I am not a big shopper. In fact, I generally hate it. However, one of my favorite places to shop is Costco. It's a giant warehouse filled with bulk quantities of, well, just about everything. We buy toilet paper, paper towels, batteries, juice, food, soap (both laundry and bathroom), vitamins, and more! Our pictures? Uploaded to costco.com and picked up at the store. I would say that the vast majority of the food that I personally consume at home comes from Costco. Good thing it's cheap there, and very good for the money!
I go to Costco about every other week to stock up on food and various other things we need. Because Gracie is usually with me, she demands to be fed either a piece of pizza or a hot dog (I usually go around lunch time for that very reason). And these aren't small dogs or slices, they are HUGE. They taste good. And they're cheap. A hotdog and soda is $1.50. A slice of pizza is similarly priced (forget exactly).
Aside from all the high-quality items they sell in bulk for cheap, what I really like about Costco is their return policy. It's not something I have to use very often, but when I do, it's fairly hassle free. The hardest part of the process is usually waiting in line. You can bring anything back and they'll give you your money back, no questions asked.
Several years ago when I lived in Spokane, I bought some cordless phones at Costco. I had kept the package, but the receipt had been thrown out. It had also been over 30 days since I bought the phones (forget exactly how long). Not quite sure what to expect, I brought them in because, well, they sucked. I was given my money back without any hassle.
Because of this policy, I have no problem buying anything at Costco. Why? Because I know I can bring it back if I don't like it. I had costco.com ship me a monitor for work a few years back. Guess what? If I had a problem with it, which of course I didn't, then I could bring it back to the Costco store, no problems at all. When I get ready to buy an HD-TV or a generator, I'll probably be buying it at Costco for that no-hassle return policy.
The only exception to their return policy, which is fairly liberal, is that desktop and laptop computers won't be accepted after six months of date of purchase. Now that's just insane! There may be an exception for opened software and movies as well, but I'm having trouble remembering as I typically don't buy either of those things at Costco. However, you can bet the prices are competitive.
My favorite items at Costco right now are:
- The Kirkland Signature Green Tea. Kirkland Signature is Costco's own "Store" brand. It's higher quality than some national brands and less expensive to boot!
- Whole Chickens, which I freeze, unthaw in the fridge, and cook in a crock pot.
- Steak. Good quality stuff in bulk.
- Kirkland Signature Organic Plain Soy Milk.
- Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
- Stoneridge Orchards Dried Montmorency Cherries.
- Raw Almonds. They go really well with the cherries.
While it does cost $50 a year for Costco, it is well worth the cost just in terms of the savings and the ease of dealing with them the few times where there is a problem. I actually have the Executive Membership, which costs $100, but I also get 2% back on most of my pre-tax purchases. I figure that I have to spend $2500 a year (pre-tax) at Costco to get half of my $100 back. Since we easily spend more than that a year at Costco, our overall membership cost is actually lower than the standard Gold-Star membership. If we spend enough, it's actually free!