Buying at Costco

My Review: 8

Buying goods at a Costco brick and mortar store requires a certain kind of mind-set. If you are in a hurry, you should not go to Costco. If you are tired or cranky, you should not go to Costco. But, if you want to browse around, buy goods at a great value, and/or have a great return policy to in the event of problems, then Costco rules.


The variances between certain stores make it difficult to specify a lot of hard and fast attitudes. For instance, does your Costco have the full cold cases at the back of the store with fresh foods and designer cheeses, or only one simple cold case with a few deli type items? Does you Costco make rotisserie chickens? At the checkout lines, do they offer bags, let you purchase re-usable bags, or hand out boxes from unpacked deliveries? These things affect the overall experience.

But if you enjoy commerce, and you like buying new toys (or a lot of damn food) then Costco can be a magical place. I remember the first time I shared it with my friend Rochelle. Having never been there, she had adopted a supercilious attitude about it, bemoaning the excess of American commercialism and excess. But once she walked around, and saw the shiny electronics and flat screen TV’s on the front, right-hand side of the store, she was as much in heaven as the most hard-core consumer. You can’t help but be excited about all the quantity.

Currently I live close enough to Costco that I can walk there. Having done so, I don’t know if I can give it up. Sometimes I still drive (if we’re buying things that are too heavy or too bulky to carry) but it’s so exciting knowing that I can walk there. Sighhh. But crossing the acre-long parking lot (after parking at the rear to avoid the competition for spaces at the front) contains a special joy. Perusing the various samples can be joyous and exhilarating.  (Although it is irritating when people wait in line, clogging the aisles, before the samples are ready.)  Eating an over-sized hot-dog and a soda for $1.29… sometimes I am overcome with emotion. Is it joy, nostalgia, indigestion? I’m still not sure, even after minutes of self-examination.

As long as I am ready for the crowds, mentally prepared for the long lines and the over-stimulation, buying goods at Costco remains a wonderful and exciting experience, even after 20 years of shopping from Price Club to Costco and beyond. The jury’s still out, however, on Sam’s Club. 😉

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