Since joining Costco as a member in December 2005 because they sold ready-to-eat baby back ribs, I continue to learn many lessons that make a better shopper, consumer and person.
At the first moment I joined Costco, I knew it was going to be a transformational experience. Walking through Costco, I could not help but notice all of the samplers encouraging you to try a variety of goods. Though mostly food, it was a guilt-free place to try to learn about using new ingredients. Costco was the first place I ever tried quinoa, now one of the grains I use in my cooking. For instance, at my latest sampling trip, I was able to try frozen chicken breasts breaded with panko crumbs. Though I could make that on my own, it was great to have the option to purchase it frozen. There are times where it is frustrating and items that would be considered staples at traditional retail outlets are not readily available.
As a consumer, I was able to see more value in a product. I purchased the computer I wrote this article on from Costco. Though it was not a brand of computer I wanted to purchase, it ended up being a great value. More importantly, it was what I needed. If I had gone to a store where the sales associate was interested in sales commissions, I would not have enjoyed purchasing such a useful product. I recently purchased a netbook at a major office supply store. The experience was not as enjoyable at the first of the two locations, mostly because I would assume that the store was more interested in selling a good than building a genuine relationship with a customer. Stores that have membership policies are more willing to make customer friendly offers. My current computer has a second year warranty, and was offering much better technical specs than any similar product at any other major retailer.
To this day, I am able to bond with many people in my life. My family and I enjoyed many fun moments at the food court sampling all of the great comfort foods. We tried foods, prepped and ate them together. I could invite my friends who could compare it to Sam’s Club and to shop at a store where they loyalty was not only rewarded, but appreciated. When every summer comes to an end, I make my pilgrimage to the tents where I can get my flu shot and have my blood pressure checked. For instance, this past year, they were able to work with my insurance and offer it for free while I enjoyed a Saturday afternoon with family. Recently, I started a new job and I have bonded with one of my co-workers solely because of our enjoyment of Costco snacks. I have helped him become a more integral part of our team.
Sometimes I think the best $55 a year I spend is the membership fee for the best club ever invented, Costco.