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Costco: "It's a water-cooler conversation company."
July 3, 2014 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Costco Wholesale, or just 'Costco', is a membership warehouse store and the second largest retailer in the United States. Here are some notable blogs, fan communities, articles and commentary (mostly U.S.-centric).

Blogs, fan communities and savers' websites (U.S.-centric):

Addicted to Costco - the name says it all.

Costco Cuisine - meals made with Costco food. Photos and recipes, not terribly active but the archives are available on the sidebar.

Costco Insider - very active; deals, advance Black Friday info, coupon book stuff. About page.

CostcoWineBlog.com: Sample page: Everything I've Learned About Costco Wine in Five Years of Running This Site

Grandma Fifi: A Granny Blogging about Costco -"Hi, I'm Jeanne. I blog about Costco deals and new products that I'm finding at my local Nashville, Tennessee, Costco [...] As to how I became Fifi, when my son Mike asked me what I wanted my newborn grandchild to call me, I jokingly said 'Fifi.' Now, I'm known from Brooklyn to Detroit as Grandma Fifi."

ILoveCostco.com - "Welcome to Costco Blog (This is the Fun One)". Highlight posts: Asterisk and other secret code for pricing and the controversial Costco Toilet Paper - Big Changes (people aren't liking the new Costco toilet paper). "I wanted to shoot a demonstration video by using peanut butter as sample prop. Then I decided not to do that due to the fact that a lot of people may find it distasteful."

Outside of United States:

Loaded Trolley - an Australian fanblog about Costco Australia.

SmartCanucks' posts about deals at Costco Canada; see also Bargainmoose.

Food-related:

Costco Pizza Review: Exceptional Pizza at Low Prices (with many photos), So Good Blog. "What I love most about pizza is the sauce and crispy cheese. I hate it when I get cheese that doesn’t have little brown toasted spots on it; it’s not right. "

Alternatively, Costco, A Pizza Chain Hiding in Plain Sight at Serious Eats. "The crust is heavy and flaccid with almost no crispness, except at the rim — and that seems like an accident."

My Guilty Pleasure: Costco Hot Dogs - Good photo essay for those unfamiliar with the Costco Food Court experience. "It’s juicy, beefy, salty, and has a bit of chew, all wrapped in soft, pillowy white bread. Worth every guilty bite, and there’s no walk of shame the next morning."

Costco Food Court: Eat This, Not That from The Tasty Island:"What I really appreciate is that Costco’s hot dog buns have sesame seeds on them. Love that."

Every Item in the Costco Food Court, Like you've Never Seen them Before (by Dominique Zamora at FoodBeast): "It’s no secret Costco food courts have some of the tastiest, cheapest grub this side of the wholesale shopping cart. But have you ever taken the time to really look at the stuff? Aside from minor regional variations such as bulgogi bakes in Japan or poutine in Canada, the heart of the Costco menu has always consisted of a few dependable, oddly comforting-after-a-buying-a-year’s-supply-of-Kirkland-toilet-paper staples."

Costco Insider's excellent FoodCourt category.

News media, misc. articles

Costco: One of the Leading Retailers Defying the Big Box Apocalypse by Joseph Gacinga at The Motley Fool (investing commentary). "Costco is commonly referred to as the ultimate "anti-Walmart" due to its unique limited brands strategy that involves offering just a few brands for each product it stocks."

Washington Post (2012): Middle-class Mexicans snap up more products 'Made in U.S.A.' (via).

10 Fascinating Facts About Costco from Neatorama

11 Reasons To Love Costco That Have Nothing To Do With Shopping, Huffington Post Business

33 Things We Love or Hate about Costco - from The Seattle Post-Intelligence (warning: auto-playing videos on the sidebar)

Why Obama hearts Costco: Neil Stern, a senior partner with retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle, on the Costco phenomenon: "It's a water-cooler conversation company."

Is It Packed? Avoid the Crowds at all Costs: "The Busiest Costco in the World: Iwilei (Oahu)" (2010 article) "Why is this particular location so popular? Costco maintains that nearly one in every four island residents carries a Costco card from this store." Apparently the title now belongs to Seoul, Korea (Fortune, 2014).

For the curious, a big list of upcoming Costco store location openings.

For the LOLs: 56 Thoughts Everyone Has While Shopping At Costco (Buzzfeed). Sample: "25. I am now fighting people for what is basically two bites of food, max. What am I doing with my life?"

Previously (and most recently)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (175 comments total) 134 users marked this as a favorite

 
Even posts about Costco come in bulk. Much like the 72-pack toilet paper, I'll pull out a link on occasion over the next few months.
posted by persona at 8:19 PM on July 3 [59 favorites]


The stuff about Costco and labor (as mentioned in the HuffPo article) cannot be overstated. I can't think of another major American retailer that's so consistently committed to doing right by its people. Every single person I know who's ever worked at Costco for any length of time has nothing but nice things to say about it, which carries a lot of weight in my book.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:26 PM on July 3 [39 favorites]


Imma let you finish, but Costco pizza is the greatest hangover food of all time.

OF. ALL. TIME.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:31 PM on July 3 [6 favorites]


The stuff about Costco and labor (as mentioned in the HuffPo article) cannot be overstated. I can't think of another major American retailer that's so consistently committed to doing right by its people. Every single person I know who's ever worked at Costco for any length of time has nothing but nice things to say about it, which carries a lot of weight in my book.

And they still manage deliver quality goods at low prices. It ain't voodoo magic, Walmart.
posted by xedrik at 8:40 PM on July 3 [16 favorites]


Welcome to Costco, I love you.

I love you too, Costco... I love you, too.
posted by goHermGO at 8:49 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


xedrik: In my experience, and I am a Costco devotee, while Costco's stuff is quality for a low price, it's higher-end stuff than Walmart is selling. It's usually well-priced for a higher-end item, but it's not "cheap" in the way Wal-Mart's stuff is, and I suspect the margins reflect that. Costco will sell you a $25 pillow (that cost $10 to make) for $20. Wal-Mart will sell you a $7 dollar pillow that cost $5 to make for $6.50. Costco gets $7, Wal-Mart gets $1.50. It's a lot easier to be a responsible company when you're dealing with higher-budget shoppers.
posted by jferg at 8:51 PM on July 3 [7 favorites]


There are about 8 Costcos here in Korea, and though the nearest one is a 3-hour drive from us, we manage to get there a few times a year. The cheese! The cheap Aussie beef! The salami and the bagels and the salsa and the pizzas and all the other things! It fills me with such import-food joy.

There's one opening about 20 minutes from here -- it was supposed to be open last year, but thanks to local protests (which are fueled by retrograde kneejerk xenophobia rather than any real economic sense, unfortunately) won't be open until 2016, now, apparently.

I plan to either a) get fatter or b) have to double my hour-a-day exercise schedule to try and maintain. I literally cannot wait.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on July 3 [8 favorites]


Interestingly, perhaps, Costco is the only foreign big-box store that hasn't pulled out of Korea -- Carrefour, Walmart, all the rest have tried and failed. It would be an interesting business case study that investigated why.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:55 PM on July 3 [12 favorites]


Incidentally: the US's #3 retailer by sales -- although Walmart is far-and-away #1 and Amazon is very rapidly climbing the chart.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:58 PM on July 3


I love Costco.

I can also truly say that I would probably not get in enough daily vegetables if it were not for Costco, and they probably save this lazy person from eating lunch out every day.

Although the stereotypical Costco experience is major shopping involving stuffed carts and about $200, I've also mastered the art of the targeted Costco shopping. Go when it is slow. In: to the back: rotisserie chicken and lettuce/greens. Maybe tomatoes. Maybe eggs. Grab some coffee and perhaps chicken broth on the way out if running low. And the one other item you need IF you pre-planned that. Stop at the market (preferably the Asian market, maybe the co-op) on the way home for some inexpensive veggies: jicama, cucumbers, and other things for fresh salads. Zucchini/squash, onions and other things for soup. Shred that chicken up for both the soup and the salads. That's a week of basics for good eating right there.
posted by freejinn at 9:02 PM on July 3 [11 favorites]


Interestingly, perhaps, Costco is the only foreign big-box store that hasn't pulled out of Korea -- Carrefour, Walmart, all the rest have tried and failed. It would be an interesting business case study that investigated why.

Dude, write that report and BOOM you're a consultant !
posted by clockzero at 9:03 PM on July 3 [13 favorites]


I'm actually sad that Costco is closed tomorrow. It's the beginning of the weekend, and my ritual is go to the gym, go to Costco.

(On the other hand, it's great that everyone is getting the holiday off.)

I'm such a dork about Costco that I'll go out of my way to visit Costco in places where I'm traveling. Hilo, HI? Been there. Carson City, NV? Yep. Eagle, CO? Uh huh. Missoula, MT? Check. St. George, UT...yeah.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:05 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: "Imma let you finish, but Costco pizza is the greatest hangover food of all time. OF. ALL. TIME."

Their pizza is great.

Their ice cream bars - vanilla ice cream on a stick which they dip in hot, thick, wonderful chocolate right in front of you and roll in almonds and then hand to you, all slightly-melty and perfect - those ice cream bars are better.

Seriously, I never understand why more people don't talk about them. Are they only available at limited stores or something? I've never had an ice cream bar that was nearly as good.
posted by koeselitz at 9:10 PM on July 3


It blows me away that it's the second largest US retailer and I've never even seen one. It's not like I live in a super-tiny town either. A quarter million people here and surrounding suburbs and I gotta drive over 200 miles to check one out.

Am I correct in thinking you need a membership to shop there, like at Sam's Wholesale (that my town has two of, to compliment the 13--yes, that's correct--13 Walmarts we've got)?
posted by sourwookie at 9:10 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Dude, write that report and BOOM you're a consultant !

The job title on my business cards actually already is 'Senior Consultant' (just not that kind of consultant).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:11 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I was going to buy a brisket there yesterday, but Jesus Christ those things were longer than my arm. I have no cooking device into which such a monstrous meat slab could fit. I would also need ten other people to help me eat it. But I do not feel anger, only wistfulness, because clearly there are plenty of people who do have a gigantic grill they can wedge that sucker into.

Their frozen pizza will barely fit into my oven. I haven't tried their food-court, but it looks like a good place to go when you're hungover.
posted by emjaybee at 9:11 PM on July 3


Sourwookie: Well, based on your profile you do live less than an hour from the home of Wal-Mart, that could have something to do with it. :-) Come up to KC sometime, first slice of Costco pizza's on me.

And yes, membership as required. But it has its privileges.
posted by jferg at 9:15 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


They've got the best price on flank steak around where I live. Costco opened here around a year ago, and they are always swamped. Love the place.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:18 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Go when it is slow

IT NEVER IS
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:22 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I wish they would stop searching people at the exits of my local Costco. Everything else I know about Costco is appealing but I just can't bring myself to frequent a place that stops my friends (who are members and occasionally bring me along) and looks over their receipts + bags on the way out.
posted by mitten of doom at 9:22 PM on July 3


If you get a chance, go to the Costco in Issaquah, WA. It's the closest store to the corporate HQ, and has some unique and interesting items.

Also, they had a sick burn against Wal-Mart / Sam's Club (and other self-checkout chains): Costco has also experimented with self-service checkouts, but Jelinek says he’s now removing them because employees do the work more efficiently. “They are great for low-volume warehouses, but we don’t want to be in the low-volume warehouse business,” he says.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:27 PM on July 3 [10 favorites]


I wish they would stop searching people at the exits of my local Costco

All Costcos do that. It's part of the membership agreement, to consent to a receipt check at the door. FWIW, the three times* my receipt did not correspond to the items in my cart, it was in my favor and an employee was quickly dispatched to bring out the missing item I paid for.


*Three times sounds like a lot but I've been a member since before they merged with Price Club.
posted by jamaro at 9:30 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Strangely, Costco is one of the few places that I use the self-checkouts, because they actually work - probably a side effect of most of the items being relatively bulky and having a consistent barcoding system. But I never have complaints about the employees, either - they always seem to legitimately enjoy their job.
posted by jferg at 9:33 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I never understand why more people don't talk about them. Are they only available at limited stores or something? I've never had an ice cream bar that was nearly as good.

I've been in Costcos in at least four states (all in the western us), with very regular visits for at the past 10 years, and I didn't know they had ice cream bars. Either our stores don't have them or I'm oblivious (the latter being quite possible). Now I'm going to make a point of checking next time I'm there.
posted by primethyme at 9:33 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


My Costco seems to have misplaced its suggestion box over the last month or two. Possibly they were getting tired of my asking for them to stock full-fat yogurt every few weeks. (But if they'd answer me in the notebook of answers, I wouldn't have to keep repeating the question!)
posted by asperity at 9:35 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I wish they would stop searching people at the exits of my local Costco.

Maybe I'm being dense, but why is this a problem? (And I think "searching people" is dramatically overstating it...)
posted by primethyme at 9:37 PM on July 3 [6 favorites]


I've never had my bag searched! They check my cart against my ticket and that's it.

Honestly, there aren't many things there that would fit inside my bag. Maybe the 2-lb block of cheese, or a bag of socks, if I squished it down. Or a giant bottle of vitamins. I would need a huge obvious bag to do any real shoplifting there.
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Oh man the ice cream bars are amazing but I assume they're probably also about ten thousand calories a piece, so they're kind of a few-times-a-year treat.

For, like, $1.95.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:41 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


xedrik: In my experience, and I am a Costco devotee, while Costco's stuff is quality for a low price, it's higher-end stuff than Walmart is selling. It's usually well-priced for a higher-end item,

Yeah, Costco has incredible deals on high-end Mom Jeans!

I buy most of my summer casual clothes from Walmart. Let's hear it for George!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:43 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


A Costco opened here in Brisbane somewhere recently. I haven't been.

That's all I know about Costco, and yet here I am, commenting about it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:44 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


A lot of the stores have stopped carrying the Super Premium Ice Cream Bars with Chocolate and Roasted Almonds in the food court. Which is sad. I'm told they were considering dropping the churros too, which would have been blasphemy.

I've read the membership fee is how they make their profit. Most goods are sold close to cost and they make money off of memberships.
posted by ericales at 9:44 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Costco is awesome for many (but not all things, it pays to comparison shop). There's one across the street from my office, so lunch runs are in order. Anything paper product or pet staple in sizes up to "rent a U-Haul", 3 gallons of cranberry juice for US$8, whole bean coffee for crazy cheap, OTC drugs in volumes you'll take years to exhaust for the price you'd get 100 at the grocery, eye glasses, consumer electronics, and a bewildering variety of other bulk stuffs. I almost bought a couch a couple of weeks ago, did buy one of those open kayaks for my daughters beach trip and a Costco contractor is coming out next week to quote new gutters.

This bold future we live in...I like it.

And you don't like that they check your cart against the receipt? The wire mesh cart that doesn't conceal anything and doesn't belong to you? That's "searching", like they're frisking you and going through your backpack? They look at your receipt, look at your cart, and if you aren't obviously trying to sneak out a side of beef or a 72" TV it's less than 30 seconds. I've never even seen a Costco employee move things in your cart to get a better view. I can think of a dozen places I don't go because of (actual, in reality) invasive and anti customer "fraud prevention" measures, but Costco is way below that threshold. But by all means drag up that righteous indignation and don't go; more room for the rest of us.
posted by kjs3 at 9:49 PM on July 3 [7 favorites]


I've never been in a Costco, but from what I've heard it seems like it's more directly comparable to a Sam's Club store (which is part of the Wal-Mart conglomerate) than with Wal-Mart stores. Has anyone shopped at both and can give a direct comparison?

In my own experience, while Sam's Club had bulk goods at bulk prices it all seemed to be more or less Wal-Mart quality, just in larger portions. Are Costco goods qualitatively different?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:57 PM on July 3


Tips to shopping Costco:

Go right when it opens. Like, literally, KNOW WHEN YOUR COSTCO OPENS AND BE THERE THEN.

Know where the products you want are in the store. This will require exploratory missions, but trust me, knowing this will save you headaches in the long term.

Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart. Something about Costco makes people especially stupid about how they are with their carts in the store, and shopping without one in the aisles and stowing your hand-carried goods in yours will allow you to dodge the stupid and avoid frustration while being efficient with your time.

Do some research and understand what Costco offerings are actually deals and which are simply disguised as deals because it's hard to do the math when you're shopping in bulk. Not everything at Costco is cheaper than it is at your local grocery store. A lot of things, i.e. disposable eating objects, may be priced significantly higher. A little research done once a year or so will help save you money in the long term, and won't burden you with 36 cans of chicken stock you bought at a unit price higher than your local Safeway.

Only use the very outside of the store for quick navigation. The ends of the aisles that are toward the center are where all the sample tables are (bottlenecks) and the inner aisles are where most of the people naturally want to walk. If you know what you want and you want to get to it quickly, the fastest route is not always the most direct route.

Don't count on those things you found at Costco last month being there this visit. Costco varies its stock based on season and consumer demand. If you found that rare, odd thing there during your last visit, there's a high chance it won't be there the next time you go unless a lot of other people found that rare, odd thing and wanted it as much as you did.

Impulse purchases are the death knell of your wallet at Costco. Unless you have a large buffer in your bank account, don't shop every aisle, just work your shopping list.

Never EVER go to Costco on the day that welfare and/or social security funds are released to those who receive them. You will never get out of the store (possibly never actually even INTO the store, because you won't find parking).

I love Costco for what it is, but I've learned a lot of these lessons the hard way (we're 20+ year members here), and we only use it for exactly the right things. It's wonderful if you can do it right. It's a day-long exercise in frustration and wallet shock if you don't.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 PM on July 3 [29 favorites]


while Costco's stuff is quality for a low price, it's higher-end stuff than Walmart is selling. It's usually well-priced for a higher-end item, but it's not "cheap" in the way Wal-Mart's stuff is

Yeah, for some reason this comes up a lot, but Costco is not directly competing with Walmart's retail stores; they're competing with Sam's Club.

OK, on preview, yes Greg Nog: The thing for both of the membership stores is a very restricted list of items. The idea is never that you're getting lots of stuff cheap; the idea is that you're getting lots of a good thing that is surprisingly well priced. The exact opposite of the Always Low Prices motto Walmart may still be using (I don't keep up). I'm not going to say that head-to-head every item is "quality" the way people are claiming about Costco merchandise, but definitely you are thinking that the stuff at a SC is decent. In the food aisles, for instance, there is no "store brand", there's just, say, Skippy Peanut Butter, and in these ginormous jars or flats of normal-sized jars. There are no $2 pizzas, only a 2-pack of DiGiorno's with "everything", the whole more-more-more consumer juicing approach. The same goes for electronics, or cleaning supplies, or dog food, pretty much.

Again, I'm not trying to say one is better than the other, I'm saying that the retail experience and psychology are similar.

And you don't like that they check your cart against the receipt?

With either Costco or Sam's, I just don't get what the supposed advantage is here over just having a normal retail checkout configuration. I have this weird feeling on the back of my neck that doing these searches somehow conveys an actual benefit in the exclusiveness or just différance of the shopping experience.
posted by dhartung at 10:08 PM on July 3


I was going to say exactly what hippybear said.

Exactly.
posted by mazola at 10:09 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


We re-upped our Costco membership when my husband finished grad school (so we're cooking in more, we hope). Their fruit is cheap and fantastic, and I live in their cheap yoga capri pants. But yeah, you have to shop your list.
posted by immlass at 10:21 PM on July 3


There are many reasons why I love costco, several mentioned above. Another couple: since 2011 they test all their ground beef and produce for e.coli, and as far as I know, continue to be the only major retailer that does this.

They represented my interests as a consumer wrt first-sale doctrine in a case that reached the supreme court. They lost (kind of), but they continue to sell watches below retail, offering their own warranty, which I happen to trust.

And re: product differences between it and sam's club--but also probably just issues of appealing to local demand and the treasure hunting aspect--I was in my local costco a while back and they had a $38,000 Panerai for $26,000.
posted by danny the boy at 10:27 PM on July 3


I was in my local costco a while back and they had a $38,000 Panerai for $26,000.

Man I am gonna buy seven of them bitches, one for each day of the week. With the $84,000 I save I'll buy an actual proper watch like an Omega Seamaster, and also a bit of a house. I'll strap all eight watches to my wrists and wander naked around the empty rooms in the cold grey of dawn, spitting used snus onto the walls, waiting for the electricity guys to come around and hook the power up. What's that? A knock at the door? YOU FUCKERS ARE LATE. *pointing to all eight watches* TWICE TIMES THRICE AND TWO I PRONOUNCE THEE LATE. ASK NOT FOR WHOM YON MEMBER SHRANK, IT SHRANK FOR THEE. NO YOU CANNOT USE THE FACILITIES.
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:44 PM on July 3 [65 favorites]


turbid dahlia: wh ... what!?!?
posted by The Minotaur at 10:48 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I wish they would stop searching people at the exits of my local Costco.

The 'searches' are to prevent all the hung over people in the food court from mistakenly stumbling out with somebody else's cart.

They're just lookin' out for you buddy!

Just ditch your kids when you exit or they'll hold you up drawing smiley faces on your receipt. Seriously. We taught our kids to pretend to be with other shoppers when we exit.
posted by mazola at 10:51 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


When you do finally make it to Costco, turbid dahlia, whatever else you may care to do beforehand that's fine but DO NOT hit that wacky tobacky pre-spree. Costco when you're stoned is dangerously overwhelming.

Also, if your member is indeed 'yon' I gently suggest you discuss the matter with your doctor.
posted by carsonb at 10:51 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


No Costco in Brunswick. Sigh.
posted by JHarris at 10:52 PM on July 3


We discovered by accident one day that the magical time to visit Costco in SF is when the 49ers are playing at home - wait till kickoff and then head on over and wander the empty aisles.
posted by rtha at 10:54 PM on July 3 [15 favorites]


Also, if your member is indeed 'yon' I gently suggest you discuss the matter with your doctor.

HITHER
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:57 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


If your hither lasts for more than 4 hours, see your doctor.
posted by hippybear at 10:59 PM on July 3


Just ditch your kids when you exit or they'll hold you up drawing smiley faces on your receipt. Seriously. We taught our kids to pretend to be with other shoppers when we exit.

The only reason I stop for the door checkers is because my child wants to hand the receipt over for a drawing.
I figure it's just subtle customer engineering.

Sans child, I just cruised on past the line and out the door.
Sorry, Costco, I love you, but there's no way I'm standing in line to leave the store.
posted by madajb at 11:14 PM on July 3


IT NEVER IS

My local costco:
Tuesday, 10-12
Thursday 2-4

Do not go Wednesday mornings. I'm entirely convinced that's when the retirement homes have their weekly outings.
posted by madajb at 11:17 PM on July 3


Do not go Wednesday mornings. I'm entirely convinced that's when the retirement homes have their weekly outings.

Social Security checks are distributed on Wednesdays based on birth date. So per the trashy comment upthread, avoid shopping on the first of the month and Wednesdays and you can avoid the poors and olds!
posted by 99_ at 11:38 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


The Costco hot dog is everything the article describes. They are Hebrew National dogs, with that perfect crunch, wrapped in a soft white delivery system. And the idea of the Costco hot dog is genius. How many times have I stopped by Costco to pick up a couple of dogs and thought, "well, yeah, I could use another hundred rolls of toilet paper and ten pounds of frozen chicken breasts. Might as well go in the store (and buy another dog on the way out)."
posted by SPrintF at 11:38 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I get such a kick out of finding the craziest item for sale at my local Costco. Last month it was an $18,000 bottle of Scotch. I was gonna buy it but then I remembered that's almost a year of rent.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 11:40 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Amendment: no longer Hebrew National. What a disappointment! From what I'm reading (thanks, Metafilter), Costco sells too many kosher dogs for HN to supply. Still delicious, sitting in my car, wolfing it down.
posted by SPrintF at 11:46 PM on July 3


The Costco hot dog is everything the article describes. They are Hebrew National dogs, with that perfect crunch, wrapped in a soft white delivery system.

They haven't been Hebrew National for a few years now.
They're Kirkland brand.

A bit greasier than the old style, but still a bargain.
posted by madajb at 11:47 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Social Security checks are distributed on Wednesdays based on birth date.

This explains so much, about so many things.
posted by madajb at 11:49 PM on July 3


I used to love Costco hot dogs...until I found out they had 600 calories. Now I just eat Costco samples because everyone knows those don't count.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:53 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart.

This is my MO everywhere I shop when I must use a cart. I think I'm hyper-aware of when I'm at risk of being an asshole who gets in other's way*.





*see also people who walk into a building and stop right inside the doorway or slow down and come to a near-stop in an intersection

posted by sourwookie at 12:00 AM on July 4 [9 favorites]


Something about Costco makes people especially stupid about how they are with their carts in the store

And their cars in the parking lot. Where I live in the San Fernando Valley, there are two Costco stores less than ten minutes away. A third is opening in the next year or so about 15 minutes away. I've almost been hit by car and have been hit by cart nearly every time I've been there. There's a kind of mania that overtakes Costco customers. Never get in their way. The advice to park your cart at the endcap walk down the aisle is dead on.

But cart and car worries aren't enough to keep us away from their rotisserie chicken and the half price Titleist golf balls that my 27 handicap so desperately needs. In fact, with Cosco so close and a Trader Joe's up the street, we're pretty much in shopping heaven here.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:23 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Back when I was a young'in 20+ years ago we shopped at Pace Warehouse, a-ka mega-K-Mart (as I just learned now) later purchased by Wal-Mart.

It was where we purchased our first Packard Bell [yeesh] and BSR [yikes] computers over the span of a couple years...they also did the "check your cart" thing against your receipt because the margins are so tight, and the carts are so big (including Home-Depot style flatbeds), they can't afford to just bump prices up for "shrinkage" like your typical grocery store. And there's no running to the back storage to pull something out, it's all pretty much out there to grab, with some things secured.

I also learned from elite hax0r magazines that it's supposedly pretty easy to just walk out of a store with something huge like a TV, if you are confident and non-chalant, perhaps with a receipt in hand as if you'd purchased it deeper in the store, and have the means and opportunity to basically just grab it and throw it on a cart.

Best Buy kind of does the same thing now (for the past few years) and it's totally no-hassle in my experience. I'm not a Best Buy fan, but I do go there on occasion. Without finally embracing the Belkin Brand (along with their cheesy DYNEX stuff) they would be Everything is an Absolute Total Rip-Off Buy.
posted by aydeejones at 12:52 AM on July 4


Nthing the awesome pizza. And hot dogs! For like two dollars! Even in Japan the pizza--which is always more expensive--is precisely the same pizza as in the U.S. and is the same price.

There are four or five Costcos in the Tokyo area, though not having a car makes it rather tricky, not to mention the general lack of storage in my tiny kitchen and fridge for bulk food. But where there's a will...a few times I have taken the train there and take along two suitcases--big ones, with wheels. I'll take an insulated bag for any cold stuff I buy, and I can stuff quite a bit in those cases and head home on the train.
posted by zardoz at 12:53 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


The Costco worship is silly but I embrace it fully. Not being able to stock up at will on everything I need at Costco is really the only lifestyle adjustment I had to make moving to a place where I didn't need a car anymore. Every year or so you can catch me on the bus with a giant package of toilet paper.
posted by edeezy at 12:58 AM on July 4


Imma let you finish, but Costco pizza is the greatest hangover food of all time.

OF. ALL. TIME.


I have this (semi joke) theory that like the lymph system, there's a grease-circulatory system in your body. You're always supposed to have a baseline, homeostasis amount of fatty oils floating around in there. This can go all kinds of places, like people with really oily skin have naturally high levels, people with really dry skin have low. Problems with it would be kinda like diabetes, but with grease.

Anyways, the basis of this theory is that since alcohol is fat soluble, after you go out and get totally hammered you need a new supply of grease to replenish what you ruined the night before.

Nothing seems to do this better than big ass slices of pizza(drizzled with spicy olive oil, if you have it, and pepper flakes and hot sauce) and coconut water.

Nothing.
posted by emptythought at 1:10 AM on July 4 [7 favorites]


Costco Costco Costco Costco Costco. Costco Costco, Costco Costco Costco Costco. Costco Costco Costco Costco; Costco Costco. Costco: Costco Costco Costco Costco Costco Costco Costco Costco. Costco Costco, Costco Costco, Costco Costco Costco!

Oh dear sweet jeebus, how I love that place.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:10 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


I call it replenishing my vital greases...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:09 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Tips to shopping Costco:

Go right when it opens. Like, literally, KNOW WHEN YOUR COSTCO OPENS AND BE THERE THEN.

Know where the products you want are in the store. This will require exploratory missions, but trust me, knowing this will save you headaches in the long term.

Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart. ...



This is written like a computer game walkthrough.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:17 AM on July 4 [13 favorites]


Do they still have kosher hot dogs to buy along with that pizza? God damn, I love you costco.

Forever and ever!
posted by hal_c_on at 2:43 AM on July 4


Hands down the best quality produce in town. The caterer I work for purposely opened their kitchen across the street so their Costco runs would be quicker. They just wheel the produce filled carts right through the Costco parking lot and into our own.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:45 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Don't count on those things you found at Costco last month being there this visit. Costco varies its stock based on season and consumer demand. If you found that rare, odd thing there during your last visit, there's a high chance it won't be there the next time you go unless a lot of other people found that rare, odd thing and wanted it as much as you did.

Sort of. Costco varies its stock based on SKU velocity. Manufacturers will test a ton of club packs at Costco to see if something works (is more productive than a different SKU) but that's it. Also, your product isn't just up against the similar products on the shelf - your product is up against every product in the store. Your favorite peanut butter carried at Costco is up against the bulk size Geratol - second place doesn't even get a set of steak knives.

Costco also pushes heavy on private label compared to other Club stores, pretty much maximizing profit margins for a category that sells and they must carry, but can't find a product mix to hit the productivity threshold.

How is this different than other stores? Other stores look to compare a product generally to their category, and look to make sure their product mix is balanced across consumers - are they reaching the maximum breadth of customers with their offerings (and therefor have something for everyone). Basically Costco is for the absolutely most mainstream product, and if the product isn't mainstream but sells - it is for their private label. It is a very different philosophy than any other Club, Supermarket, or WalMart / Target.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:48 AM on July 4 [8 favorites]


Yeah, people really do need to understand that Costco is less about saving money than it is about getting better stuff than you would normally get at a price you can afford. We eat better now than we did pre-Costco... Now we commonly (e.g.) have big bags of dried cherries sitting around, which you basically can't afford unless you get them at Costco... But we definitely spend more money with Costco around than we would have spent without it. Sure, we eat, say, 10% better while only spending 5% more (or whatever)...we are better off for having them than not having them...but probably not because of saving money...

Or...maybe so, when you figure in prescriptions. On some prescriptions you can save a buttload. there...

And, on a mostly-unrelated note, may I recommend the Kirkland underwear?
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:13 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I live almost equidistant from three different Costcos. I go to all three depending on what I need and what other errands are nearby. Two of the three have gas, so they are the most-frequented. Of those two, one is smaller, has terrible parking, and until the recent no-clip coupon book thing, they made you actually tear out each coupon you were using. The best of the three has gas, good parking shared with a SuperTarget, and checkers who just scan their own coupon book for every customer coming through - so that is where I go the most, but each store has different kids' clothes sometimes (Hanna Andersson pajamas and leggings, oh my!) so I "have to" make the rounds.

I stay out of the food court, though, ever since I learned how many Weight Watchers points there are in a slice of their pizza. (19 for cheese - more info here)
posted by candyland at 4:31 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart.

I admit nothing, but if you do this in a Detroit-area Costco, your cart may somehow have moved to an adjacent aisle when you get back.
posted by Etrigan at 5:05 AM on July 4 [9 favorites]


I got a Costco membership when they opened up here last year, but I'm going to let it lapse, because I'm moving to a 600 square foot apartment, and there's no room. However, I will continue to tag along with friends to buy the following things:

1. Wine. Also, that Costco wine blog is genius.

2. Big hunks of Parmesan cheese.

3. Olive oil.

4. 5-pound bags of frozen blueberries with which to make blueberry muffins in the winter. These are a breakfast staple.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:19 AM on July 4


We go through a LOT of organic olive oil- somewhere around 25 liters a year for two people. Costco membership pays for itself in olive oil alone.
posted by rockindata at 5:31 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


The price on Tilamook cheddar alone justifies my membership fee. Everything else is tasty tasty other types of cheese.
posted by bswinburn at 5:36 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


...more directly comparable to a Sam's Club ... than with Wal-Mart stores. Has anyone shopped at both and can give a direct comparison?

Yes. I had a Sam's Club membership for one year. The local one is across a highway from a Walmart, and has a lot of the same stuff, just in larger bundles and somewhat cheaper. I have for many years had both a Costco and a BJ's Wholesale membership. BJ's has a bigger selection of brands, but is a less-happy place. It has self checkouts that I gave up using because there was always one item it had a problem with so I had to wait for the attendant to come over. Costco has a good photo-printing service, and its Kirkland brand stuff is very good. BJ's Berkely & Jensen stuff is inconsistent, but never actually bad.

Locally, the Market Basket grocery chain is taking aim at the warehouse clubs by selling bulk-packaged like two big boxes of Cheerios stuck together for less than BJ's or Costco do. We'll see how long they keep that up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:39 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


I've lived for two years now an hour away from my nearest Costco, but the planning board has finally gotten over itself and approved a Costco that will be ten minutes away. Can't come soon enough!
posted by Dashy at 5:39 AM on July 4


I am in the unfortunate position of being a half hour car ride (plus often ungodly I-76 traffic) from no fewer than *3* Costcos. The one without as much traffic has a Jersey bridge toll. But I'm only 10 minutes away from a BJ's, which is indeed a place that happy goes to die. Raze it, I say.
posted by supercres at 5:47 AM on July 4


I quite recently joined Costco. I am a somewhat careful shopper but not quite a penny-pincher, and there are only 3 of us and we live in an area with pretty great produce available everywhere, so it may not actually be the best deal ever for me to incorporate into our shopping. However, what tipped me over into joining was, in order of importance, 3) needing new glasses, 2) wanting to buy toilet paper once a year, and 1) they treat their employees well and still maximize long-term shareholder value .
posted by stowaway at 5:59 AM on July 4


I like the idea of Costco in theory but giant box stores make me panicky so I've never actually been to ours even though it's right across the street from the movie theater that we go to. Trader Joe's is the largest store that I can cope with lately.
posted by octothorpe at 6:04 AM on July 4


I let our membership lapse when we had to move and just haven't gotten around to restarting it yet, so this is the first I've heard about the re formulated toilet paper. I'm concerned, because that was honestly probably 60 percent of why I used to shop there at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:06 AM on July 4


My brother-in-law is a high level executive for Sam's Club, and per his own statements (mind you, he's a booster of his employer), you will find higher/nicer quality items at Sam's that you won't find at Wal-mart. Sure, there's overlap, but it's not all the same things from Wal-Mart bundled in bigger quantities.
posted by Atreides at 6:45 AM on July 4


P.S. They also check your receipt at Sam's Club at the exit. Weirdly, the same thing happened at my local wal-mart last week, which they never do at any Wal-Mart. I expect it at Sam's, it ticked me off at Wal-Mart. Go figure.
posted by Atreides at 6:46 AM on July 4


Every summer the CostCo here in Louisville offers for sale the most AMAZING quinoa salad I've ever had. It was my first experience with quinoa, and it made me a QUINOA FAN 4LYFE.

I bought that first salad mostly out of curiosity. My RPG group was getting together that night. Usually we all prepare dishes for our game-night supper, but due to (a) the extremely hot weather and (b) everyone collectively having a rough week at work, we decided to take a different approach and just pick up wine with salads and fixins. I volunteered to bring chicken salad and sandwiches, so I swung by CostCo and picked up the quinoa salad while there.

I dropped my food off at the host's house, and ran home to see to my dogs. When I returned, the rest of the group had arrived and begun eating. The first thing they said when I walked in was "Where did you get that quinoa salad?!" It was the first dish gone that night.

I've been trying to find out that quinoa salad recipe ever since! And I know that I'm not alone; other people online are questing for it, too. The ingredients list on the package:

Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Red onion
Red bell peppers
Mung beans
White
Quinoa
Bulgur wheat
Red lentil
Parsley
Soybean oil
Cilantro
Salt,
Lemon juice concentrate
Vinegar
Water
.... and spices.

One of the players that night later did a decent job reverse-engineering it, but he's missing something, and I'm not sure what it is and it makes me crazy. This recipe is also pretty close, but the author admits she doesn't have it quite right. Meanwhile, the summer comes, and I head out to the other side of the damn county just to get that damn salad because now I'm addicted.


Anyway...I love CostCo, I'm a devotee of the CostCo Wine Blog, I did NOT know about CostCo Insider so I am very grateful to the OP for bring that to my attention!

I will go to CostCo on Saturday and get Chicken Jerky for my dogs and quinoa salad for myself.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:54 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Oh, by the way, if you want to access CostCo without a membership, I have it on good authority that if you have a friend with a membership purchase you a CostCo Gift Card, you can sail in, use the gift with your purchases, and re-load it for later use.

I have not tried this myself, but it's worth a shot.
posted by magstheaxe at 7:04 AM on July 4


This is written like a computer game walkthrough.

Related.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:06 AM on July 4


Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart.

This is a terrible idea! This leaves your cart directly in the highest traffic lanes!

I mean I guess it's ok for you, but it sucks for everyone else shopping at your store.
posted by graventy at 7:07 AM on July 4 [9 favorites]


Our old Costco in Sherbrooke, QC used to have a high high ratio of hunky tight t-shirted young men working the registers and bagging your purchases on certain days. Shepherd would remark, "I don't know if it's all Costcos, but this one seems to have worked out who the primary shoppers are."
posted by Kitteh at 7:17 AM on July 4 [6 favorites]


I was at Costco when this FPP was posted. Much steak. Big lemonade. 4th of July.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:18 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Yes I have been puzzling at the "leave your cart at the end cap" advice for hours. The only thing more annoying to me at Costco than the hordes of shoppers who swarm to every single free sample no matter what or how many people it inconveniences, is when someone just leaves their (gigantic) cart at the end of the aisle where it creates a bottleneck for everyone else who is pushing an enormous cart of their own.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:21 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


I like Costco. I don't have a membership, never did, but as soon as they opened their store here, prices on stuff like toilet paper and soap dropped noticeably everywhere else.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:23 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Atreides: "P.S. They also check your receipt at Sam's Club at the exit. Weirdly, the same thing happened at my local wal-mart last week, which they never do at any Wal-Mart. I expect it at Sam's, it ticked me off at Wal-Mart. Go figure."

If you're in the U.S., they're allowed to require it at warehouse club stores that you have to buy a membership to, but in a regular store (at least in most states), once you're past the checkout lanes and whatever you bought is now your property, you are free to decline cart and bag checks. You can escalate it into a big thing, if you want; if they detain you, it's false imprisonment. They have to have actual suspicion that you have shoplifted, and declining to have your bags searched does not constitute actual suspicion. Every now and then when a retailer tightens up on bag checks, it erupts on the internet as people refuse the bag checks and dare the retailers to call the cops.

Most of you have much busier Costcos than I do; the only time it's annoying is Saturday when there's a billion free samples. It's even okay on Sunday because the Costco is in a county where you can't buy alcohol before noon on Sunday.

My children are weirdly hypnotized by Costco. They get SO EXCITED when I tell them we have to go to Costco. They particularly love the "cold room" where the cold-storage fruit is, they insist we go in there every time. They also love it when we see a dude inside the freezers stocking things from the back, they think that is some kind of crazy magic.

We do eat a LOT more fruit since we joined Costco.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:27 AM on July 4 [7 favorites]


Oh man, the fruit. People always talk about gigantic things of toilet paper, but the berries have been just as big a deal in my house. We pretty much always have strawberries or cherries or something now, and it's awesome.
posted by Akhu at 7:56 AM on July 4


We do eat a LOT more fruit since we joined Costco.

So.... Becoming a regular has potentially made you more regular?
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:57 AM on July 4 [6 favorites]


I get such a kick out of finding the craziest item for sale at my local Costco. Last month it was an $18,000 bottle of Scotch. I was gonna buy it but then I remembered that's almost a year of rent.

You know what would go great with that Scotch? Caviar.
posted by gimonca at 8:13 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I only go to Costco once in a while, as I usually stock up on laundry supplies, bathroom supplies, and non-perishable food. The only thing I have to add is they also have good quality flowers and bouquets. There's not much variety, but their main bouquet looks great.

Costco.com also has a larger floral section online.

Also, reading the toilet paper thing, it seems that blog uses price per roll to calculate unit value. When I go to Costco I usually do square feet per dollar when considering what TP/paper towel. I don't use per roll, because two TP brands could spool different amounts on each. I think square footage is a more accurate comparison (of course with ply being similar).
posted by FJT at 8:17 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Costco also has business centers that cater to businesses, which resembles a restaurant supply store that also sells whole sides of lamb and 40 lb. boxes of frozen fish.
posted by Brian B. at 8:28 AM on July 4


let me tell you about reading glasses (yeah, I'm middle aged).

Less than two years ago, I needed a new pair of reading glasses. I was traveling at the time so went to a big name drug store and bought a pair for about thirty bucks ... and less than a week later, they broke. I tried to return them to a local franchise of the same store, but they refused to replace them (some bullshit in the fine print and how that particular big policy and went down the street, bought another pair of reading glasses from another big name drug store (also for about thirty bucks), this time making sure that, if there was a problem, I could get a replacement at any of their stores.

Less than two weeks later, these glasses broke. First of all. What the !?!? Previous to my last broken pair, I'd never really had this kind of problem with reading glasses unless I'd done something dumb like sit on them. But ultimately, whatever, maybe I had done something dumb without being aware of it. And anyway, the company (not the same store) honored my receipt and I had myself another new pair of reading glasses ... which were broken within the next week or two.

?!?!?!

This time I got my money back and went to big name drug store #3. You know where this is going.

Eventually, maybe three months after all of this bullshit began, I was at Costco and noticed they had reading glasses, packages of three, selling for about ten bucks less than all of the big name drug stores were selling singles. I bought a pack ... and now about a year and half later, I'm still using the first pair of glasses, having dropped them, sat on them, kicked them etc who knows how many times.

!?!?!?
posted by philip-random at 8:34 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I love Costco. I don't think anybody has yet sung the praises of their textiles and bedding, but I have bought my best and longest-lasting pillows and blankets there. When my really good bath sheets finally give up, if they ever do, I'll replace them at Costco. Also, when they get the Kirkland merino wool socks back in for the winter, I'm going to buy like 5 packs of them. I can't wear slippers because they're too hot, and those socks are perfect and so much softer than cotton.

If they offered an exclusive sample-free day every week, I would pay double for my membership. People act like fucking savages in the presence of a free bite of pizza bagel. I saw a woman abandon her cognitively-impaired father/grandfather in the center aisle in heavy cart traffic to go get a shot of smoothie once. I try to go right when they open before the samplers bother/are ready.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:37 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Costco also has a great deal on bully sticks, which are dog treats made from dehydrated bull penises.

If you buy a Costco-sized bag of bully sticks, however, DO NOT leave them in your car for a couple of days in the middle of the summer. Your family will refuse to ride in your car for a couple of weeks. Those things are stinky!
posted by Ostara at 8:38 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Friends brought by a bottle of Kirkland Single Malt Scotch. I was shocked to find that it was not bad at all. Not exactly Highland Park but quite drinkable.

The closest Costcos to the Bers is Fargo or Billings, both roughly six hour drives. Nonetheless, we keep our membership active. When we do go, it's easily a $400 receipt. Never tried the produce because I'm not sure how it would handle a six hour drive in the summer but I might try this in the winter.

If I could get a Costco just a little closer I would be in ecstasy. Give me a Trader Joe's that's less than nine hours away and I'd be in a state of shopgasm.
posted by Ber at 8:39 AM on July 4


I guess I'm not cut out for Costco. There isn't one in Maine, but I've been to ones in NoVA two or three times, and they just seem noisy and huge and exhausting to me. One time I stupidly asked my friend I was there with, "Don't they have it in a smaller size?"

That pizza sounds good though.
posted by JanetLand at 8:59 AM on July 4


Costco also has a great deal on bully sticks, which are dog treats made from dehydrated bull penises.

What the what in the WHAT???
posted by ersatzkat at 8:59 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


In NYC, there are these two lower-end malls that face each other across the East River: Bronx Terminal, which is a few blocks away from Yankee Stadium, and East River Mall in East Harlem in Manhattan. They seem to be owned by the same group. They're both anchored by Target, they both have an Applebee's, they both have weird parking set-ups; identi-kit malls, basically. They should have a ferry to shuttle shoppers back and forth, so East River can have access to Bronx Terminal's Home Depot, and Bronx Terminal to East River's Aldi's. Anyway.

Bronx Terminal has a BJ's and East River has a Costco. I take it I should make the hike over to use Costco? And as a single person, is becoming a member to a shopping club worth it?
posted by droplet at 9:00 AM on July 4


While I clear my head of the image of a dog nomming on a dehydrated bull penis, I will add that sheets from Costco = yes, pillows = no, and holy damn I know every single one of our 30+ beach towels came from there. We moved into a house with a pool several years ago, and we always keep extra extra extra towels around, because my son's friends usually come with a swimsuit but never come with a towel. Our back deck looks like a drunken swim team lives here most of the summer.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:02 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


philip-random, your story is my story. I can't explain it either. And +1 endorsement for awesome towels and bedding.
posted by GrammarMoses at 9:11 AM on July 4


Echoing FJT, above, don't ignore their floral section if you're in the market for a large order of flowers. We saved something like $300-$400 on flowers for our wedding by ordering the flowers through Costco. If I remember correctly, you order online and specify pickup at a specific location and time.

Also, if you're a dedicated photographer, you can get custom printer color profiles for each location's printers if you're picky about color management. That elevates your prints to the 95%-quality level at their same absurdly low prices for enlargements.
posted by cognition at 9:20 AM on July 4 [5 favorites]


My in-laws joked that they had never seen me so happy as when they took me to Costco last fall. I was hoping to get their merino wool underwear and it was in stock!! for $20!! They also have great prices on hippie foods like almond milk and agave syrup.

I even had a friend that joined solely to get a rug. Worth it! She spent months looking for a good area rug but costco was a great deal even if she didn't have a car and couldn't shop there regularly.
posted by Gor-ella at 9:25 AM on July 4


I would shop at Costco if I didn't have to shop at Costco. I love the Kirkland brand stuff and the food section. But I can't stand the enormity of the store, the parking lot, the checkout lines. When I finish a Costco run, I'm exhausted, and I'll do anything to avoid another. So, I pay for Amazon delivery, and I'm a Target member, and I pay higher prices for their items as well.

I read about a shopping delivery service in big US cities that shops at Costco for you, though (and perhaps, you don't have to be a Costco member?). But I don't remember the name. I might have read about it on Metafilter. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by bluefly at 9:28 AM on July 4


Park your cart at the outer end caps of aisles and work the aisles without the cart.

This is a terrible idea! This leaves your cart directly in the highest traffic lanes!


The key word here, which I think you're misinterpreting, is "outer".

The walkways which run furthest from the center of the store.

There is guaranteed to be a space right around those OUTER ends of the aisles where it will be obvious that you can leave your cart and 1) it won't be in anyone's way and 2) you won't be blocking popular merchandise.

You've mistaken my meaning entirely.
posted by hippybear at 9:37 AM on July 4


We buy our over the counter medications at Costco, and the savings on those items pays for the entire membership. An entire year of allergy medicine costs less than $20.

When we have guests over, almost all of the food/drink is from Costco. We can buy large quantities of chicken thighs at a good price, and if we want to be fancy, we can get a nice piece of salmon, or a rack of lamb. There are usually some good deals on wine/beer, not to mention tortilla chips, salsa and limes.
posted by ceebee at 9:38 AM on July 4


My favorite part of Costco are the employees. Say "hello" to someone, and they look at you, and they are human. They move FAST and are efficient.

Try that at Sams and Wal*Mart. You'll just get the dead stare of a walker wanting brains for supper.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:52 AM on July 4 [6 favorites]


My favorite part of Costco are the employees.

Except for the ones whose only job seems to be to walk the checkout lines upselling Executive memberships. SO ANNOYING.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:06 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Bluefly: Google Shopping Express will shop CostCo for you. You have to be a member of CostCo and be an Amazon primate.
posted by scrump at 10:11 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


bluefly: Was going to mention Google Shopping Express as well, but they are currently only in a few cities, like the Bay Area, LA and NYC. I believe you can purchase a Costco membership from Google Shopping Express directly. (Scump: But you definitely don't have to be on Amazon prime??? - Google Shopping Express memberships are free when you first sign up.)

I've purchased really great sheets directly from Costco from their online store, without a membership, but I don't know how their prices compare in general to the store.
posted by DarthDuckie at 10:21 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Yes, Google Shopping Express was it, thanks! I also found another one - Instacart which seems to be in more cities. I think all delivery services add a markup to the prices. Still, if I'm ever jonesing for a full rack of lamb...
posted by bluefly at 10:41 AM on July 4


One more note, if anyone is still following:

Costco is terrific for satisficing. If there's something that you need and don't want to spend a ton of time shopping around and researching, you'll almost certainly be fine just by getting the item that Costco carries, picking between price points if there's an option.
posted by cognition at 11:49 AM on July 4


Wow, yeah, I was confusing GSE with Amazon Prime Fresh. Sorry about that!
posted by scrump at 2:14 PM on July 4


Their generic allergy meds are, indeed worth the price of membership. I will also admit to having purchased one thoroughly awesome tumbling composter and the challah at the Van Nuys store is to die for.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:26 PM on July 4


We do eat a LOT more fruit since we joined Costco.

Good fruit sells more toilet paper.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:40 PM on July 4 [5 favorites]


The peaches at costco are the best I've ever had. Not the first week they carry them or the last, but the rest of the time they are so fantastic. Their peanut butter is what my kid lives on. Their organic eggs are NOT as good as fancy farm eggs, but they are better than ANY OTHER EGGS except those. Their baby wipes are THE BEST BABY WIPES BAR NONE. The wool socks (3 pairs for $10, for serious) are amazing, I will never buy children's swimsuits anywhere else, the Kirkland brand of OTC medication. . . it's what keeps us afloat. Plus, we have the Executive membership, which gives 2.5% back on all purchases, and every year we get more back than we spend on the membership.
posted by KathrynT at 3:08 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Not to mention the fact that the employees are universally the most knowledgeable, most friendly, most helpful, and in general look the most like they don't hate to be at work of any grocery/retail store I shop at.
posted by KathrynT at 3:09 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


> There is guaranteed to be a space right around those OUTER ends of the aisles where it will be obvious that you can leave your cart and 1) it won't be in anyone's way and 2) you won't be blocking popular merchandise

That's not true for my Costco, which I could draw you a map of in my sleep because I end up there almost every week mmmm macadamia nuts. Maybe one corner, where it's mostly gum and spices, but or the corner near the auto accessories / fruit section, but in the rest of the store all the aisles are fully in use.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:12 PM on July 4


That's not true for my Costco, which I could draw you a map of in my sleep because I end up there almost every week mmmm macadamia nuts. Maybe one corner, where it's mostly gum and spices, but or the corner near the auto accessories / fruit section, but in the rest of the store all the aisles are fully in use.

AURORACOSTCO4EVA
posted by MoonOrb at 4:42 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Costco is just one big feeding frenzy. It can be useful if you need to feed an army. It reminds me of the consumer-end version of factory-farming.
posted by ovvl at 4:49 PM on July 4


Way to speak truth to power there ovvl!! I'm sure we're all mistaken in our love.
posted by Carillon at 5:23 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Costco also does kickass online ordering/shipping. No need to go to the store.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:22 PM on July 4


Zardoz: the Costco in Amagasaki would next day deliver items for you for something like 500 yen. For slightly more they could deliver frozen/refrigerated goods as well. Do Tokyo area Costcos offer similar?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:14 PM on July 4


I love Costco. I don't think anybody has yet sung the praises of their textiles and bedding, but I have bought my best and longest-lasting pillows and blankets there.

When i was in my mid teens i ended up crashing with my friends family for a few months, including for christmas. His mom got all the kids, including me, costco pajamas to wear christmas morning since that was their family tradition.

Those freaking pjs lasted through high school, college, and some extra time after even. They were used as mops, to beat out fires, and worn nearly every night unless it was over maybe 75f outside that day.(and we're talking seattle here, so probably 340 days a year). I'd also wear them under my pants in the winter as quasi-longjohns. They were run through the washing machine a kabillion times and just kept on keepin on. They didn't fray, barely faded, and never looked gross until one day when the entire crotch of them just exploded from the fabric finally saying fuck this.

Every pair of PJ pants i've bought since then has fallen apart after less than a year, i think. And of course costco doesn't sell anything remotely similar to the ones i had before. They were like japanese denim jeans, but pajamas, or something.

They were so comfortable too, even when i hadn't even started to break them in. After a couple months they were arguably more comfortable than wearing nothing.

Costco is also the only place i buy socks anymore. They quit making the socks i previously bought at ross, and costco always sells the only two kinds of socks i think are even worth buying(barring like, two pairs of thick socks for very cold winter/heavy boots) which are:
1. black socks half way between normal socks and dress socks. so not super puffy and thick, but not super thin either. You can wear essentially any kind of shoes with these, from hiking boots to fancy dress shoes to chucks.
2. Low top Super spacetech2000 cybermesh electrosox type Adidas/whatever brand they feel like carrying at the time "technical socks". These are perfect for cycling, and are also perfect for the muggy but non-rain weather seattle gets a ton. They're also perfect for if you're wearing shorts the 2-3 months out of the year it's vaguely not-grey weather here.

Every other damn department store/whatever always only carries certain styles of socks in certain tiers, like if you want the medium-thickness black socks you have to buy the super overpriced designer ones. Costco basically only sells $10 packs of socks, and you always get at least 6 pairs unless you do specifically go for the designer ones, of which they only sell dress socks.

In a lot of categories i love how it actually feels like someone smart designed the store. Do you ever get pissed off in a safeway or something that one type of beans is over with the "hispanic foods", and not just with the rest of the damn beans? Or that one brand of juice is all the way across the store in the "organic" section instead of just being in the damn juice section?(neither of these are great examples, but they were all i could instantly think of. i've seen MUCH dumber arbitrary choices) Never any stupid shit like that at costco. And the philosophy of the socks follows through with everything. If they're going to carry more than one of the same product, each one better have a clear delineation of features, price, and use. You get a decent midrange portable AC, and a super high capacity big one. Or basic butter, and fancy butter. Etc. And it's all always in the same damn place, not at two different corners of the store for some arbitrary reason of cutely being next to some other product they thought they should group for combo sales or whatever.

It almost feels like the wirecutter for food sometimes. Who really needs to look through 12 fucking kinds of the same type of cheese? I always feel like a lot of the membership fee goes towards having someone sort that stuff out so that you don't have to deal with it.

They also don't sell garbage. If you tell someone to buy the cheapest laptop at costco, they're never going to get something that objectively sucks if they just need a basic machine. My work has bought several seemingly chintzy acers there on that principal, and they've all aged out of usefulness with no failures. I feel like they have someone that evaluates that sort of stuff, especially since in the electronics section there's often costco-specific models.
posted by emptythought at 9:11 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


I have heard tell of the famous wool socks of Costco and have yet to find them here in So CA. Am I blind or do they just not think that it gets cold enough here for them? If I request them, is there a shot that they will start to carry them? I know they are probably a seasonal thing.
posted by jvilter at 10:20 PM on July 4


I bought them in San Diego last year, probably November. They were gone by Jan 1.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:32 PM on July 4


I can't believe no one has mentioned that in addition to their already-cheap prescription medicine prices they have a prescription program for people without insurance coverage for medication:
By enrolling in the Program, Costco members who have no available insurance coverage for medications or whose insurance does not cover all of their prescription medications, may pay less for prescriptions than what they would otherwise pay at a Costco pharmacy for the same drug or a therapeutically equivalent alternative drug.
I have to admit I'm surprised to see more instances here of "stavrosthewonderchicken" than "rotisserie chicken".

Never EVER go to Costco on the day that welfare and/or social security funds are released to those who receive them.

Oh FFS. There is no "day" that benefit checks get issued. Every agency has its own schedule, and while many or most might be close to the first day or week of the month SSDI (which probably make up the bulk) issues checks over the course of the month based on the recipients birthday. You might as well avoid "payday", too. I really wish we could get rid of this tired cliche.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:40 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


At least in Washington state, public benefit payments are made on a predictable time schedule: when I worked with retail clients, including a number of supermarkets, I learned that they adjusted their staffing levels to have more cashier hours allocated during these times. So maybe this isn't a Thing in every state, but stores at least in Washington see greater volume at times when benefit payments are made; and the payments are made at least predictably enough that some businesses adjust their staffing. But these periods also coincide with typical payment periods for pay checks from private employers, too. In any event, wanting to shop when stores are less crowded isn't (hopefully) because people want to avoid poor people or old people: it's because shopping is more pleasant when there are big crowds. Even having more staff on hand in stores doesn't ameliorate this effect.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:16 AM on July 5


* when there are NOT big crowds
posted by MoonOrb at 7:31 AM on July 5


Do a lot of benefits-dependent people shop at Costco? My sense is that Costco's customer base is mostly middle-class-and-up, at least where I live. I think the membership fee is pretty prohibitive for anyone who is living paycheck to paycheck or benefit check to benefit check. Even if you ultimately save money, $55 is a non-trivial outlay for people who are really financially strapped.

My protip for anyone who wants to avoid grocery store crowds: go during football games. Of course, that's only helpful during football season.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:34 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I set the DVR to record the Football game, head out to the empty supermarket and make it home by halftime. Then I can watch the game using the 30 second skip-forward button since more than half of NFL games are commercials or filler and I can catch up to the game before it ends so I can't be spoiled.
posted by octothorpe at 9:47 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


At least in Washington state, public benefit payments are made on a predictable time schedule

This isn't true anymore. They get issued over like, the first two weeks of the month and it's random(based on the last two digits of your card number, or something) which day you get. it's been this way for at least 7 years. I know this because i used to live in a shitty share house where literally everyone had EBT, and we'd generally wait until the day when the last persons card had rolled over to go on a big shopping trip together.

Not trying to hate or anything, it's just a mild annoyance of mine when people talk about this in a factually incorrect way... because at least not on mefi, whenever i hear people bring it up, there's a distinctly "eww poor people" tone to it.

This is rarely if ever about it being crowded or whatever, its always a fig leaf for some people of walmart-esque "those people are annoying terrible customers with their baby mama drama" or whatever kind of crap.

This is also of course ignoring the fact that there's literally never a slow day or time at the seattle costco.
posted by emptythought at 1:30 PM on July 5


Wow, interesting--I had people telling me this as recently as earlier this year. I'm happy to be wrong about that. I'm guessing that the effect that these supermarkets observed was probably tied much more closely to a regular bi-monthly payday schedule, then. FWIW the supermarkets I was working with are those that tend to have a large customer base more toward the lower-income end of the spectrum rather than the higher end of the spectrum (in other words, not PCC or Whole Foods), so I'm kind of surprised to hear that they didn't know what they were talking about.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:41 PM on July 5


Social Security payments are still predictable, though.
posted by Etrigan at 1:49 PM on July 5


Either way, Costco's prices and fees make it prohibitive for low-income families, I think, unfortunately. I love them as much as anybody, but on pure price, Walmart beats them on everything. Really, they're mostly a good deal if you have four things that are cheaper there than anywhere else, and if you buy those four things (which are probably organic or otherwise higher-quality foodstuffs) regularly. Families just trying to get by are more likely to shop at other stores. But I guess that could have some geographical variation.
posted by koeselitz at 4:31 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Way to speak truth to power there ovvl!! I'm sure we're all mistaken in our love.

Apologies for not following the mass-consensus here. I felt similar qualms about the huge-assed-refrigerator-love-in here a while back. I just think that ultra-mega-consumerism is kinda weird. So if this was a democracy, I'd be outvoted, as usual.
posted by ovvl at 7:08 PM on July 5


We love Costco and have a list of staples (and a deep freezer) so we go about once a month. We also have a friend who works there and he loves it; they do treat their employees incredibly well. He works with the stock so we're also able to get the low-down on when they get more of the two items we have to have that they frequently seem to stop stocking for a few weeks - Casper's hotdogs (so good, we've converted everyone we know to love them too) and Kerrygold butter. Both are tremendously cheaper there than anywhere else.
posted by marylynn at 8:35 PM on July 5


ovvl: " I just think that ultra-mega-consumerism is kinda weird."

It is bemusing. I have three things to say in Costco's favor, I suppose. First, it's primarily food, which people are going to buy and consume anyway; it's not exactly a festival of needless consumerism. Second, by turning the store into the warehouse and leaving things pallet-stacked and so on, it's a much less-sanitized form of consumerism. You're not going into a boutique and being catered to; it's more like you're going down to the dockside warehouses. And third, they treat and pay their employees well, rather than exploiting their labor to cater to a consuming class.

Buying a year's worth of toilet paper at once is, in itself, kinda weird, that is true. And it does at least imply private car ownership because of the size of the packages. But one trip to Costco saves me probably four trips to other groceries, drug stores, and big-boxes that I can now skip because I only have to buy toilet paper once a year or olive oil ever four months or whatever. (I'm still going to those other stores, just less often.) So in that way by doing oversized shopping once in a while, I can shop less often, which is often my preference ... I get very tired of errands errands errands.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:45 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Plus it's often Kirkland Signature stuff I buy, so it isn't even brand-conscious consumerism unless one considers Kirkland Signature to be a prestigious brand.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:19 AM on July 6


I do feel somewhat ridiculous wheeling haybale sized packages of things around in my cart and realizing that despite my best intentions in many cases either (a) I do not consume everything, wasting a portion of the product; or (b) I eat the whole effing thing, which I'll probably regret for other reasons.

I do sometimes think, while at Costco, that I'm contributing to something harmful. Costco might treat its workers well enough, but how about the people working in fields so I can buy organic salad greens for $4? And if I were to trace the 24 pack of eggs back to its origin, how humanely are the chickens treated and could the eggs--organic though they are--come from anywhere other than a factory farm of some variety? If I'm honest with myself, the Costco that I love so much encourages me to spend more, consume more, and waste more. I suppose there are some virtuous Costco consumers among us who manage to buy no more than what they need and eat no more than what they should and only purchase those products that are made without exploited labor, but I can't fairly claim to be one of them. Shopping at Costco may indeed be superior on many fronts than shopping other places, but I shop there for the marriage of value and convenience, not because I think I'm avoiding any pitfalls of consumerism. If my priority were anti-consumerism, I'd cancel my Costco membership.

So criticisms of Costco on an anti consumer basis are pretty valid, to me. I shop there in spite of this, but I can't pretend to myself that shopping there is a virtue. It's like the SUV of groceries (and other cheap high quality goods!). To put this in another way, there are plenty and I mean plenty of times that I've been at Costco and caught myself judging people for the heaping carts filled with potstickers and frozen pizza and tortilla chips and breakfast cereal; my own shopping habits there are merely different in kind, not degree, no matter what I'd truly like to believe.

Also, I find that Costco truly does have a weird, almost cult like enthusiastic support among many of its members, a culture I gleefully participate in. So I can certainly imagine how people outside the culture can look askance at Costco and its legions of zealous members.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:48 AM on July 6


Do you overeat / waste less food when you shop at Safeway, though? I don't feel like I waste less when I buy in smaller amounts; I just have to shop more often (if possible, I swear, I buy groceries almost every day).
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:54 AM on July 6


I do a much better job of wasting less and eating less if I shop places other than Costco. I don't waste or overeat with every Costco purchase and I'd like to think that I do a reasonable job of limiting those occasions on which I over consume, but if I can buy an entire bag of avocados for the same price as two of them at the other place where I buy groceries, I'm buying the bag. And when I buy things like ice cream or pizza or granola, I will tear through them in a way that I wouldn't if I had purchased them in smaller quantities. This is my personal failing, yes, but one that Costco certainly enables.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:00 AM on July 6


I imagine this works differently for different people. I generally go to Costco with a pretty specific list, because I'm not going to impulse-buy five pounds of dried figs. I don't have any illusions that I'm going to finish five pounds of figs, and I don't have space to store them anyway. I'm much more likely to depart from my list at a normal grocery store, because with a smaller package I don't have to stress out about where I'm going to fit it all. But that might be a function of being an apartment-dweller, and if I had more space or were shopping for a big family, maybe I would be tempted by the bag of avocados.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:30 AM on July 6


To illustrate with the idea of avocados, they are something that's on my list already--I might need three, maybe. It's not uncommon to get them 2 for $5 at the supermarket where I shop. At Costco, the entire bag, I think, was $5. So I bought the bag, because it was cheaper than buying only what I needed at the supermarket, plus I got roughly twice the avocados for less money. The avocados didn't go to waste--I found ways to eat all of them last week, which is great, because I love avocados and they're a great thing to have in my diet in moderation. Just last week they weren't in moderation. On the other hand, I also needed a third of a cup of pine nuts and I didn't buy an enormous bag of pine nuts at Costco, I saved those for the supermarket. But had they been roughly the same price or cheaper as the amount of pine nuts I needed anyway, I would have bought more, and the likelihood that over the next year I'd either eat more pine nuts than necessary or find myself disposing of a partial bag of unconsumed pine nuts would be higher. So it's not really crazy impulse buying that I see happening, at least from my viewpoint. The crazy impulse buying is easy enough for me to avoid because everything I put in my cart is about $10 on average and adds up really quickly.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:41 AM on July 6


My one complaint about Costco is that their Kirkland brand of lactaid tablets is fucking garbage. Utterly awful worthless garbage, infuriating large packages of temptingly inexpensive garbage. I can eat pretty much any dairy-containing item in full meal amounts with 6 brand name Lactaid Fast Act tabs, but to get close to the same effects from the Kirkland tabs I was up to 16-20 tablets.

this was like 7 years ago and im still mad about it
posted by elizardbits at 10:26 AM on July 6


Apologies for not following the mass-consensus here. I felt similar qualms about the huge-assed-refrigerator-love-in here a while back. I just think that ultra-mega-consumerism is kinda weird.

I notice you don't have an aerial on your roof. I'm calling the Firemen.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:07 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I don't have a Costco membership but I did just learn this tip from a friend: in California you can buy booze at Costco without needing a card! You tell them at the door you're just buying beer/wine/alcohol and they let you in since CA doesn't allow restrictions on alcohol by membership rules.
posted by sweetmarie at 1:08 PM on July 6


It's that way in Michigan too.

Also, if someone buys you a Costco gift card, you don't have to have a membership to use it, and allegedly Costco will let you spend waaay more than the amount of the card. I wanted to try this, but then we just buckled and got a membership.
posted by Etrigan at 3:26 PM on July 6


OK, on preview, yes Greg Nog:

what did i do
posted by Greg Nog at 9:06 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


you know what you did
posted by elizardbits at 9:41 PM on July 6


i mean really how could you
posted by elizardbits at 9:41 PM on July 6


how could you shave the cats and not leave hilarious lion manes

youve betrayed us all
posted by elizardbits at 9:41 PM on July 6


What are hilarious lion memes?
posted by Pudhoho at 12:59 AM on July 7


Raaaaaaaawr!
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:20 AM on July 7


The food court at Costco doesn't require a membership, but it does require you to pay cash.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:04 PM on July 7


There's a Costco across the street from my office that I am in at least once a week. Sadly it doesn't feature booze or gas (or ice cream at the snack bar!?). Always on our list are soy milk, cheeses, fruit, chicken nuggets, nuts, chewing gum, and bagels. Their ziplocks, garbage bags, underwear, and batteries have also improved my life significantly.

And, yes, best diaper wipes available, bar none.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:20 PM on July 7


Costco also has a great deal on bully sticks, which are dog treats made from dehydrated bull penises.

On the pack it says: "A real beef treat". How busy they were, their whole lives.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:48 PM on July 7


I don't think anybody has yet sung the praises of their textiles and bedding

The only place you can buy a mattress, try it out for six months, and return it if you're not loving it.

The food court at Costco doesn't require a membership, but it does require you to pay cash.

If you do have a membership but no cash, pay for your nomnom at the register when you check out your other stuff. Then show them the receipt at the deli counter to get your stuff.

I don't get all the love for Costco produce. You have to buy twice as much as you normally would, but it lasts half as long before going bad.

$5 rotisserie chicken FTW. And whatever's left over at closing, the make chicken salad out of the white meat and then sell the dark meat cold FOR EVEN LESS.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:31 AM on July 8


Costco wine blog

argh, this makes me so sad. For reasons known only to the bureaucrats who write liquor policy here in the great state of Colorado, we have this weird blue law dictating that you cannot sell alcohol in grocery stores. Thus, no Trader Joe's wine, no Costco wine, no immaculately-curated Whole Foods sommelier experiences. There have been random efforts over the past fifteen years to change this law, to no effect.

I have shopped at Costcos in L.A. and SFO and Albuquerque and Costco's wine store is just freaking amazing. Colorado liquor laws I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:23 AM on July 8


here in the great state of Colorado, we have this weird blue law dictating that you cannot sell alcohol in grocery stores.

Not quite true! They each get one location that can sell more than just 3.5%. You want the Arvada Costco for liquor (and the Glendale King Soopers and the Glendale Target and the Colorado Blvd Trader Joe's.) I'm pretty sure Boulder has the Safeway with liquor.
posted by asperity at 9:35 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


(Also, looks like the Pearl Street Whole Foods in Boulder's got their liquor license, so that too.)
posted by asperity at 9:40 AM on July 8


For reasons known only to the bureaucrats who write liquor policy here in the great state of Colorado, we have this weird blue law dictating that you cannot sell alcohol in grocery stores.

Minnesota's odd liquor laws are written in such a way that membership warehouse stores can't sell alcohol the same way that they sell everything else. Costco here gets around this by putting the alcohol in a separate alcove of the store that's open to the public--you don't have to show your membership to get in there. So anybody, including non-Costco members, can go in and buy Kirkland tequila or whatever they have on special this week.
posted by gimonca at 9:47 AM on July 8


> oh puhleeze like we're going to trek allaway down through EXQUISITE TRAFFIC HELL to Arvada when we live a five minutes zero traffic lovely rural drive away from the Superior one?! I DONT THINK SO. it's like a life goal of mine to avoid driving on US36 wherever possible.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:11 AM on July 8


and yes they moved the Barnes and Noble on Pearl to make way for the Whole Foods Liquor store which in keeping with the letter of the law is in AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE SPACE ALTOGETHER and yes, I'm lazy as hell but it means having to ring out through the registers in the grocery store then go take your stuff from that shopping excursion to the car (or grocery bike) and then schlep around for another basket and and and ...aww just fuckit.

seriously I know it's only a minor barrier to convenience yet one I cannot seem to make myself or mr lfr hurdle.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:15 AM on July 8


Heh. Yeah, I've been to the Arvada Costco maybe once, it's not quite enough boozy awesomeness to make it worth the longer trip. But the Trader Joe's with booze has a similar checkout setup and isn't that much of a hassle. Their bike parking sucks even worse than their notoriously inadequate car parking, though, so it's possible everything else about the experience seems less of a hassle by comparison.

... I think I'm probably derailing this quite enough and will stop there.
posted by asperity at 10:34 AM on July 8


Huh. I could have sworn that a bunch of Colorado Costcos (Westminster, for example) got around the Colorado liquor laws by just having a separate entrance. I don't think I've ever been to a Costco in Colorado that didn't sell liquor; you just had to go out and come in the liquor door instead of the main entrance. Am I just hallucinating that?
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on July 8


here in the great state of Colorado, we have this weird blue law dictating that you cannot sell alcohol in grocery stores.

In Pennsylvania, you can sell beer in a supermarket only if you actually have a sit-down tavern right in the supermarket. And even then you can only buy two six-packs at a time. And that's just beer, you still can't buy wine or spirits in a supermarket.
posted by octothorpe at 10:56 AM on July 8


Oh gods, don't start on Pennsylvania's fucking inexplicable alcohol laws. I mean, it's not even just, like, Puritan-prohibitionist bullshit, it's just a pastiche of bizarre things that clearly weren't good ideas in and of themselves. It's like a Rube Goldberg contraption made up of broken stuff.
posted by Etrigan at 7:23 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


They talked about changing the laws in Colorado a few years ago, but the breweries fought it tooth and nail. Apparently they have relationships with the liquor stores that they just can't build with supermarkets, which care more about a bottom line and would end up selling mostly out-of-state corporate swill (well, and some in-state corporate swill). Who knows.
posted by koeselitz at 12:49 AM on July 9


So according to the comments here, we should have a shopping meetup at the Littleton Costco. Apparently the Westminster/Arvada Costco isn't the only one with liquor, but it's independently operated and that may explain why it isn't very good. (Possibly the Littleton store's the only one with Costco's drugstore license, and the others all just have standard retail licenses.)

At least we can buy alcohol on Sundays here.
posted by asperity at 7:36 AM on July 9


I am very sad that Ontario's own booze laws ensure that I cannot buy wine or spirits in Costco. I have heard interesting things about the Costco house boozes.
posted by Kitteh at 8:03 AM on July 9


here in the great state of Colorado, we have this weird blue law dictating that you cannot sell alcohol in grocery stores.

That's not actually quite right. As I understand it: a company can own a single liquor license, so a there's Target in the state that has a liquor license, and no other Target can get one while that's active. On top of that, I'm pretty sure that if a stores sells groceries and liquor, it needs a working pharmacy. Which is why Tipsy's used to have a pharmacy.

Anyway, the Costco on Wadsworth is right in my neighborhood, and as my giant bottle of Kirkland Brand Vodka can testify, has booze right there in the store, by the meat counter, and you can pay for it at the regular registers.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:49 PM on July 10


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