I’m serious. This isn’t one of those Top five posts, it’s a serious, legitimate question. It’s my first-world problem but I’m keen to know if it’s yours too.
It’s that time of the year again where I have to pay $55 to renew my Costco membership. Costco is one of those love-em-or-hate-em kind of places; a necessary evil. But is it (necessary I mean)?
Costco is making its mark around the world. Many of my friends at home swear by it and recently when I was in Australia entertaining a Korean client (OK that didn’t sound good but get your mind back to Costco) he gave up that he has a Costco (not helping I agree): he’s a regular Costco goer, spends hours there and loves it.
Here’s my problem with Costco. You have to pay for the privilege of shopping there. Genius. Whoever approved that business idea really ought to be shot—but lucky it was approved because we buy it and it works. (I’d love to see how much of its revenue is actually generated by the annual membership).
Secondly, it’s like Ikea; you walk in there with a small list of things to buy and you come out with stuff you never imagined yourself buying—or needing. Many people know—or discovered—Costco for its quirky things like hearing aids and tyres, even holiday packages. But did you know you could buy a gun safe from there? I’m not sure I’ve even seen a safe safe but a gun safe you can buy. I’ve even seen designer handbags. Expensive ones.
(Oh, and by the way, I think Ikea is a necessary evil).
Thirdly, it’s a shitfight. Really. No one actually likes going to shop there (except for the converted cult shoppers who have grins all over their faces relishing every minute and every possible bargain there is to be had); like I said it’s a necessary evil.
I go for the catering/bulk size items like giant Nutella (two for the price of one medium-size); meat (very nice); sugar, olive oil and tomato sauce (ketchup) and mineral water. they also have great battery-operated candles (that smell of vanilla) and Christmas decorations. But with those staples as my list I come out with nuts (they are very good), flavoured extra-virgin olive oil, sweat tops (did I just say that? jumpers), drugs—frankly anything else I don’t need.
I’m not a mathematician by any stretch but I’m thinking if I go to Costco once every six weeks and spend at least $300—$100 of which is on stuff on my shopping list that I actually wanted am I better off? That’s not 100% true if I buy meat then one piece costs me $100 but then my shopping bill climbs to $500.
It’s cost me $55 for the pleasure, plus the extra $200 per visit (let’s say eight visits per year) at $2400 and I saved a couple of hundred dollars through the year buying in bulk.
It doesn’t really add up does it? But am I willing to risk not having a membership?
What do you think? Do you have a Costco membership? Do you think it’s worth it? Are you a Costco lover or a Costco hater? Are you one of those converted cult-like followers? Tell me more, tell me more.
Enjoy your weekend,
xx It Started in LA xx