Guest Post: 10 Things I WISH Costco Sold!

April 11th, 2015 · 20 Comments

[I’ve got an outstanding Guest Post today from Rick, he normally writes and blogs about technology, but today he’s sharing his thoughts about some products he wishes Costco would sell, as well as areas where Costco could really expand their member benefits.  This is a great list with some things that I’ll bet we’ve all wanted to see at Costco, at one time or another.  I particularly like the idea about airline tickets being sold separately, or even as part of an a la carte vacation purchase through Costco Travel.  And I love the idea of them selling fresh herbs in the produce section too.  So take a look at Rick’s list and let us know what you’d like to see at Costco.]

Given that we all are addicted to Costco it’s fitting to share what we think about certain things that we want but don’t necessarily have. When I discuss my Costco Addition to my friends, one of things I always tell them is that “everything they sell is good”, and for this list of things I wish they sold, I know I’d like what I got. As usual, Kimberly (OF COURSE) already blogged about this topic in 2009, but I offered my take with a new twist – so here goes. Here is my list of 10 Things I wish Costco did sell!

  1. Herbs in the Fresh Produce department. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle on getting fresh herbs in quantity to my liking for my recipes. Specifically basil, as when I need it I need a lot! I know Costco would take care of me there.
  2. Express carwashes. I know that these facilities and associated equipment have a lot of maintenance overhead, but I really wish the automobile experience could be complete with Costco here. I’ve bought a car with the Costco program, I’ve purchased tires at Costco and almost all of my fuel is purchased there. I’ve not purchased Insurance, however but that is available online.
  3. Oil changes. Much the same reasoning as above, but an operation that has both the car wash and oil change is a profitable line of business. I can hope that they’d add it; you know I’d give it a try!
  4. College tuition. Maybe I’m ahead of my time here, but I have three kids (age 1,5 and 8) and I’ll need to get them through college somehow. If I had a few percentage points off, like the auto program, at a list of colleges or universities, I’d be a happy camper!
  5. A broader beer selection. I guess their wine selection has spoiled me, but I consistently feel that the beer section could use a bit more variety. I’ve found that the warehouses here in the United States and more so around the world that the selection varies in my personal measure of “awesome” or “not awesome”. For example, when I visited the Auburn warehouse outside of Sydney Australia I loved their beer selection. Conversely I was in a warehouse outside of Ottawa Canada and I don’t think it sold any beer (there may have been one option however). I realize some laws and regulations come into play, but I’d really like to see the warehouses that can sell beer up the game a little bit.
  6. Back-Up child care benefits. My prior employer offered backup child (and elder) care as a benefit. That was the coolest, most versatile benefit ever. If Costco offered it, I would imagine many members would take them up on it somehow. Even if “blocks” were offered, so imagine that you bought up to 5 days per year and it would cost a certain amount. I loved this benefit, and wish it was a more popular offering.
  7. Visa and Passport agency services. I do quite a bit of International travel, and for many of the destinations I have to submit my passport to an agency that will get the proper endorsements for the country I’m preparing to visit. This is tough as I have to give up my passport for a few weeks and hope that they turn it back quick. I’d love to see Costco have a discount or preferred vendor that gives members the rush treatment by default.
  8. Landscape and property management services. This may be inherently local, but there are a number of semi-nationwide landscape and property management groups. I hire persons to mow my grass and do things like snow removal. I’d love a 5% discount from these types!
  9. Airfare only options for the Travel portal. I’ve booked full packages from the Costco Travel site, and there are actually quite a number of good ways to get value there. I feel we are just missing standalone airfare options of some type, even like those dodgy companion programs that come with some of the premier credit cards would be a good comparable offering.
  10. Sideways wish: Keep American Express. The news from February is really hitting me hard. I hate to draw a parallel to one of the other large warehouse clubs but at some point they did introduce that second form of credit card payment. If I can’t use my American Express at Costco, I’ll probably be alright. I really will (LOL). But, it’s almost as associable to use my American Express card at Costco as the hot dog priced at $1.50 in the United States warehouses. I just hope that they can find a solution, dropping the exclusivity of American Express – I’m fine with that. But I’m very interested in what happens!
  11. Bonus wish – but it has already been granted! Did you notice that in most of the United States warehouse food courts the point of sale terminals now have credit card machines readers? This is nice as I don’t always have cash, and I likely forget or change my mind at checkout so I didn’t always add it to my main purchase. When I visited a warehouse and food court in Ottawa Canada; they thought it was an amazing idea to pay for food items at the main checkout. Let’s hope credit card machines arrive at all food courts soon!

That’s my wish list, but surely you have your own! What would you like to see Costco sell? This can be sold either in the warehouses or online. Share your comments below.


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20 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Bill // 2015.04.20 at 5:41 pm

    I wish they still sold Kirkland white men’s briefs. For some reason they only sell colored boxers now.
    Also wish they sold whole wheat or whole grain bagels. They sell 4 kinds of bagels but not one healthy choice. Everyone except Costco knows that whole grains are better for you than white flower. Also, I’m happy to see that my store has whole wheat hamburger rolls, but why don’t they also have whole wheat hot dog rolls?
    They stopped carrying Santa Fe Whole grain Tortillas too for some reason?
    Also, a few years ago I bought Asics Gel-Nimbus Running shoes for $49. They sell for $150 on their site. I wish they would sell them again.

  2. 2 Jon & Kelsey // 2015.04.14 at 12:56 am

    Carwashes – Our local Costco (Indianapolis) has gift cards to Crew Carwash here in town. $35 for $50 of washes I believe.

    A broader beer selection – Ours has individual bottles (22oz bombers) of craft beers and a very good price.

    Visa and Passport agency services – 100% agree here

    Airfare only options for the Travel portal – Probably because the markup isn’t very high on most plane tickets anymore, unless you’re going business or full-fare economy. But for standard economy, there isn’t much financial sense for Costco to push for this.

    Keep American Express – I’m torn. I would hope that I can stay on as an AMEX customer after the transition, but I hear that I’ll be getting a Citi VISA and losing my membership with AMEX. I have plenty of Visa’s already, likely with equal or better perks, and really don’t need another.

  3. 3 Paul // 2015.04.13 at 9:51 pm

    Oil changes are done…. In Eastern Canada region only, at most warehouses (but not all).

  4. 4 Candy // 2015.04.13 at 9:53 am

    Some of your wants are good but of course not for everyone. The “rant” about American Express though is a come on get over it already kind of thing. It really doesn’t matter to us what we use as long as we still get the same benefits. It’s just another credit card. If American Express tried to play hardball with Costco and lost it’s their fault. It’s no big deal to us. Gluten free offerings mean nothing to us. Neither of us has celiac disease. Other than that, it’s not healthier to eat gluten free. It’s nice they have some selections but it’s not a disease that a ton of people have so having a huge selection isn’t in Costco’s best interests I wouldn’t think. There are other stores that have bigger selections if it’s something you need to do. I do like the fresh herbs in quantity thing but then again would that have a big turnaround? Enough to make it profitable? Herbs don’t have a long shelf life after all. I do like the airplane ticket thing. We have a timeshare so don’t always need to book a whole trip but airfare alone would be good. We have done a Costco trip though and it was a fabulous experience. We would definitely do it again.

  5. 5 Marilyn // 2015.04.11 at 10:22 pm

    The Costco in Lancaster, California, near where my in-laws live, also has an express carwash. I wish we had them at our Costcos in Northern California!

  6. 6 Rick Vanover // 2015.04.11 at 4:04 pm

    Hey Neil: That’s great in regards to the express car wash. It sounds like it’s a situational market thing, I hope it comes to Ohio!

    Noel & Realist: RE: Gluten-Free, I think more gluten free options for base products would be good. I’m convinced it’s better for everyone to eat gluten-free or at least less-gluten. Next made up one is corn…. But we’ll see if that’s ever going to happen.

    Hey Kelly in Oregon: Lucky you! I am in a weird “lack of amazing local beer” part of the country, so that may explain why my local selection is quite boring.

    • 7 Neil // 2015.04.11 at 4:15 pm

      I think the car wash at the Seattle Costco is a one-store only thing. It’s been there for years and if they were going to expand I think they would have done it by now :(


      • 8 Kimberly // 2015.04.13 at 11:23 am

        @Neil & Rick – There is at least one other store where they have a car wash, in California somewhere, and they just added it not too long ago. I feel like I’ve heard of one somewhere else too but can’t remember where.

        • 9 Fred // 2015.04.15 at 2:14 pm

          I was at the Costco in San Juan Capistrano, CA (roughly halfway between LA and San Diego) the other day, and they have a car wash – that might be the location you’re thinking of, as I believe it opened in late 2013/early 2014. I know they also exist in Poway, CA (just north of San Diego) and Oxnard, CA (along the coast north of LA). I believe there’s also a car wash at the Costco in Victorville, CA (which is in the High Desert on the way from the LA area to Las Vegas).

          With the drought situation in CA, it will be interesting to see if Costco will construct additional car washes or not. Apparently there’s less water wasted than washing cars at home, but new water use restrictions coming into place could deter new car washes being established.

          • 10 Kimberly // 2015.04.15 at 2:19 pm

            @Fred – Yes, I think that is the one I was thinking of because it was something I had written about not that long ago. Will the Costco Car Washes be impacted by the water restrictions too? If not, I guess it would be the best way to wash your car in CA.

  7. 11 Realist // 2015.04.11 at 3:55 pm

    How about going back to basics and realizing that “gluten-free” and “celiac” are both completely made-up “diseases”, fabricated by dishonest and uncaring people who benefit by taking advantage and stealing money from people, by selling them “gluten-free” or “organic” products that do nothing for them? Ask yourself this…ten (or even five) years ago, who needed “gluten-free” for some magical “celiac” disease? Nobody. It simply didn’t exist then and it simply doesn’t exist now.

    • 12 Noel // 2015.04.12 at 3:34 am

      While this is not a place to argue, thanks for your sage words. I can clearly see who has done their homework.

    • 13 Michelle // 2015.04.12 at 2:32 pm

      Wow. “Celiac” is a made up disease? While I agree that people who go “gluten free” for solely health trend reasons are a little extreme (you have to be really careful about what you completely eliminate from your diet, unless it’s completely necessary, as eliminating it from your diet will only make your body more sensitive to it if you ever accidentally ingest it), it is completely ridiculous to say that NO one has issues with gluten, whether they are officially diagnosed with Celiac disease or it’s just a gluten sensitivity. I have a friend who had digestive issues for many years, test after test, no doctor could solve her problems. Finally a doctor suggested trying gluten free, bingo, all her problems were gone, and if she ever has anything with gluten in it, she’ll know it later in the day and regret it. On the other end of the spectrum, my sister had just general overall health “blah”ness, muscle soreness for no reason, and I forget what else, but all sorts of random problems she couldn’t figure out. Gluten free, 100% feeling better., and she’ll know the next day if she gives into gluten. Using history as proof that something is made up is also crazy. Do we not learn new things in the medical field, um, ever? That’s dumb.

  8. 14 Greg // 2015.04.11 at 12:24 pm

    Airfare only, definitely. I have only once booked a package vacation, and don’t like them at all. If packages are all that is available, I won’t even bother with a site, quite frankly. I can’t imagine that others don’t want this. Even if Costco can’t get an airfare price break, they can maybe offer a “first bag free” thing for those airlines who are despicable enough to charge that insidious fee.

    Other than that I am pleased enough with the selection at Costco, without getting into hyper-specific stuff where the market niche is far too small for them to bother. Sometimes Costco discontinues items (example – dried jalapeño flakes in the spice aisle) that I loved and bought all the time, but I assume people like myself didn’t make it worth carrying. They are after all a wholesale business that requires the volume and turnover to justify their offerings.

    • 15 Kimberly // 2015.04.13 at 11:21 am

      @Greg – I was sad to see those jalapeno flakes disappear too! I buy mine now from Penzey’s and they are more expensive but I use them so much that I had to find somewhere else since Costco stopped carrying them.

  9. 16 Kelly in Oregon // 2015.04.11 at 12:04 pm

    I think the beer selection is very regional. In Oregon we have a fantastic beer selection!

  10. 17 Neil // 2015.04.11 at 8:55 am

    The Costco on 4th Ave S. in Seattle (the one with the piece of the original building inside) has an express car wash in the parking lot. It’s the only one I’m aware of, but it does exist!

    I wish Costco would put windshield washing stations at the gas bars. They have them at the Kalispell Costco, but I’ve never seen ’em anywhere else.


  11. 18 Rick Vanover // 2015.04.11 at 6:31 am

    I thought of one more thing I wish Costco would sell, Airline club membership. If they could sell them at a discount, that would be awesome. Or, even better, make it a credit card program like American Express has (Priority Pass).

    • 19 Kimberly // 2015.04.13 at 11:19 am

      @Rick – Or Airline Lounge access either by day or for the year or something would be good too.

  12. 20 Noel // 2015.04.11 at 5:42 am

    How about going back to basics and offering wide choice of Gluten-free products and organic produce. With a Celiac family, it isn’t fun to live gluten-free esp in the US.

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