[This guest post comes courtesy of Kaydee who blogs about being a police wife at, Handcuffed Heart. She’s had a long, long relationship with Costco, actually since it was Price Club. She shares a little about how her love for Costco/Price Club started and some of the things she now misses since her Costco doesn’t carry them anymore. And don’t we all have one of those lists?]
My Life-Long Love Affair with Costco
My love affair with Costco began long ago in my childhood at a store called Price Club. A visit to “our” Price Club in beautiful San Diego, California, was a family social outing, where we would go for a little fun and our “$50 Block Of Cheese.” We’d head over the hill and drop down into a little valley where Costco Bliss, cheap Tillamook Cheese, and a $50 bill (definitely NO credit cards back in those days!) spent on who-knows-what-besides-cheese would be waiting.
That Price Club is still there. I don’t remember a lot of the details of our shopping trips, the “quality” items my parents purchased, or how the store was laid out, but I do remember the family memories all those outings made. I remember the giant carts without a seat to stash any of us kids. I remember the big photo cart they would wheel just outside the entrance so you could drop your film there before you headed inside. I remember bringing markers to color the film envelopes so we could easily find them in the piles and piles of completed film orders. I remember that every single check-out line had two employees — one that would call out the item number and transfer it to the other basket and one that would key in the item number as it all whizzed by. No scanners here!
Times have changed. Price Club became Price Costco and is now simply known as Costco. I’ve long since moved away from beautiful San Diego, but not before I was given my very own membership at the age of 16 so I could do my own shopping there while on my way home from school. (That PriceCostco bit the dust, unfortunately!) There are food courts, gas stations, tire centers, eye exam offices, and many other fancy, new fangled ways by which Costco steals my money. They still have that cheap Tillamook cheese, it’s just that now when I go to Costco for “just” a block of cheese, I leave having spent $100 instead of only $50 — and I still don‘t know what I bought for all that money! Oh, the good old days.
Given my long history with Costco, it should come as no surprise that I have a love-hate relationship with the behemoth. My current store has a lot to live up to. Those stores I grew up on in San Diego (and continue to visit from time to time when visiting family) really ruined it for all the other stores I’d ever visit after. The people who work there are super friendly, yet you can hardly have a conversation with an employee before they are finished ringing up your order, they are so quick. They’re helpful and competent. There is an esprit de corps there which honestly, I have yet to find at any store near where I live.
While it would be nice to patronize a Costco with outstanding customer service, that’s really not why we shop there, is it? It’s for the great products at fabulous prices. These days, I do my best to take anything I buy there with a ‘grain of salt.’ The list is long and distinguished as to what they don’t carry any more — at least at my Costco — which I desperately wish they did. Some of them my mom will pick up for me at her local Costco and save for me, but for the most part, I’m out of luck when it comes to:
- Tortillaland Uncooked Flour Tortillas (you’d never go back if you cooked your own!)
- Rice Dream Rice Milk
- Coach’s Oats
- Nature’s Path Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal
- Stonyfield Yogurt cups (not Smoothies!)
- Burritos made onsite with the in-house rotisserie chicken (the enchiladas they do have just don’t cut it!)
I’m sure there are lots of things I’m forgetting. This is probably my unconscious strategy: to forget what my Costco has “forgotten” so I am not as disappointed every time I go. Yet I keep shopping there because I have a life-long love affair with this place that satisfies my champagne tastes on my beer budget.
Thanks, Price Club. Er, Costco!