1. The prices.
Prior to September 15, 1983, buying items in bulk made you look like either a criminal suspect or an obsessive hoarder. Really, who needs a 3-dozen carton of eggs and a 12-pack of muffins? Unless you want to become a muffin, you’re Kate Gosselin or are a member of the Duggar clan, that is. Flash-forward to today and you’d be crazy not to buy these items in bulk. The price per unit is an absolute steal and you’re left with extra cash to knock a few items off your holiday gift list. Try this suggestion from Frugal 101: If you have kids and need to save on school supplies, get a group of parents together, have everyone chip in a few dollars and then divvy up a large pack of markers, pens, paper, and any other supplies the teacher requires. For the holidays, take a look at Costco’s impressive selection of DVDs. My greatest find was The Seinfeld Complete Series DVD Collection for just under $100. Yes, I said under $100. Of course, skepticism ensued and I questioned whether half the DVD pockets were empty. The only thing ridiculous about this illustration is that I doubted Costco for a millisecond. The DVDs were in impeccable condition, there were no missing disks and they even included bonus features. For once, I actually purchased a gift that my boyfriend liked.
2. Feeling like a VIP.
Upon entering Costco, shoppers must pull out their membership cards for the store clerk to view. If you’re a rookie, you likely belong to the Gold Star club. If you’re a Costco veteran, can’t seem to go a weekend without a trip to the warehouse or simply refuse to shop anywhere else, you likely own an Executive Membership and enjoy an annual 2% reward on your Costco purchases. If you’re fortunate enough to have an Executive Membership card in your wallet, congratulations, you’ve made it to the top. Admit it, you feel kind of cool flashing your black and gold card to gain access into the building. Just try to remember that you’re not a CIA agent.
3. Return policy.
Did your printer break? Is your new Ninja Ultra Kitchen System not chopping properly? All you have to do is return it pretty much whenever you want. If you’re busy binge watching all of Homeland and can’t fathom leaving the couch this weekend, just take it back in a couple of years. You’ll still get all of your money back.
4. Organic options.
Whole Foods and specialty nutrition shops are great, but they’ll cost you your next few paychecks, and some. Solution: weave in and out of Costco’s food aisles to see what new organic and eco-friendly products are in store. A few of my all time favorites are the Earthly Choice Organic Quinoa, Carrington Farms 100% Organic Coconut Oil and Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent in natural lavender scent. If you want to take it to the next level, knock yourself out with the Kirkland Signature Eco Friendly Liquid Dish Soap. Not satisfied with how this soap cuts grease? See number three. If you’re not into store brand products, Costco now carries hair and body wash by Jessica Alba’s all natural product line, The Honest Company.
5. Costco Carries What?!
This holiday season, surprise your child with a Metropolis Play System for just $18,999.99. If you can’t live in the city, simply bring the city to your back yard with this outdoor playground that comes luxuriously furnished with a sky loft and extra wide monkey bars. While you’re at it, treat yourself to an Almost Heaven Deluxe Sauna that comes shaped like a wine barrel. A bit unnecessary? Maybe. But if you could, you probably would, right?
6. Costco gas.
If you didn’t already know, Costco’s gas prices are typically between $0.10 and $0.20 cheaper than the nearest gas station. Costco might not have the fun squeegee stations but it’s a small price to pay for great savings.
7. Costco Rx & Optical.
Whether you’re replenishing Fido’s Frontline supply or need to get your seasonal flu shot, Costco Pharmacy offers discounted prices that don’t even compare to your local pharmacy. Costco Optical is just as convenient with their knowledgeable staff and affordable brand name eyewear.
8. Costco liquor.
They’ve got everything from Blue Label to Dom Pérignon in, you guessed it, HUGE quantities. Let the Jameson sink in.
9. What you must try if you haven’t already.
Every time of year this little holiday called Christmas rolls around. And every time of year you probably have a craving for a little desert with big flavor called pumpkin pie. If you’re a stern believer in home-cooking every last dish at the table, think again, because Costco pumpkin pie is without a doubt the exception. Go ahead and sample it – I challenge you not to purchase this delectable masterpiece crafted by Costco’s magical bakery elves.
10. The workout clothes.
After experiencing number nine, you’ll have a legitimate excuse to sign up for that Cross Fit class you’ve been putting off. If you’re in need of some quick motivation, swing by Costco’s clothing aisle to see what new and stylish fitness gear you can find. Move over Lululemon – Costco’s workout pants conceal all assets.
11. One-stop shop for Birthdays, Valentines Day, Christmas.
Shopping for your girlfriend has never been so easy. Simply walk through the entrance, flash your membership card and start your mission. Check out the jewelry case for discounted gems, take a stroll through the book section or grab her a box of assorted chocolates. If you need a break, venture to the back of the store for some free samples and instantly feel rejuvenated. For a cheap and easy way to her heart, head over to Costco Photo Center and have your favorite couples shots printed in less than 30 minutes. Make your gift even more special by ordering a canvas print of your favorite photo. Finally, grab an inexpensive bouquet of flowers and you’re out the door for most likely under $50. On your way out, fill up on Costco gas and you’ve really hit a home run. Why not invite your wingman and enjoy some male bonding time as you dine on the infamous $1.50 hot dogs? Just remember to omit telling your Sig O how effortless and completely awesome your shopping trip was – she’d rather imagine you were fighting to the death in the Hunger Games to win over her presents this year.
12. You could literally live in Costco.
In ‘Where the Heart is’, Natalie Portman’s boyfriend abandons her in a Wal-Mart store where she temporarily makes home. While inhabiting a discount superstore for an extended period of time doesn’t sound ideal, the thought is nonetheless amusing. At night, roll an office chair over to Costco’s HDTV section, tune into Sports Center or watch Schmidt find his driving moccasins on New Girl. After that, grab a good novel from the book section and read it on one of Costco’s oversized, luxurious sectional sofas. There is food everywhere, so eat whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like. Since this is hypothetical, why not make everything free? You’re “stuck” in Costco, therefore you have to indulge a little.
13. Costco cares.
That’s right. Costco is the anti-Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart isn’t entirely bad, but when it comes to employee wages, benefits and overall quality of work environment, Costco wins hands down. With a starting salary of $11.50 per hour and an average wage of $21 per hour, Costco employees can have their samples and eat them too. Is this all too good to be true? No, in fact, it gets even better. While the majority of institutions were too busy laying off or furloughing thousands of their employees, Costco decided to buck the trend and actually pay its workers more. Due to the Great Recession’s impact on employees, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek sanctioned a $1.50 hourly wage increase for many warehouse workers over the course of three years. Costco faced opposition only by Wall Street, who pressured the wholesaler to enhance its bottom line by cutting its overly generous wages and health benefits. Investors need not worry: Costco’s 3Q profit hurdled 19% to $459 million while Wal-Mart missed sales expectations and Target lowered its annual earnings forecast. Costco is the Google of search engines, the Scorsese of gangster cine and the L-Train of hoops. With its unstoppable trifecta it can simultaneously offer discounts, increase profits AND treat its employees like humans. How’s that for a bottom line?
14. Costco’s CEO is down to earth.
It’s safe to say that Craig Jelinek is living comfortably on a base salary of $662,500. That’s quite humble compared to the average salaries of the top-paid CEOs in retail. While he could effortlessly cut himself a much more generous slice of the Costco pie, he instead opts to allocate more of the company’s success to its employees. Still not convinced? Jelinek recently announced that he endorses increasing the national minimum wage to $10 an hour. Jelinek for President!
15. Costco doesn’t need advertising.
This article is proof enough that Costco predominantly relies on word-of-mouth marketing. Costco doesn’t need a dapper team of Sterlings, Drapers, Coopers and Pryces. Think about it, when was the last time you saw Costco place a gimmicky “this Sunday only, shop ‘til you drop, doors open at 7am” commercial on TV? And when was the last time Costco flooded your mailbox with trivial coupons for items you couldn’t fathom needing? In the end, Costco’s value speaks for itself. After one trip to the warehouse, there’s really no turning back.