Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I love shopping at Costco...

I love shopping at Costco. Why? There are a few reasons. One might say that it's an American company, like Walmart, so why support them? Bottom line...great savings on great products. Selection isn't always the best, but a Costcoholic like myself will usually make-do with what they offer. At times one may argue that it's cheaper at another store but that's because it may have been on sale and a loss-leader. That's different. You see, I usually will NOT go from store to store or out of my way for an item on sale. The time and effort of buckling and unbuckling carseats and dragging my kids in and out of the store just isn't worthwhile to me. I do however, shop at a handful of other stores/supermarket to pick up items of lesser quantity and items that Costco do not carry.

Last December, it was my 18th year renewing my membership. I hope they give me some kind of deal at my 20th anniversary. When I first started going to Costco, I had to drive A LONG way to get there. I would go almost every week. I was thrilled when they opened the first one about 12 years ago in our neck of the woods. Then in the past couple of years, 2 more!! The thing is, we live about equal distance from all three! I go to all of them because they do carry some different items at each store and offer different in-store savings as well. This is to entice us Costcoholics to check each one out. We fall into their traps!

My hubby had a hard time with the concept of paying for the "privilege" of shopping at their store. It does seem a little odd but it works for them. Hubby thought it was so ridiculous and that THEY should be paying HIM! It didn't take long to convert him once he saw the savings and how we could recoup the annual fee with just one item sometimes. He still thinks that they would have a larger customer base if they didn't charge an annual fee. He'll probably never be the CEO of Costco, so you'll probably be paying an annual fee for many years.

We buy most everything from groceries, clothing, gardening supplies, home decorating, heaters, appliances, linens, furniture, storage solutions, etc. from Costco. Even our carpet and blinds were shop at home and my home phone service is via Costco! I always check if Costco offers a product first since I'm there about two to three times a week anyway, before thinking up other options.

You may not get the customer service that you would get at a smaller store, but that's how they keep their prices low. I have story of when we bought about 900 square feet of the Travertine tile. Imagine how much work loading and unloading a couple of skids of about 100 boxes of 4 tiles each that weighed 52 lbs each. (They made 3 trips.) Here's a blog story in itself, but to make a long story short, nobody wanted to help even though my husband was told that if he came early enough, the night shift will help him. Nobody from the night or day shift helped.

Costco's prices are usually quite competitive. This is not to say that I buy ALL my groceries from Costco. There are just some things that my family can't eat or use a ton of. For example, I rarely need 6 romaine hearts or 10 lbs. of apples before they rot and get thrown out. For items like these, I will shop at a local grocer to buy smaller quantities. Although I hate paying half the price for just two romaine hearts, I always hear myself asking, "I don't need that much, do I?"

My husband laughs because some of the employees at the nearby Costco Warehouses recognize me. I've run into employees outside of Costco and have had conversations with them. There return policy is 100% satisfaction guaranteed on everything they sell, except a couple of years ago, they made some revisions pertaining to some of their electronics but still offer extra warranty and assistance if needed. They never give me a problem.

A couple of months ago, my husband was at the cash and paid the bill with his Amex. A typical guy who doesn't look at the prices as items are being rung through, we were charged twice but not consecutively $24.99 for Oral B toothbrush heads. I thought to myself, "How are we going to explain this one??" Well, the next day, I went there and the manager didn't even blink an eye. He said, "These things happen. Sorry about that." and the full amount was refunded to my Amex card. How about that for customer service?!

If it were up to hubby, he'd probably had let the $28.24 with tax slide thinking that they wouldn't believe him. My husband is actually embarrassed by my price adjustment requests and returns. He should know better than to be ashamed of returning something. It's obvious that it is expected that items such as clothing be returned quite frequently since they don't offer change rooms to their customers to try anything on. The employees on more than one occasion actually told me to buy something simply because as everyone knows with Costco, a lot of times, when something comes in and you don't buy it, chances are, it won't be there next time you visit. They do it themselves, too!

And last, but not least, my kids love the hot dogs, fries and poutine from their concession.

It's the Costco-Way!

Costcoholic Anna

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