If you ever shopped at Costco before, you have braved the crowds and long checkout lines. Other than bulk versions of products you already know, Costco offers much more than just products alone. You know an annual membership is required, and you continue to question if it’s worth it.
Costco Membership offers a variety of benefits such as the ones they continue to put right in front of you in the form of Costco Travel and rotating discount coupons every month, but there is more to it.
Let’s say for some reason you do not feel like you can reap enough of the benefits of Costco membership during the year. You can technically go into the store on the last day of your membership and receive a full refund. In a more common case, let’s say you upgraded to the more pricy executive membership to get the 2% cash back, but only received a voucher for $20 because you did not spend enough. You can go to the membership counter and request a refund of the difference between the Gold Star $55 membership plus the amount of the reward check with the Executive $110 membership. In essence, you can always get the Executive membership and get back at least the difference between going for the upgraded membership and the regular membership.
You may know that Costco has an amazing return policy. In case you actually keep certain electronics like TV’s, projectors, and computers, you actually receive the 2nd year warranty for free as part of your membership. Manufacturer warranties for these products generally last 1 year, so the 2nd year does come in handy. If you actually need to utilize the warranty, Costco Concierge has technical support to walk you through it and even contact the manufacturer. If you just don’t like the products, electronics can be returned within 90 days, and the rest of the items can be returned…whenever. You may actually have a good reason for returning something like it didn’t function, it was molding before the expiration date, etc. Technically, you can also return anything, for any reason. You can also return products sold on their website at the store as well. With that said, don’t go returning crazy or you’ll most likely get on their watch list.
If you are just bored on the weekend, you can go grab your complementary lunch on Saturday. Saturday tends to be the day with the most sample stations, enough for you to get a satisfactory meal at times. Even if the samples were not enough, you can grab a cheap bite at the food court. If the food court line seems unruly, and you actually need to buy something inside the store, go order your food court items at the register when you pay so that you can then stand in the much shorter prepaid line to grab your food.
If you ever wanted huge Costco pizzas for an event, always call in early. You can call in Costco pizza orders before going to the store, just contact your local Costco. Pizza orders can take as little as 20 minutes to up to 1.5 hours depending on how busy they are.
A few of the services in the store such as the pharmacy and optometrist do not require Costco membership. Also, you can purchase alcohol without membership due to state laws. You can go in and order your very own case of Kirkland Light beer or Kirkland Vodka from France. When you enter the store, just say you are going to just buy alcohol, and you will be let in.While you are there, grab some free samples.
Other membership benefits may be better for business such as merchant card processing, payroll, and accounting, but other benefits such as custom checks and insurance are available to all. I would go as far as saying the Costco Tire Center could be a benefit since their tires are competitively priced, especially when a coupon offer is available when you buy a set of 4. The downside of the tire center is the extremely long wait times and lack of variety of tires. The wait times may seem more bearable because you can just make more runs around the store looking for more things to buy, but sometimes even then you will end up waiting for your car.
Costco’s current American Express credit card is pretty good too by offering 3% cash back at gas stations, 2% cash back at restaurants and travel, and 1% for everything else. By combining all of these cash back options, Costco really tries to make their membership worth it.
Costco gas tends to be cheaper than the surrounding gas stations in the area, but the lines tend to be crazy long. In order to avoid the lines, you will need to get gas really early in the morning before the store opens or around or after closing time. Compared to other gas stations, Costco gas works just fine, and Costco claims they use “Top Tier” gas. I’ll let you decide.
There’s more to Costco than what I have in this list, but it’s a start. Happy shopping!