How to Make the Most out of Your Next Shopping Trip to Costco

“It’s complicated” is how we would define our relationship with Costco, as on the one hand Costco’s deals and exhaustive variety, along with the free samples, never ceases to amaze us, but on the contrary, the whole shopping experience becomes tiring due to its congested warehouses and the difficulty in finding the ideal deals. This is why it often becomes difficult to decide how you actually feel about Costco.

Outside of Costco
Photo by Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

In spite of all these conflicting feelings, Costco is still one of the biggest retail forces in the world, meaning there are millions of satisfied Costco customers, and the number only seems to be growing. This is where this article comes in, as we will be going through some exciting tips and guidelines on how to leave Costco as a satisfied shopper. The article contains exclusive hacks and secrets, told to us by the business’ employees and experienced shoppers, which would not only make your shopping experience easy but which would also assist you in saving a handful of bucks. These tips range from spotting the optimum shopping time to comprehending the secret symbols and codes on the price tags.

You Can Shop Without A Membership Card

Contrary to popular belief, getting a membership is not the only way to shop through Costco. You could easily ask someone you know with a membership to get you a gift card, without having to actually buy an annual membership. The gift cards are then as good as a membership, as they allow you to easily browse the store without any hassle. Gift cards are also a great opportunity to scout the store and all its offerings for someone who has cold feet about getting an annual membership.

Costco card
Source: Instagram

Did you know: If you’re interested in buying books from Costco, keep in mind that even though Costco is a great store to receive deals on certain selected products, you should never depend on the superstore for the best discounts on paperbacks or hardcovers.

Additional Price Cut Options

Often customers complain about consistently visiting a Costco or having an eagle’s eye on the latest deals on the fliers to get the best possible deal. If you are one of these customers, then there is no need to worry as you could easily get the price cut if the item you bought ends up being on the sale items list later.

Outside of Costco
Source: 1077WRKR

Although Costco does not offer any price matching facility in comparison to other retailers, it does offer great customer service, and just a small online request would get your job done.

Did you know: If you actually plan on using a few pounds of fruit in a week, so this place is for you. But if not, don’t bother wasting your time. The fruit will go to waste because you’re kind of forced to buy in bulk and well, I don’t think many of us could finish that bulk under a week!

What Does the Asterik on the Price Tag Mean?

Keep a vigilant eye on the price tags of Costco items, especially if you know that they are seasonal in nature. A small asterisk in the top right corner of the tag indicates that the item would not be restocked anytime soon, so if you’re thinking about buying something like that, think fast as the next time you show up at your Costco for that item, there’s a possibility of it being long gone.

Costco price tags
Source: Twitter

A side note as we continue, do not ever feel ashamed of taking free samples. If you are looking to confirm a decent number of free samplings a customer can take, feel free to ask one of Costco’s employees.

Gift Cards Are a Treat

Although the gift card sections may be difficult to spot in a Costco, they are considered as hidden gems due to the outstanding deals and offers they carry with them. These gift cards come particularly in handy when you have already planned an amazing weekend for the near future. Just use one of the gift cards and make your outing even more memorable.

Costco gift cards
Source: Instagram

The gift cards have an extensive range of offerings, as they may include 2 for 1 movie tickets or even discounted entry tickets to the famous local attractions.

Fuel Your Car Before Your Trip

Not only does Costco offer great prices for your regular shopping needs, but Costco’s gas bars also have one of the best gas prices in the region. The extensive line of cars waiting in the line may dissuade you from it, but the price savings it offers your wallet are unparalleled.

Costco gasoline
Source: Savingadvice

A pro tip would be to always gas up your car before going on your shopping adventure. This small decision helps a lot, as then shoppers do not have to worry about their frozen items melting at the back of the car.

No One Stopping You from Getting More Than One Sample

No matter how stringent of a parent you are, your kids will go dashing towards free samples the moment they set their sight on them. What’s amazing is that you are not restricted to taking one free sample of your favorite dessert or snack, as you can simply just ask for more, and the store representatives will surely abide by your request.

Free samples at Costco
Source: Instagram

What matters here is to ignore your sense of pride and consider it as a treat for all the hard work you have been doing. Let the child inside of you take over and go crazy over the free samples.

Ideal Time for Shopping?

As we mentioned in our introduction, most people hate shopping in a congested Costco. Weekends or the days before holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are a nightmare for shoppers who desire a sense of ease and peace while shopping.

Shopping at Costco
Source: Yahoofinance

This is why the best time for your Costco trip should be the mornings of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Due to these days being working days, you can shop and pick out the deals you had your eyes on with ease.

Continue Your Search Deep in the Aisles

Here’s a tip most people are not aware of. Deals offering the most value for money and cost savings are usually found in the long aisles of Costco. Sure, you could be enticed by the huge offers right in front of the store or by the end of the aisles, but they are just there to get you excited and buy on impulse.

Shoppin at Costco
Source: CNBC

This goes on to show that you will have to do some extra digging into the store to find the best bargains. Often times, these additional efforts end up having the desired effect on our savings.

Opt for Costco’s Discount Brand Products

Even though Costco offers an amazing range of discounted deals on branded products, it offers even better deals on its discount brand called Kirkland. Customers have shown immense satisfaction from the quality of its toilet paper in comparison to branded options while being half of its price.

shopping for paper towels at Costco
Source: Businessinsider

Furthermore, just because they are cheap, that does not mean that Costco compromises on quality, as even their batteries are made by Duracell, a global battery giant. So, if you’ve already planned on bulk purchasing, why not try their bargain brand too?

The hotdogs of Kirkland offered at the food court are a highly popular product among customers. But this popularity is not the primary reason for its low price.

Always Rearranging the Stock

To keep the shopping experience fresh and exciting for customers, Costco frequently shuffles the stock arrangement in the store. That means that there is a chance of you not finding your favorite peanut butter from the exact same spot where you found it on your last trip.

Shopping at Costco
Source: Newyorktimes

This is where the employees of Costco come into play, as you should freely consult them for any guidance or directions. You also need to be on your toes over here and not allow your impulse shopping instincts to take over.

One Thing You Should Not Buy at a Costco

Perhaps one of the rookie mistakes is buying a soda from Costco. Soda is one of those products which is not only easily available at every corner store, but they are insanely cheap. Soda is usually sold below cost by normal grocery stores just to lead people into the store, and it is often considered a loss leader.

Canada dry in bulk
Source: Instagram

Costco, however, sells soda at cost, making soda perhaps one of the only products which are available at a much cheaper rate outside of Costco. So, if you have a soda pack on your shopping list, make sure to drop by at any convenience store after your Costco visit.

Do Not Miss Your Chance with the Roadshows

Roadshows are a great opportunity for you to interact with sales representatives of your favorite brands, along with trying something new. Their stay at Costco, however, is quite short, as they stay for only a matter of a few weeks.

Free samples at Costco
Source: Instagram

Roadshows also provide deals, so it is advised to not miss out on the opportunity, by buying right then and there or inquiring the representatives about the duration of their stay. Besides, roadshows are yet another great chance to try out some of the free samples.

Keep on reading to find out which product Costco sells at a crazily discounted price.

Internalize How the Store Is Stocked

If you consistently find yourself lost around a Costco, then here are a few tips for you. Know that the food aisle and the household goods are on the far sides of the store. Apart from this, all fresh produce and food items, including the deli and the bakery are always at the back of the store.

Costco stocking
Source: Martino-reality

As mentioned above, Costco keeps rearranging its stock, but it is beneficial to know that the gift cards, clothing, snacks, and books are in the middle aisles of the store. Mastering this basic information, along with being assisted by the employees, can make your Costco experience dramatically more efficient.

Cheap Food Equals More People in the Store

You are not the only one if you plan your lunch or dinner at Costco, a retail store. Costco sells a complete meal of a huge hot dog along with a soda for just a mere $1.5. The reason? Get the customers to step their foot in their store.

Man standing in Costco hotdog line
Source: Instagram

The deal itself is not much of a money-making gig for Costco, but the alarmingly low rates draw so many customers inconsistently that it makes it worth their while. A lot of Costco customers’ primary reason for the annual membership is the facility of economical food while shopping.

Entering a Costco without gift card or membership? Yes, it is totally possible.

No Membership Required for a Prescription

Another great facility for customers is that Costco has allowed non-membership customers to fill a prescription at the pharmacy as well. No questions are asked, as you can just casually enter the pharmacy and let them know what you are doing.

Costco pharmacy
Source: Hip2save

Additionally, Costco offers lower dispensing fees in comparison to other drugstores in the market. So, if you face the problem of keeping yourself within your budget, then Costco is the place to go. It also goes without saying that Costco offers a huge variety of prescription drugs.

Encouraging Viral Trends

Costco is unique in many ways. One of those ways was depicted in recent times when young adults and teenagers eating Tide pods became a viral sensation. Automatically, most of the stores pulled out their Tide pod stock from the store, but strangely enough, Costco increased the level of Tide pods on display and was even giving them out as samples.

Woman at Costco
Source: Imgur

It seemed as if Costco was assisting those teenagers in consuming the Pods as a way of thinning the herd. But perhaps their reasoning was to take advantage of the surge in demand and sell them out. It is quite evident that a reduction in living customers goes in no favor of Costco.

No Better Place for Dry and Frozen Items

If you are looking to exploit Costco’s deals to the fullest, then go forward to the dry foods, non-perishables, and the frozen food aisle. In comparison to fresh produce and meat, the non-perishables come with jaw-dropping deals, along with them being able to last longer.

Shopping at Costco
Source: Todayshow

So, if you stocked up on your favorite biscuits or those delicious trail mix, feel proud as those are one of the greatest purchases you would ever make from Costco when it comes to economically bulk buying.

Meaning Behind the Price Tags

Pay special attention to the price tag folks! Hidden within the price tags are pieces of information that can be critical in your decision-making process. For instance, prices ending at .97 indicate that the item is on clearance.

Shopping cart at Costco
Source: Weekendnotes

Furthermore, when the price tag ends at a .00 or .88, know that the price has been cut for specific reasons. Usually, it means that the product is the last in the store, or it may have some pieces missing, or finally that it does not come with a box.

No Hidden Stock at a Costco

A lot of times, customers end up asking Costco employees if there is more of the stock at the back. What’s important to realize is that Costco itself is a warehouse store, meaning everything they have to offer is displayed right in front of you, with no additional stock or variety hidden somewhere else.

Memberships at Costco
Source: Template

So, if you think the limited time deal you had your eyes on is running low in stock, then waste no time and grab it as quickly as possible, as when the stocks sell out, you would have lost your chance.

Even More Variety on the Website

If you thought that Costco has an unsurpassable level of variety in its stock, then think again, as you would be surprised by the unique and strange items available on the retail giant’s online platform. Next time your friend talks about the doomsday, then make sure to get him or her a $1000 doomsday survival kit from Costco.com. Moreover, you could also shop for a funeral casket, or get some discount coupons from local car dealerships from Costco as well.

Costco delivery truck
Source: Flickr

What’s great is that you could easily get these items delivered to almost all of the states in America.

It’s Your Funeral If You Are Stealing from Costco

You might be wondering right now, who in the right state of mind would steal gigantic packs of items. This is true, but still, there have been instances where shoppers have tried to outsmart Costco and then fail miserably.

Outside Costco wholesale
Source: Foodandwine

Costco employee’s covert security officers dressed in casual clothing, just pretending to buy their favorite cereal, but in reality, they are hovering the store to spot any mischievous activities and behavior. So CCTV cameras supported by vigilant security officers on the floor should be enough of a reason for someone to reconsider their shoplifting adventure from Costco.

Costco is a place where a lot of stuff is happening if you are observant enough. Just keep on reading to figure out what we mean.

The Refrigerators Look like a Nice Spot to Chill

Kids wander off easily in a Costco. It is like an adventure trip for kids into the world of massive stockpiles and forklifts, quite different from their routine trip to a park with swings and slides. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep an eye on your kids, especially if they are one of those highly energized kids.

Kid inside a Costco fridge
Source: Bigfudge01

If, however you still end up losing them, chances are that they are stuck or lost in someplace really unusual, just like this kid depicted in the picture above. Poor kid properly wanted to chill for a moment before resuming to run around the store.

Legal Age of Drinking Dropped?

Costco carries a whole lot of alcohol, enough to get a town filled up. Along with the huge stock availability, discounts, and variety, Costco is an ideal place to buy drinks if you are above 21. Mishaps, however, do happen, and in the sign placed in one Costco shown in the picture below, it is clear to see that even people below 21 have the license to purchase alcohol.

Costco drinking age sign
Source: Chieflucarioofficer

This would have been a sight to see for college freshman looking to blow off some steam on the weekend. And there would have been no one to stop them, as technically, the sign did say that it’s totally fine.

Eat Them While They Are Hot

There are some food items which just melt in your mouth, giving you an unforgettably delicious experience. Costco’s rotisserie chicken is considered one of those foods, and they reach another level when they are eaten hot as they are made. Make sure to keep an eye on the chicken’s temperature though whenever you have got more shopping to do.

Chicken in the car
Source: Jarzbent

However, if you happen to find out that your rotisserie has gone cold, then don’t worry as the best heating lamp is provided to us by the mother nature itself. Just place it someplace warm with good sun exposure, and your meal would be ready again in no time.

Getting Drunk to Beat the Flu

Flu is a nuisance, and most of us hate the treatment phase of the common flu, especially going to the doctor to get a flu shot. Costco, however, changed the game by presenting a much more fun solution in the form of vodka shots. Even though alcohol is considered a treatment for bacteria, it’s not entirely evident that drinking vodka would help in your flu.

Vodka flu shots
Source: Seangone11

I know, the sound of getting drunk to beat the flu sounds absurd, but who knows, maybe it does act as a great aid in treating the flu. There’s only one way to find out.

There Is No Such Thing as a “Quick Stop” at a Costco

Of all the greatest lies in the history of humanity, one of them surely has to be someone saying, “I’ll just be back from a quick trip to Costco.” Costco is not the place where you would just dash in, make a quick purchase and return. It takes time, and as evident from this picture, you never know when that “quick stop” at Costco would end.

Skeleton in a car
Source: Thechive

So the next time someone parks their car at a Costco parking lot, especially when you are with your mom, make sure to accompany her to save yourself from the boredom, or just get a cab and go where ever you want on your own from thereon.

Umm. That’s Suspicious

Having a safe working and business environment is something every business flaunts. Not only does it attract more people, but it gives the existing customers a sense of peace within themselves. This sign, however, has the opposite effect. Knowing that there only been 2 days without an accident, while not knowing whether the person injured was a customer or employee, only results in people being uneasy.

Sign in Costco
Source: Docholiday970

So, from all the shopping tips and hacks relating to Costco, make sure to check a familiar sign in your Costco frequently, to derive whether this is a safe shopping environment or not.

“so What Free Sample Did You Get This Time? … “a Toilet Paper.”

Everyone loves the free samples offered at Costco, and we have talked about it a lot. Free samples give people special satisfaction, especially when it is of a food item. So why would you want to give out toilet paper samples, Costco?

Man playing with toilet paper in Costco
Source: Drofhcor

Giving out toilet paper as a sample is definitely unique, as it makes the person confused about how does he or she actually tries it out. Do they wait for nature’s call, or just try out the feel of the material?

Filling up on Liquor

Another one of the odd things about Costco is its pump on the store’s outer wall with “liquor” written on it. Now I know what you are thinking, so no, this does not actually pump out liquor to be poured in a giant wine glass.

Liquor water hose at Costco
Source: Imgur

Who knows, there is a possibility of a truck full of liquor coming to the store consistently to resupply the liquor stock which would then be bottled in the store. It, however, goes without saying that this sign is not something you would find at any other retail store.

You Do Not Need to Try Every Sample

Even devoted Costco shoppers would have been surprised by seeing the stand of a condom company, apparently giving condoms as samples. Costco had, however, not pushed its sampling game that far, and no samples were being given. It would have been no surprise, however, to see eager faces inclined towards the sign thinking of getting free samples.

Condom samples
Source: Postfun

A word of advice, do not go running after every sample, as somethings are better left alone. On the other hand, it sure would have been an uncomfortable scenario for the girl working next to the Trojan stand.

Know how Costco is spicing up their Mexico menu

Extra Hot – Hot Dogs

Costco’s hot dogs are insanely popular. Providing a great taste at a reasonable price is a deal everyone grabs, especially when you have been shopping at Costco for hours.

Costco hotdog sign
Source: Shrewdie

Mexico’s Costco, however, is stepping up their game, as they offer vast toppings on your sub which are spread over the entire sub. As shown in the picture, this is no regular hotdog, and only the ones with a high aptitude for heat can go through it.

Eating Healthy Made Difficult

There has been an increasing trend of healthy and organic food consumption across the globe. While Costco might not be your go-to place for healthy options, it does have its fair share of the healthy variety. Due to the way Costco stock’s items; however, it may be that you would end up changing your mind from a healthier option to your regular cravings.

Coconut clusters
Source: Supermanmjm

It seems from this picture that the person opted for the smoky sausages instead of the coconut clusters with organic seeds, and to be fair, you cannot really blame the person for that choice.

Read more to find out about Costco’s massive glass of wine.

Even Avengers Need to Do Their Work Shifts

We mentioned earlier that Costco is no stranger to weird instances and moments. Depicted in this picture is a name tag of an employee, who has perhaps printed his life’s major goal on the tag. It makes us wonder if Costco allows such freedom to its employees, or this was a rare instance of an employee sneaking to the name tag labeler.

Costco employee tag
Source: Andyh1212

Fans of the show The Princess Bride would really find this amazing, who knows the employees might be carrying a sword by his side.

Creativity and Hardwork Always on Display

Capturing wild animals in the store is another one of the items on the job description of Costco employees. Quite often birds fly into a Costco (perhaps looking for the season deal) and employees have to work hard to get it out of there before it gets reported to the manager.

Confused Cotsco employee
Source: Defactosithlord

Here an employee has set up a bird trap, waiting for his pray. This type of work does seem to be more on the adventure and fun side of life at work. It’s also possible that employees look forward to such instances where they would get to come up with similar ingenious ways of getting the job done.

Did Someone Say Chihuahua Cheese?

Chihuahua cheese is one of the rare cheese varieties. It is considered an ideal cheese type for salads, nachos, and even quesadillas, and Costco have got no shortage of this product.

Cheese at Costco
Source: ss1.xrea

So, another one of our long lists of tips includes that if you are out searching for Chihuahua cheese, then look no further as Costco is your place to go. Go generous with cheese in your German shepherd salsa or Labrador quesadilla and enjoy its goodness.

Gone Are the Days of Children Reading Matilda

If your kid is a reader, then it is ideal to leave him or her near the books area. They can easily browse through countless books and pick one of their choosing. This girl, however, seems to be breaking the stereotype of girls interested in content about princesses or fictional characters.

Girl reading at Costco
Source: Thechive

Art of War by Sun Tzu is a critically acclaimed book on warfare, and surprisingly this girl seems to be loving it.

A Glass for the Giants

Of all the unique things about Costco, this one definitely stands out, as not everywhere you could see a massive wine glass available on sale. The glass could easily contain around 5 bottles of wine, sufficient to give a lot of people the hangover of a lifetime.

Huge wine glass
Source: Brightside

Not that a lot of people would be eager to buy it, but where would you even store it? Hopefully, the thing is made from plastic instead of glass, as just a small kid bumping into the box would lead to a huge shattered mess.

Keep Your Impulsive Traits in Check

Too often, people who are sent to Costco to only get one item end up with a whole lot of other things too. In this case, the man was sent to get a carton of milk, but no other instructions were given. As expected, the impulse kicked in, and he bought a TV to go along with the milk too. Happens every time.

TV at Costco
Source: Postfun

So, whenever you’re sending someone to a Costco for “just one thing,” better make sure that the person is only carrying cash, and not the credit cards because impulse decisions will be made.

Always One Step Ahead

Costco has always been one step ahead to be not outsmarted by their customers. It clearly states what’s written in the fine print, and in this case, it has even placed a warning sign in the parking lot of a “100-year storm’ or flood.

Costco parking sign
Source: Postfun

With this warning sign intact, nobody can go against Costco for their car being flooded in their parking lot.

Dozing off at a Costco

You may lose track of time and space when at Costco. Shopping there is an exciting adventure, but sometimes it just gets too tiring. This is where you just get the feeling of passing out near any piece of furniture.

Huge Costco teddy bear sitting down
Source: Memeguy

The stuffed bear in the picture depicts what many of us feel after a long trip to the Costco, exhausted, fatigued, and ready to drop. Or there is a possibility of the bear feeling blue because no one has taken him to a new home yet.