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Old 03-03-2015, 09:35 AM   #121
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Our local Kroger has two sizes of carts. The "regular" fairly large size and a smaller cart. I almost always grab the smaller cart. I guess it feels odd to me to get the big cart and only full it up a little.

Of course Costco don't offer a small size cart (or pretty much a small size anything).
I have never ever felt odd having just one or two items in a cart. I simply use a cart if something is heavy.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:37 AM   #122
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I often see something at Costco that I believe is a very good buy but had not planned on purchasing. My trick is to buy it and have it put on a separate receipt. I then take the object and store it in the garage while I research it. About 60% of the time, one of two things happen: Either my research shows I should not have bought it, or the urge to have it goes away after I take a nap. Then I return it on my next trip, unopened, and ready for the next treasure hunter.

If I do keep the item, it usually proves to be a worthwhile purchase.
Costco keeps meticulous records of your purchases. I've returned stuff without a receipt, years after the purchase, with no hassles. I don't abuse the return policy, as I'm sure widespread abuse on electronics several years ago led Costco to change its return policy on electronics ( a real Tragedy of the Commons). I have heard that you can lose your membership if you're marked as a serial, abusive returner of goods.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:49 AM   #123
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Is this really true? Is there a study to back this up? I'm not making fun or anything, just curious. I can't imagine buying something I don't want just because there's room in the cart. <snip>

Seriously, though, I'd be curious to know if this is something someone did a study on, or just one of those assumptions about human behavior.
I was dimly aware that there's a definite science to store design but after an odyssey through IKEA (that's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back) I did some research on the Web and made a Toastmasters speech out of it. Sorry, I don't have links to any of my sources, but in general here are some of the tricks:

1. Put all the essentials (bread, milk, diapers) at the back of the store so people are forced to pass by all the impulse items.
2. Once people have a healthy chunk of merchandise in their carts, they're actually more likely to make impulse purchases- it's a smaller % of what they're already buying.
3. You're generally being directed on a specific path even though you don't realize it. In the US, about 99% of grocery stores lead you counter-clockwise, starting at the fresh flower/produce section where the bright colors and fresh items make you happy. Many big box stores have walls running nearly the length of the store so you can't cut across from one aisle to the other easily. Ikea has this down to a science; you can't go more than about 6 feet before you have to turn, and there are always attractive displays of impulse items at the turning points. Between the showroom and the area where you pick up your choices, you have to pass through another giant "marketplace" area and it's all impulse stuff- rugs, dishes, artwork.
4. In general- the longer you stay in a store the more you spend, which is why they lead you on a wandering path and the staples aren't right near the checkout.

I agree that LBYM types are less likely to fall for these tricks; I find the whole thing fascinating.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:51 AM   #124
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I often see something at Costco that I believe is a very good buy but had not planned on purchasing. My trick is to buy it and have it put on a separate receipt. I then take the object and store it in the garage while I research it. About 60% of the time, one of two things happen: Either my research shows I should not have bought it, or the urge to have it goes away after I take a nap. Then I return it on my next trip, unopened, and ready for the next treasure hunter.

If I do keep the item, it usually proves to be a worthwhile purchase.
I've done that a time or two (but why a separate receipt?), I ended up keeping it in both cases. Ahhh, this reminded me to check my latest 'deal' - I saw these 3-A: 40-B:C First Alert Fire Extinguishers, and since I don't know the price of a Fire Extinguisher off the top of my head, I decided to buy it, assuming it would be a good deal, and I could return it if not.

So I just checked, wow - It was $35 minus $8 sale, and I can't find them for less than ~$50 anywhere.

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Old 03-03-2015, 11:48 AM   #125
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I wish we had a Costco nearby, the closest one is about 30 miles and in a congested area so I haven't bothered to check it out. I remember when it opened and my parents joined and soon after asked me if I could take a dozen grapefruits off their hands as they had gotten a great deal but could not store or eat that many grapefruits!

Our Walmart used to be a decent option about 3 miles away. Then they did a huge expansion/renovation and turned into a SuperWalmart that ranges from mediocre to awful. The store is a mess, large empty sections on the shelves, departments in disarray. I go there for a few specific items that they carry in economy size and half the time what I need is out of stock. Or I check online and they say it's out of stock but I see it there anyways. Many un-staffed checkouts and long lines at the other ones.

The "new" store was just so disappointing.

I have used the "Savings Catcher" and received a few dollars in credits but when I get the notice that I received a credit I usually cringe at the thought of going back.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:49 AM   #126
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I don't always have time to do this, but I do like going to stores and buying only the loss leaders. I think of it as my reverse marketing tactic. I saw one of my friends once in a local grocery store and he asked why I had 8 pounds of cheese and nothing else in my shopping cart.

The stores have so many tactics like staples in the back, loss leaders to get you in the store to buy higher priced goods, big carts, candy at the checkout and a million other strategies that all appeal to our reptilian brains it feels good to be able to ignore all that and just shop according to my price spreadsheets.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:34 PM   #127
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I don't always have time to do this, but I do like going to stores and buying only the loss leaders. I think of it as my reverse marketing tactic. I saw one of my friends once in a local grocery store and he asked why I had 8 pounds of cheese and nothing else in my shopping cart.
We need to replace our deteriorating dining room chairs before we put the house on the market and DH is still up for Ikea, but I have a plan. I found many possibilities on-line. We'll make a choice, write down the stock number, head straight to the stockroom (easily accessible from the parking lot) and ask what aisle/bin they're in. (Ordinarily you do that when you make your choice in the showroom but then it's 45 minutes to the stockroom- and last time the aisle/bin number posted by the item was wrong, anyway so an employee had to look it up). Get item, load car, get outta there. DH and I aren't so picky that we'd freak out if the chair finish didn't match our wooden baseboards.

I love beating the system!
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:37 PM   #128
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We need to replace our deteriorating dining room chairs before we put the house on the market and DH is still up for Ikea, but I have a plan. I found many possibilities on-line. We'll make a choice, write down the stock number, head straight to the stockroom (easily accessible from the parking lot) and ask what aisle/bin they're in. (Ordinarily you do that when you make your choice in the showroom but then it's 45 minutes to the stockroom- and last time the aisle/bin number posted by the item was wrong, anyway so an employee had to look it up). Get item, load car, get outta there. DH and I aren't so picky that we'd freak out if the chair finish didn't match our wooden baseboards.

I love beating the system!
Just curious, but why do you have to replace the dining room chairs before putting the house on the market? Are you selling it furnished?
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:09 PM   #129
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Just curious, but why do you have to replace the dining room chairs before putting the house on the market? Are you selling it furnished?
Don't you watch HGTV? ;-) There's a new business called "home staging" that involves throwing out all the clutter, taking down pictures of family or any art that might be too ethnic, and making the place look like a model home. The chairs, frankly, look bad. They started out as very well-made chairs in the 1950s and came from my first husband's family but the backs are caned and the seats are cushioned. Stuffing is coming out of some, caning is torn up. We don't really care- they're functional- but it's probably time to pitch them rather than move them to a new place. Repairing would cost more than they're worth.

When the standard becomes "model home in move-in condition", if your house isn't up to that standard it won't fetch top dollar. I just spent $1,000 and a lot of elbow grease tiling 2 bathroom floors, one of which had nasty beige carpet and the other having cheap plastic linoleum.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:12 PM   #130
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Don't you watch HGTV? ;-) There's a new business called "home staging" that involves throwing out all the clutter, taking down pictures of family or any art that might be too ethnic, and making the place look like a model home. The chairs, frankly, look bad. They started out as very well-made chairs in the 1950s and came from my first husband's family but the backs are caned and the seats are cushioned. Stuffing is coming out of some, caning is torn up. We don't really care- they're functional- but it's probably time to pitch them rather than move them to a new place. Repairing would cost more than they're worth.

When the standard becomes "model home in move-in condition", if your house isn't up to that standard it won't fetch top dollar. I just spent $1,000 and a lot of elbow grease tiling 2 bathroom floors, one of which had nasty beige carpet and the other having cheap plastic linoleum.
No, I don't watch HGTV. I can understand the carpet/tile fix. Maybe just rent some furniture for the staging?
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:42 PM   #131
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We need to replace our deteriorating dining room chairs before we put the house on the market and DH is still up for Ikea, but I have a plan. I found many possibilities on-line. We'll make a choice, write down the stock number, head straight to the stockroom (easily accessible from the parking lot) and ask what aisle/bin they're in. (Ordinarily you do that when you make your choice in the showroom but then it's 45 minutes to the stockroom- and last time the aisle/bin number posted by the item was wrong, anyway so an employee had to look it up). Get item, load car, get outta there. DH and I aren't so picky that we'd freak out if the chair finish didn't match our wooden baseboards.

I love beating the system!
+1 That precisely describes my last trip to IKEA. Got there right at opening and was out about 7 minutes after I arrived. And it was still unpleasant.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:58 PM   #132
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Our new-ish Costco is about 6 miles from his house (or 7 miles from mine). It's fighting busy city traffic and congestion most of the way, though, so I'd guess 15-20 minutes. I never go to that area any more for anything else at all, and the drive is fairly unappealing, so I haven't yet gotten around to investigating it. Maybe we'll drive over there this week to check it out. If we do, I'll time it.
I drove F over there after lunch today, for the first time. I didn't time it - - the busy city traffic and congestion kept me busy, and became crazy lunatic driving within a block of Costco.

Here's my review of Costco, from my one and only visit there. I know, most of you have been there a lot and know all about Costco, but I want to express my opinion.

COSTCO PROS AND CONS:

Pros:
1) Lots of parking close to the store.
2) Inside the store the other patrons seemed relatively civilized and well behaved, as opposed to their behavior when driving in the parking lot. They were definitely a higher class of folks than those patronizing our nearest Wally World, and probably even bathed. That was a relief.
3) It was clean.
4) I think I've seen cars smaller than those shopping carts.
5) We got lots of walking in; good exercise!

Cons:
1) The place was HUGE, even bigger than Sam's Club.
2) We walked throughout the entire store and looked at everything, and neither of us saw anything we wanted to buy there. We saw things we wanted, but not at the price offered. Maybe we are too LBYM for Costco? Or maybe we were looking at their higher priced stuff.
3) I thought all of the food was packaged in ridiculously huge sizes for a single person that would take me a year or more to consume - - - although Frank thought that the sizes weren't so bad.
4) The annual fee would be $59, but if you want the higher tier membership with 2% off purchases, then that's another $55.
5) The items we happened to look at didn't look like much of a discount to either of us (but then perhaps we were looking at the wrong items).
6) My knees are killing me.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:08 PM   #133
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Just ran a Quicken report - we spent $5,088 last year, just on the two of us. That does include two televisions that we picked up when we went in for dog food.
I just have to say, I shouldn't have read this sentence as I was taking a sip from my soda can. This is just hilarious to me, somehow. I love it.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:30 PM   #134
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I often see something at Costco that I believe is a very good buy but had not planned on purchasing. My trick is to buy it and have it put on a separate receipt. I then take the object and store it in the garage while I research it. About 60% of the time, one of two things happen: Either my research shows I should not have bought it, or the urge to have it goes away after I take a nap. Then I return it on my next trip, unopened, and ready for the next treasure hunter.

If I do keep the item, it usually proves to be a worthwhile purchase.

That is a really good idea. Especially Costco often have items that are only temporarily available and have such a good return policy.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:08 PM   #135
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That is a really good idea. Especially Costco often have items that are only temporarily available and have such a good return policy.

Bingo! I still regret not buying a set of three wall socket replacements that included USB charging ports for less that $20.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:18 PM   #136
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Just got back from the 4th level of hell Costco in Naples FL. I was taking an elderly neighbor to the doctor, so I thought I'd combine errands. And DW didn't come with me. What a zoo, though. There was one woman who had a flat cart she could barely handle. Twice that I saw she left it sitting perpendicular to the aisle, blocking all traffic while she perused an item. It took me 30 minutes to shop, and 25 minutes to check out. Next time I'm not going until after dark, when all the vision and reflex challenged old people have retreated to their condos.

I had a list, and I only bought one thing that wasn't on the list (pineapple spears for my shish kabob). Still spent $150, but I probably saved $100 by going alone. Woohoo!
Ughh. I too went today. I planned to go from 9:30 to 10:30 (on a Tuesday) to avoid the early morning business owner crowd, the lunch time AARP Buffet crowd, and the mid-afternoon got 7 kids in tow Mom crowd...but it was all for naught. I think 1/2 the population of North Georgia was there and it's like an episode of 'The Walking Dead'. People wander around with no situational awareness at all and I think most were legally blind. I also dislike that the carts are so big that you really should have a commercial endorsement to drive them around the store. Also, I wish there was a limit on the self-checkout...if you have 2 carts with 124 items, it's best you get in a regular line

Nonetheless, I spent about $100 and that's about the normal in a month with just me and DW. Thankfully, I only go once every month or so...which is good because for every visit, I am pretty sure I lose 2 weeks off my life expectancy.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:55 PM   #137
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Ughh. I too went today. I planned to go from 9:30 to 10:30 (on a Tuesday) to avoid the early morning business owner crowd, the lunch time AARP Buffet crowd, and the mid-afternoon got 7 kids in tow Mom crowd...but it was all for naught. I think 1/2 the population of North Georgia was there and it's like an episode of 'The Walking Dead'. People wander around with no situational awareness at all and I think most were legally blind. I also dislike that the carts are so big that you really should have a commercial endorsement to drive them around the store. Also, I wish there was a limit on the self-checkout...if you have 2 carts with 124 items, it's best you get in a regular line

Nonetheless, I spent about $100 and that's about the normal in a month with just me and DW. Thankfully, I only go once every month or so...which is good because for every visit, I am pretty sure I lose 2 weeks off my life expectancy.
Wow, you should have been at our Costco at 2:30 PM - - it seemed almost empty! Guess it's not too popular here, yet, or maybe I picked a good time. My sympathies on your having to endure those crowds. But at least you are done with this month's shopping.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:10 PM   #138
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Wow, you should have been at our Costco at 2:30 PM - - it seemed almost empty! Guess it's not too popular here, yet, or maybe I picked a good time. My sympathies on your having to endure those crowds. But at least you are done with this month's shopping.
Sam's is fairly empty here at that time too:

AARP lunch crowd are home taking naps, soccer moms are in the que for picking kids up at schools, business owners are done shopping, dads are still at work.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:14 PM   #139
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Sam's is fairly empty here at that time too:

AARP lunch crowd are home taking naps, soccer moms are in the que for picking kids up at schools, business owners are done shopping, dads are still at work.
Aha! I lucked out.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:18 PM   #140
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AARP lunch crowd are home taking naps, soccer moms are in the que for picking kids up at schools, business owners are done shopping, dads are still at work.
This has that analytical INTJ touch to it - "Okay, the timing has to be perfect, synchronize watches, start engine.... LAUNCH!"
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