item meant corporate was actually having them pull it that week.

And costco definitely doesn't always have samples. In fact, when I'm able to go (right at opening on some week days), they *never* have samples. Many of the products they sell aren't sold elsewhere, so there isn't even an option to track down a smaller pack to try it first. And that's a huge assumption about how much free time there is anyway!
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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #87 on: August 15, 2017, 10:49:53 AM »
I just wasn't sure if the sample it first comment meant Costco had a sample policy like Sephora (I think it is Sephora). They will open ANYTHING in the store and let you sample it if you ask.  You can even take home like 3 samples a visit.

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2017, 10:52:28 AM »
I just wasn't sure if the sample it first comment meant Costco had a sample policy like Sephora (I think it is Sephora). They will open ANYTHING in the store and let you sample it if you ask.  You can even take home like 3 samples a visit.

Oh I don't know! It still wouldn't have made a difference in FP's case though, unless her kids were with her shopping. And personally, I would do anything in my power not to shop in Costco with children, haha. =)
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DarkandStormy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #89 on: August 15, 2017, 11:16:40 AM »
or food that my family didn't like (sample it first, maybe?), b

How would you recommend doing this?


I meant in a general sense - don't buy meatballs at Costco if you don't know if your kids like meatballs, for example.  In that case, I'd buy a smaller pack at a grocery store first.

For specific products, it would be harder if they aren't in the sample rotation at Costco.

I understand returning food items that are spoiled, made you sick, were inconsistent with the taste of previous versions of that exact same item, etc. etc.  Personally, if I picked out a new food product and just found it wasn't to my liking, it doesn't rise to the level of "well, let's return it."  1) It's on me - I made the purchase expecting to tolerate it enough to consume it.  2) It's food waste - there's no way Costco/grocery store will be able to re-sell it.  I'd rather find a more creative way to make sure it doesn't go to waste - offering it a family member, friend, or neighbor who might like it.  Food waste simply because I didn't like a product is unnecessarily wasteful.

We don't go to Trader Joe's all that often anymore (more on a Costco & Aldi routine right now) but we'll still go to TJ's every couple months.  They will let you sample almost anything if you ask.  We asked about a new product once (just a general, "what is this?  Is it good?")  -  the employee said it was new and he didn't even know, so he opened it up right there in the aisle.  We don't do this all the time, just when we see a new product and want to ask about it.  Other than that, we just take the food and/or wine samples if we care to and they're offering them.
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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #90 on: August 15, 2017, 02:18:38 PM »
...
I meant in a general sense - don't buy meatballs at Costco if you don't know if your kids like meatballs, for example.  In that case, I'd buy a smaller pack at a grocery store first.
...

OK, OK, maybe I should have, but the kids had always eaten meatballs before.

I am actually really cognizant of food waste. Have been known to eat carrot greens, know how to freeze a variety of things, know how to refresh lettuce, etc. This was a one-time thing. The damn meatballs were taking up half the freezer and it would have taken me six months to eat them all by myself! Yeah, I'm asking for a pass on that. No one is perfect. Normally I find a way to use things up even if I regret buying them.

The cheese that went bad was in a sealed package before the sell-by date. Since that time, I am more cautious--I know that it doesn't keep that long in a home fridge and will generally open the package, divide the contents amongst freezer bags, and freeze in usable portions.
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Chesleygirl

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #91 on: August 15, 2017, 03:05:20 PM »
The savings on gas are why we have a Costco membership. That's where we fuel up and save money. I don't shop so often in the store, just every 3 months I go in and buy things like toilet paper, paper towels, etc, but gasoline savings is the main reason we have our membership.

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #92 on: August 15, 2017, 10:30:31 PM »
http://clark.com/shopping-retail/weirdest-returns-costco-employees-have-ever-seen/

https://customerservice.costco.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1191

Costco does track your returns, so I'm guessing if they see a concerning pattern they may address your membership.

That said, I wouldn't have the cajones/fortitude to return a 3-year old toaster that bit the dust because I messed up or food that my family didn't like (sample it first, maybe?), but people are free to do what they want and if Costco OKs it then good for them.

Re: REI - they used to offer lifetime warranties/return policies.  They've updated it to one year.  https://www.rei.com/help/return-policy.html

I wonder if Costco will adopt a similar one-year policy in the future.
Costco does indeed track purchases and patterns. That's why you never need a receipt to return anything. You also get back exactly what you paid, even if it's been marked down or discontinued.

About their return policy: It was indeed more liberal on electronics, but there was too much abuse, so return policies were adjusted.

And yes, you can buy a huge-ass big screen at Costco to watch some stupid game and then return it. They'll take it back, but we all know that won't mean it's the right thing to do. And if you do it enough, you'll get a polite letter telling you your membership has been revoked.
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iris lily

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #93 on: August 15, 2017, 10:55:38 PM »
I can see there are varying ideas here about what constitutes abuse in returning items. If I don't like a food that doesn't mean that it's returnable, in my opinion. I will not go out to dinner with one of my friends because she constantly returns things to the kitchen because she doesn't like them. I think that is an abuse of goodwill of the restaurant.  She does this almost every time we go out, or else she will ask for something extra with no charge, or she will ask for a special favor. That  is snowflake behavior I can't tolerate, so that's why I will not go out with her anymore.

There isn't much I don't like, but when I run into a restaurant meal that isn't my favorite I wouldn't dream of returning it unless it was incompetently  prepared. In that case the restaurant wants to know.

 I have told the story before, and probably here, but I was horrified to be in a professional meeting with a vendor when someone from another institution returned the product they have been using for 10 years.  It was defective, yet they had actively used it. For 10 years.

Apparently they had not noticed the defect. OK! The vendor was gracious about it and took the product back and promised a refund, and I was amazed. But that was about customer service and not about practical business.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:04:29 PM by iris lily »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #94 on: August 15, 2017, 10:57:02 PM »
We buy quite a bit at Costco, including:

Flour
Sugar
Breakfast Cereal
Rice
Beer
Liquor
Cheese
Vegetarian sausages
Soap
Jeans
Beans
Cooking oils
Maple Syrup
Soy Milk
Pasta/sauce
Frozen pizzas
Frozen veggies

The price on these items tends to be less than more local grocery stores. We tend not to buy much produce there because it comes in quantities larger than we can typically consume before it will spoil. Instead we go once every couple of months to stock up mostly on non-perishables and frozen items. If the gas tank is below half full we'll fill up while we're there, but the store is far enough away that driving there for cheaper gas definitely does not make sense.
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carozy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #95 on: August 17, 2017, 02:02:40 PM »
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, OP, it just depends on what's right for you.

It's just me, and I find Costco worth it for the main reason that I use it and it does save me a lot of money.  I am also generally very pleased with the quality of their items.

It works for me:

  • I've learned not to over-buy, so generally do not regret my purchases.
  • Luckily I now live somewhere where there is room to store the excess.  (I am also good at storage Tetris.)
  • Saves me a ton on these specific items at least: gas, dry oats, TP, paper towels, chickpeas (I love chickpeas), black beans, saline solution, floss, and other staples/things that don't go bad soon that I'll actually use.
  • Good prices and quality on more expensive items like luggage, electronics, house items, etc.  Depends on what you need but you can find great deals on usually high-quality goods.
  • Other purchases I've been happy with there: bought a very comfy, stylish, light-weight coat that I used a lot until I lost it I think, bought super comfy sandals and Sketchers there that
     my feet love, bought a larger Brita filter plus bulk package of replacement filters, get my eye exams there and my glasses (although I buy contacts online because cheaper), and have also signed up for their dental insurance.  My work does not offer dental and the Costco Optometrist ends up being a better deal than what work offers (it's almost break even, favoring Costco, but I get a membership to Costco if I go with them and they have a better deal on glasses).
  • Costco also saves my boss money as I buy (and get reimbursed later) our office coffee, sweetener, paper towels, kitchen towels, granola bars, and other office snacks and items there (also bought USB keys from Costco online and saved a bunch for the office).
  • Their generous return policy is also a selling point for me.  I remember using it once only, for a super soft throw.  The design looked better folded/bundled up then when I had it draped over our sofa.  So I returned it with no problems and ended up with two others that look and work great and that I alternate between sofa and bed.
  • I did get tires from them years ago and that alone made me a believer.

Costco offers a lot but it's not for everyone.  If it's just one person I would tour it and write down all the items you could use long term.  If you live in a small place consider your storage space also (or get good at Storage Tetris).  Things that don't go bad like cans of black beans, chickpeas, oats (if you regularly eat oatmeal), or things that you would use anyways (TP, paper towels, saline solution, coffee, shampoo/conditioner).  Kirkland brand is usually the cheapest.  You can also buy the bread and put a loaf in the freezer.  I found it's worth it to me if I don't go crazy, keep in mind how much storage I have and how much I'd actually use the items.

I forgot, they also have a really tasty kale and cranberry salad which is great for potlucks, under $5 I think.

EDIT: added spacing, minor typo edit, changed Stretchers to Sketchers :)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 02:05:03 PM by carozy »

carozy

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #96 on: August 17, 2017, 05:05:56 PM »
I happened to come across these articles which I'm going to dive into myself:

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan, Part 1 -- http://www.choosefi.com/ultimate-costco-food-budget-part-1/

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan, Part 2 -- http://www.choosefi.com/ultimate-costco-meal-plan-part-2/

From the Choose FI website (www.choosefi.com).  I was looking for his bread baking article since his podcast inspired me to buy a bread maker.

krisvolley27

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #97 on: August 19, 2017, 09:23:45 PM »
Maybe someone already said this, I didn't read all the posts.  If your mom is a Costco Member she can sign you up as a co-member (I forget exactly what they call it).   I've done this with my sister for years!!!   I have the cash back membership and my sister has kids while I don't.  All her diaper purchases more than paid for my membership.  It's a free additional card you get with your membership and they don't pay attention to who or where that second card is.  Im sure its designed for husband and wife situations but for me I've put my sister on it which is a totally differently family living about 500 miles away from me.

dcamnc

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #98 on: August 20, 2017, 05:24:46 AM »
A side question. Costco is about a 40 minute drive from my house, but BJ's is a mile, at most. Is there any significant advantage to Costco over BJ's that would offset the convience of having BJ's a mile away?

Goldielocks

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Re: Do I want a Costco membership?
« Reply #99 on: August 20, 2017, 09:36:42 AM »
A side question. Costco is about a 40 minute drive from my house, but BJ's is a mile, at most. Is there any significant advantage to Costco over BJ's that would offset the convience of having BJ's a mile away?

Our Costco drive would cost us $2 each way in fuel...   plus the annual membership, so that definitely put a "no" onto the idea of getting a membership unless we have a large item purchase that could save the fee in a single shop.

How much fuel would it cost you to go to Costco out of your normal routine today?