Costco Compliment - A good deal, especially if you're big
ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON -- By a good margin I spend more at Costco than at any other store, not only for food, clothing, and household items, but work-related good as well. Generally the quality is adequate to excellent, the prices equal or better than any other retailers' "specials," the shopping experience is pleasant, and I know I can return anything I don't like without time limit. I might wish for more variety in features and brands, faster checkout lines, and better heating in the outdoor food court, but these are minor offsets. As an Executive Member I save more than the modest $100 annual dues on car insurance alone, and get a better rate on credit card merchant service than anyone else offers. This membership level also offers savings on real estate, financial services, long distance telephone, etc., and my local Costco also sells gas a few cents below any competitor. I particularly like the no time limit return policy on all goods, important for computer and electronics items where reasons to dislike a product may crop up only after months of use. Costco's buyers have been helpful in resolving aftermarket problems with producers and service providers. My only real consumer gripe is about the clothing sizes they stock, and this may be peculiar to my local store: everything is for "tall and fat". Small is just not stocked, and you have to get to a new item very fast to find a medium; usually you will find only L, XL, and XXL. I hadn't noticed that everyone in Issaquah is over 6 Ft tall and 250+ Lbs, but the buyers must have inside information. Suggestions left in the "box" have never drawn a reply or action, but buyers are reachable by phone, and have helped on the few occasions when I have had trouble with a rebate or warranty. What does disturb me a little are some of the known or rumored corporate policies: drug testing of employees, no bare feet allowed even in "beach" cities, no insurance coverage for customers injured on premises, and inducements to local governments to condemn and resell to Costco properties whose owners are unwilling. However, such policies are not unique to Costco, and I have not sought out arguments on both sides of these claims. As a consumer, I am a Costco booster.