Seriously thinking of canceling Costco card

User Forum Topic
Submitted by moneymaker on February 24, 2016 - 4:13am

I love Costco. But they are getting rid of Amex, no longer have the $1.99 salad mix that I like,the gas is not any cheaper than the local stations. Everything seems to be "organic" there now. I just want plan stuff that is not outrageously priced. Cannot buy jam or preserves there unless it is organic. Seems to me they are really pushing the organic crap, people think GMO is a bad thing, I'm sorry but I disagree. If GMO means more people around the world don't go hungry then I'm all for it. If it means bigger and better then bring it on. Probably the only good reason for me to cancel is because I buy too much stuff there. Anybody else cancel their membership or thinking about canceling? My dad had been a member there ever since it was Price Club. Maybe I should spend a month shopping the local grocery stores before I make my decision.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 24, 2016 - 6:22am.

I buy so much cat litter alone there I have no choice but to continue on.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on February 24, 2016 - 7:00am.

No Way, the whole roasted chicken can't be beat IMO.

Plus they have the best prices on some items like Vitamins, Cereals and coffee etc...

And I would not know how to dress anymore, all my clothes come from Costco from my socks, shoes and underwear, to shirts and pants and jackets.

I would be miserable.

I go to best buy, amazon or Fry's for electronics however.

Submitted by Coronita on February 24, 2016 - 7:51am.

I've been filling gas there early in the morning, that's about it.. Last week @the Carlsbad location: $2.28/gallon for 91...(beater cars of course.). That's a $30cents/gallon difference from others. I figure 15 gallons a week on average, that's $4.50/week in savings... More than enough to pay for an executive membership. Also doesn't factor in the cash rebate on the costco amex card (or soon to be visa card)

That in alone is more than an executive membership.

Some have raised concerns about how Costco gas might be crap gas.. I was initially concerned about generally using it for my better cars...But then again, I foung out my buddy has an E92 M3 has been getting costco gas there for about 7 years. No issue with his E92 M3. So I figure if it's good enough for a tracked M3, it's probably good enough for my beaters and my X5. Afterall, it's not like I have a porsche or ferrari. Plus i dump a can of techron cleaner in my tank every 2-3 months or so anyway, regardless of where i go get gas.

Filling up an 21 gallon X5 @ $2.28 is much better than previously filling up a 21 gallon X5 when it was $4.65/gallon, lol.

Submitted by XBoxBoy on February 24, 2016 - 9:34am.

Hate Costco. Refuse to go there. Poor selection, long lines. Can't see what people find so wonderful about the place. The most unpleasant shopping experience there is.

Submitted by plm on February 24, 2016 - 11:00am.

Love Costco. Actually like the poor selection. Don't have to choose and what they have is usually really good. If you don't like it, you can return it. Recently returned some vitamins I bought over a year ago but never used. No problem at all.

I do think their items have been trending toward organic and higher end but I don't mind paying more. Like Ballast Point beer. I just get more back in my Amex rebate, just got $260 back this year.

The fresh tilapia and ahi fish are really good besides the rotisserie chicken.

Carmel Mountain gas lines are too long to wait and save only 20 cents/gallon on gas though.

Submitted by skerzz on February 24, 2016 - 11:50am.

Costco is great IMO. Excellent prices on beer/wine/alcohol, dog food, organic eggs, meats, bulk household supplies (dish soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste, paper towels, TP, etc.) and TVs. Fill up the "nanny" car, a gas-guzzling HD2500 Chevy Suburban, every other week so long as the lines aren't too long. Last Sunday I saved over $30 dollars shopping at costco on just two purchases -- filled the 'burb up with 35 gallons of fuel ($13) and and picked up a bottle of nice scotch whiskey ($21) vs. purchasing at local retailers.

The gas savings on one vehicle justifies the cost of the executive membership. However, I have found the gas lines not worth the wait/time when filling up my more fuel efficient/smaller fuel capacity vehicles.

Submitted by bearishgurl on February 24, 2016 - 11:52am.

I know a lot of the Vons in SD County are gone now but Vons Just4U is wa-a-a-ay cheaper than Costco for a household of 1-3 people. You have to keep adding things (electronically) to your list every week, and actually start to buy some of them before your Just4U selection gets larger and larger as time goes on. The Just4U prices are dirt cheap and I'm a longtime master at bargain grocery shopping and couponer (which aren't so plentiful anymore).

Also the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred is the best AMEX card out there.

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credi...

I've only had it for 18 months (closed my Gold Card Acct and opened it) and already got back ~$300 last year (statement credit). It pays 6% back on standalone grocery store purchases and 3% back on standalone gas station purchases. This does NOT include "big box" stores or their gas stations but includes Safeway gas (northern Cal and OOS) and Fry's gas (Kroger in AZ).

When you combine the Vons Just4U (deep) discounts and pay with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, your savings are even better than the prices at military commissaries (which I DO visit 2-3 times per year when my youngest kid is present and able to get me in)!

Submitted by bibsoconner on February 24, 2016 - 11:51am.

Flu, Carlsbad Costco? That's the one I go to from work. Or should I say, used to go to before they started construction on their gas pump area. Now the long lines are completely unbearable. In general I agree with the original poster: Costco is not the great deal it once was. I've noticed that the meats have all gone up (they've gone up everywhere, but more so in Costco) and there aren't as many deals. And the amount of folks that stand in the middle of the aisle thereby blocking all the other shoppers has gone up considerably. Luckily for them, they still have cheap kitty litter so I'm there for now!

Submitted by Coronita on February 24, 2016 - 12:20pm.

bibsoconner wrote:
Flu, Carlsbad Costco? That's the one I go to from work. Or should I say, used to go to before they started construction on their gas pump area. Now the long lines are completely unbearable. In general I agree with the original poster: Costco is not the great deal it once was. I've noticed that the meats have all gone up (they've gone up everywhere, but more so in Costco) and there aren't as many deals. And the amount of folks that stand in the middle of the aisle thereby blocking all the other shoppers has gone up considerably. Luckily for them, they still have cheap kitty litter so I'm there for now!

Yup. I think they are adding an additional row of pumps. It isn't bad around 830am... Beyond gas, I stopped shopping there. Plus I am boycotting their tire center after they effed.up my wheels last time over at Carmel mountain.

Submitted by Coronita on February 24, 2016 - 12:23pm.

For all you that insist on organics, trader Joes.. Or Henry's/Sprout.

Submitted by moneymaker on February 24, 2016 - 3:20pm.

Ok just made a trip to Costco for cat food and what do you know they actually had a kirkland brand of jam that was not organic, also realized while I was waiting in line that most of my cars have Costco tires so if I cancel my membership I will have to go elsewhere for rotations and flat repair (Discount Tire would be my second choice). So for now I guess I'll keep it. On the way home stopped at Walmart for the salad and for half as much salad it was almost $1 more than Costco used to charge when they carried it. Salad causes flatulence so I guess I can just stop eating salad I suppose.

Submitted by Coronita on February 24, 2016 - 3:50pm.

moneymaker wrote:
Ok just made a trip to Costco for cat food and what do you know they actually had a kirkland brand of jam that was not organic, also realized while I was waiting in line that most of my cars have Costco tires so if I cancel my membership I will have to go elsewhere for rotations and flat repair (Discount Tire would be my second choice). So for now I guess I'll keep it. On the way home stopped at Walmart for the salad and for half as much salad it was almost $1 more than Costco used to charge when they carried it. Salad causes flatulence so I guess I can just stop eating salad I suppose.

What I do for tires is I buy them from tirerack.com and have them drop shipped to my installer, C2 Motorsports of Kerny Mesa. I don't trust Costco as a tire installer and they only stock Michelin tires which IMHO are a ripoff or bridgestone which is so-so. Tirerack usually had a better price than Costco when tirerack has their specials.

Also, most tire places locally will match Costco prices. You just need to ask. Also, if you actually go to a tire place, some places throw in a free alignment.

Getting tires from Costco is a pain for me on a beater car because you have to go there for tires and then go to an alignment shop after that isn't near the Costco

Submitted by bearishgurl on February 24, 2016 - 4:04pm.

moneymaker wrote:
. . . On the way home stopped at Walmart for the salad and for half as much salad it was almost $1 more than Costco used to charge when they carried it. . .
I just got a Von's Just4U offer this morning on 13 oz Taylor Farms Salad Kits for $2.17 (serves 2-3). I get similar offers all the time. Also, Ralph's has had BIG heads of iceberg, green leaf, red leaf and romaine lettuce for 99 cents for at least 4 months now. Very fresh. And Vons/Ralph's alternate 99-cent lb Roma tomatoes and 1.20 to 1.49 lb tomatoes on the vine.

Since you like salads, try putting these stores' weekly ads on your e-mail list, moneymaker.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on February 24, 2016 - 4:28pm.

If you're into greens if you go to Zions or some of the smaller Mexican markets they have astounding deals usually on most vegetables.

We try to go to one down the road from us once a week or so.

Submitted by njtosd on February 24, 2016 - 10:00pm.

XBoxBoy wrote:
Hate Costco. Refuse to go there. Poor selection, long lines. Can't see what people find so wonderful about the place. The most unpleasant shopping experience there is.

+1. I was responsible for the 6th grade promotion breakfast (donuts and drinks) at out elementary school a few years ago. $350 budget for about 240 possible people. I priced water bottles, juice boxes, plates, napkins and doughnuts. I did better shopping the sales at Vons and Party City than Costco for every item. I don't get the appeal.

Submitted by Essbee on February 25, 2016 - 5:48am.

I was at Costco Carmel Mountain over the weekend. What amazes me is how normal-appearing people will jostle and grab 5 samples without any thought to the person who has been waiting politely for their turn (ie me). Or they reach WAY across the sample tray to get the largest sample, rather than taking the one closest to them. I pretty much just avoid the samples now (and better for my waistline anyway).

Love the pizza slice at the patio but at ~800 calories per slice, it is best to avoid it.

I'm pretty sure that the gas was $2.09 on Sunday. (But I did not stop due to the crazy line).

Submitted by ltsddd on February 25, 2016 - 7:39am.

Essbee wrote:
I was at Costco Carmel Mountain over the weekend. What amazes me is how normal-appearing people will jostle and grab 5 samples without any thought to the person who has been waiting politely for their turn (ie me). Or they reach WAY across the sample tray to get the largest sample, rather than taking the one closest to them. I pretty much just avoid the samples now (and better for my waistline anyway).

+1.

I have been avoiding going to costco at peak feeding hours. There are way too many people that is completely devoid of any common sense or courtesy. I find it quite pathetic that it seems there are people/families who'll come to costco just for that singular purpose - eating free samples. Oh, then there's the gas station. I don't know exactly how much one could save but the long lines and the chaos is not worth it. I thought costco shoppers are generally higher-iq folks.

Submitted by La Jolla Renter on February 25, 2016 - 5:10pm.

I'm a costco fan. I skip the gas line if it's too long. Time is money.

Maybe they are selling more organic because that's what people want. I do probably spend all my savings on stuff I probably don't need.

A slice of cheese pizza, a hot dog, a coke, and a frozen yogurt for 5 bucks. How do you beat that. (before you call me fatty, this is for me, wife, and kid)

My favorite items, almond butter, coffee, salmon, organic chicken, asparagus, tequila, Stellas, frozen blue berries, protein powder, paper towels, toilet paper, those yellow micro fiber shop towels.

Submitted by Reality on February 25, 2016 - 9:45pm.

Kirkland vanilla ice cream is the best. And it's the best priced super premium by far.

It's sold as two half gallons wrapped together. No 1.75 quart or 1.5 quart crap. Actual half gallons.

Submitted by matt on February 26, 2016 - 3:16am.

Sprouts + trader joes for me... Especially Wednesday's at sprouts when you get both last weeks and this weeks deals... Costco has great quality but you pay for it... Favorite items frozen berries for smoothies, seaweed, chocolate raisins.... Rite aid seems to have the best deals on beer... I generally check the weekly flyers and plan accordingly

Submitted by livinincali on February 26, 2016 - 8:04am.

matt wrote:
Sprouts + trader joes for me... Especially Wednesday's at sprouts when you get both last weeks and this weeks deals... Costco has great quality but you pay for it... Favorite items frozen berries for smoothies, seaweed, chocolate raisins.... Rite aid seems to have the best deals on beer... I generally check the weekly flyers and plan accordingly

Costco for me is primarily meats and cheese. I get most of my produce from sprouts and if I want a good steak or pork chop then Siesels. If you live close to a Mexican market or an Asian market then those can be pretty good too. Vons and the other corporate grocery stores are trash, it's a waste of time unless you are only shopping their deals. Of course most people just shop their local grocery store so sometimes you're stuck with want you got where you live. It's just too much of a pain or hassle to go somewhere else.

Submitted by bearishgurl on February 26, 2016 - 11:14am.

livinincali wrote:
. . . Vons and the other corporate grocery stores are trash, it's a waste of time unless you are only shopping their deals. Of course most people just shop their local grocery store so sometimes you're stuck with want you got where you live. It's just too much of a pain or hassle to go somewhere else.
livinincali, I used to have five Vons to choose from within 8 miles of my home and now I only have two. The closest Vons to me is very small and doesn't carry Safeway's whole line of groceries OR even everything they advertise. However, I typically come into the store with a paper list of my Just4U items and a few club deals for that week on produce and end up making out like a bandit at the register after only buying what is on my list (and anything I might be able to use within a reasonable period of time from the clearance bin in which I also have a coupon for). For example, I just scored 2 bottles of Nature Made Multi-Vitamin capsules (60's) for $7.33 (incl tax) in a 2 for 1 club deal with a $4 Just4U coupon. (That's $1.83 mo for high-quality multivitamins.) I could get deals like that all day, every day if I shopped every day but I am now only a one-person household. I regularly get a LOT of slightly bent cans (dropped the night before in stocking) from both Vons or Ralphs for .25 to .50 ea (esp pet food).

I'm not a big meat eater but Vons meats are very high quality, they have their own organic line and they put them on clearance between 7:30 and 8:30 am at 30% - 75% off (incl fresh fish and poultry). If you're going to freeze it when you get home or cook it within 24 hours (and then maybe freeze it), it doesn't matter if its "sell-by" date is today or tomorrow. NONE of the meat they put out for clearance is discolored or spoiled. If you can't shop early in the am, there isn't much to choose from (if anything) by 11:00 am.

Vons and Albertsons now both have "red tag" sales every week featuring at least 50 items in the store. Buy any four and save $1.00 each. I've gotten all kinds of frozen, dairy and dry groceries (ex: Ragu spaghetti sauce or Progresso soup) for .88 to .99 each many times.

Overall, Vons is a good value if you plan your trip from home, bring a list (I don't have any apps in my phone) and stick to your Just4U list religiously (except for visiting their clearance areas).

I'm fairly certain that "corporate grocery stores" make very little $$ off me, if anything.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 26, 2016 - 11:25am.

BG, you sound like a good shopper and a person who can resist temptation really well. Good for you.

I recently met a a riend of a friend who is a retired history professor. He cooks very and uses good ingredients. He's very knowledgable. But he can't resist snacks. That's bad if you're retired and at home all day. He works out at the gym 2 hours a day, but he eats so much that he's obese and gaining. His breathing makes it sound like he's about to die. Late 50s.

Submitted by bearishgurl on February 26, 2016 - 12:32pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
BG, you sound like a good shopper and a person who can resist temptation really well. Good for you....
Well, the key is that you have to "go with the flow" with whatever is offered on sale/clearance this week and can't be "brand-loyal" the way I shop. You also can't be "in a hurry" to purchase a particular item. If you know you won't use it this week and it is not deeply discounted right now, then don't buy it. It is likely to go on sale within the next 14 days at one of the Big Three "corporate" grocery chains in SD County. You need to sign up for e-mails for their deals which come out every Wed. If you're in the store and see something in the clearance areas that won't spoil and you will definitely use in the near future, then buy it, ESP if you have a coupon for it.

I used to buy my grains at Sprouts but their bags went up in price over $1 each. Steel cut oatmeal is now cheaper at Ralphs, as is flaxseed. I agree that Sprouts' produce is really cheap. However, the tomatoes are of better quality at Vons.

You also can't be loyal to any particular store. I buy staples at Grocery Outlet such as eggs ($2.73 for a dozen local "jumbo size" which typically isn't carried in the "Big 3" cuz they are too big for recipes), $1.49 for 24 oz wide 100% WW bread, $2.29 gal milk and as little as $1.99 for a GAL of 100% CA orange juice (both from Rockview Farms):

http://www.rockviewfarms.com/

I can actually still feed two pets and two people (if necessary) very well (incl personal and hshld items) for $160 - $170 month and I lost my commissary privileges almost two years ago! Fortunately, I am surrounded my grocery stores of every kind :-)

My strategy wouldn't work nearly as well for a rural dweller who had to plan trips for grocery shopping due to more time and gas expended. I can just drop by any of the big 3 on my way to/from the gym, post office, and other local offices I regularly visit without wasting any extra time or gas.

I have never belonged to Costco (formerly "Price Club") even when I had a family to feed. I'm not in any way, shape or form interested in buying in bulk (and having to store it). The reason is because most of us in SD County are surrounded by stores and whatever you want will be cheaper next week or the week after. Hence, there is no reason whatsoever to stock up unless you just made a killing on the purchase or you live in the boonies.

Edit: I have always only fed "premium brands" of dry pet food. These items are on sale and clearance frequently and coupons are readily available both online and off.

Submitted by Coronita on February 26, 2016 - 12:56pm.

Passport photos $5.... lol
Photo dept is ok if you are not that picky. If you are picky, some locations allow you tell them calibration settings you'd prefer.

Submitted by La Jolla Renter on March 2, 2016 - 10:28am.

Just saw this in a email feed. Great read.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robinlewis/2...

...the over 75 million “mainlining” Costco members (and growing at a high single digit percentage rate annually), with an average annual income of $100,000, paying a $55 annual membership fee (or $110 for an executive level membership). Three million members a day enter Costco’s stores to get their fix.

Yes, you read those numbers right. In today’s over-stored and over-stuffed retail environment, the equivalent of almost one-fifth of the U.S. population is paying for the privilege to shop at a particular store. And this is not a one-off, let’s-see-what-it’s-like kind of visit. The renewal rate is a whopping 90 percent each year. I guess that captures the power of an addict’s behavior.

Not only is 80 percent of Costco’s gross margin and 70 percent of its operating income derived from its Costcoholics’ membership fees, Costco collects most of its profits 12 months in advance, not at the eleventh hour of the fiscal year like most other retailers.

Submitted by bewildering on March 2, 2016 - 10:37am.

It is a lot cheaper for Diapers, Milk, Bread, eggs, tissues and rolls, even the wine i like is cheaper (Kim Crawford Sauv). Even one off purchases are cheaper like tires, TVs, pianos. And I get money back with Amex and executive membership. The fact they make their money from the membership shows how that they cut prices to almost cost.

Finally, like Trader Joes, they treat their worker very well. Vons and Ralphs seem to be at constant war with their employees.

Submitted by svelte on March 3, 2016 - 8:43am.

La Jolla Renter wrote:

Yes, you read those numbers right. In today’s over-stored and over-stuffed retail environment, the equivalent of almost one-fifth of the U.S. population is paying for the privilege to shop at a particular store.

Well. Another case where stats can be misleading. Many employers - mine included - give free Costco memberships to all employees.

I'm guessing many other employers to the same. So all those members didn't choose to be members...it came along for the ride.

Also - even though we're members, we haven't set foot in Costco in several years. The crowds give me the heebie jeebies, and we found that buying in bulk led to overconsumption. Yeah maybe we could save 20% per ounce, but if we use twice as much at each serving because the large containers encourage us to do so, no savings were incurred and our beltline paid the price.

Submitted by bewildering on March 3, 2016 - 9:15am.

I received a letter yesterday with Costco delivering through google express
https://www.google.com/express/

REI, and a few other places as well. I guess this is competition for Amazon

Submitted by joec on March 3, 2016 - 7:19pm.

La Jolla Renter wrote:
Just saw this in a email feed. Great read.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robinlewis/2...

...the over 75 million “mainlining” Costco members (and growing at a high single digit percentage rate annually), with an average annual income of $100,000, paying a $55 annual membership fee (or $110 for an executive level membership). Three million members a day enter Costco’s stores to get their fix.

Yes, you read those numbers right. In today’s over-stored and over-stuffed retail environment, the equivalent of almost one-fifth of the U.S. population is paying for the privilege to shop at a particular store. And this is not a one-off, let’s-see-what-it’s-like kind of visit. The renewal rate is a whopping 90 percent each year. I guess that captures the power of an addict’s behavior.

Not only is 80 percent of Costco’s gross margin and 70 percent of its operating income derived from its Costcoholics’ membership fees, Costco collects most of its profits 12 months in advance, not at the eleventh hour of the fiscal year like most other retailers.

A good about Costco is that they have a rule that limits their profit margins to a small number. Investors have been urging them to raise prices and increase margins, but they have resisted for 40+ years...They still sell $1.50 hotdogs.

This is why they try to make money from their memberships since they aren't making much on everything they sell. Also, their warranty for stuff is pretty much top notch. They changed electronics due to people abusing it, but most other items still can be returned without much, if any hassles.

Amazon is trying to do this with their Prime, but if you check prices, you'll notice that Amazon prices are pretty bad now most of the time...Also, returns AREN'T free for a lot of items and service has suffered as they try to start making money (counterfeit items, poor packing, etc...)

They also overprice their MSRP for a lot of products (to make it look cheaper (greater percent off)) and purposely delay shipment of items if you aren't a prime member.

Sometimes, prime, you also have to "wait" while they process your order before 2 day ship...

Amazon also has a history of undercutting rivals till they are dead, then raise prices after they are gone. Or they buy whoever they can't beat...

Yes, I am not a fan of Amazon...anymore.

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