Tuesday’s Top 10: Reasons Costco Gets Away With Charging Me To Shop There

Did you ever try to sell lemonade when you were a kid? You know, set up one of those little tables along the street, bribe your mom into making a big batch of lemonade and maybe some cookies?

Then your first customer pulls their car up along the sidewalk and gets out.  Just as they’re about to step up and buy a 25 cent lemonade, you hold both hands up and halt them in your tracks.

“You have to pay five cents to come look at this stuff.”


This is what Costco does.  How do they get away with it?  I’ll tell you how.

1 – They put someone at the door. If you want people to want to go somewhere, just put someone at the door to make it feel exclusive.  They’re not there to check your card – they don’t even look!  One time I held up my Avis card and the guy just smiled and waved us through.  They’re just there to make you feel like it’s someplace special.

2 – They give you an ID card. I love ID cards, especially official looking ones with my picture on it that the people guarding the door don’t even look at.

3 – 102″ televisions for $19.99 – you can’t beat huge televisions that cost less than a rack of ribs.

4 – Towering stacks of tires. My kids love the  pile of tires.

5 – Industrial sized boxes of . . . anything you want. Toothpicks, AAA batteries, nutmeg.  You name it, you can get a lifetime supply.

6 – They have a 12-cup rice cooker. Some day I will buy a 12-cup rice cooker so that I can feed Maile’s entire side of the family (they are Hawaiin – they eat a lot of rice)

7 – Free samples of tasty food we never buy. Sometimes, if our older two are getting raucous, we just send them off to find the free food.

8 – The entire checkout situation is so intense that it feels like going through customs at the airport: cart on this side, you on that side, show your ID card, show your debit card.  Why is this good?  It’s not.  But it makes the whole place feel like an impenetrable fortress that you simply must have access to.

9 – When Maile and I were there last week we visited their snack bar on the way out and fed our family of 6 for $7.55. That usually doesn’t even get you an appetizer at TGIFridays. Amazing.  I told her we should go there every night, but then she said she’d have to stop writing her food blog about how important it is to eat real food.  I told her she could just start writing her posts about recycling the grease from the pizza to change the oil in your car.  It didn’t fly.

10 – Someone checks your receipt on the way out. And as a bonus they draw a smiley face on it for the kids.  Sign me up for another year.

So what do you love or hate about Costco?

7 Replies to “Tuesday’s Top 10: Reasons Costco Gets Away With Charging Me To Shop There”

  1. Best thing about Costco is their exchange policy on electronics. 90 days no questions asked. It is also a must shop place when feeding a group of 20 teenage boys. We love Costco. I will say that Shannon has to remind me that Costco is not the place to try something new that looks like if might be good. :-)

    1. so what you are saying is that if you have to feed 20 teenage boys, you just take them to costco and let them feed on the samples? well done, travis. well done.

  2. you forgot to mention that they don’t even look at the receipt, they just draw a line on it.

    1. but what you don’t realize is that those are secret scanner pens that recognize everything in your cart and match it up with the items on your receipt. they’re sneaky like that.

  3. Shawn, I love the rewards check at the end of the year since we are “Executive Members”. Nothing like getting a $100 check in the mail. Until you do the math and realize how much money you spent to get that “free” $100.

    I promise you will appreciate Costco more once your kids get a little bit older, and have much bigger appetites.

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