If you are not one to compromise food quality (like me), but still seek out a good deal – the odds are strong that you have a Costco membership. And, if you don’t have a Costco membership, you should seriously consider it.
Just check out some of the Costco prices that I highlighted in my best warehouse deals post in comparison to the reputably inexpensive Trader Joe’s:
- Kirkland Signature organic quinoa: 4.5 lb., $11.99, $2.66/lb. (compared to $3.49/lb. at Trader Joe’s)
- Kirkland Signature walnuts: 3 lb. bag, $10.99, $3.66/lb. (compared to $7.49/lb. at Trader Joe’s)
- Chicken of the Sea canned tuna: 12 – 7 oz. cans, $13.99, $0.166/oz (compared to $0.33/oz at Trader Joe’s)
I wrote an entire article comparing Costco’s Kirkland dog food & cat food to similar products from other brands, and found prices to be a third to half the price of comparable brands, per pound. Costco gasoline (which cannot be bought without a membership), has typically been about 10% lower than most popular gas stations nearby, in my experience. These are just a few examples of the great value that Costco can provide.
Costco prices can commonly be anywhere from 15-50% lower than prices found at Trader Joe’s per volume – with even larger savings in comparison to other grocery stores. It’s not an apples to apples comparison – Costco does have limited SKUs and the items you purchase are often in bulk volume (sometimes in quantities that no normal human family can finish before going bad). Nevertheless, there are some great deals to be had.
The Cost of a Costco Membership
To get access to that kind of pricing – there’s a cost. Costco memberships range from $60 (Standard Gold Star) to $120 (for Gold Star Executive, which comes with a 2% cashback rebate each year). Those fees are not insignificant. And they just so happen to be how Costco makes a good share of its profits. In fact, their 2022 annual report indicates that 78% of Costco’s net income comes from its membership fee revenue from over 118 million members worldwide. Costco’s markups on food pricing are razor thin, which benefits its members. The more food essentials you buy and eat from Costco, the more you benefit (just stay away from most of the other stuff).
What if you don’t want to commit to a $60 membership and just want to see if a membership will be worth your while? It turns out there are a few under-the-radar ways to shop and buy from Costco, without a membership. Also, for those interested, I since have published a list of ways you can shop at Sam’s Club without a membership too (also, see my Costco versus Sam’s Club review).
Is there a Free Costco Membership or Trial?
There is no free Costco membership, shopping pass, day pass, trial pass, guest pass, trial membership, or other trial period where you can walk up to the door, walk in, and buy whatever you’d like.
However, if you’d simply like to see what the store has to offer, you are welcome to enter and walk around and look. I have never been asked for my membership card when I enter a Costco, even though they do have greeters who seemingly are there to encourage you to show it. If you’re overly concerned about going in to Costco without a membership card, but know someone who is a member, Costco’s guest policy states:
Anyone with a card can bring up to two guests to the Warehouse during each visit. Keep in mind that purchasing items is exclusive to Costco members.
To buy most goods, you must be a member (with a few big exceptions that I’ll cover) or have a member make the purchase on your behalf.
Of course, you might not be comfortable asking for that and it could get old quick for the member. There is another way…
The Costco return policy states on membership fee refunds:
Risk-Free 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. On Membership: We will cancel and refund your membership fee at any time if you are dissatisfied.
So, you could pay your membership fee, give it a trial run, and if you feel you are not getting the value from it that you’d like – ask for a refund. You can do so at a Costco membership desk any time.
But, what if you just want to get in the door and walk around to see what Costco has to offer, pricing, and all that good stuff – but you don’t know a member you are comfortable tagging along with?
Buying Alcohol at Costco without Membership
I was not able to find any official Costco messaging on this, but it appears from my research that Costco allows alcohol sales to non-members (of legal drinking age, of course). In fact, the idea for this post was spurred by a conversation from someone who had done just that and told me about the exception, much to my surprise.
This may vary by state, but as far as I can tell, it is a national policy. Are there alcohol sale regulations around this Costco policy? I’m not quite sure. Update: find out more on this policy in my Costco alcohol price list post.
Having bought alcohol at Costco – I can vouch for the deals to be had. A 24-pack case of pint-size Guinness cans for $23.99? You bet. 1.75 liters of Kirkland brand Canadian whiskey for $20? Yes, please.
If you let the Costco door attendant know that you are there to buy alcohol, they should let you in the door. And once you’re in, you can walk around and check everything out.
Buying Prescriptions & Immunizations at Costco Pharmacy without Membership
Prescription drug sales, like alcohol, are highly regulated. And Costco and other membership stores must offer equal access and pricing for prescriptions to all consumers, regardless of membership status. Simply let the door attendant know that you are a non-member who is picking up a prescription. That should get you in the door.
And by the way, prescriptions at the Costco Pharmacy are very cheap. They also include pet prescriptions. Our dog’s insulin was the cheapest at Costco, and we looked at over a dozen alternatives. Costco even has the cheapest flu shots for those without insurance (all insurance plans must now cover flu shots). You can buy immunizations at Costco without a membership.
Note that immunization and prescription prices at the Costco Pharmacy may be lower for members than they are for non-members. I called Costco and they quoted me 2 different prices for a flu shot, one lower-priced quote for members and a higher price quote for non-members.
Free Costco Health Screenings without a Membership
Costco pharmacies offer a variety of health and wellness screenings for free, to both members and non-members. Here is a calendar of Costco health screenings by location. Note: these have, at least temporarily, been suspended as a result of COVID-19.
Using Costco Optical Services without a Membership
You can get an eye exam at Costco Optical without a membership. However, to buy glasses and/or contacts, you need a Costco membership.
Get Food from the Costco Food Court without a Membership
I’ve seen many sites that give the tip that you can get food from the Costco food court restaurant without a membership, but only if it is an outdoor food court. This is not true. Since anyone can get in to a Costco, for a variety of reasons, anyone can get food from the Costco food courts – outdoors or indoors.
You will, however, need cash to pay at the Costco Cafe, if you are not a Costco member. And, lately, it seems as though a number of Costcos have moved to kiosk payment in their food courts.
The deals at the Costco restaurant are very good, but the options are typically limited to hot dogs/sausages, soda, pizza, rotisserie chicken, sundaes, and frozen yogurt. It’s not a health spa.
Non-Members Can Purchase from Costco.com (with a 5% Surcharge)
Non-members can purchase from Costco’s website, Costco.com, at any time. There is a downside, however:
If you are not a member, you will be charged a 5% surcharge over posted prices for members (except for prescription drugs). This is because our ability to offer low prices on brand-name items is due in large part to our membership program, which is designed to reward members for their loyalty.
This excludes Costco “member-only” items, which require a membership to purchase.
The food offering on Costco.com is limited as well, compared to the warehouse. And I can confirm that I have seen lower prices on a number of items in the warehouse, versus on Costco.com.
The Costco Shop Card (Gift Card) Can be Used by Non-Members
Costco also has a cash card (fancy name for a gift card) that they call the “Costco Shop Card“. With a Costco Shop Card, any non-member can show the card to get in the door and use it to make a purchase.
The trick with the Costco cash card is that it can be purchased by a member only. Again, you’ll have to rely on a member, which makes you a bit of a moocher, and it raises costs for every membership-buying member. And, once the card is depleted, you’ll have to get another fresh one from a member, or a reload by a member. The cards can be loaded up to $500 (and as low as $25).
If you know someone who is game, one or two cards wouldn’t hurt. I have heard (not tested), that the entire purchase does not have to be made with the card. In other words, if you only had $10 left on a card and had $150 worth of purchases, you could use the card for $10 and then use another form of payment for the remainder.
Buying Costco Items on Instacart Without a Costco Membership (aka “Costco Same Day” Delivery)
Instacart Express users can purchase Costco items on Instacart without a Costco membership. Please be aware that Costco prices on Instacart are higher than they are in a Costco Warehouse (they’re going to get those membership fees one way or another!), so you may not save any money over the long-term if you buy more than a few items from Costco on Instacart.
Costco has even started a joint website with Instacart on a Costco.com domain called “Costco Same Day“. The website is run by Instacart and if you log in, you are actually using an Instacart account login and not a Costco.com login. The pricing policy specifically states “Item prices are marked up higher than your local Costco warehouse”.
Costco Forms of Payment
While you may get in the door and even be able to purchase items, note that Costco stores do not accept Discover, American Express, or MasterCard credit cards as payment. Accepted forms of payment include: cash, check, debit cards, the previously mentioned Costco Shop Cards, and Visa credit cards (including the Costco branded Costco Anywhere Visa Card, which gets 2% cash back on Costco purchases).
Shopping at Costco With and Without a Membership Discussion:
I recently ran the numbers on if a Costco membership and upgrade is worth the cost. For me, the standard membership is worth the cost, though I did ask Costco for a membership fee refund after a rebate check, in 2020. But, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
- Is the Costco membership fee worth it to you?
- What are your favorite Costco shopping hacks?
- Have you found other ways to shop at Costco without being a member?
- What are your favorite items at Costco?
I’ve been told by Costco Employees on a couple occasions, that you will always get at least a $55 Executive rebate. So if you get the membership, you might as well get the Executive.
They’ve told me that almost everyone spends enough to get $55 back and that if you don’t you can get a refund for the executive membership add on price. So they make it sound prett risk-free.
It sounds risk free but it’s not hassle free. How the guarantee works is the same as the normal membership guarantee. In other words you have to cancel your executive membership to get the refund. If you have their credit card this means when you sign up they’ll send you a new set of cards you have to activate, hen when you downgrade to get the refund they’ll send you another set.
I don’t shop there every week and I get my $55 back!
How can you give more details on this
Not quite true. Your rebate is 2% of your shopping. So if you only spend $100 and stop shopping, your check will stop at $2. But if you go to the membership staff and ‘state that you are dissatisfied ‘ (satisfaction guarantee), you can get the difference back. So you are never out your extra $55 but you have to remember that cash in on that guarantee. Only once have I evereally received less than $55 on my rebate.
While it’s true that a lot of people earn the 55$ rebate (60$ now that memberships went up), it’s a little misleading to sell it that way. All memberships come with a guarantee that you will be satisfied – so if you’re not, you can just downgrade your membership to Gold Star. You don’t always get the difference back, and your refund check can be smaller than the difference too. For example, if you have 6 months left on your membership and you upgrade, you might not spend enough in 6 months to earn that difference leading a lot of people to feel somewhat upset that they didn’t receive the promised return on their membership.
Good rule of thumb: If they take the time to talk to you at the register, you probably spend enough to warrant considering the upgrade. There’s a lot of extra perks for being an exec member too – everything from travel benefits to free personal checks!
Source: I’m a Costco employee
That’s not true. I’m an executive member and have gotten less.
They stopped honoring the guarantee. It now states on your executive agreement that they will not guarantee you the extra $60 you spend on an executive membership. My wife and I are only a household of 2 and we’ve never gotten less than $90 in rewards.
Their Kirkland branded Vodka is great, I did a taste test vs some Absolute that I had. It’s $13 for a 1.75L, and $24 for the 1.75L of their Grey Goose equivalent. Their Kirkland brand Champagne this past Christmas was produced by Veuve Cliqout and was half the price…$19.99 for a 750ml.
you are drunk
As far as I know Kirkland and Grey Goose are one and the same
Lots to learn about Vodka you have, my young Padawan…
I’ve had two different experiences at 2 different store locations. One has allowed me several times to make purchases using a cash card, and placing the remaining balance on my debit card. Even making a purchase more than $100 over the amount of the cash card. But they always have to call a supervisor for an override.
The other store refused to sell to me for an amount significantly over what was on the cash card. Like, they said they might go a couple dollars over and allow me to cover it with another form of payment.
So far I guess I can either stick with the one store, or get gift cards in larger denominations.
Or get my own membership for just $55. I think I could make that back in 6 mos on coconut oil purchases, alone. Not to mention all the other stuff I would buy there, just because I could.
Coconut oil is the ONLY reason why I want to get a membership there..right now I have a few people who are members picking it up for me when they go
Ha! Same here. I now get medjool dates as well.
Did you know that the Costco coconut oil is not cold pressed. They use hex and (very toxic) which had to me with super tasting buds a burnt taste. I got 4 large 3 pound hard as free gift of organic cold pressed from Thrive market and from Swnsons vitamins. If you get a membership from Thrive, you can use my name and your first order is $25 off. I also get $25 off. They offer free shipping imover $50 and they Ship within a day. Shelley Wagner of Sun Valley NV. Also if you are unable to afford the membership which is free the 1st mo month, the offer scholarship membership coverage.
I have several jars of Costco Coconut OIl and they all say Cold Pressed – what gives?
It’s not honorable to try and profit by misleading these folks regarding Costco cold pressed coconut oil. You’re doing this for your personal gain when they go online to Thrive market. Thrive is generally quite expensive. You’re basically soliciting in the comments section. If you’re trying educate, then do so with facts.
Are you buying their Kirkland brand coconut oil? I just purchased some and with temperatures in 80’s it still is not clear liquid
Want to buy coconut oil from Costco, read your post, can you educate me and tell me about temp. change and going from solid to liquid and if you think costco’s brand is good or not. Thanks for any help or info you can give.
lol, I thought mine was from Costco. It is Members Mark Coconut Oil. It goes from solid to liquid in the mid-70s range. I can tell when I have been running my AC full out or dialed back a little.
Member’s Mark is Sam’s Club store brand.
Don’t forget many Costco locations have gas, too. Usually the best price localy.
Remember, though, that gas doesn’t count towards the 2% rebate for the Executive membership.
4% cash back on their already low gas prices with their Citi branded VISA card. Just got a ‘free’ $300 shopping trip thanks to my Executive and Citicard rebate coupons. Not too shabby.
How didn’t you do that ?
It is a state by state thing. It is all about the state laws and if the laws allow discounts on alcohol basically because it creates a future discount but it is a discount.
It may depent on the State. I know for a fact that you do not need to be a member to purchase gas. That they do not even ask becuase it is not required.
The only catch is that they do not accept cash and only accept Visa credit cards.
Sorry, I missed that I am in New Jersey.
“I know for a fact that you do not need to be a member to purchase gas. That they do not even ask because it is not required.
The only catch is that they do not accept cash and only accept Visa credit cards.”
Also note that gas prices still follow the gas standard zone pricing, So it will very between different Costco locations, but Costco should still be the cheapest in the area/zone.
Purchase gas in New Jersey!
I am not a Costco member but fill all my prescriptions there. One of them is almost $150/month, but at Costco, I get THREE months for a total of $25! And my Costco has told me more than once that I would save even more on meds if I were a member, contrary to what your article said.
Executive members get a discount on prescriptions.
I am considering buying a Costco membership, even though there’s only two adults in my household. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it for us until I saw Janet’s comment about Costco gas.
I just did a quick online search and learned Costco gas prices are currently $.15/gallon less than the average in my city right now. At the rate we use fuel, assuming the savings remains constant, the gas savings alone will be $117/year. Not to mention, Costco is only a couple blocks from my work and directly on my route home every day. (I won’t add any additional mileage when filling up.)
I’m not a Costco member and have been buying gas from them for years.
Exactly… like Alcohol & Prescription Drugs, anyone should be able to just fill up & pay without a MeMBeRSHiP >D
Hmmmm…. my Location makes you insert your membership card first thing. How’d you get around that?
Exactly, Ive always had to insert or swipe my membership card to get gas so Im wondering how gas commentors are getting around this?
I am willing to bet this is because Lisa live in NJ, one of only 2 states where an employee pumps the gas for you by law.
I thkught you needed to use your cosco card to begin pumping gas !!
We were on vacation on the East Coast recently. We pulled into a Costco gas station and needed gas really bad as we were very low. They refused us service because we had no Costco membership card. We had to limp along and find a different gas station. Also, you could only pay at the pump with a Costco Visa.
Top tier gas also!
Yes, but the 30 minutes you wait every time to fill up eats away at your life
I hear, that if you know other members of Costco, they may have free membership spots on their cards. Maybe they’ll share or let you on their card at a discount price.
Earnest, that is true, you can get two Costco cards per household for the price of one membership, but the other person has to go in and prove that they also live at the same address by showing a bill or piece of mail at the same address.
No, that’s not true. My son is on my card and he lives in a different state.
I have a card from my parents household.
They may *substitute family for address?
All of this stuff varies by location. Some locations will make the additional member prove they live at the same address, some won’t. Some will only make the additional member “prove it” if they have a different last name. Some locations require membership card insertion to pump gas, some won’t. Some will let people in the door without showing a card, other’s won’t. Some will let you pay with a cash card and no membership, others will not. Some of those will allow for purchase prices that a vastly different that the cash card balance, and some won’t,
They indeed state that they define household member as an adult at the same address, but I never saw this being enforced and quite a lot people take advantage of this: starting from as simple as kids riding on their parents membership to people that pretend to be a gay couple to share a membership with a friend.
I don’t think Costco cares too much and it’s probably also practically impossible to enforce: how should they check that the ‘household’ member doesn’t life at the given address? And even if they’d add some proof of address to receive the card, that helps only so much: I never saw anybody checking that the card I present is actually mine.
I actually was quite amused to learn that a 64-year-old woman pretended for 20+ years to life in a gay relationship to save a few dollars a month and shock some mid-west Costco employees with antiquated views.
I actually think she did/does it more to make a statement than to save $5 a month, but I thought it’s funny.
And just what made you THINK she was “pretending” to be gay? and why would that amuse you that she was gay? Do you not realize that all gay humans age? My wife will be 69 this New Years Eve, I hope you don’t hyperventilate with your laughter thinking about a 69 yr. YOUNG LESBIAN filling up her gas tank, who happens to be a legitimate Costco member too, by the way. You need to think before you speak /type or at least reread before you post…online we have the luxury of editing ourselves before we realized we may have offended someone.
This is easily thwarted by a week before send a letter thats been notarized saying you live there. Only takes a few days. Take letter with you to costco. My friend and i share an account so we each only pay 30 a year. Since the first time we just renew. Never needed a new proof since nothing changed.
You must live in the same households. Drivers licence addresses must match. I know this is the rule in Michigan. Although, I’ve not renewed my membership for 2018 to know if this changed.
i think you should be able to go in and look around and see if it would benefit you to buy a membership. Then if you think it would then buy a membership. Why buy a membership if it is not beneficial to you.
I totally agree that a trial membership, even for an hour or day, would be very nice! I continues to renew my membership at another club (because of a free pass), but I would love to know if Costco has better deals, products, etc.
I am interested in getting a Costco membership because I read it is better than BJ’s. I just went in the store and asked the manager if I could look around to see if it was something even worth signing up for. He said it was fine – and I spent about an hour going from aisle to aisle comparing prices and seeing what brands they carry. I didn’t buy anything but it gave me insight if it’s something that will work in my household
Costco has better deals then sams or any other warehouse membership. I get my prescriptions from them and as i wait i look around at the deals and there are plenty! I never knew alcohol was able to be purchased by non members but now that i have read these comments i will definitely be trying to get out the door with some alcohol buys for the holidays because they gave they best prices on I’ve ever seen.
I agree with this. My Sam’s Club membership just expired and I was considering a Costco membership to replace it. Before I spend the money on the membership I would like to see how their products compare. I want to actually purchase and use the products and not just see the price. For this reason alone I have not made the switch and will continue to renew my Sam’s Club membership.
You can you just have to ask most warehouses will allow you to they just make it clear you cant purchase anything without a membership.
I just signed up at Costco last weekend. We walked up to the greeter and stated that we wanted to look around and see if membership was worth it to us. They gave us a half-sheet laminated page and let us wander around all we wanted. When we went to membership to sign up, the employee there even asked if we’d walked through first to make sure we were happy with the prices. So at least some of them will absolutely let you in without a card, but that won’t help for actually buying anything…
I had bad experience yesterday try to buy stuff groceries using my causing card and they don’t let me my shopping card was full and the cashier toll me I have to sign to purchase there was very uncomfortable anyways a left the store wiywith out anything on my hands a lost my time
What she said.
Who’s on first?
I think she is trying to say that she tried to buy a cart full of groceries with her cash card, and they would not allow her to without a membership. She felt like it was a waste of her time.
This is not true you must have a valid membership to purchase gas at a Costco gas station.
The brick new jerssry Costco sells gas to anyone. You do Not present your card..
Costco in NJ is required to sell gas to non-members. In CA you must be a member to buy gas. Varies by state. According to the Costco website anyone with a cash card can buy gas as the card doubles as a membership card. However, you may only be able to buy as much gas as there is $$ on the card. Reports are that you can’t add to the purchase with any additional form of payment.
I can vouch for that! Just signed up in Burbank, CA. today (me and my friend Tuba…😆). I pulled up to the pump first thing—no soap! Could not pump gas until I went in and got that membership. And just because I got onto this thread just before going there, I asked a couple of questions and here’s what came out of the rinse: Costco, as a company has set regulations for its stores. BUT, the management of each store relaxes some purchasing rules and that’s why you have such a variance in individual experiences. And then of course there’s the state-to-state lawful differences. That’s my stor-rrry… And I’m sticking to it!
Oh, and by the way, you can use a regular VISA card…!
I think she was trying to say she tried to use her cousins card, which isn’t allowed.
They said tried to use cousins card and they wouldn’t let them because the card has to be yours they are non transferable.
Teachers everywhere are appalled by your grammar and syntax, ma’am!!!
Not at all, L.G. We recognize a non-native English speaker or ELL when we see one. Instead of poking fun, we answer politely and model proper usage. ;)
Yes. She is trying!!!
Hope ur a teacher and/or mom because you’re certainly an excellent role model. You’re unafraid to politely identify abuse (whether intentional, or through ignorance). You politely provide an alternate point of view based on respect, diversity and human rights – without shame and free from judgement.
L.G.’ – I am a teacher and the only thing I am appalled by here is your narrow-mindedness and ignorance. It appears that English my not be this person’s first language. Or they might have some developmental challenges. Either way they are making an effort. Open your mind to other possibilities and curtail your rudeness. Would you be able to communicate this situation in German or Chinese or Spanish? Would you want to be chastised if your attempt was not perfect.? Shame on you.
That escalated Quickly!!!!!
In certain states and I am sure states where these clubs operate, it is against the law to require memberships to purchase Alcohol, Pharmacy (Medicine), and Optical products because these are federally regulated items. Same goes for Costco’ competitor you can enter and purchase these products without memberships.
It’s Federal, not state-reliant.
It is a part of the Alcohol and Liquor board licensing terms. Any place that sells alcohol must allow everyone to be able to purchase. According to Company policy, if you go in for alcohol, you MUST be escorted. Same goes for Pharmacy, but in most cases, they are lazy and let you in the door.
Also, purchasing with a Cash Card is sometimes a huge hassle when you purchase during a busy period of the day, because if the supervisors are preoccupied, it can cause a huge wait behind you.
Best bet: if you can’t afford the totally non-commitment-necessary-small-fee-of-55-measley-dollars, you shouldn’t be shopping at Costco, it really just isn’t for everyone. However, I do totally encourage you to sign up and give it a try, it really is RISK-FREE!
Current Costco Employee
If the membership is so measly and trivial, why doesn’t this big talker pay it for me? Too cheap I guess. The entire scheme there is to cause shoppers to overbuy in large volume. Most members end up with far more product than they’ll really consume. Comparable prices to these wholesale warehouse scams can be found at many open retailers for those that shop and pay attention. Sometimes better deals.
But who wants to drive to 10 different stores to take advantage of all those deals. Waste of time.
Wow. If you’re really a Costco employee, you should be immediately fired. Posting comments like yours on a public forum is not only insulting to the large percentage of the population who live on fixed incomes but also shows a complete lack of compassion in general. The reality is that many people $55 can mean the difference between eating for one week or paying for a Costco membership. A “measly” amount of money to you is just your opinion and not based on reality for seniors living on social security, people working at minimum wage, families supporting a disabled adult child, the mentally ill who survive on less than $800 a month. I’m sickened by your ignorance and shocked by your attitude. If you’re the type of person that Costco employs, I’ll stick to the dollar stores and specials at my local grocery store.
Measly is the wrong word to use. $55/year breaks down to less than $5/month. While that seems like a lot to part with when paying a one year fee up front, especially on a fixed income… if you can save it up and find it in your budget once a year, you will likely recoup your $55 and then some in the savings you get by SHOPPING SMART. “Scams” only work on the gullible, naive, and ignorant. If you live alone, buying a giant bag of spinach is silly. A bag of 20 clementines is not going to last, but if you know your needs and habits, you can SHOP SMART. A case of granola bars, a box of single serve flavored oatmeal, a bottle of adult multivitamins, the latest bestseller for 25% less than the MSRP, 6 pairs of socks for $7.99, Reebok sneakers for $29.99 are all fine for a small household. I’ve pulled in behind MEMBERS who go right to the gas station and never go into the warehouse. Friends tell me they basically get their $55 back after a few months of gas fill ups. Some “Executive” members with a family of 4 have shown me their $130 rebate checks and encouraged me to upgrade.
Husband wanted an XBOX for his birthday… Costco.
Mom needed a new camera… Costco.com
Friend had a baby girl… Costco clothing dept.
Doctor prescribed pain reliever for knee injury… Costco pharmacy.
Movie night… ticket vouchers from Costco.
Vacation rental car… Costco Travel.
Time to buy a new car… Costco Auto.
Costco saves me way more than what I have spent on my membership. I don’t buy what I won’t use. So nothing is wasted. Just the Xbox was $50 less than everywhere else. I like to save money, and I understand HOW Costco really works.
Absolutely agree with Sandra, shop consciously, don’t walk around thinking it’s a free shopping trip! I went this summer with a friend to check out Costco. I didn’t join, as I’m not in the market for another credit card, and payments must be made with a Costco Visa. That was a huge turnoff, that was the deciding factor. I shop at BJs, have for years, but unfortunately mine is small and doesn’t carry as much as the larger ones. I was impressed with the amount of different items at Costco, and my friend purchased a bunch of things (all that I needed and used) for me. If they dropped the credit card requirement, I’d join.
You don’t have to use a Costco Credit Card to pay. I have shopped in Costcos all over the West Coast and have paid with cash, check, debit cards. I have been a member for over 20 years.
You don’t need a Costco Visa. You can use any type of Visa credit card at Costco.
I believe the membership is$60-$65
Just remember, you can walk in w/o membership and stuff your face with ssmples. Then make a Stupid comment “I dont have to eat lunch now”. Or be one who knocks someone over to get a 2oz sample, pretend you are one of the seagulls in Finding Nemo.
I literally LOL 😂 !!!!!!!
I was harazed when I went in to use the washroom, and get a hotdog. My gift membership had expired,. I didnt want to pay the $60. Seems you can go in, for other things without a membership card, but not to get $2,00 hotdog. Gaspo employees say, no one on the Costco premise without a current membershopip card. Should I see a lawyer for what the employee did for $2.00 hotdog attempt to purchase? The lady actually followed me, waited for me as I came out ofvthe washroom. She made sure I could not buy a two dollar hot dog.
Wow! Sounds like somebody let her Costco greeter authority go to her head! I wish you had made the store manager aware of this. You may want to consider contacting corporate over that. Yes, there are rules in this world but sometimes common damn sense needs to kick in- Had you of been treated with kindness , allowing you to buy that $2 hotdog, and not demeaned by monitoring you in the bathroom, you may have had such a great experience and seen so many cool things that you returned to buy a membership, shopped there for the rest of your life increasing Costco’s yearly revenue ;)
You are either a teenager or a total moron to make this comment. Employee? This speaks volumes for the company. I was considering memberships for my 32 employees. We will remain with SAMS.
oh no, how will Costco ever survive without your measly 32 employees LOL this isn’t a Costco site or monitored site Costco don’t care if you run off to sams cause somebody said they were a Costco employee stupid !!! they will never see this LMAO… BTW I’m a Sam’s employee so I bet your stuck in a conundrum now arent ya
I’m curious to know if you have ever done a comparision of Costco -vs- BJ’s? We are members of the later.
Also I love this blog 3 plus years following you (!) and have turned other friends & family onto it. I only follow one other blog……….
Am happy that you have not sold out to the evil ad people.
I’ve found that Costco per unit price is cheaper than BJs. But you tend to have to buy larger quantities. BJs also had a slightly
I also think the customer experience at Costco is better than BJs. Though on the surface they are very similar. That’s one of the reasons Costco has a very strong following that you don’t quite have with BJs.
The Kirkland brand is also superior to Berkley and Jensen.
The comment was supposed to say that BJs has a slightly broader variety of food items than what Costco has.
I have both & I like Bj’s better. There is a real deli , not some prepared foods under a deli label, they accept manufacturers coupons along with their own & there are cards & gift wrap available. Also there are items at Bj’s that you cannot find at Costco. I do not believe that the Kirkland label is any better than the Berkeley & Jenson. In fact they are probably made by the same companies who just put on the different labels.
So I just typed out this long reply outlining the major differences between BJs and Costco. When I hit submit, they body of my message disappeared. Then I typed a few letters just as a test to see if maybe I clicked something wrong. It worked, hence the above. Maybe I will get the motivation to retype everything. Right now, I should be working :(
Do you except the bridge card?
The problem with buying in bulk is it increases your consumption rate. So we find Costco members don’t really save more but consume more. I still think best way for real savings is by reducing your consumption to point that you can still remain satisfied. I work in healthcare field and take care of way to many people with hypertension and diabetes and these are considered lifestyle diseases.
Sorry but that is not a fault of either supermarkets or Costco. That is a personal problem and choice to consume more and be fat.
You DO save money at Costco if you don’t consume a lot and watch it and there was one time the public wasn’t even allowed to have a card period!
Some items cost the same as the grocery store but most items are half the cost and double the amount because they once catered to business fields only and you had to be a business or medical personal to be allowed a membership card. 1980s to the late 90s.
We moved from the mountains of Northern California to Oregon in 1997 and had a Costco membership card since 1992 according to the store’s record where Dad was a pharmacy at a hospital and was considered *medical personal* so we were allowed a card but by 1997 they allowed all public to be a member.
We shopped at Reno Nevada and that Costco is very weird. At the time in the 90s it didn’t feature ANY chairs and you had to stand to eat. Never have seen a Costco like it since.
It’s not “fault”, but purchasing in bulk will encourage you to consume the product faster. That’s basic psychology. Everyone thinks they are immune to this and it’s only the other suckers who fall for it, but it obviously doesn’t work that way.
I estimate that around half of Costco customers would save money by not having a membership and shopping elsewhere, especially if they have a discount grocery store in town.
And you base your estimation on what exactly?
We also shopped at the Chico California Costco in the 90s and while Reno you couldn’t sit down the Chico one did.
I disagree with this comment that buying in bulk increases your consumption. Do I use more TP or tissues because I have a stash in the basement? Of course not. Do my cats use the litter box more often because I have a backup 40 lb box of litter? Do I take 2 vitamins a day instead of just 1 simply because I have a year’s supply? No. I buy in bulk to minimize my shopping trips. Yes, I may have purchased a 98 count box of granola bars, but that doesn’t cause me to eat 5 a day. Instead of buying a box of the 6 count bars at the grocery store once a week, I buy a big box at BJs once in a while. You don’t have to eat everything in your house just cause it’s there. If you do eat it all and you are not a warehouse member, you’re just making that many more trips to the grocery store.
For the items I purchase and consume on a regular basis, BJs is far less expensive than the grocery store. Any they have great coupons, $1 – $3 off things I’m buying anyway! Even the non-bulk items, like a bunch of bananas or a gallon of skim milk are far less expensive than at the grocery store.
A Costco recently opened up near me, I was considering it in lieu of the local BJs, which I love. I’m pretty bummed to learn that Costco doesn’t accept Discover and am not really interested in trying to “side door” getting into Costco. I’ll wait till my friend is planning her next shopping trip, but what a pain, a one-day pass, even if it limited you to say a $50 total purchase, would be great. I was turned away at the door at a Costco years ago, it left a bad image of the company in my mind.
SAMs Club is the same way at least in Illinois. You don’t need a membership to purchase alcohol.. But they don’t advertise that.
Regarding the Costco Cash Card that I used at a Costco in Orange County California:
I had $50 on the card, my purchases of food totaled ~$60. I had a $10 balance left over. You can *only* use cash or debit card for Cash Card transactions to my dismay. I was told Costco has the right to tell you to remove items from your cart if you exceed your Cash Card amount by a large amount (i.e. >$10). I was told it was a “courtesy” that they didn’t have me remove any items I wanted to buy.
It was a frustrating experience having the cashier lady NOT explain this me as I tried to swipe my Amex Card. I had to ask the membership desk afterwards to clarify this to me. BTW, only members can reload the card. You also can’t choose how much to put on the Costco Cash card, e.g. you can’t put $10 on your card and the remaining amount on your debit card.
Just a comment. If you don’t want people to buy without a membership and you believe it will cost members more why tell cutsey dishonest ways of beating the system.
I can’t see how increasing your volume by buying through a member can possibly hurt. It’s volume you don’t currently have. Obviously you want to make up part of the discounts with your fee.
No answer necessary.
Costco’s business model is to make money on membership only, and sell the items at cost. So it does hurt them if people are buying through someone else instead of getting their own membership.
I currently have a SAMs membership and I think I can’t to get a costco card instead is there and way to get a tribal membership just so I can see what the difference in products are there. Also what forms of ID etc would you need to open a card.
Thanks in advance for your help
Just as an FYI you cannot always use a Costco gift card if you are a non member. I purchased a gift card for a friend who wanted to try out Costco before getting a membership and the cashier wouldn’t take her gift card because she is a non-member. A manager came over to confirm that non-members are NOT ALLOWED to use Costco gift cards, but it is a policy that is rarely enforced. I said fine, I would just pay for the items, so they rang them up under my membership. My friend tried to hand over the Costco gift card & cash, but they wouldn’t even take it from her—she had to hand it to ME and then I had to hand to the cashier. We both were fine with the policy, but good grief they went to great lengths to embarrass my friend for being a “non-member!”
That’s ridiculous! They need to train all their employees about correct procedures. This is directly from their website: You must be a Costco member to purchase or reload Costco Cash Cards. Members and non-members may use Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco location in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, online at Costco.com and Costco.ca. Costco Cash Card balances may be used toward membership or merchandise…
According to Costco’s website, non-members ARE permitted to use Cash Cards: “You must be a Costco member to purchase or reload Costco Cash Cards. Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at Costco.com or on Costco.ca. Costco Cash balances may be used toward membership or merchandise.”
“Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at Costco.com or on Costco.ca.”
I spoke with an employee about this. Apparently, there is a difference between a Costco gift card and a cash card. Members only can use a gift card. Members and non-members can use a cash card but the cash cards can only be purchased by a member.
You should complain to corporate , not to the Store manager …BUT CORPORATE THEMSELVES. I have experienced some bad shopping trips over my 15 plus years of membership , and it is only one location I have ever had constant issues with specific employees but that is kind of the general demenor there . Corporate does not know what you don’t share , after sarcastic comments or mistreatment it deserves to go higher up. I regret never calling and just letting them push me out to another store. But I don’t miss that location, the other one I go to is so incredibly nice and actually have more items than the other one. I was told it belongs to a different district and thats why . Just better all around . Oh and that comment from that snotty employee must have been from the Moreno Valley Ca. location . Lol calm down and just do your job and stop throwing out PASSIVE AGRESSIVE comments to customers , you are lucky that the corporate does not know who you are because you are posting as a representative of the company in a rude unauthorized way , just that comment made me totally turned off and the other person who commented is right ….you should be fired . The End
I am an executive member and tried using a costco cash card to make my purchase without showing my membership card. Cashier wouldn’t allow me to make the purchase without first showing that I was a member. (Henderson, Nevada)
I think Costco really need to change the cash card description on their website, because the truth is a non member is not allowed to shop with a cash card. I have the same experience where the cashier and the manager didn’t allow me to use the cash card without a membership. I do have a membership, but my wife doesn’t, and I want her to shop at Costco without me coming along. The first time she tried to use the cash card, she got humiliated by the manager and the customer service, they guarded her from the register to the front customer service area and tried to kick her out. So, I called the customer service center, complained about my wife’s bad experience, and once again made sure if a non member is allowed to use the cash card to shop, and they said YES. So, I went again with her to Costco and tried to use the cash card without showing my membership, and they still didn’t let me to make the purchase. I showed the manager the website that says “Members and non-members may use Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco…” and he seemed confused and never seen that policy before. I thought Costco is well managed company that cares about their customer satisfaction, but I guess I was wrong. Maybe someone who works at Costco can answer our problems here? (Location: Costco Torrance, CA)
I saw you’re location and no wonder! Torrance is a horrible place and you will find many people like the manager who is rude. My grandma who is 80 something years old moved in 2000 from Torrance to Port Townsend Washington where partially to be closer to family but also to get away from the rude people and gang life.
Grandma lived in Torrance most of her life and has seen the many changes it has gone from being a small nothing town far from anything to a sprawling urban mess without any real planning.
My comment about the friendly door greeters didn’t make it thru.
It seems when I type a lot websites don’t let me post where if I type super short *facebook style* then it gets approved.
We have Sam’s Club here but many people are not as happy with Sam’s as we once were. Might be a new manager, who knows, but some of their grocery and candy offerings sit on the shelves too long and are not as fresh as they should be. Sam’s does, however, let non-members come in and purchase whatever they want using any of their regularly accepted payment methods, as long as they come in with a member.
I wonder why Costco stores are so few and far between in some areas. Do they only locate in large metropolitan areas? I would like to see a Costco in Western Wisconsin. Right now the nearest Costco to me is over 80 miles, one way.
Of course they are only in the larger urban areas. They need a large number of members just to keep their doors open. There are now 2 in the Madison area.
how true for our area, too. We have to travel from LaGrande Or to tri cities or Boise Ito find a Costco!
That’s a 3 hour trip at least either way. So much for perishables! Cost of gas, even if less at Costco makes the trip too expensive unless one is able to carefully budget and plan to buy bulk for a year. Weather is a big concern between November and April. So one must plan carefully from stores in our NE Oregon area.
Some states have laws against “member clubs” regarding alcohol. In Hawaii, they have to allow you in to purchase alcohol regardless.
I’m trying to find a cheap membership so I can buy tubs of cheap protein powder with my foodstamps. Why can’t I just pay for the membership with my foodstamp card? >.>
are you serious? wow i am disabled and fighting for my benefits for 4 yrs after working 30, my 6 chronic illnesses have become too much for me, to see someone who wants to use their ebt card to get a membership is beyond my comprehension sorry but that is odd
oh be nice jeez
I’m a member of SAMs club with the closest one being about 45 miles away. There is a Costco about 60 miles away. I think it’s ridiculous that they don’t offer at least a one day trial membership. How could that possibly hurt them?
Bill, that’s why getting a $100 Costco cash card gets you around the trial policy.
I understand that. But my point is that the company should want to bring in new customers. A trial is the way to do this. I don’t want to have to buy a 100 dollar card, when never having stepped foot in the door.
Ok, look at it this way, YOU pay $50/year to shop somewhere twice a month. I think I am entitled to do a trial one day today. No one checks my iD. I have so much fun that I do the one day trial twice a month for a year. I dont even mind the 5% surcharge since I spend less than $1200 over the year. So you and I shop the same amount but you pay a fee and I don’t. Ha ha. Sucker!
I’m in a Seattle suburb and I used a Costco cash card with only 5 cents on it to get in the door and make a purchase for $30. I paid the remainder in cash. The cashier was very nice, the manager came over to approve and left with no problem. And because of this easy experience I was able to check out a costco and decide to buy a membership.
Really sucks that so many people have had issues using a card, especially when their policy states otherwise. Costco REALLY needs to consider letting people have a 9ne time guest pass or something.
Only a knucklehead pays for the privilege to shop at a store.
Go to Walmart instead for the best prices and for food package sizes that are not designed for large circus families.
Apparently there are a lot of knuckleheads out there that are willing to pay the membership. You might want to consider that if there’s something so good that millions of people are signing up for it, it might actually be good…Mine actually pays for itself, so I really don’t pay for it (Executive is the way to go).
Not to mention, Costco provides a large number of services and is extremely customer focused. You think you have a good shopping experience when you go to Walmart? Easy return policies? We’re talking $50 bucks a year for the membership…
Yeah, you can always find cheaper deals for certain things, but in general the prices are great. If you don’t want to shop there, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t go around telling other people that they’re knuckleheads/have circus families because they’ve found a superior retailer.
Walmart is a horrible corporation. I stopped shopping there in the early ’90s when I learned about how they treat their employees in order to give you big savings. I just pretend Walmart doesn’t even exist. I get along fine and feel better about not supporting such an evil company.
People have been told that Walmart is evil for one reason and one reason only. They do not funnel dollars into the Democratic Party through Union dues. I thought everyone already knew that.
I agree with you about Walmart!
Costco disgusts me.
Their door greeter is a blatant attempt to keep out people that can legally purchase beer and wine, use the pharmacy and use the eyecare provider onsite in an attempt to scare off non-paying members. They set up obnoxious, in-your-face pressure salesmen peddling questionable things like DirectTV memberships, cutlery and ‘special’ pillows, and they act like they’re doing you a favor when you shop there. Employees are terribly rude. Their ‘special’ deals on things like HVAC or plumbing contractors are -universally- 20% higher than the average contractor pulled off of a reputable site, and they push extended warranties and accidental damage coverage that do absolutely nothing.
And then on top of that their prices just aren’t very good on most items.
Actually, it does not sit well with me that they have a “door-keeper” at all. If I am allowed to come in and look, why screen my presence? That is poor customer service, in my opinion. After all, I cannot buy without a membership or cash card, anyway. This door person keeps me from even trying. I wanted to look around once, and had to be “screened” by the door person. It was not worth the embarrassment of being singled out in public.
They are making sure you have your card so when you get to the register they don’t have to put all of the merchandise back. Also it is to get a door count to make sure registers are prepared for the members in the building.
I went to Costco and they let me go in and look around. I found out that other places are cheaper if you watch your sales and clearance items, use coupons (especially if the store doubles or triples coupons), stack coupons if allowed, submit rebates, and limit your quantities by not buying a year’s supply. Close dated grocery items are always a good bargain, also.
I am a non-member and have been using cash cards my friend bought me for years. Since I don’t have a big family, buying in bulk is not my preference and I only go there three to four times a year.
Here’s my experience at Costco in Richmond BC yesterday. I went there to re-take my passport photos (previous one taken there was rejected by Canada Passport), While waiting for the photo, we shopped for some groceries and picked up three items. The cashier told me that I was required to register at the Customer Service since I was using a cash card. Ok, fair enough. I went to the Customer Service counter and was asked to show a photo ID and complete a form. At the end, the CS person told me in a monotone voice ‘this’s your last time to sign up for a non-member visit’. I asked what she meant this was my last time of visit. She replied impatiently that’s the policy a non-member would only be allowed for day visits twice in a year.
So for all those using Costco cash cards, be prepared to be rejected at the entrance if you’re going there in your third visit in the same year.
I’ve never had to register with CS, but I did get the same “notice” from the manager the last time I went. I guess he recognized me?
We are traveling and I saw a Cosco store in the town we were camped in. I was just wandering if I could go in for a one time shopping trip without a membership.
It would not be beneficial to purchase a membership b/c we do not have a Cosco in our hometown and the nearest store is 130 miles away. Just wanted to do some shopping.
I’ve been to Costco & Sam’s Club. I don’t think the prices are low enough to make up for having to buy in bulk, sometimes huge amounts at Sam’s, I shop at Aldi because the prices are cheaper, often half the price, than any other store & food quality is better by far. Also, they have unusual things from time to time that are fun to try. Their own brand is excellent also. They don’t carry everything a supermarket does but it’s definitely worth buying at Aldi.
Did you know that Aldi and Trader Joe’s were once the same store? It was a grocery chain owned by two brothers, but they had a falling out, so one brother kept the original and the other brother opened a competing store. So Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s essentially are pretty much the same store!
One of them is Aldi Nord and one is Aldi Sud, but they started off as the same store.
Lol, this! Didn’t they split due to difference of opinion over alcohol etc??? Trader’s is like a fancier Aldi imo.
The story is being told that it was over cigarettes. Neither party every confirmed that rumor, though. There is a separation into Aldi Nord (north) and Aldi Süd (south) — named after the regional split in Germany. Those are more or less independent companies which don’t compete with each other. They have clearly separated markets and stay out of each other’s territories.
The US is the only country where both Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd operate in the same markets. Aldi Süd operates Aldi stores, while Aldi Nord has bought (not founded!) Trader Joe’s in 1979.
However, you could argue that Aldi and Trader Joe’s address fairly distinct demographics and don’t directly compete in the US either.
Fun fact: You can actually buy some Trader Joe’s products under the Trader Joe’s Brand in Aldi Nord stores in Germany.
Also, the stores aren’t warehouse sized so it takes less time, no gigantic check out lines & I don’t get tired.
Also, Aldi isn’t warehouse size, has no super long check out lines & I can get in & out of there fast without getting worn out.
I tried to purchase a Costco membership for a friend for Christmas. I was unable to do so because I was a non-member
Call headquarters in Washington an couldn’t get an ok. What an insane corporate policy. It was the only gift my friend wanted.
Does anyone at Costco know if there is a program for folks on disability/low income ? I used to have a Costco membership – in fact it was the executive one, but my ly life hit a brick wall and left me at a stand still . Now I’m on disability and this is my only income so needless to say I am not above poverty grade. I’m not looking for free, just wondering if there was something that I could afford. Thanks
I rarely need something from Costco, so I asked my sister to get me a cash card. I went in maybe 5 times over the course of a year and on my last time one of the managers said I need to get a membership and they don’t allow non-members anymore even with cash card. Luckily it was that trip that depleted my card. But I don’t see anything about such policy change.
I’m sure stores are run differently in difdent locations. I have attempted twice to go into Costco and look around and the first I was kindly told I needed a memebership, for the food court, liquor purchases and to look around. The second time on a very busy Sunday I was told rudely the same thing as I asked if me and my girlfriend could go to the food court or look around. I live in Seattle and I imagine there may be more of a theft issue (possibly) just a guess but you definitely cannot get in and walk around. Sams on the other hand at least has a day pass although I think costco would be a better store to shop at.
Used to have a Costco membership but I can purchase most grocery items equal to or less than Costco prices. And I’m talking per unit. And buy smaller amounts. Good quality toilet paper I can get for $5 dollars for 12 double rolls. Eggs I can get on sale for $.99 a dozen, large eggs. Milk a gallon of fat free for $2.20.. Just don’t see any significant savings buying at Costco..
I like the huge selection of organic produce for affordable prices. I regularly buy ( bananas, salad mix, whole almond, silver almonds, organic breads, Kirkland wines, potting soil, lunch meats, Kirkland cheeses ” half the price and equal quality compared to tillamook….” pizzas 4 for 11$.
The membership all together would cost less than 5.00$ a month!!! Pretty great deal.
Their brand names cloths and shoes… everything is priced so reasonable…
never bought gas from their. But I will give that a shot.
Forgot to mention The rotisserie chicken for less than 5 bucks… fresh and tastes great ( though I’m raw vegan ) but I buy these things for my family.
And when I get there and see something like, crackers on sale I would get all what I can ( some stuff are limited)
But think of it… less than 5.00 $ per month … and you will enjoy all these!!!!
Author says that he has never been asked for membership card at entrance when entering. Come to my Costco in Fort Wayne. They always ask for my membership card.
FYI – Costco raised its fees $60 Business and $120 Executive. https://www.costco.com/join-costco.html
With this increase – I am debating about canceling my membership and using gift cards to make occasional purchases :)
Thanks for your very informative article!
At the Edison, NJ Costco I just give my VISA Card to fill up gas. They don’t require the Costco Membership Card.
I love shopping at Costco and working there. I have worked there for the past three years and absolutely love it and highly recommend a membership for everybody.
There are several reasons we would like to see your membership card at the door. Showing the card at the door,allows us to know how many actual members are in the store at any given time, so that we can allot the correct number of cashiers upfront to keep things moving along. It also lets us direct members that have forgotten their card ( even though many still insist that they have it somewhere in their purse ), to the membership desk where they can actually get a substitute card before they hold up lines at the register looking for their lost card. We do not have computers at the registers to look your card number up if you don’t have it on you , and must wait while you go down to the membership desk to get another card or your number.
Even nonmembers can use our pharmacy and food court. We do not have one day passes, but usually the person at the door will let you in to look around if you take a pamphlet on the membership benefits, if you ask nicely .
Can you use a Costco Cash Card to purchase gas at the Costco Gas Station?
So you are saying that I can go into Costco and buy 2 sets of their organic
sheets and Kerry Gold butter with cash tomorrow?
Kerrygold is cheaper at Trader Joe’s. And Aldi has their own Kerrygold-like brand that’s even cheaper.
I heard on “another website” that some costco’s have started nixing the “costco cash card doesn’t need a membership” thing. YMMV.
Went to a Costco today to check out what it was all about – was told I could not look over the store unless I left a photo id at the service desk while looking in the store. Really stupid store policy – needless to say I left and will not go back.
Costco has pretty good merch and prices are good, too. But the shopping experience is dismal in so. many. ways. especially if you visit during busy hours, which is pretty much all day. I have found that the first 45 minutes or so after they open is golden. Isles are clear and if you don’t dawdle then you can get to the check out with no or minimal lines.
After my last trip to Costco where everything that I hate about Costco all happened in one visit, I will never shop during prime hours again.
Trader Joe’s? They are expensive, so of course Costco will be cheaper. Plus, most people don’t shop there. Better to compare Costco’s prices to where the average person would shop: Walmart, Krogers, Tom Thumb, Publix, Target, Winco, etc.
Costco should not charge people a membership fee in order to be their customer. Why the general public lets them get away with this scam is ridiculous. Do you pay your card dealer for the right to buy a car, or do you pay your insurance company for the right to purchase insurance? It’s a ridiculous model. I’ll never pay someone for the right to take my money. There are plenty of other stores who will take my money for free.
Can I get a gift card, but pay cash? Like a $10.00 card but only use a dollar from it each time ir have to use whole card 1st?
First lets start by saying that you are on this webpage & reading this post since you care about your money and you can sacrifice some time for saving otherwise you wouldn’t be here now reading this or going over comments!
I totally believe It needs to be the other way around and people mostly underestimate their power. Stores and other retailers should pay for our valuable footsteps to bring US into their stores and then try taking our valuable money not the opposite. The concept of membership fees from customers aspect (Not corporate) is absolutely ingenious and for those who pay that membership fees or any annual fees to be able to shop such as credit cards, Amazon, etc I like to say it usually won’t be sustainable for the longest. if we do our homework there are multiple alternatives out there for saving money without paying any annual fees. Firstly you don’t have to a member at Costco to shop there if you are not a frequent shopper just buy with gift cards. Secondly for alcohol and pharmacy you can purchase it there without membership if you prefer. Please check at your free weekly ads in the mail and buy what you need when on sale. can price match ads at some of your local grocers too if you don’t want to go to the other store. You can earn between 3 to 5% cash back from some credit cards with no annual fees at your local grocery with ad prices which beats Costco both in price and cash rebates. Costco intended originally for small business owners not the average family in mind but nowadays its customers are mainly families. Don’t tell me about its return policy I was. in their long customers service line once (not as a member just to cash in my gift card and leave since I prefer my penny spent somewhere else) and saw a guy returning his bike, Rep asked him why and he proudly replied I just needed it for the summer! My friend saw one returning an $800 camera who said just needed it for her Europe travel! Who do you think pays for such abuse, the answer is annual members like you.. If you think you save on gas the saving already wasted by burning it while driving there and staying in that long line waiting . If you think those food samples are free think again Costco knows food is a great behavioral changer for mammals. All the hassle and bustle of finding a parking before even getting inside, wasting a few of my valuable hours there to go thorough the store and those long check out lines, plus being obligated to pay Yearly fees (not just one time fee) to be able to shop there believe me I can do a lot better with my time and money nowadays. It is not about just the membership fees it is about shopping principles! Stores should incentivize customers to shop not us paying them to shop! Don’t let a few dollars saving that you think you might get in future change your attitude and principle toward what should be the common principle. Imagine if other stores started doing that too.
Also bulk shopping should be Cheaper anyways, that is a given constant in any other business models. Stores Reduce the Risk of Waste and Left-overs by selling bulks plus Sell a lot more at once for more money back to their business but on the other hand customers accept the Risk of Not using all the products they bought or waste plus paying more at once!
The Concept or Idea that you need to buy more in quantity or in bigger sizes than you ordinary would (if you given the freedom of choice) which basically means spending more than you voluntarily would in order to save is basically broken on its core which is SAVING! Plus Paying Annual Membership Fees for it not only Once for the membership but Every Single Year !!!
Some might say we get 2% cash back from our executive membership and it pays for the annual fees or at times even more, The simple answer for it would be that the money would be a $120 or more as a plus in your pocket if you didn’t need to pay any membership fees and spending it somewhere else without any annual fees instead of Costco year after year in order to be just break-even!
I called Chase customer service last month and rep started answers by saying “how can I help you with you no annual fee card!” I said by never ever changing it to an annual fee card plus letting those who planned this new way of reminding customers that having a no annual fee cards now should feel like a bonus not a regular or essential card which needs to be brought up to every calls, as reminder that as soon as you change it to annual fees I’ll be gone for good!
Last but not least if you’re a so-called executive member and have the now co-branded Citi card PLAN to stay a high paying member for the rest of your life since as soon as you cancel or downgrade your membership your Citi card will be closed and terminated the same day. You can’t even.have Citi change the card to another Citi card your account and credit line will be closed and gone. It will cause a good size ding in your credit profile and your credit score as well.
One other thin that might irritates a customer is lack of options or choices when dealing with Costco. for example next time ordering pizza there ask them to remove onion or green peppers from your veggie toppings and see what they say! “Oh, sorry our veggies comes mixed in one frozen bag so we can not modify it!” or when ordering a hot dog ask them; I don’t care for the soda can you take it off my bill and see what they say! “Oh we can’t take it off the soda is already included in that price even if you don’t want it! So in other words you are already paying for it whether you like it or not or not wanting it!” it is not about a dollar it is about that Costco has majority of its merchandise packed the way that you as customer have very few and mostly not many choices for your own preference!
Have you ever asked yourself and wondered why Costco refunds your annual membership fee in full in case you want to cancel and they don’t pro rate it instead?!! for example $120 executive fee per year would be $10/month and if you cancel after 6 months they could deduct that and give you $60 back but they force you and refund you all the $120 back? WHY?!! because if you cancel your membership twice they flag your account as abusive for the 3rd time and don’t let you renew it for next time so this way the only choice left for customer would be to be forced to remain as an annual member for the rest of their life! imagine that, Corporocracy at its best!
Hope this gives you some perspectives about you power as customer and thank you for reading this.
there must be other exceptions to non-members shopping on the costco website. I am looking at a pair of headphones and there is no option to purchase. I can enter a member number or I can purchase a membership. That’s it.
Exactly, Ive always had to insert or swipe my membership card to get gas so Im wondering how gas commentors are getting around this?
I originally got a costco membership card because I make a lot of bread and I saved $30 compared to buying bread flour at Walmart for the same amount. Now they no longer carry bread flour…very disappointed.
Do they take snap or ebt
Do you get cash back rebate with the cheaper membership or just the executive membership?
If the coconut oil is not liquid at 80 degrees or even at 75 or 73 degrees you can rest assured friend that the coconut oil has been hydrogenated, and is pure poison.
Are you sure about if you have an eye exam at Costco you do not have to have a membership but to purchase the glasses you do? I was going to go to a Costco that I use to shop at before I moved, to have my eyes examined and purchase new glasses and frames. I was told that because they are not part of Costco that you do not have to have a memebership. Not just for the exam but also for the glasses too because I was clear that I would be purchasing glasses there. I do not know if they changed the rules since I checked but I will check now.
If two people samehousehold have different name can the 2 names go on $60 membership
This may have been posted I don’t know but I’ve been told it it not allowed to require a membership to buy alcohol. I’ve had friends you buy alcohol at Sam’s club for years now
I see under forms of payment you didn’t mention EBT card. That’s what people my age used to know as Food Stamps. I’m not sure if you can also pay with the EBT card cash card. There are 2 forms of EBT from the government. One being the food EBT and the other is the cash EBT. Either way Costco does accept at leeway the food EBT card which bI think is really nice for the people that actually need these benefits and shop wisely to make your food last as long as possible. Just because someone is down on their luck or in a financial crisis shouldn’t mean they can’t take advantage of Costco’s great prices. I’m assuming that you have to have a paid membership though to shop there and to use your EBT card. It’s probably a good thing to look into also, but Costco may even have discounted membership prices for low income families. I don’t know I’m just saying they may and it’s something to look into. I truly hopes some people because I’ve been oneof those people that needed government assistance for a few months and I wish I had know about this back then.
My Granddaughter is turning 16 next month and would like to purchase a Full sheet cake for the party but am not a member can I still purchase that cake for they are soooo good.
Hey I just went to Costco today just for a look at what the store has to offer and if its worthwhile to get the membership or not. However the lady at the entrance asked to see my card and didn’t let me enter the store saying without the membership I can’t even enter the store
Too bad you didn’t read this before getting shut out!
So you just want to shop without the membership that the rest of us pay for? Seems reasonable. After all I can’t possibly see that type of policy being abused by people who feel that they deserve things for free that others pay for.
No. I want to inform readers on how they can get a taste/test for all that Costco offers before paying for a membership. I pay for a membership.
how about a discounted membership card for those who would only use it several times a year? $20 for a quarterly card would be a big help for those on a budget. It could be handled via the computer so that on the 4th time they take your card when the computer says it’s done
Amazon and Costco allow sellers to offer Costco products with a slight markup. Just received some Costco pool chemicals from Amazon. The seller purchased the product from Costco and had them ship it directly to me. Free money for the seller (other than membership), since it only involved a little paperwork an they must get a nice rebate too
This is so crazy ,,a place where I need to pay in order to buy something that I also have to pay for ,,I won’t be a part of a club like that ,,
I went this morning to cotsco to i ask for a membership👍👍👍, unfortunately didn’t bring my purse with me, just planning drops off kids at church….that was my explanation to customer service🤷🤷.. I just realized the young lady at the customer service didn’t offered to me a day pass!!😳😳😳….
today I was kick out of the Costco Store on St James at 11;10 am first I was denied entry by the front greeter because I said I was meeting a friend here and I was early they still denied me entry called the store managers over who treated me very abrupt telling me I could not look around while waiting for my friend who has a membership instead they tried to sell me a membership, then kicked me out like a criminal. I have never been treated so bad in retail in my life.
In the Omaha, Nebraska Sarpy County Costco they will not under any circumstance let you in the store without a pass. I had gone in to buy alcohol and was told I had to be a member. They called a manager and he came over and showed me a piece of paper stating the they don’t need to comply. They were very rude and I told them I would go over to Sam’s and make my purchase because they always appreciate my business.
Well that helped so much thx
For those of you who feel that entitlement is at the root of our frustration about the cost of membership at Costco, please do your research before making such a blanket statement.
I am in my 70’s and live alone. A 65.00 a year membership fee, would not be worth it for a senior on a fixed income who would go maybe 3 times per year. However, at Christmas time, I found it helpful to buy some gifts at Costco. My friend, who’s a member, came with me, but I hate to ask her to do so more than once. I also stock up on paper goods and canned and boxed items which saves me money. Bj’s was offering a 25.00 membership, so that’s where I joined. May not have the variety of C, but much more affordable.
I was REFUSED entry to Ringwood Costco today. Was considering a membership, however wanted to have a look first. That is the crappest way to conduct business – and I am going to ensure that ALL my family and friends and ALL my social media says something about it.
At my local Costco store, rotisserie chicken is not in the restaurant, it’s in the main store. So I don’t think non-members can buy the $5 rotisserie chickens.
Costco would terminate D/P if they knew who you are! They are a family friendly company… evidence their response to COVID-19! Your attitude will eventually get what you deserve! LK