- Costco deals aren’t always a good value.
- Employees and members say that with some products, you might be better off skipping a trip to Costco.
- From vacation packages to large amounts of perishable produce, here are the items they suggest leaving out of your Costco shopping cart.
Costco deals aren’t created equal.
The retail chain is famous for having just about everything in bulk – even food kits for the apocalypse.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy everything at Costco.
Costco employees know firsthand that it’s sometimes better to look for deals elsewhere, especially when it comes to certain items.
Here are some things you might want to consider skipping on your next Costco run, according to employees and members.
Did you know you can book vacations through Costco?
But according to Dan Holliday, a former Costco marketing manager, that doesn’t mean that you should.
In a 2013 Quora post, he said that while Costco Travel deals weren’t terrible by any means, “you’re simply not going to find some crazier deal on Costco Travel than you would anywhere else.”
He wrote that, like with any travel site, there’s a possibility you’ll find a gem of a vacation package. But “if you’re just booking airfare or hotels, then don’t bother,” Holliday said. “There are better sites.”
A standard membership if you spend a ton of money
A standard membership at Costco is $60 a year. An executive membership will cost you $120 a year.
Jeremy Falletta, a Costco manager, recommended springing for the more expensive option if you tend to be a big spender.
The reason? A standard membership gets you access to Costco – but an executive membership will net you an annual 2% reward of up to $1,000 on your purchases.
Cookware and patio furniture, if you live in Japan
- Stanley Chou / Stringer / Getty Images
Some Costco products are apparently more useful in some countries than others.
David Grace, who says he’s a frequent Costco shopper, said some of the cookware at his local Costco in Japan was too big for typical Japanese ovens.
“Similarly, they also carry large patio furniture sets, but nobody here has a yard or patio big enough for them,” he wrote on Quora. “For almost everything else, I’m at Costco every couple of weeks!”
Lots of perishables
Is buying large quantities of perishable vegetables and fruit worth it at Costco? The answer pretty much depends on your circumstances.
Falletta said on Quora that you should take the size of your household into consideration.
“If it’s just you and your partner, Costco’s packages of produce and fresh foods may be too much for you to buy regularly,” he wrote. “If the food that you’re buying is going bad before you get to it, then obviously there’s an issue.”
- Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com
Falletta also says that while the warehouse is the best spot to buy most items, you should consider buying electronics elsewhere.
“With internet shopping being what it is today, there are an unbelievable amount of hot deals going on at any given time in every major category of electronics,” he wrote. “On a day-to-day basis, I stand by the statement that no one will beat Costco’s price in a direct comparison, but for electronics, I will allow that one might get lucky to the tune of a few bucks here or there.”
Any product where you’re buying more than you need
- a katz/Shutterstock
It can be easy to get caught up in the Costco shopping experience and come away with more items than you’d intended to buy.
Betsy Megas, a Costco member, said on Quora that because of the warehouse’s bulk sizes, it’s “easy to buy far more of something than one household needs and can use.”
And regardless of what the product is, it’s a waste of money if you don’t end up using it at all.
Falletta wrote: “If you’re going to buy something, make sure you’ll get the right amount of use out of it, otherwise that all-important value will be lost on you, and this whole argument will be moot.”
Towels and sheets, if you’re picky about color
If you roll up to Costco expecting to find the perfect shade of periwinkle, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
“If you want 20 colors, this isn’t the place,” Jim Klauer, a Costco merchandise manager, told CBS in 2010.