7.15.2009

Costco Executive Membership Review




If ever there were a "grocery heaven" on earth, Costco is it. You're greeted by a messenger at the front gates. You wander brightly lit aisles with food stacked to the ceiling. In fact, the only negative is that if you let your spending habits run amok, you're coming out of there 300 bucks poorer, and you can't remember one thing you bought. Try it...try spending less than 100 bucks there.

Compared to the "grocery hell" of Walmart, we see that they are polar opposites.

Walmart--Aisle is only wide enough for a 6-axe handle ass girth...which is strained daily.
Costco--I've literally played handball in the aisles.

Walmart--Next time you're there, go on "sweats count." This is where you count the number of people wearing sweats---or as George Costanza would put it, have "given up."
Costco--It's where hot moms and Golds Gym Dudes shop.

Walmart--Free samples are located on the floor of the aisles where a 3-year old opened a bag of duplex cookies.
Costco--Friendly old ladies are more than happy to have you try their sushi, steak bites, or fresh cheese on crackers.

Walmart--Your kids will learn at least 3 curse words in one 45 minute visit.
Costco--Where the words "sure we'll take the item back" is commonplace.

Walmart--68% chance of contracting swine flu.
Costco--People with swine flu can't push the big carts, so your odds are greatly diminished of contracting the sickness.

Enough...this isn't a review of Costco compared to other stores, but of the Costco Executive membership.
If you're a Costco member, you'll know that you pay your 50 bucks just to grace the store with your presence. How on Earth can they justify charging 50 bucks more for an executive membership? What do I get for the extra 50 bucks?

Well, first off they give you 2% back on most purchases made at Costco. This means that if you spend $2500 a year there, you've basically paid for your executive membership. But, there is a maximum benefit you can receive. They cap the cash back at $500, which means you'd have to spend $25,000 in one year at Costco, and you then have a serious spending problem.

Even better is that they offer a money-back guarantee on the cash back. If you don't get the 50 dollars in cash back, you can opt out of the program, and they'll give you your 50 bucks back. (minus whatever 2% rewards you earned)

What's the catch?

I grilled the Costco sales rep on this very point. He said there was none, and explained thus:
By a customer moving up to the executive membership, there was a higher chance that they would do A LOT more shopping at Costco to maximize their rewards. So Costco gets more business, and you get a guarantee that you'll make your 50 bucks back one way or another.

In addition, there are many other benefits you can check out on the web page. Things like extra discounts on checks, to roadside assistance on their auto insurance.

If you are a single guy/gal, then Costco might not be the best fit for you. Most likely you don't need a 6-pack of left hand golf gloves, or a 5-pound bag of carrots. Although, if you're in the market for a new TV, and drop $2000 on one at Costco, you've almost made up your 50 dollar reward in one shot. So it might be worth a visit.

On the other hand, if you normally purchase more than 48 rolls of toilet paper every pay period, or like to buy your pretzels in 3 pound increments, then this is definitely going to work for you.

And on the way out of the store, you can pick up an all-beef hot dog whose length would make any American male happy, or a piece of pizza the size of a large chihuahua.

Costco executive memberships thrifts its way to a 4-star rating....only knocked a star because its not free.

3 comments:

Joy said...

Wow! Sounds like a great place from the way you describe it. We don't have a Costco in our town... definitely more of a Wal-mart kind of town than a Costco kind of town, so we have Sam's Club instead. But it sounds like a nice place and I guess that rewards program is a pretty sweet deal if you get your money back either way.

Love your vivid descriptions and fun writing, keep it up :)

Matt said...

Joy...We are also a Walmart kind of town, but I have boycotted that demons lair...at least until swine flu blows over, or until fat men with tank tops no longer frequent the self-checkout line.

Thanks for visiting.

Ryan said...

I was actually sucked in to getting this membership...and only really because I was purchasing an expensive TV...the money back guarentee sold me on it...I actually dont think Ive spent a dime at Costco since...but I still love the store...I just dont usually buy enough stuff there to figure a membership was what I needed.

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