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Costco Selection?
Old 01-12-2014, 04:59 PM   #1
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Costco Selection?

Anyone know how often selection changes at Costco? Is it mostly new every week or so like an Odd Lots or mostly consistent like Target, or something in between? I hope I can count on having much the same selection from one week to the next (changing slowly over months, years), but I don't know.

I did try Google, didn't find an answer, probably bad search terms.
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:13 PM   #2
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Really depends on categories. Side aisles, pretty stable, center aisles seems to rotate seasonnally at least. In wine section, choices continously change-- if you see a good deal, grab it as it is likely gone in two weeks or less.
We get a new promo flyer about every 3 weeks--includes new items and specials on staples like paper prod, detergent, and some electronics like flash drives, etc. Check out their website for other items
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:21 PM   #3
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Most of the items I buy regularly are always there - like Kirkland dog food, for example. Other items change, like hardware items, clothes and groceries.

I've heard that this is by design to get you to stock up on an item when it is available. The variety makes it somewhat of a sport to shop there to see what deals can be snagged.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:27 PM   #4
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There are certain items you can always expect them to have, like laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and other typical household cleaning and care items.

They will always have a selection of electronics, but the models change frequently. They will always have some type of coffee maker, but the model also changes frequently.

Clothing changes seasonally, toys are only during the Christmas season. Fresh fruit only when it's in season. And then they have the items that they buy one time, and when they are gone, they are gone, like a unique piece of furniture or a very high end Cartier watch.

Don't worry. You'll learn to love Costco. It's practically the only place we ever shop. Just one example this week. I needed to switch my toothpaste to Sensodyne due to a new tooth sensitivity I've developed. I was in a rush, so I bought one tube at CVS. 4.6 ounces for $6.49.

Later in the week, I bought a four pack, 6.4 ounces each, for $19.99. So $1.41 per ounce at CVS, .78 per ounce at Costco. Almost half the price.

So if inflation eats up 2-3% a year of our expenses, and you can cut your expenses by almost 50% by buying in bulk at Costco, you will fight back many years of inflation by shopping there.

And, everything is returnable no questions asked, plus double the warranty on all electronics items.

And for those who say they don't buy enough to purchase in bulk, I say nonsense. I buy for just myself and my partner, and most of what we buy is for either one or the other anyway. If it takes a year to use up the toothpaste, so what? At half the price, how much money are you going to earn in interest by buying your tubes throughout the year at the local drugstore?
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:05 PM   #5
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Thanks folks, I mostly wanted to know what I need to grab when I see it, and what I can reasonably expect to be there the next week or two - and the posts above give me a good idea what to expect. We bought a couple items yesterday (first trip) that could have waited a few weeks, but none of it will go to waste.

We absolutely saved our membership cost yesterday in one trip, so I know we'll like it. Thrilled already. Just learning what I can buy there and what we'll still have to augment at the local grocery store, but we don't want or expect to buy everything at one store.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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My local Costco has really nice Douglas fir Christmas trees for $25. I hesitated and then they were out. I ended up spending $50 for one at a local tree lot. So it is pretty easy to save the $55 annual fee.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:32 PM   #7
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I just rejoined Costco for the first time in 15 years. The last time I was a member I had two growing boys to feed and a 4 bedroom house. Now I'm single, on a low carb regime and living in 600 sq ft (for context).

I decided to join to save money on nuts--a big part of my low carb diet They always have the Marcona almonds I love, and great big bags of really good walnuts.

But the Belgian chocolates I found in November weren't there last week (wait a minute, didn't she say she was eating low carb??).

However there were many other chocolate offerings to choose from.

AND, they have Johnnie Walker Black Label now. In November they only had Red Label. (no carbs in whisky--yay!)

So for some of those semi-exotic food and drink items, the selection may vary. But you'll always go away happy.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:49 PM   #8
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We have been Costco members for 30+ years, back when it was Price Club.

The only problem I have with Costco is that the goods are often sold in packages meant for families and too large for just the two of us now. For example, breads, hamburger buns, or lettuce in huge packages often turn bad because we cannot eat that much that quick. My wife pointed out to me that even if we throw away 1/3 of it due to spoilage, we are still ahead compared to shopping elsewhere.

Still, we eat less and less these days, so I find myself buying meats from other places that sell in smaller packages. The nearest Costco with a gas station is not too far from home, so we refill there exclusively. Costco consistently has the lowest gas price, and there's a rebate on top of it. When we are on RV treks, I always check my itinerary to have strategic stopovers for refueling, a walk through the store to stretch our legs and to see what is carried in the store. Different Costco stores do carry different merchandise and foodstuff, so a bit of exploring is worthwhile.

+1 about buying in bulk to save money, as some earlier posters have noted. One prime example is the big pack of Glide dental floss. Far more economical than buying onesy at Walmart!

PS. My wife just got back more than $250 on the Costco AmEx card rebate, which more than pays for the membership.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:18 PM   #9
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....
The only problem I have with Costco is that the goods are often sold in packages meant for families and too large for just the two of us now. ...

PS. My wife just got back more than $250 on the Costco AmEx card rebate, which more than pays for the membership.
We are mostly just 2 now, except for when the youngest is home from college, but she eats like a bird. But some of the package sizes confuse me, and I keep meaning to take a minute to talk to someone at the store about it.

For example, they had some great looking steak that I wanted to buy, real premium stuff, but the packages were 5 or 6 big steaks, and something like $50 per pack. So I'd need to freeze some, and I'd prefer not to freeze such premium cuts.

So would it really kill them to pack 2-3 steaks, and sell for $25? Does the little foam plastic tray and plastic wrap add that much to the price? There are lots of things for $10 or less there, so why make big packs of expensive stuff? I can see where bulk makes sense for cheap stuff, but for premium stuff it seems silly.

To Midpack - look into the 'Executive Membership' at Costco - I forget the details, but you pay a higher fee, but get a % back. DW does this, and we always get back more than the fee, it might even be 'guaranteed', but check on that. But if you earned back the fee in one visit, the Executive probably makes sense for you.

Costco is pretty much our 'go to' store, and we know what we can't get there, and we fill in at Trader Joe's and Dominicks Jewel, and will soon have a Mariono's near us.

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Old 01-13-2014, 07:31 AM   #10
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ANything that is a Kirkland brand and many staples will always be available. Costco sets up good sources and sells them at good prices. They do the same with many brands of electronics and other equipment and clothes. But they also supplement these with overstocks or other specials they appear to buy when available. You get used to what is present most of the time and can spot specials.

I think the Kirkland brand items can be among the best values at Costco. They seem to do a remarkable job contracting with major producers to provide high end products at rock bottom prices. One of my 10 year old $3K each hearing aids fell to the ground and got run over by a car the other day. I did a lot of due diligence and ended up buying a Kirkland Signature 5 for $2000 for the pair. These are made for Costco by Resound and according to hundreds of posts on a hearing forum are indistinguishable from the Resound Verso 9s which sell for $5K plus at lots of audiologist's offices. I am getting the Bluetooth streaming capability for an extra $200 so I can listen to PBS or stream music from my iPhone at the gym.
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Old 01-13-2014, 07:35 AM   #11
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One other Costco tip, courtesy of Nords, is that Costco will accept the Fidelity 2% back Amex credit card, thus doubling your earned rewards when shopping there, even at their gas pumps.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:02 AM   #12
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To Midpack - look into the 'Executive Membership' at Costco - I forget the details, but you pay a higher fee, but get a % back. DW does this, and we always get back more than the fee, it might even be 'guaranteed', but check on that. But if you earned back the fee in one visit, the Executive probably makes sense for you.
We did go for the $110 Exec membership, and more than saved that on the first trip. We hadn't planned to, but they had a promo going that refunded $55 after we spend $250, we spent $270 so that refund is forthcoming. [We loaded up on staples at irresistible prices, we won't spend that much weekly.]

I also compared actual costs on 10 or so bigger items vs what we were actually paying at Target (best cases) and we saved $72 there. We get another 2% back on purchases, 3% on gas that may often be appears will always be the cheapest around (and we use Gas Buddy to know) plus we got a no fee AmEx (mixed feelings about another CC). So from my perspective we can't lose.

And we'll still buy some meat, produce and a few other items where quantities at Costco just don't work for the two of us, but we'd already gravitated to larger sizes/multi packs for non-perishables and a few other items.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:35 AM   #13
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We did go for the $110 Exec membership, and more than saved that on the first trip. ...

And we'll still buy some meat, produce and a few other items where quantities at Costco just don't work for the two of us, but we'd already gravitated to larger sizes/multi packs for non-perishables and a few other items.
Sounds good. One positive thing they've done with some meats is that even though you buy a big package, it is actually made up of several smaller individual packs. Chicken pcs and sausages are two examples - so you can cut away one pack, and throw the other 3 in the freezer, and pull out a pack as needed.

I've been surprised a few times though, Trader Joe's prices on some things are right in line with Costco (smoked salmon), and you can buy a smaller amount. But in general, Costco has great prices and high quality.

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Old 01-13-2014, 10:12 AM   #14
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The way to tell if an item is a special buy (other than the obvious seasonal stuff) is if the price tag has a "*" on the upper right hand corner. Once their supply of that item is gone it is gone.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:36 AM   #15
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Tuna

We don't have a Costco membership as the closest one is 20 miles away and traffic all the way, so we stick with Sam's Club (1 mile away).

I was in Puerto Rico a couple of years back at a tuna canning plant doing a project and the manufacturing manager was explaining the cleaning, grading and canning process. I asked about who gets the highest quality canned tuna and he said they pack it all for Kirkland.

BTW, there are no waste fish parts from a tuna at one of these plants.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:43 AM   #16
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gas that appears will always be the cheapest around
Don't bet on that. Around here, Costco gas is only cheaper about a quarter of the time.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:43 AM   #17
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Interesting thread. A Costco opened in town (about 8 miles from home) about 8 years ago. We made the mistake of touring it that first week and the madness turned us off. That and the feeling that two of us couldn't make use of most of the size packages. I've never heard much negative about it but a lot of positive so may give it a second look. The 2% back (on top of Amex 2%) with the Executive membership is pretty sweet. But, that would mean regular trips over there which is generally a direction we don't go. We have a Walmart (BIG one) 4 miles from home and even that we don't use frequently, usually opt for the nearby Harris Teeter. I will say that the savings at WalMart are impressive and worth the effort.
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:02 AM   #18
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I, too, was under the impression that the Costco items were of top quality.

Recently I was talking to a friend about his Birkenstock sandals. He loves the sandals and got them at Costco for a great price (compared to "retail" pricing). He wears them all the time.

However, when it was time "renew" them (the cork, sole, lining, etc. of Birkenstocks can be replaced while keeping the original uppers), he was told by the repair shop that the Costco Birkenstocks were not made of the same high quality materials as the non-Costco ones. Thus it would not be cost-effective to get his sandals "renewed". So he's just planning on wearing them until they totally fall apart.

My friend still thinks he got a good deal, but figures that the manufacturer had to cut costs somewhere to be able to sell them at the Costco price.

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Old 01-13-2014, 11:05 AM   #19
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Don't bet on that. Around here, Costco gas is only cheaper about a quarter of the time.
Understood. We'll continue to check GasBuddy and my EnTune car app before buying as we have for years. But it was 14 cents/gal cheaper last Sat than the lowest in the area, and 24 cents less than average (at most stations around us). Confirmed!
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:08 AM   #20
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We get another 2% back on purchases, 3% on gas that appears will always be the cheapest around (and we use Gas Buddy to know) plus we got a no fee AmEx (mixed feelings about another CC). So from my perspective we can't lose.
Good idea that you got the Executive upgrade. It is worth another percent rebate at the gas pumps.
As a RVer, we have saved bundles by mapping our trip against the Costco stores across the country (pick up a store directory at their service desk). Each is a bit different and we find it a good chance for snack or inexpensive lunch when we fill-up as well as some exercise. Since we enjoy wine, we always cruise by the wine selection--lot of variation between stores items in this category.
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