This Week at Costco – June 14, 2015

June 20th, 2015 by Kimberly · 5 Comments

This weekend is the summer solstice, so live it up and enjoy the longest day night of the year if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere.  Or, flip that around and enjoy the winter solstice if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.  I love the start of summer and all of the lovely sunlight.  We live really near Regent’s Park and it looks gorgeous right now with all of the roses and flowers blooming and the trees and grass so green and lush.  It makes for the perfect morning or evening walk and picnic spot.

Mission Flour Tortillas

Mission Flour Tortillas

Mission Flour Tortillas – When we lived in Austin, I would not have thought of buying the Mission tortillas.  There were just so many other options in Austin at all of the supermarkets.  Also, Costco always had the very awesome Tortillaland ones (and if you are in the US and can, you really should get these), I never bought anything else.  But, we’re in the UK and Mexican foods aren’t really as plentiful here so we have to make due with what we can get.  I refuse to get Old El Paso anything and that is the big Mexican brand at the supermarkets, so Mission tortillas at Costco it is.  The Mission tortillas are okay, but not great.  They don’t have a spectacular taste but it’s satisfactory.  The real problem I have with these tortillas is that they are a bit fragile.  Pretty much no matter what filling I use or how gentle I am when rolling them, they seem to tear and if the filling is at all moist you’ll certainly get tearing and seeping.  I made chicken burritos with them and several of them split when we tried to roll them up, which was really annoying.  When they split, you just have a huge mess too with filling spilling and getting all over everything else.  So, yeah, that’s not great in a tortilla.   After using these, it really made me miss the nice variety of tortillas, both corn and flour, that we could find in our Austin Costco location. Luckily, they are cheap and I’m used to the splitting now so I make my burritos a little less moist now and never overfill.  I also pop the in the microwave for a bit longer than suggested on the package to soften them up.  I’ve found that makes them a bit more pliable and if we’re careful with how tight we try to roll them we can avoid any big ripping situations.  Unfortunately, the taste isn’t as good as the Tortillaland ones, so they’re not really great for eating without a lot of filling, I’d say.  I also think the hard nature of them makes them mediocre for a wrap type of sandwich but I have done it.  So, they’re not my favourite option, obviously, but they’re kind of the only option I’ve got.  Buying these at Costco is about half the price as getting Old El Paso or similar flour tortillas at the supermarket, where a single 8 pack is about the same price at Costco for twice as many tortillas.  2, 8 packs for £1.49.  Item #: 0093293.

Nong Shim Fresh Udon Noodle Bowls

Nong Shim Fresh Udon Noodle Bowls

Nong Shim Fresh Udon Noodle Bowls – These are a nice step up from something like Pot Noodle and make for a quick lunch.  The noodles aren’t the usual dry crunchy ones that you soften with water, instead you get a little sealed packet of udon noodles that are soft and moist.  Even though the noodles are fresh (they use that to mean moist I think, not freshly made) you do still need to moisten and steam them with hot water for a couple of minutes.  The instructions tell you to drain away that water before you add the soup base and flakes and more hot water.  The cool thing though is that they have put some thought into this draining step because the lid has little flaps cut in at the edge where you can tip the bowl to the side and the little flaps act as a strainer so you don’t have to do anything tricky to strain the hot water.  And they do really work even and because of where they are located your hands are safely out of the way when you dump the steamy water out.  The flakes and soup base contain things like anchovy, bonito, dried fish cake, mushrooms, soy sauce, green onion, seaweed, radish, and tempura flakes.  Naturally, because it is this type of thing there’s also some less “natural” things too, but at least there’s no MSG in there.  The bowls are pretty good sized and are a decent size for lunch.  I do hate that the nutritional information acts like there are two servings in this bowl because that is clearly not the case and not how anyone is eating this either.  Dave and I have both tried these and find the taste to be good actually and way better than Pot Noodle or any other version of quick noodle bowl that we’ve tried.  I think the “fresh” udon noodles make the difference.  They are thick and have a nice texture.  Plus, the soup tastes like something more than just salt.  But they are quite high in sodium, which is always the downfall of these types of noodle bowls, unfortunately.  The soup has more flavours going on than just salt though, something more complex and like a real soup.  Obviously we don’t eat these very often but they make a good, quick lunch.  These are certainly better than the little packets of crunchy noodles, but the price certainly reflects that difference too.  The price per bowl is £1.83, so they’re not cheap.   That price makes them somewhere around £1.00 per bowl more than you’d pay for the usual noodle bowl.  I think they’re probably a bit high but they are considerably more tasty than the usual stuff.  6, 9.73 ounce bowls for £10.99.  Item #: 0182140.

Kirkland Signature Frozen Pineapple Chunks

Kirkland Signature Frozen Pineapple Chunks

Kirkland Signature Golden Sweet Pineapple Chunks, Frozen –  We bought these because we both like pineapple a lot but it is much harder to keep fresh pineapple on hand than say, a big bag of frozen chunks.  The bag is quite large and will take up a fair amount of space in the freezer but the pineapple is really excellent.  The bag is filled with pretty evenly cut pineapple chunks (little pie shaped wedges) that are all ready to eat, except for the thawing of course.  We’ve always thawed it and eaten it like that somehow, but this would be perfect for making smoothies too.  Since the pieces are not huge it thaws pretty quickly, in 30 to 60 minutes we have found, on the counter.  Just make sure it is fully thawed because otherwise you will get that ice cream headache thing because it turns out that even partially frozen pineapple is crazy cold.  We’ve grilled the little chunks with a bit of butter and cinnamon, we’ve eaten them just as they are, and I’ve mixed them with yogurt too.  No matter what we’ve tried the pineapple has been great.  I think it is pretty impressive or amazing that they’ve done such a good job of freezing it that it doesn’t turn to mush when it thaws, because I was a bit worried about that.  It looks just like fresh pineapple chunks when it thaws, not all smushy and sad, so you don’t have to hide it away in something where you can’t actually see it.  Since it is Kirkland Signature, the quality is there in things like this all being hand harvested and USDA Grade A pineapple, plus there are no preservatives.  I was a little reluctant to get this, but I’m really glad I did because it turned out to be a winner.  This makes me wonder if the KS frozen strawberries are this nice too.    1.81 kg/4 lbs for £4.59.  Item #: 0609091.

Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix Kit

Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix Kit

Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake Mix Kit – This is a brilliant idea if you like to make cakes or cupcakes.  This bundle at Costco comes with three Betty Crocker Devil’s Food cake mixes and three tubs of chocolate fudge icing.  The icing is in the regular tubs like you would buy on a regular supermarket shelf, but the cake mixes are just in the bags with all of the instructions on the big box.  Each cake mix and tub of icing is enough to make an 8″ cake with two layers, just like normal.  We’re a chocolate cake family, so this is perfect for us.  I’m a big Betty Crocker cake mix fan and think they are probably the best one you can buy.  The Devil’s Food cake mix is particularly nice because it is so moist and has a really great taste too.  It comes out perfect every time and you never have to worry about messing it up and ending up with a dry, horrible cake.  The Devil’s Food always makes excellent cupcakes.  There are a million ways to dress up a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, by adding things to the mix or just adding on to the icing, like almond slivers or pecan pieces or chocolate chips or shavings.  My favourite fancy addition is to use Nutella between the two layers like frosting.  If you like Nutella, you will really like it.  Buying this cake mix kit at Costco is quite a deal.  At the regular supermarkets you will pay £2.25 for the cake mix and then another £2.25 for the tub of icing, so £4.50 to make a cake basically.  That means that the kit at Costco is £3.51 less overall, or you can think of like making that third cake for just £0.99.  Either way, it’s a much better deal to buy it at Costco.  Summer seems the perfect time to buy a three pack of cake mixes and icing to me because there’s always a reason during the summer to have a cake or cupcakes.  You’d be the hit of any backyard party or picnic with a delicious chocolate cake like this.  I’m going to have to make a cake this afternoon now because I’m totally craving one after writing about how delicious they are.  3 pack for £9.99.  Item #: 0186538.

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Changes Coming to Some Costco Photo Centers

June 19th, 2015 by Kimberly · 4 Comments

When I wrote about the new Costco opening in Perrysburg, Ohio, there was a mention of some changes to various areas of the store that might be coming to a store near you. In the article I referenced they didn’t delineate all of those differences, but apparently, one of them is getting rid of the one hour photo printing available at the in-store Photo Centers. I received an email recently alerting me to this change and wanted to make sure I share this news with everyone so you can make sure that you aren’t caught out when you next need photo prints.

John, a fellow Costco shopper in California, forwarded me an email that he received from Costco letting him know that changes are coming to the Photo Center at the Rancho Cordova Costco location that he shops at. Here’s the text of that email:

Dear Costco Photo Center Member,

We would like to take a moment to let you know we appreciate your business and inform you that we will be changing our service times for certain print products at the Costco Photo Center in Rancho Cordova, CA. On July 13th, 2015, we will discontinue the 1 hour service time for print products at the Rancho Cordova, CA Photo Center.

Prints will now be available in 5 – 7 days and will continue to be printed on the same high quality Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper.

You can place orders at the online Photo Center and choose the Rancho Cordova Costco to pick up orders the way you always have. Prints, canvases, greeting cards, stationery and photo books are still available through our kiosks in the store and online. We will continue to offer your favorite products at the same price with a change to the service time of some items.

Please review our products and service times below:

  • 4″x6″ up to 20″x30″ print sizes will be ready for pick up 5 – 7 days after the order is placed and will be printed on the same high quality Fuji Crystal Archive photographic paper used in Rancho Cordova.
  • Greeting Cards will be ready for pick up in 7 – 9 days.
  • Canvas Prints, Premium Stationery, Photo Books and Calendars will be ready for pick up in 7 – 9 days. This is unchanged from our current service time.
  • There is no change to all other photo products offered at the online Photo Center such as Mugs, Mousepads, Photo Throws and more.
  • Passport Photos, Poster Boards, Restoration, Ink Refill, and Home Movie to DVD Transfer Services will be discontinued at the Rancho Cordova Costco.

Specifically for Photo Center Members – All Photo orders, whether ordered in the warehouse or online, will continue to be conveniently available for pick up at the Rancho Cordova Costco.

If you have any questions regarding the Photo Center our Rancho Cordova Costco Management Staff will be able to help you.

Sincerely,

Costco Photo Center Team & the Rancho Cordova Costco Staff

For people that use the one hour photo printing service, this is going to be a rather big change since it will now take about a week to get your prints back.    John, who sent me the email, points out that this was something that brought him into the store more often because he gets prints for business and personal reasons quite frequently, and naturally while he is there he shops for other stuff.

Unfortunately, I do not have a complete list of stores where this change will be happening.  When I do a warehouse search on Costco.com, Rancho Cordova and Perrysburg do not list “Photo Center” under the Specialty Departments section, so maybe that is a way to check if your location will be enacting this change as well.  I haven’t heard from anyone else about this but I did a bit of a spot check and it looks like none of the new locations that opened this month list a Photo Center, so it looks like this is something that no longer makes financial sense for Costco to have in store.  However, the online Photo Center where you can order photo prints and photo gifts, books, and such is not affected by these in-store changes.  If you order online you will still be able to pick things up in the store, just like before.  You will still be able to order these things in the store too, you just won’t be able to get your prints done while you shop.

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Is Costco.com Going to Start Using Intrusive Advertising?

June 16th, 2015 by Kimberly · 15 Comments

A few weeks ago I received an email from a frustrated Costco.com shopper, Mike P. in Arizona.  He shared some news in his message that was shocking to me, and left me frustrated as well.  He told me that on a recent visit to the Costco.com website he had been bombarded with an intrusive and most unwelcome advertisement for Olay while looking at restaurant gift cards.  I was floored that Costco would do this, quite frankly.  Here’s what Mike had to say in his email, including an image of the Olay ad:

Screen Capture of Olay ad at Costco.com

Screen Capture of Olay ad at Costco.com

I have been more and more disappointed by Costco’s changes recently. Not only are we losing American Express, the credit card vendor with customer service that equals Costco, but now their web division is using intrusive advertising. Not only are page results “Sponsored” now, but a huge banner dropped down from the top that took up 1/3 of my screen. Then it started playing video! This is the sort of advertisement one is more likely to find on an illicit website rather than a reputable one. Look at some competition – Best Buy, Amazon, Sam’s, and Walmart – none of them have video advertisements because they upset or infuriate shoppers. It is worse with Costco because I am a paying member, which should eliminate or reduce the need for Costco to put advertisements on their website. After all, my much cheaper memberships to news outlets reduce or eliminate ads. I am attaching a screen capture.

I can reproduce it in Internet Explorer as well as Firefox by going to Costco.com, and typing “Restaurant gift” into the search box, and clicking “Gift Baskets & Gift Cards”. As if it isn’t bad enough that Costco is now advertising to their members, they are using some of the worst possible choices. For starters, on mouseover the advertisement at the top opens a huge black bar and starts a video. And at the bottom is another banner that is served by Doubleclick.net. This advertisement company has been known to inject malware and viruses onto people’s computers — See this link for an example of when this happened:
https://blog.malwarebytes.org/malvertising-2/2014/09/googles-doubleclick-ad-network-abused-once-again-in-malvertising-attacks/

I couldn’t agree with Mike more!  For those of you that aren’t aware (probably most of you), in my former life I was a usability consultant for software and websites.  I did that for more than 15 years, consulting for companies both big and small around the world.  When I see things like this happen to a website for a company that I respect, it makes me wonder who is offering them advice.  And why are they taking it?  As Mike points out, you pay for your Costco membership and that should mean an ad-free browsing space online, not just that you are a captive audience to hit with ads for things that aren’t even related to what you are shopping for in the first place. Serving up ads like this just makes me wonder if they do not understand their website visitors and couldn’t have used that information to extrapolate how poorly ads would be received.  Also, why not just stick with the sections for top sellers or what others viewed to get people to have a deeper interaction with the site and lead them to different products.  Or, use an Amazon style recommendation section to suggest things that might be of interest based on other purchases or things in the cart.  All of these options are less intrusive to site visitors, plus people feel like you are helping them with these suggestions, which is rarely something people feel about online advertising.

I have ads on my blog (over there in the right-hand column) to generate income to support my blog because it’s the only source of income I’ve got here.  But Costco clearly doesn’t have that situation with their ecommerce website, which certainly shouldn’t need to depend on ad revenue for generating income.  If you’re going to place an ad on your site, the very least you can do is make in not so intrusive and definitely don’t make it one of those annoying ads that takes over the browser and starts playing video without input from the shopper/reader/viewer.  There is nothing more annoying and off-putting than an ad (or a news story for that matter) that just starts playing video.  I, and most people on the Internet, want the control of deciding when and if I will play a video; I definitely don’t want to leave that up to some random website guy to decide.  There wouldn’t be so many plug-ins and extensions for browsers to stop ads and Flash if people didn’t get really ticked off about it.

To me, Costco running intrusive ads on their website is no different than if they made us all stop and listen to the Vitamix blender guy before we could do our shopping in the warehouse.  No one would be okay with that, and I have a hard time believing people are going to be really appreciative of pushy ads on their website either.

It has been a couple of weeks since Mike sent me his email and in that time I was trying to see if I could get the ads to display and under what circumstances.  It was my hope that they were running some type of an experiment on the site to see how the ads would be received and if it would lead to sales.  I use different browsers than Mike, Chrome and Safari, and did not get the same ad situation when I went to the restaurant gift card page, or any other pages for that matter.  I also did not get the little “recommended for you” sidebar that you can see in Mike’s screen capture.  I tried being logged in and not being logged in, but still didn’t get the ads.  I have tried this over several days too, just to make sure that nothing popped up.  Of course, I might not be able to trigger the ads since I’m a non-US visitor (obviously, my IP address indicates I’m coming from the UK).  But at this point I am hopeful that they were trying something out and have found that it just doesn’t work for them and isn’t the right step for the Costco.com website.  Because it really, really isn’t.

Have you seen this type of unpleasant advertising cropping up on the Costco.com website?  What do you think about this type of advertising in general and how would you feel seeing it on the Costco shopping websites?

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This Week at Costco – June 7, 2015

June 13th, 2015 by Kimberly · 1 Comment

Two new Costco locations opened this week, in Perrysburg, Ohio and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin so if you live around either of those new locations, be sure to check them out and enjoy the grand opening deals.  Also, if you’re in the US don’t forget that a new bunch of coupons just started on Thursday.  There are some quite good deals in this new book.

Honeywell Tower Fan

Honeywell Tower Fan

Honeywell Tower Fan, HO-5500RE –  I would guess that most people would be surprised that I felt the need to buy a fan at Costco, huh?  I know it doesn’t get anywhere near as warm here as it does in any of the places where we lived in the US, but they all had air conditioning and our flat here doesn’t.  The last couple of summers we have had a number of quite warm days, like almost 90 F and that feels pretty lousy when you don’t have air conditioning or a decent fan.  Mostly we are fine just opening the windows, but we live in Central London and at night that can be a bit loud for sleeping, not to mention the sun is up at something like 4:30 am so unless we want to be too we need to keep the shades closed.  And that’s the reason we wanted a fan.  I like the tower fans because they don’t take up as much space, don’t seem to be as loud but still move quite a bit of air.  In a flat though, the tower fans small footprint is really a plus because this means it can just stand quietly in the corner if we’re not using it.  The fan is about one metre/3.28 feet tall, which makes it a good height for putting in the bedroom because you’ll still be able to get a breeze when you are in bed.  It oscillates in a pretty wide arc and has three fan speeds.  It also has a couple of neat speed features.  There’s a breeze setting where they fan tries to mimic a natural breeze by switching between high and low speed.  There’s also a night mode where the fan gradually slows down and remains at a low setting.  There’s also a timer that you can set for 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 4 hours.  I’ve tried out all of these features and they work well and are easy to turn on or off from the controls on the actual fan or from the remote control.  The remote control is quite a useful feature if you’re in bed and you get too cold or hot because you can just change the fan accordingly without too much disruption.  On the low setting the fan is pretty quiet, but obviously as you get the fan moving more air the noise increases.  However, this is much quieter than other fans that I’ve had or seen in shops.  There is about two minutes worth of assembly for the stand at the bottom that needs to be snapped together and screwed on to the fan body.  You also need to pop some batteries into the remote, but they’re included, so it’s all pretty quick to get going.  We’ve been pleased with our fan purchase so far.  I assume that since we have a fan and are actually prepared for some warm days this summer that it will be cool all season long now.  When we bought this there was a £7.00 discount that makes this a bit of a savings over buying it at someplace like Amazon, but without the discount it is about the same price there (once you include VAT).   £52.99 (£59.99 – £7.00 discount); £63.59 with VAT.  Item #: 0550000.

Footsteps Chorizo and Manchego Skewers

Footsteps Chorizo and Manchego Skewers

Footsteps Chorizo and Manchego Skewers – If you like chorizo, these skewers will make you very happy.  There are little fat chorizo sausages interspersed with chunks of manchego cheese on little wooden skewers.  We grilled these in the oven and the sticks were fine, but I might worry about them turning to cinder on a grill in the backyard, even though the package says they’re perfect for BBQs .  If you’ve ever had chorizo you know that it can be kind of, em, fatty and rich and these skewers are definitely no different.  Probably two or three of these would be okay to have at once but I wouldn’t suggest more unless you want a tummy ache.  That’s not because they aren’t good, because they definitely are, but because of the “richness” (as in fattiness).  The taste is delicious and will try to lure you back to just have another one, but just be aware that they could prove a little too much.   I grilled these in the oven by putting them on a rack over a cookie sheet that I covered in tin foil.  The tin foil is a good idea because they do release a lot of bright orange oiliness when you cook them and the rack helps to get the sausages up out of the fat where they can get grilled instead of stewed.  And when they say in the cooking instructions to let them cool for a couple of minutes after you cook them, you really need to heed that warning.  The oil is like lava in these little sausages and you just don’t want that in your mouth until they have cooled.  I think we found that it took about seven minutes to get to the point where they were warm but not incendiary.  These are great for a dinner party as an appetizer or as part of a tapas meal.    2, 235 gram packages for £4.99.  Item #: 0185747.

Coln Valley Smokery Gravadlax

Coln Valley Smokery Gravadlax

Coln Valley Smokery Gravadlax with Dill Mustard Sauce – This is the Scandinavian version of cold smoked salmon, right down to the dill mustard sauce.  To make their gravlax, Coln Valley cures raw Scottish salmon in a mixture of salt, sugar, black pepper, and dill over a five day period.  Despite this coming from a “smokery” there’s actually no smoking involved, unlike cold smoked salmon though they do have a similar texture.   The texture of this is really tender and quite nice.  There’s a nice amount of dill on each slice so you have that nice dill-y flavour. There is a little bit of the unattractive brown fatty bits that are the evidence of the fat layer that salmon has beneath their skin.  It’s perfectly fine to eat, but it is ugly and can have a rather potent fish taste.  The slices were for the most part whole and a decent thickness that didn’t just pull apart when I removed them from the package.  The dill mustard sauce packets that are included look small, each one is 35 grams, but it seems to be more than enough really.  Well, at least if you’re not someone that likes a little bit of salmon on the side of your mustard sauce.  The sauce has a little bit of tartness to it that is perfect for serving with the fatty gravlax.  I like gravlax for breakfast with the mustard sauce and some capers and maybe a piece of buttered bread or some berries.  This would also be great with a salad or scrambled eggs.  And of course, this would work on a bagel with cream cheese too.  This makes for a nice change from cold smoked salmon because even though the texture is similar the taste is different.  Plus, for some reason, gravlax seems to always be a bit less pricey than cold smoked salmon.  430 grams salmon and 2, 35 gram sauce packets for £7.99.  Item #: 0164787.

Kirkland Signature Men's Athletic Shoes

Kirkland Signature Men’s Athletic Shoes

Kirkland Signature Men’s Athletic Shoes – Dave was casually looking for a new pair of sneakers and when we saw these for the remarkable price of £7.00 we figured that they were worth a try for that price.  It is pretty unbelievable that you could find a pair of trainers for that price anymore.  These aren’t like a super technical athletic shoe, though they do have a few benefits for your foot.  The shoes are leather and have a memory foam footbed with a molded EVA midsole and a solid rubber outsole to keep your foot fairly pleased with low impact exercise.  These are perfectly decent for walking (for exercise, not just casual wear) and things like that, but I don’t think they’d be great for high impact activities like jogging.  Well, if they work for your foot.  Dave’s been trying to break these in but these seem to rub his toes on the outside of his foot, his little toe really.  They don’t look particularly narrow in the toe box but it might just be that they are the wrong shape for Dave’s foot unfortunately.  He is hoping that if he wears them a bit more that the leather will relax a bit and the rubbing will subside.  However, if they don’t start to feel better we’ll probably take them back on our next trip to Costco.   And if you are wondering, the outside of these shoes are completely devoid of any type of branding, the only place that you can see they are Kirkland Signature is on the insole. Seeing trainers/sneakers for this price does make me wish that Costco here had shoes for women too.      £6.99 (£10.99 – £4.00 discount); £8.39 with VAT.  Item #: 0725854.

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Costco Auto Helped Members Buy Almost 400,000 Vehicles Last Year

June 11th, 2015 by Kimberly · 6 Comments

Over the last few years, Costco has quietly become a big player in an area that it is not really associated with: buying cars.  Since 2008, Costco US has doubled the number of cars that their members have bought through the Costco Auto program to a whopping 398,875 cars last year.  The only auto retailer that outsells Costco is AutoNation with 533,000 vehicle sales last year.  Strictly speaking though, Costco is more of a referral agent than an actual seller of vehicles.

Costco Auto takes the hassle out of buying a car

Costco Auto takes the hassle out of buying a car

I’ve written about Costco Auto a number of times over the years, and everyone (pretty much) has only great things to say about the deals to be had by purchasing your vehicle through Costco.  I think what people really appreciate is that the prices are better than they could get by going directly to a dealer, and of course the whole point of the Costco Auto program is that you don’t even have to haggle with anyone for the outstanding prices.  Here’s an example of how great the Costco Auto program can be for buying your next car:

Ron Schurter didn’t bother visiting a dealer when he was in the market for a new car. He hit his local Costco. There was no haggling. Or upselling. There was just the price the warehouse retailer offers its members: about $39,000 for a 2015 Toyota Highlander, $4,000 less than the manufacturer’s recommended price. Schurter signed the contract and picked up his SUV from a Toyota showroom. “I’ve been telling everybody,” says the 75-year-old retiree from Yorba Linda, Calif. “I probably won’t shop anywhere else.”

As I mentioned, Costco doesn’t actually sell you a car.  They work with Affinity Auto Group, an auto-buying service, that Costco members go through to make a purchase from a local dealership.  Costco is pretty big, as you have probably noticed, so they have the clout to push local dealerships selling through Affinity Auto to give Costco and their members the best prices possible.  One local partner, a GMC dealership on Long Island, says Costco’s tough negotiations mean buyers save as much as $1,000 per vehicle.  And that doesn’t even include all of the other perks that car makers often offer to Costco members that make purchases through Costco Auto.  For instance, GM often offers $500.00 Costco cash cards, as well as low no haggle prices, to attract buyers through Costco.  These types of incentives led to fourth quarter sales of 43,300 GM vehicles through Costco, or 6% of GM’s domestic sales, in areas of the US where foreign brands dominate.  So, it’s good for members and it’s good for automakers.  But what does Costco get out of it?

What might be the most amazing part of the Costco Auto program is that they don’t actually make any money through member purchases!  This is purely a service that Costco offers to keep members happy, and of course, keep them signing up for membership.  Costco even sends out mystery shoppers to make sure the dealerships are really offering the right prices and are being good to members.

When Costco Auto first started up they didn’t have a huge list of local dealership partners available to members..  And even fewer automakers were wanting to take part in national promotions.  However, it is a very different story now.  They have local partners selling pretty much every available brand and have gotten so big that they even have a waiting list of dealerships that would like to participate.  And, even better for members, the big automakers are coming to Costco with special deals.  Costco Auto has definitely come a long way in the eight years that they’ve been around.

You can find out all about the Costco Auto program, through their website where you can find all of the details that you need to get a great deal on your next vehicle.  Be sure to pay attention to the Special Offers section that details all of the current offers from each automaker.

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