Things I love about Costco..

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Things I love about Costco..

Postby Barb Freda » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:24 pm

The case of mangos.
The flat of fresh figs.
The six-pack of organic, free-range chix stock...almost as good as my own and way better than anything I've found on other store shelves...
The case of white peaches I got about a month ago...

I don't need three gallons of bleach at a time, but these things I've listed above? I NEED them.

B
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby bgbarcus » Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:19 pm

I'll second their chicken stock. It is pretty close to what I make and so cheap it has become a kitchen staple.

Another Costco favorite is the large cans of clams. Loving clam chowder and living in the Midwest can be a real problem but since Costco started carrying their canned clams chowder has been on the menu every couple of months.

Costco is also the best place within an hour of my house to buy cheese. They are the only retailer around here that carries Stilton, real Parmiggiano-Reggiano and Tillamook cheddar.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Barb Freda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:13 am

Ah! The cheese! HOw could I have forgotten that?! I was mentally listing stuff--I was there today but didn't need cheese, so that wasn't there...

but the Parm. And the cheddar. And the fresh mozz...and the manchego...

Good call.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Larry Greenly » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:50 am

I once bought a block of blue cheese at Costco that had no flavor (if you closed your eyes, you wouldn't know it was supposed to be blue cheese), but thumbs up on the brand that comes in a semi-circular plastic container.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:49 am

The chicken stock is a new one to me. I will have ot check it out.

I love the pre-cooked, vaccum packed duck halves. They are a real life saver for a Tuesday night when there's zero time to cook. 5-7 minutes on the grill and dinner is served.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Christy M. » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:44 am

They pay their employees a great wage, provide medical and other benefits and the CEO Jim Sinegal refuses to let corporate greed undermine treating employees well. Costco shows that you can make an excellent profit and provide a working wage to employees.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Linda R. (NC) » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:50 pm

These are our usual purchases at Costco.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano
Wine
Flank steak
Lean ground beef
Kitty Litter (with a coupon)
Vitamins and calcium supplements
Dove soap (with a coupon)
Log Cabin syrup @ less than $6/gal
3-paks of Scrubbing Bubbles
and (don't laugh) Eggos - Now I make homemade waffles fresh every Sunday morning, but these are fine for a 5-min. breakfast when we're in a hurry, starving or just lazy.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:19 pm

Barb Freda wrote:The case of mangos.
The flat of fresh figs.


Hey, Barb, by the way ... did you know the Louisville CostCo opened <i>yesterday</i>?

I can't wait to get out there and check it out, although I'm cranky that they put it way out in the 'burbs.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Barb Freda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:48 pm

I didn't know that--but I almost always flip through hotbytes on my way here and that was the thread at the top of the list...lucky you guys! Enjoy it.

Try the chix stock...

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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:59 pm

Barb, here's our current Costco shopping list:

Costco

Aluminum Foil
Delicious Apples
Avocados
[Check all the fruit but with great care]
Baking Soda
Kirkland Balsamic Vinegar – for Balsamic reduction
Cabot Aged Cheddar
Cascade Liquid Dishwashing Liquid
Cheerios -- always check for regular Special K (not stocked)
Contractor Trash Bags – 6 mil
Cottage Cheese -- Breakstone 2%
Freezer Bags
Goldfish
HP printer cartridges
Kirkland Toilet paper
Kirkland Facial Tissues
M&Ms
Nature Valley – Oats and Honey Bars
Nuts -- Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pine Nuts
Oats and Honey Bars – Nature’s Valley
Queen Sized Olives – Becca recco for Baked olives
Plastic Wrap
Computer paper -- 20 pound white
Kirkland Paper Towels
Razor Blades
Kosher Salt for koi ponds
Soft Scrub with Bleach
Vinegar for Cleaning

Janet checks the clothes, and we both read through the book section. The meat section at the Hackensack store is problematic -- good for chicken parts if the foxes are in the area -- but the one in Wayne is extraordinary.

The wine section in Hackensack is quite weak -- not run by Costco but by a sublessee. The Wayne shop is outstanding.

We spend about $700 on average for each visit, about once a month.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to update our list -- believe me, Janet debates each and every item with more knowledge of competitive pricing and products than any reasonable person should possess. :)

Regards, Bob
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Redwinger » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:22 am

Christy M. wrote:They pay their employees a great wage, provide medical and other benefits and the CEO Jim Sinegal refuses to let corporate greed undermine treating employees well. Costco shows that you can make an excellent profit and provide a working wage to employees.

Christy,
Thanks for posting this. I had always assumed Costco was another version of that outfit out of Arkansas. And, you know what they say about assumptions. Your note prompted me to do a little research and Costco looks like the kind of place that treats its' employees pretty decently and thus would be a place I would care to spend my money.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Jenise » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:55 am

Bill, Costco is definitely a good-guy employer.

And reading everyone else's list, I'm envious of the things you're able to buy in your areas. I've never seen an organic chicken stock at ours, for instance.

What I do buy regularly:

toilet paper
paper towels
sponges
detergent
cat litter
avocados
flats of fruit in season (nothing of interest right now, unfortunately)
Muirglen canned tomatoes
prosciutto
fresh mozz
shitake mushrooms
parmesan (blocks for grating on salads and pastas, also the jars of already grated imported parmesan for coatings etc, it's excellent)
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Larry Greenly » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:17 am

I go to Costco a few times a year on someone else's dime to pick up a few OTC meds, such as fish oil. I've purchased bread flour there and the occasional hunk of cheese.

I don't have a membership; with only two of us, I'd never be able to make up the difference between the cost and any savings. Besides, I can usually find cheaper items just by looking for loss-leader ads at grocery stores.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby John Tomasso » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:34 am

I'm a member because it is handy if something blows up at work - if a customer gets shorted something I can usually find it at Costco and stem the bleeding quickly.

I have to say though, that I don't find it as compelling a place to shop as many of you do. Maybe because I've always had access to restaurant quality and pack sizes, I find it less of a novelty than some. And I can't stand the long lines.

I buy my cheeses from shops that specialize in it. I get my meat from the butcher.
If I need large quantities of anything, I can usually get them from work, or better yet, as free samples from our suppliers.

I also don't like the fact that they change things around so much - so the great deal found there this month on tuna might be replaced next month with blow dryers the next.

For $45 a year, it's a no brainer for me, even if I only use it a few times. But I just never have warmed up to the whole concept - I'm a consumer who likes service. I'm afraid that with the rise of Costcos, and like concepts, we will bring about the decay and death of service in our lifetimes. It's happening already, IMO
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:59 pm

John Tomasso wrote:I have to say though, that I don't find it as compelling a place to shop as many of you do. Maybe because I've always had access to restaurant quality and pack sizes, I find it less of a novelty than some. And I can't stand the long lines.


John, our Costco finally opened this week, and Mary and I went out and joined and toured the place today. We came out with about $50 worth of groceries (and happily cashed in the $20 refund we going for joining a new store), but I'm on pretty much the same page. Fun, not overwhelming. We'll probably go out once a month or so and stock up on the few things we buy in big lots - paper towels, TP, etc., browse the food and look for sale items. But it certainly won't replace Whole Foods and local specialty shops as my main food source, and I didn't see much in the wine shop to bring me back. I did pick up a "Super Tuscan" (Toscana IGT) with the Kirkland house brand on the label, curious to see what their buyers came up with for 20 bucks.

Also, as I posted on the Louisville Restaurants Forum, I do find it marginally offensive that they stop you and make you show your receipt and check it against your purchases on the way out. No matter how they spin it as 'trying to help you,' it communicates the message that management expects customers to be thieves and doesn't give me the kind of warm fuzzy "we're all in this community" vibe that I get at Whole Foods. Bad philosophy, I say.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:40 pm

I agree completely about how offensive it is for them to check the carts as you exit. Stupid, really, we have lots of staples and it would be very easy to tuck a couple of high value items in the stack. How can the search be effective?

The only plus -- it gives two people a job. And, I thought that was a "benefit" for us folks in New Jersey, given the neighborhood. Interesting that they do it elsewhere.

We've been members since 1988 -- we still call it the Price Club -- and have learned about a few real benefits:

-- The online store is well worth checking out. It's irritating that they don't list what's in the stores, frankly, these items are available only online. The shopping bots don't seem to pick up Costco items, but savings can be remarkable. For example, our backup generator for the koi tank was $250 less from Costco than from any other source I found -- on a $700 item that's a real deal.

-- They have an unexpectedly wide range of products online -- I see a $150,000 diamond for example if you are in the market. Their jewelry is worth checking out -- simple settings but very good stones and knowledgeable staff.

-- Gasoline is consistently sold as a loss leader -- Costco almost always shows up in the lowest two or three sources on the retailer comparison sites. If you in the neighborhood, it pays to fill up.

-- Prescription drugs are almost always a bargain -- the LA Times did a study in April showing that Costco beat Schedule D prices across the boards.

-- But -- it is very important to shop carefully and know competitve prices. Their unit pricing is very good, so you can easily determine whether the prices are a deal or not. They do not have the same discounts across the boards.

-- Costco consistently ranks highly on returns -- we've tested them on a printer and a several other items over the years -- they always took stuff back -- no questions asked. Consumers Reports found the same thing for electronic products: "Costco has the best return policy of the retailers in Consumer Reports’ survey. Costco takes back virtually anything, anytime. The return policy for computers is six months."

All in all, a useful resource -- but certainly not an end all.

Regards, Bob

PS: I enjoy reading blogs and the financial papers about savings at Costco -- here's a pretty good sampler:

http://www.tonyspencer.com/mt/archives/ ... sale_c.htm
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Jenise » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:03 pm

Robin,

It might grow on you. Yes, the people checking your receipt when you leave is irritating, and sometimes the quantities are just too huge to bother with for households of two, and will someone like you or me buy much food there? No. But you'll find things you can't live without or buy elsewhere at half the price, and that will bring you back.

The wine selection varies a lot store by store. I live in a small town so the wine selection here is fairly mainstream and pedestrian compared to the Costcos closer to Seattle. It's obvious there's more and better in the system than I see here in Bham. You might see rapid improvement, depending on how the fine folks of Looville respond to the resource. But even here I've bought the occasional treasure like Lafite for $113, Latour for $120 and Leoville Las Cases for $45--and those don't blow out in a day like they do in Seattle and the OC where I used to live.

Speaking of wine, I might throw in that I read about a Costco wine store opening in Calgary. Wine only.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Carrie L. » Sun Oct 29, 2006 2:14 pm

Our Costco lists look very much like Bob's and Jenise's. There are just two of us, also, and what's embarrassing is, I once received the comment from another patron as I was unloading my cart at the checkout, "Wow, you must have a large family." Yikes. Guess that's why we call it the 500 Club around here... The bill is never less than that. We go in for say, laundry detergent and paper towels and come out with fifty other things we didn't know we needed.

We think Costco's meat is excellent, everything -- the veal, beef, pork and lamb. I have stopped buying their pre-cut filet's however, since I realized that at least one steak in the package is an end cut full of gristle. I buy the whole loin now and cut myself, making "tips" out of the end portion so I can cut away all the sinew.

Another thing we consistently buy that I haven't seen anyone else mention is the 1 lb cans of lump crab meat from the refrigerator section. It is excellent quality and in all of my years buying it have yet to find one piece of shell or cartilage while picking through it.

The other thing we get are the cans of S&W diced tomatoes. They are so much better than other brands. Bright red, and nicely diced, unlike Hunts diced that looks more like chunky tomato sauce.
Last edited by Carrie L. on Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:51 pm

Veal? Your Costco has veal?????

:shock:
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Carrie L. » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:03 pm

They don't always carry them, but sometimes we can find beautiful rib chops. I understand that they don't get them into all of the stores though.

Has anyone ever bought any of their prime meats on line? Just curious -- we order from Lobels for "special occasions" since the steaks cost about as much as what you'd spend at a prime steakhouse, so wondering how Costco would compare?
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby bgbarcus » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:48 pm

Carrie L. wrote:We think Costco's meat is excellent, everything


I forgot about the meat. We finally found a real butcher shop to buy from but before that Costco was the best meat available. I still buy their lamb and some of the better priced bulk cuts. I also go there for whole pork buts when I get in the mood to make sausage.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby wrcstl » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:02 pm

Have to chime in here as our #1 purchase is 2" thick lamb chops from OZ. We call to make sure they are there as you can only find them about 50% of the time. They come in a package of 6 or 7. Top with OO and some fresh herbs and put them on a hot grill and it cannot be beat. We also buy the salmon if it is put out that day and the beef tenderloin is the best. Cook's Illustrated actually reviewed many beef tenderloins and said the best deal was Costco.

On the negative side, at our store, the wine selection is terrible.

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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:22 pm

I like their beef, too. Wish I could get the big packs of skirt steak I used to get in L.A. though. That cut is nonexistent up here.

Another thing, around Christmas last year they got this big cryo packs of whole pork ribs which they sold for like 2.99 a lb. That was one of the best pork roasts I've ever eaten--it was a huge step up in flavor from the supermarket pork we're used to. I'll be looking for them again soon.
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Re: Things I love about Costco..

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:24 pm

Jenise, Costco has a liquor store here in one of the locations. Many independants have problems with some of the reps selling certain wines to them, hence undercutting. I went in once, will not go back. Not that impressed and I support the store/s that give personnel service.
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