WHEN I MOVED to the U.S. for work, a friend graciously helped me settle in. He shared many useful tips, one of which was to become a Costco member. I’m glad I heeded my friend’s advice. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years and found the store’s service to be exceptional.
In recent years, my Costco shopping has expanded to include not just everyday purchases, but also luxury items, gas, tires, electronics and vacations. I bought a piece of jewelry from the warehouse this year to surprise my wife on her milestone birthday. Thanks to the no-fuss return policy, she was able to exchange it for another ring that fit better.
Recently, we needed to replace our washer and dryer. I checked out Costco’s online store—something I’ve rarely used. I found models that were highly rated by Consumer Reports. The price was higher than I’d hoped, but it included delivery, installation and hauling away the old machines. I went ahead and placed the order.
In a few days, I got the delivery confirmation and a two-hour window for the delivery. The crew showed up on time. In less than an hour, the new appliances were installed and running.
The next week, I had to go online again to download the manuals. To my surprise, I noticed a 25% price drop on the same models that I’d purchased. I was disappointed to miss the promotion, but I also had a feeling that Costco would somehow make it right.
Indeed, Costco has a price adjustment policy for people in my situation. If an item goes on promotion within 30 days of purchase, Costco refunds the difference. All I had to do was fill out a simple online form. The refund appeared on my credit card account in three days. No questions asked.
No wonder the company is doing so well.
I was a reluctant Costco shopper at first but have been taken in slowly to now I have purchased glasses, hearing aids, and, oh yeah, a lot of groceries. I keep re-researching and keep coming back that Costco is a good deal.
I do keep the credit card at minimum usage and pay it off to avoid saving so much on money I end up with too much debt.
My other quibble with the model is that I think it would be to Costco’s benefit to let anyone enter (not just members) an then entice them to join by great deals and requiring membership to purchase. I did once forget my card but got in when I told the front checker I knew the Costco dance. They were confused so I did a little dance and instant, “Costco is the way to go, prices so low, all others…are higher.” They shrugged and said, “sure, go ahead.”
I buy my eyeglasses and contact lenses from Costco optical and save more than 50% compared to other stores, including Walmart.
I wonder as well, if Costco may be a good place to work part-time for early retirees. I have no idea, but they certainly take care of their customers, and they are one of a handful of companies who offer medical benefits to their part-time employees.
I use their pharmacy, which is available to non-members. However, I live alone, and have limited storage space. Membership has never seemed cost-effective to me.
Thanks, mytimetotravel. I agree that smaller households may not benefit as much, especially for everyday purchases. Depending on the spending pattern, there can still be some savings on gas, travel, auto, appliances and one-off purchases, but it may not be enough to be cost-effective.
Costco car buying and repair service is amazing too…Sam’s club not so much.
Thanks, Mik. I haven’t used the car buying service, but I buy the tires from them. In the last round, they suggested that I wait for a few months instead of replacing the tires now, to avail an upcoming promotion. I left my phone number and received a call in a few weeks that the promotion became available.
I purchased a very nice gas grill from Costco that was both sturdy and reliable, with the exception a poorly designed electric starter ignition. After 18 months and 2 replacement parts from the manufacturer (both of which also failed), the manufacturer’s phone rep. acknowledged that this had been a recurring issue for many purchasers. Costco (despite our having using the grill over two summers) agreed to accept the grill back with a full refund – cash – told us not to even bother scrubbing it down (we did anyway). I have since purchased a wood pellet grill (again, from Costco) that is even better.
Costco is the gold standard on customer service.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Newsboy. This is the perfect example of “satisfaction guaranteed”
Costco is fantastic. Our nearby Costco’s parking lot is full when they open and stays that way throughout the day. The nearby Sam’s parking lot is smaller and less than half full. Costco has great prices but their secret sauce is their customer service which is amazing. I buy glasses from their optical dept. One time while working on my car, I stepped on my glasses and broke the frame. I told them what I did but because I was still in the warranty period, they replaced the frame free of charge. Another time I bought some exterior lights. When I finally got around to installing them I was dissatisfied with the product. However, the free return period was expired. Costco gave me a full refund anyway.
Your friend did you a huge favor when he told you about Costco.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Jerry. Yes, that was a big favor indeed.