Costco

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by r2473, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Just wondering if the costco in your area has been (substantially) raising prices over the past few years like the ones in my area?

    sometimes the quality of their product still make them a good buy, but certainly not always.

    do you still feel costco is a "good deal"?
     
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  2. Fee

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    For the most part, yes. My two regular grocery stores are also raising prices, it's just a fact of life with the price of gas and the drought and everything else that's happening. Costco is still a pretty good deal for me, but I have to be careful when I buy produce there. Sometimes it goes to waste since its just my husband and I, and I hate when I let that happen.
     
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  3. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    In the Boston area, they raised prime rib eye to $17/lb but it's back down to its normal $13/lb

    I haven't noticed other price increases. I mainly shop at Costco and Amazon for everything I need.

    Will be interesting to see now that there is a new CEO...
     
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  4. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    i'll have to see if the prime ribeye is back down in my store. the choice (or regular for costco) ribeye was at $11 and pime was $18 last time i was there. they used to be $6-$8 and $13-$14 respectively.

    i've seen similar price increases on other items. seemingly higher increases than what i'd consider "normal". wondered if it was just local or if this is what costco is doing across the nation (or if the increases are normal and i'm just imagining them to be unusually large)
     
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  5. Fee

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    Certain items are purchased and priced regionally, so that can also affect the prices. It's my understanding that beef is going to be all over the place for the next 12 months.
     
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  6. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    The way I see it is: Time is money and I rather just shop at Costco every 10-14 days rather than 3-5 stores looking for the best deals.

    Besides, Costco treats their employees well and that is an atmosphere I appreciate.
     
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  7. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    Good thread, I shop at Costco regularly (including their web-site) but sometimes have second thoughts.

    The first downside is waste. It's not just food, as previously mentioned, because other things go bad, such as tennis balls and batteries.

    The other is the way they push the big brands when you don't really need big brands. Examples of this include shampoo, soap, dishwasher/laundry detergents, etc. Sometimes the Kirkland "generic" is available, sometimes not.

    I once asked a friend who had worked at Procter and Gamble if they hated Costco because of the margin pressure. I got quite an education. No, P&G loves Costco because they use it to sell huge quantities to (supposedly) cost-conscious people who might not otherwise buy their brands!

    I have started buying things like the household goods listed above at the Dollar Store. My kids love going there anyway, I don't need name brands for those items and it is definitely cheaper per unit than Costco. Unfortunately, it's hopeless for tennis balls!
     
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  8. coolblue123

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    I am a huge costco fan! I was a costco employee too. I got through college with Costco paychecks.
    The addage about if you have more, you'll use more is true being a Costco member.
    But I do notice though the costs has been going up consistently with other stores. But I think that the costs is about the same as things being on sale in other chain stores. Costco, despite it's long lines and crowds, saves me time and money. I just need better control on what I buy. Also, their Kirkland Brand goods are, most of the time, as good if not better than the national brand products. The only exception is TP. i am still a charmin's fan. =)
    Also, if you are okay with shopping mostly at costco, get their executive membership w/ AE option. I get alot of money back and it pays for my membership.
    Their Prime Ribeye is good. I can't find anything close to it without going to a very high end grocery store or mail order. My friends did a test once, I brought in a Lobel's Signature Cut Ribeye (back a couple of years they call it that) and my friends got a Costco Prime Ribeye.
    Grill both and tried. Lobel's had alittle more of a deeper beef taste (cuz they probably pre-aged their meats), but other than that, could not tell the difference. Costco actually had better marbling. (Costco $12/lb vs Lobels $35/lb)
     
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  9. Kevin T

    Kevin T Professional

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    I appreciate the business model but I can't stand warehouse stores. Our Costco is ~ 20 minutes away and it's always a mad rush of people. Once inside, it's an obstacle course of giant carts and giant people (obese), putting on the brakes to hit every sample table. My wife always finds at least $100 worth of items that we 'need' but were not on the list. Then you get to wait in line another 10 minutes. No thank you. The savings aren't worth the time and hassle, IMHO. I'll stick to my neighborhood Trader Joe's and Sprouts for groceries, both just around the corner, or sit on my rear and order electronics through Amazon.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
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  10. Fee

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    I only shop at Costco on weekdays so I rarely have to deal with unreasonable crowds. Last time I went on a Sunday I vowed never to go back unless my life truly depended on it.

    I love the dollar store! I go there for a lot of basics, and save a lot of money there.

    Full disclosure, my brother and his wife are both Costco employees, and my membership is free as long as they are, so I am very happy to give them my money. If I had to pay for it, I would still be a member there. If had to drive more than 30 minutes to get to my store, it wouldn't be worth it at all. It's also easier to shop there now that we have a house, it was hard to find room for a case of TP in an apartment.
     
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  11. Avles

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    Remove the bolded words this and post describes my usual experience at Trader Joe's-- although I'm usually the one slamming on the brakes at the sample tables... It's still my favorite place to shop (except for produce of course).

    Does anyone shop at Aldi? I've never been but I've heard good things.
     
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  12. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    The Trader Joe's I shop at has a high percentage of fairly lean but aging baby boomers (like me.) They do provide little "children sized" shopping carts so the kiddies can help the parent out--I hate the little carts, they always seems to be zipping around in an unpredictable fashion.

    I don't shop at Costco as much as I used to, I've felt for a while that their prices weren't particularly low, still get there every couple of months.
     
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  13. Larrysümmers

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    SAMS club is where its at ;)
     
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  14. Eph

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    Heh. Gotta stick to the list!

    Trader Joe's is no less of a zoo than Costco (in the Boston area). The Waltham Costco is not bad, compared to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in Cambridge (Alweife area)

    The beef at Costco is some of the best in America.


    Has anyone seen the CNBC Costco documentary? Very interesting....
     
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  15. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    The one Aldi I have been to has longer lines than Costco, unhelpful employees and the general population of shoppers are on food stamps (not that there is anything wrong with that, per se).
     
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  16. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    To bring up an earlier point, Costco may not be much cheaper--or cheaper at all--than sale prices at other stores (for name brand goods, Kirkland brand, I would argue, is cheaper), but is it worth driving to 3-5 different stores in search of the $2 off coupon? That takes time--which everyone values to some degree, whether you have a hard number or just "wing it"--, and in Boston, about a gallon of gas ($4).
     
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  17. coolblue123

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    btw, Aldi is majority owner of TJ's.

    But Aldi's is awesome too. I get alot of my dried goods there. I saw from a documentary somewhere that even Walmart can not compete with Aldi's prices. I noticed this too especially with their milk and eggs. According to the manager there, they have some service that goes and scout the area stores for prices and make it down 10 cents lower. This gets the crowds in and hopefully buy their products.
    Only thing that sucks: cash only. Since my county is now charging for plastic bags, bringing bags is a must now too. btw, their frozen whole chicken fryers aren't bad either. I believe it's like 79c/lb.
     
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  18. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    They should ban supermarkets over a certain size as its exactly the wrong way to buy food - shop local, shop three times a week, walk your groceries home fresh.
     
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  19. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    ^no thanks. im going to stock up for 2 weeks in just one car ride
     
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  20. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Believe you me if you could walk 100 meters to get your groceries you would, but you can't do that anymore in most of the non-European Western world.
     
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  21. Fifth Set

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    LOL, should I calculate the food's cost using an abacus under candlelight, while listening to my transistor radio and suffering from the effects of the measles?

    Feel free to step waaaay back in time yourself, but to insist that others do the same is pretty darn arrogant.
     
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  22. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Its happening now in all corners of the world.

    Food is a perishable and no one is going to overcome that problem in any acceptable manner from now until the end of time.

    Its called death. The fish rots when its dead. The cow stinks. The vegetables rot.

    Death is not going away.
     
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  23. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    thats not going to work in this capitalist world.
     
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  24. coolblue123

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    I would argue that buying local is sustainable only in a small and medium villages. the stock is small and service is excellent. I remember living in a small town overseas, the fish monger would come everyday in his bike to make custom cuts to fishes. he would always remember our families names and types of fish we buy. can't really do that in costco or a large city format.
    sometimes its really sad to see how modernization has really "cookie cut" our society and the majority of our society loves it. there is a recent article somewhere about how a town in India has threaten the support of a politician if he was going forward in building a Walmart. have to dig it up.
     
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  25. krz

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    Aldi's prices are so cheap because they have very low operating costs. They have nothing but a couple cashiers and a stock person. No cart people, bag people, no bags, creditcard fees etc.

    In NYC when I'm not eating out which is not very often I usually buy my stuff at locally specialized stores(fish market/meat markets/cheese shop etc)

    I'm originally from Western, NY the home of the great Wegmans. It's probably the only supermarket I will ever regularly frequent.

    I can't stand Walmart. The customer service is god awful, the lines are ridiculous, the employees are "slow", and the people that shop there are less than desirable. I'll pay the extra few cents and go somewhere else.
     
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  26. MAXXply

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    I support ALDI for a variety of reasons but primarily because it is the only real competition to the cosy and expensive duopoly of Australia's two main supermarket groups. Sure, ALDI is foreign-owned but anything to give the finger to Australia's Big Two Chains is good.
     
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  27. dParis

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    "They" should tell you to GTFO of the cities and move back to rural areas with 35-50% of the urban population, in that case. Say "Hi" to your buddy Pol Pot when you get there.
     
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  28. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Or I could live in Place Monge, Paris, or go to the inumerable 'real' makets dotted around my own city.



     
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  29. Kevin T

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    No sticking to the list with my wife. :)

    I've been lucky enough to live within walking distance to TJ's and good farmers markets over the last few years. Being in California, we have access to good, cheap local produce year round. My wife also has a high school friend that does the "organic deliver to your home" produce box thing, so we're covered on fruits/veggies.

    Large shopping centers have always depressed me. Not sure what it is but Wal-mart, Costco, even shopping malls just make me blue. So does Vegas. Maybe it's the bright lights and rush of people or maybe I just prefer being outside.
     
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  30. Magic of tennis

    Magic of tennis Semi-Pro

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    Some of Costco items have good price but some of them do not. You have to shop smartly. Safeway has better price for certain items like my favorite Macademia nut. It is sold for $7.99/lb in Safeway, while Costco is selling it for $14.00/1.2lb :evil:
    That was just an example. But I love Costco's chicken
     
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  31. Fee

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    I try to keep my trips to WalMart (owners of Sam's Club) to an absolute minimum. It disgusts me that they keep the majority of their workers at less than 32 hours and teach them how to apply for food stamps and other public benefits in every city they operate in, cities that already gave them subsidies to build their stores in the first place. One of the richest corporations in the US refuses to pay their workers a livable wage with benefits and adds people to the welfare rolls. Pretty disgusting.
     
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  32. Fearsome Forehand

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    The result of several rounds of "quantitative easing." The dollar is worth less, therefore, it buys less. Get used to it unless there is a significant shift in US fiscal/monetary policy. When the economy finally recovers (someday), we will probably see inflation rates soar.

    Not Costco's fault, just the nature of things.
     
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  33. r2473

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    does costco buy everything from foreign suppliers?

    if not, then the "value" of the dollar (purchasing power) will primarily be based on inflation (and supply, etc). but not exchange rates.

    "inflation rates soar"......perhaps. but balancing inflation and growth is job #1 for the fed (and they are pretty good at it)

    edit: i just read up on quantatative easing. didn't know anything about it. still, the only way the dollar would be worth less is through inflation or unfavorable exchange rates when importing goods. neither of which effect the price costco currently charges for "food" (generally speaking).

    fee hints at a supply issue in a previous post. i wonder if that is the cause of rising prices, or is costco just deciding that it can raise prices and increase profits (meaning enough people will pay the higher prices). not sure.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative_easing

    http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/currentinflation.asp

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
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  34. Fearsome Forehand

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    Pretty easy to control inflation if there is no demand/growth. :)

    While exchange rates certainly affect the cost of foreign goods and well as exports (the yin/yan of a weak or strong currency), you can't ignore the printing of huge amounts of currency in devaluing the existing stock. (Let's not even talk about the insane debt burden.) Mark my words, once the economy recovers, the chickens will come home to roost and we will have a period of stagnation combined with high inflation and high interest rates a la the Carter years.

    Current US Fiscal policy is absolutely suicidal. Not a good thing. The plan seems to be to monetize the debt.

    That said, it is obvious Costco is the prime mover and is clearly evil. :)

    Like the unemployment rate, the inflation rate is all in the way it is calculated. As always, the devil is in the details
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
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  35. r2473

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    ok. this will be hard to argue, especially as im reduced to typing with one hand.

    but i thought your quantitative easing argument would rest primarily on an inflation argument (at least in the context of this discussion)

    and yes, it matters how the calculation is done, but i believe they at least have to be CONSISTENT in ther method.

    anyway, i'm not sure i'm qualified to discuss the current economic status / policy of the us / world
     
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  36. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    I havent been in a Wal-Mart since 2006.

    I love how they build in a city that hands them tax breaks, the guy trying to keep his hardware business afloat still has to pay his 5k annual tax and the city will give Wal mart a 3year tax free deal. Once the tax free deal is over they build a Super Wal-Mart 100ft outside the city limits as to not pay any tax.

    With Costco I read that they actually own every plot of land the stores sit on and they will not mark thier product up higher than 14% of cost.


    The kicker for me was the girl who got raped in the parking lot under neath a securty camera and they found that all security camers were all poited into employee parking lots becuase Wal mart fires anyone on the spot if they suspect any possible unionizing. I think Gemany is the only countyr where Wal mart empyoees are actual union workers. Not suprisingly they are the only workers who consistently say they are happy to work for them.
     
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  37. Fee

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    I don't think Costco has 'supply issues' and didn't mean to imply that. I do know that they purchase and supply some items nationally (Kirkland items, items featured in the coupon mailers and such) and other items are purchased regionally (like produce and meats). I'm sure that can affect the cost of some of the goods. I'm sure the manufacturer can also negotiate a retail price with them as well. Remember, a lot of companies do special packaging that is only available at Costco (ever bought Pilot G2 pens or Sharpie markers there?) and I'm sure the pricing is part of those agreements.

    I have 3 Costcos within roughly the same distance of my house, and they do not carry all of the same items. They are stocked demographically by ethnicity (I'm in Southern California). One of the stores is in a very Asian area and another is in a more balanced demo. I haven't been in the 3rd one, just got gas there but I want to go check it out and see what their demo is like.

    Oddly enough, one of the best Costcos is the one in Chico, Ca. They seem to have a large and varied selection of wines and cheeses that I don't see in other stores. Odd population for that store. It's on the same block as the Sierra Nevada brewery, so it carries all their beers. It's in a college town, so it caters to professors (liberals?) but its a very Republican county. Their stock seems above their demographic somehow.

    The new grocery store ads come out today and tomorrow, and I need to go to Costco this week to have my tires rotated and refill two ink cartridges, so I'll do a good comparison of the meat and produce prices for this week and let you know what I find. :)
     
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  38. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    Prime rib eye back up to $15/lb
     
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  39. dParis

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    You really wouldn't want all of "those" people to move into your neighborhood now, would you? How many people will your flat sleep?
     
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