3 reasons why I stop shopping at Costco

A man pushing a shopping cart through the aisles of a warehouse store.

Image source: Getty Images

Costco just doesn’t live up to the hype for me.


Key points

  • Shopping at Costco has its pros and cons.
  • I didn’t like the length of each trip to Costco.
  • It also didn’t save me any money over shopping at local grocery stores.

Costco receives a lot of praise for its wide selection of products and competitive prices. Based on all the positive reviews and good word of mouth, I went to Costco for a bit when I was younger. I always had one within a 15 minute drive so thought I’d take the opportunity to shop there.

I finally realized that despite Costco’s reputation, it just wasn’t for me. If you’re wondering if you should join Costco, it helps to know the pros and cons before handing in an annual fee. Here’s why I wasn’t a fan.

I’m the kind of person who likes to go in and out when grocery shopping. Warehouse stores like Costco make this nearly impossible.

On the one hand, there is the size. Costco parking lots are huge, and since the store tends to get busy, you either have to take a chance on finding a spot nearby or park in the back. The store itself is just as massive. And since Costco stocks so many products, grocery shopping normally involves browsing through TVs, appliances, clothes, and everything else in the front of the store.

As far as browsing the store goes, it’s no picnic either. It’s often crowded, and if you don’t partake in the free samples, they become the bane of your existence as you try to get around the people waiting for them.

Last but not least, there is the payment process. Due to the crowds and people coming to Costco to buy in bulk, it may take a while. Then, when leaving, you have to wait for the control of receipts. I get why Costco checks your receipt, but to be honest, I still find it annoying when stores make you wait like that.

2. I wasn’t saving money

Costco is popular largely because of its prices. Now, this may seem like blasphemy to Costco goers, but I didn’t find myself saving any money there. Of course, that beats expensive grocery stores, like Whole Foods. But compared to affordable groceries and local markets, prices were similar on many items, so I had no money left in my bank accounts.

To be fair, Costco has a lot of great deals. However, not all of its products are cheaper than the competition, and some things are even overpriced at Costco. For most of the staples I bought, like meats, fruits, and vegetables, it made no difference whether I went to Costco or Ralphs.

The other problem with going to Costco to save money is that it’s very easy to buy more than you originally planned. Sometimes stores like Costco overspend us. There are a lot of products to see, and when everything looks like a bargain, some shoppers fill their carts for fear of missing out. When you buy more than you normally would, even though the prices are lower, you still end up spending more money.

When I went to Costco, I was living alone and shopping for myself. This meant that some of Costco’s best food deals weren’t an option for me, as the sizes were way too big. Especially with perishables, buying in bulk just doesn’t work well for one person.

I can definitely see Costco’s appeal to families. If you’re sure you can use it all, then buying in bulk at Costco is a smart way to save money. But for single shoppers and childless couples, shopping at this outlet store is more hit or miss.

I have nothing against Costco. It’s a great option for some shoppers, and it has its exceptional products that you can’t find anywhere else (I still miss those poppy seed muffins). However, if you don’t like buying in bulk, are happy with your local stores, or don’t like spending too much time shopping, Costco may not be the best fit for you.

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