How to shop at Costco, with pictures

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This is an informational post about how to shop at Costco.  You may ask yourself, “Why do I need to read a post about how to shop at Costco?  I’ve been doing it for years”.  Here is why.  Most of you are doing it wrong, or at the very least could make it SO much better.  Strap on your fanny packs, bring the oversize bags and let’s go to COSTCO!!

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We all want to just go to Costco, get what we need, chow on samples, eat a delicious churro, watch a Vita Mix demonstration, get the 3 things on our list. (HA! HA! YEAH RIGHT!), then get out. If everyone reads this and follows these guidelines, going to Costco will be the best day of your life.  (You thought it was already didn’t you?)

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First things first, the parking lot.  What a mess, people walking everywhere, carts and flatbeds taking up parking spots (we’ll get to that later), horns honking, dogs barking, sea gulls swarming etc.  Just find a spot, and park. Circling the parking lot is bad for the environment.   http://www.theonion.com/articles/decision-to-circle-parking-lot-produces-carbon-emi,37131/  (satire)

Please don’t fight over parking spots.  That is silly.  On your way in grab a stray shopping cart, you are going to need it anyway.  If you are really cool, you bring in a couple of them.

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Have your membership card ready to show.  Have it ready before you even get out of your car.  It is embarrassing to get stopped at the door and fumble around in your purse or wallet, dropping keys and coupon books and holding up people that are ready with their cards.

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Please don’t be angry that you are getting asked to see your membership card.  You paid to shop here, we don’t want non-members aka non-payers getting in your way, holding up lines (because they didn’t know they needed a membership) or eating all of your samples.

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Alright you’re in, GOOD JOB!!  Start shopping.  Pay particular attention to the items located on the fence, this is where you will find a lot of the sale items.  As you are shopping be aware of your surroundings.  Is there someone behind you? Are you in the middle of the aisle?  Can people get around you?  Just be conscientious of these things because you know you hate it when people ahead of you just stop in the middle or suddenly turn around slamming their cart into yours or clipping your heals.

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You read a sign and can’t believe the price.  $2.99 for a whole pack of chicken breasts?!  You can’t believe it.  RE-READ the sign, it probably says PER POUND.  Occasionally there are several items close together, you see the item you want and the price you like and you are one happy shopper.  Before you commit, check the sign, check your item and make sure they match. Costco has Item Numbers and the products have the item numbers on them.  Make sure they match.  In the sales flyer vitamins and things are usually grouped together.  Does the item number of the product you have appear on the “coupon”?  This will save you a lot of time at the register.  Same goes in the clothing department.  99% of the time there are more than one item on a table.  Read the sign, check the numbers.  Got it?  Ok enough of that now.

Here is a link to an explanation of the signs if you are at all interested.  (if link doesn’t work, copy/paste)  http://addictedtocostco.com/2013/07/23/how-to-understand-the-costco-price-signs/

Some other interesting information about signs.

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Since we are speaking of clothing several things come to mind when it comes to clothes shopping etiquette at Costco.   1. Don’t dig for your size, things will fall and you will make a horrible mess.  Just pick up a few from the stack and look then replace them.  I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I go into a store and everything is a mess and I can’t even begin to find my size because someone has made it impossible.  2. You don’t have to pick up every size, open it up, then throw it down.  Find the size you usually wear, does it look like it will fit?  Yes? BUY IT!  No? fold it the way it was and check another size. 3. The clothes on the bottom are NOT fresher.  I don’t know where people got this idea from but it is insane.  4. It is NOT OK to be a slob, then say to the employee, “job security” and walk away.  This does not give you permission to act like an animal instead of a human being.  5. You found a better pair of yoga pants at a different table?  Return the others to the table you found those at.  Over all, just be courteous, conscientious and not sloppy. Think about how you want it to look at a place you PAY to shop at.  Do you want it to look like the bargain bin flea market?  No?  Then don’t treat it as such. Be decent. Thank you.

Do you enjoy shopping in places where the clothes look like this?  No?!  Then don’t make it look like this!!

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Keep it like this please.

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Have you felt you are spending too much and need to not buy somethings?  TAKE THEM BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM.  If you are unable to do this because of time or another reason take it up to the cashier and tell them you’ve changed your mind.  Please stop leaving frozen fish and blocks of cheese by the electric toothbrushes.  Not cool (pun intended) bro.  We don’t care if you have changed your mind, but we do care when we find Pirate’s Booty in the freezer.  Also, you do not need to take an item simply because they are sampling it.  Just eat the sample and move on.  It is rude to take the item then leave it in the next aisle.  The Sample people get PISSED when we bring items back.  It crushes their dreams.  Then we become the bad guys, when in fact YOU are the bad guy.

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If you drop something or break something, clean it up or tell someone.  That is all.  Easy.


When using the restroom, just, C’mon!!  I shouldn’t even have to talk about this.  If you must pee on the seat because you don’t know how to use a toilet, clean up after yourself.  If you decide you want to have poop fun, please do it at home.  There are garbage cans for your paper towels, use them.  Flush your bodily waste, wash your hands.  I can’t even continue to talk about this.  Seriously, this should be a given, but it is unbelievable the things we see.

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Time to go to the register, get in the long line and accept that you will have to wait.  While you are waiting, this is a GREAT time to get your membership card and your payment method ready.  Also a great time to go get boxes if you so wish.

linesAnd be prepared to spend A LOT of money.

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Miscellaneous things that will ensure a smooth and happy Costco outing.  Please watch your children. They should not be pushing flat beds with other children on them slamming into people and displays.  They are not to be left by the T.V.’s or be using the clothing tables as a library.  Or this.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maebATc_2-E .  However, THIS is ok.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iNdrxiLNio   Secondly, be kind, when you get to the cashier, say hello, ask how their day is going before you shove your coupons (which aren’t necessary, because they are INSTANT savings) into their face. Don’t use up more of the belt than necessary and put down the divider for the next member.  We know you have a case of water under your cart.  No need to tell us 30 times while we are still helping the member in front of you.

As you leave, keep your receipt handy, for they will be checking it to make sure you weren’t double charged for something, or left something behind.  Be kind and patient, they are doing their job to keep loss and prices low.  Y’all like low prices right?

After shoving everything in your car like you were playing the hardest level ever on Tetris, return your shopping cart into the store or the closest cart corral so that your parking spot stays available, and the Lexus next to you doesn’t get dinged up, because that would be HORRIBLE!!

Costco is a wonderful company and I would love everyone to be a member.  This post is just to help Costco remain a nice, pleasant place to go.

YAY COSTCO!  Did you all learn anything or did I do this all for nothing?

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Enjoy your next Costco trip!!

This post brought to you by an employee.  Obviously.

Feel free to comment, add your own experiences, ask questions, share this post, etc.

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11 thoughts on “How to shop at Costco, with pictures

  1. Also don’t touch the samples unless you plan on picking it up! Don’t pick one up and set it down again. Don’t touch numerous samples before deciding on one. They have to be ALL thrown away when you do this! Why? Because they don’t know if you wash your hands after using the restroom. What if the person before you touched all the samples after having poop fun in the restroom and the person handing samples out left them all there. Then you took one. Yea. Exactly.
    Also, if you don’t KNOW what the sample is, listen or ASK before taking. This is especially wise if you have an allergy, don’t eat meat, or whatever. Find out what you’re eating before you stuff your maw and then get pissed off you ate something you didn’t like.

    Liked by 1 person

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