I was recently tipped off that Costco’s relationship with Coke is stormy, to say the least. How bad is it? So bad that Costco has decided that they’d rather not continue selling Coca-Cola products (soda, water, juice, anything) unless they can get better pricing for their customers. That means you and me.
That’s right, Costco could soon have a wider selection of Pepsi products but no Coke products. The people at my Costco tell me that while the supply might get a little thin in the stores, they expect to still be able to work things out with Coke eventually. After all, Costco is the third largest retailer in the US, so it doesn’t seem like it would be wise for Coke to pass up the opportunity to keep selling their products in all of the Costco stores. Supposedly, something like this also happened about 10 years ago, and they made up eventually or else there wouldn’t be any Coke in the stores right now.
So, you’re probably wondering what the story is behind Costco’s falling out with Coke. It’s all about the customers, according to the people at my Costco. For a long time now, Coke has been offering other retailers, chief amongst them is of course Walmart/Sam’s, better pricing and more notice regarding special sales and such. So, it isn’t that Costco wants to have Coke sell them their soda and other products at some greatly reduced rate that is far below that of other retailers, they just want the same types of pricing so that they can continue to be competitive against other retailers. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but at Costco the cases of Coke are much more expensive than the cases of Pepsi; a difference of somewhere around $0.07 per can, which is almost 30% more. That certainly adds up when you’re talking about 32 or 36 cans.
As of today, there’s still plenty of Coke and all of their other soda varieties available at the Austin store that I shop at. Also, I’ve heard that the issues with Coke in the warehouse does not necessarily impact the sale of Coke in the vending machines or the Food Court.
[If you're wondering what's up with the title of my post, it's from a Saturday Night Live skit featuring John Belushi and Dan Akroyd from the 70s, which in turn is allegedly based on a place in Chicago called Billy Goat Tavern. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger! No Coke, Pepsi!]