One thing I heard about Costco that makes me like it: no item is marked up more than 14% from their price (and electronics are much lower). Whenever I feel like grabbing something in there, I know it isn't one of these 300% mark-up impulse buy things -- in other words, I won't get ripped off. I still have to make sure I need the thing and can afford it, but at least I know it is worth what I'll pay for it.
That comes from Costco being a buying club-- sort of like a co-op. It's a bit like the way Vanguard is organized. Gee, does that make me against capitalism? Am I starting to sound like a commie?
Credit unions are like this, too -- a whole sub-category of capitalism that is trying to look out for its customers and employees as much as shareholders... and generally doing well for everybody as a result. Hmm....
Also C-T -- are you an executive member? You might come out ahead with their 2% rebate even though that level of membership is now up over $100.