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      13.11.2011 23:43
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      Great Store with too many bargains to resist!

      When a Costco opened up 40 minutes away from us I was desperate to join having heard of the great savings that can be made. However my husband pointed out that it would cost us £8 in petrol for a round trip and so everytime we went we would need to make at least that in savings.

      The main reason I joined was for the Kirkland Sheepskin Boots. These are just like UGGs but only cost £35. Kitting the whole family out with these each year is worth the joining fee in my eyes!

      Costco sells everything from electricals, food, pet products, books, toys etc. You do need to do your research and everything is packaged in bulk quantities so storage space at home is also needed.

      I buy dog food, toilet and kitchen rolls, contact lens solution, book sets and teabags regularly. However there is always something there that you don't go for but can't resist. Last year it was a duck filled coat and so far this winter I have purchased a trespass waterproof jacket.

      Costco take debit card or cash only however have just started to accept Amex.

      They have a cafe which sells hotdogs, pizza, jacket potatoes etc and very good prices. There is also a tyre fitting service which is very reasonable and we have used this in the past.

      I recommend joining if you live near, have a large family and lots of storage space and are ready to come out spending more than you thought!!

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        23.08.2011 23:09
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        A great membership card to have!

        I have had a Costco membershio card for about 4 years. To get a card you have to be an employee in certain industries such as; banking, insurance, the NHS, a civil servant, a local government worker there are a few others you can get more details on the website which is Costco.co.uk. The membership costs £25 per year and at the moment for an extra £5 you can add your spouse or partner on. You can also get a trade membership for £20.

        Costco is basically a wholesalers. There are big savings to be made if you are buying in bulk. When you visit you need to take your membership card, this needs to be shown everytime you visit. Your membership card has your picture on the front so it is non transferable.

        There are a lot of big brand names in Costco as well as some American brands you don't tend to see elsewhere. (Costco is American)

        Costco sell a lot of different items ranging from electrical to toiletries, foodstuffs, alcohol, clothes, toys, furniture, cigarettes there is also a tyre bay and an opticians. The inside of the store is basically a huge warehouse, products are large and stacked 3 or even 4 shelves high in places. The prices are displayed with and without VAT. Some of the products are a lot cheaper however there are several items that can be found at a similar price in your local supermarket, one such item is Pampers mega boxes of nappies they are actually a £1 cheaper in Asda as are baby wipes. Other items though such as fabric softner are really cheap a big 5 litre Comfort is currently £3.70. The main reason I like Costco is for the food, they have a chilled section which sells a wide variety of cheeses I paid £4.20 for a kilo of cheddar cheese slices. There is a section that sells platters of ready made sandwhiches and wraps as well as huge servings of shephards pie, chilli and various other ready made meals. These are useful for parties or events as they are made on a large scale. There is also a large selection of meats and fish for a really reasonable price a kilo of fresh salmon costs around £10. They also have a bakery which sells a selection of freshly baked cookies, cakes and pastries it is around £5 for a selection of 12 danish pastries. The bakery also sells huge cakes suitable for birthday parties or in my case a treat for the office! There is also a fresh section where you can bulk buy fruit and veg.

        I tend to spend most of my money bulk buying food which I can freeze so you do save. I have also bought several items of clothing including Haviania flip-flops which cost me £12, normally the same ones retail for around £20. I have also bought a netbook from there which was £100 less than I could find it anywhere else. I also buy loo roll currently Cushelle is 80 rolls for just over £20 including VAT.

        Costco also has a cafe at the end, this is really cheap you can get a huge slice of pizza which is equivalent to 3 normal slices for just £1.65, they also sell hotdogs and unlimited drinks for £1.50 as well as a selection of freshly made salads and pies.

        I would recommend getting a Costco card if your able as some items you can really save on. It is perhaps more useful for those with big families on a personal membership basis.

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        03.05.2011 23:38
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        One of my favourite shops for stocking the pantry and general purchases.

        I have been a member of costco for about 3 and a half years, but before that i wanted to be a member for about 3 years after coming across other peoples comments about their purchases from the shop while browsing the forums on moneysavingexpert.com. I was always jealous about the bargains they were buying and i nagged my husband for ages to sort out having a work membership from his boss.

        To shop at costco you must become a member first of all, or know someone who is willing to take you in as a guest using their membership card. Membership can be bought upon entering the customer services area of the shop, and there are two types of membership you can use. The basic package costs £20 for the year, or you can upgrade to the executive membership for £50. Add on an extra £10, and we get a spouses card too so that i can go on my own without the husband if i choose to. The advantage of choosing the executive membership which we have, is that you get 2% cashback on your purchases which comes in the form of a cheque to spend in store. For us, we spend enough to just break even on this, so if we were to alter our spending then i would just choose the basic package.

        Anyone who works for the NHS or in education can also get a membership for £25.

        We go once or twice per month to the Sheffield store which is located just off the Parkway on the way into Sheffield from the M1, so it is very easy to get to. Every fortnight we get a brochure in the post featuring products with money off vouchers, so if there is an offer on a product we will use then we are more likely to go on a special trip to grab a bargain.

        During the time we have been members, we have found the main advantage is that you can buy the big branded foods at almost the same price as the store labelled goods.

        They also stock their own branded goods under the label Kirkland, and this is of a far superior quality to the supermarket equivalent.

        This is a trade warehouse so you are going to be buying in bulk. For us this is not a problem as we store extras in our garage and when we run out i pop out and help myself from my stores.

        We have found that you can buy really good quality meat from costco. A tray of Aberdeen Angus beef mince is about £20 for 2.3kg. We buy this and then split it up into smaller portions which we then freeze till we are ready to use it. A salmon is actually half a salmon. The stewing steak is also really good quality. The key here is that the mince is made from the offcuts of the butcher cutting the steaks up for sale, so it is really nice meat and not poor cuts.

        Dairy produce is very good value. I can buy a huge 1.26kg block of cheddar for £4.80, or Muller corner yoghurts for the same price as Asda's version.

        On weekends there are always tasters available of the different foods that are on offer. Extra temptation for you to spend money.

        We also purchase car tyres from there which can be fitted while we shop, clothes, a giant paddling pool and even our fridge came from there as it was £80 cheaper than the nearest price in the highstreet shops.

        We also just bought ourselves 4 well established fruit trees that stood at about 5 foot tall for only £12 a tree. There are always plants and flowers and gardening supplies grabbing my attention for the high quality.

        Customer services are excellent. We have only had to return something twice, but they are happy to just refund you even if you have lost the receipt as they track your purchase using your membership number.

        We do spend rather a lot there, but i think relatively we eat much better quality for what we spend. I just need to compare prices if there are special offers in other supermarkets as occasionally a product can work out cheaper elsewhere.

        We also eat there quite frequently as they serve a jacket potato plus filling for £1.29, or a hot dog plus drink for £1.59. We can feed our whole family of 4 for about £7 so it seems pointless making lunch at home for that price. The queues are often horrendous though.

        When we are looking at going shopping for furniture, appliances, office supplies, cleaning materials, clothes and food, i will often look at costco first to see if something fits the bill. And i will always buy my kids birthday cakes from there now as they do a divine sponge with jam filling, and a soft creamed frosting which can be personalised to order.

        I can't see us letting our membership lapse any time soon. The only thing stopping me is when the fridge and freezer are full to bursting point with yummy food. It might be worth seeing if you know anyone with a card before making yourself a member, as some people say that they do not find it as good because the range of products can sometimes be limited. It suits us.

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          14.02.2010 18:55
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          Save money by bulk buying but not always as cheap as your local supermarket

          Costco is of a chain of cash and carry warehouses. The majority of warehouses are located in the United States which is what you would expect of an American owned company. There are also 21 stores at various locations throughout the UK. They are not open to the general public and to purchase goods from Costco you must become a member and meet certain pre requisites. It is primarily for businesses to purchase high quantities of low priced goods, for resale. However individuals can also join as long as they belong to certain employment groups e.g. civil servants and teachers. A full list of occupational groups who can join are usually displayed at the customer services desks within each warehouse. You will be asked to provide a recent utility bill, or something similar, to provide proof of address and two forms of ID. Once approved, you will have your photograph taken and issued with a membership card displaying your photo. If you apply in person you will receive your card immediately but if you apply by post it will take approximately 7-10 days. You must show your card every time you visit the warehouse otherwise you will not be allowed entry. Your card will also allow you take another person with you into the warehouse. You are not, however, allowed to loan your card to anyone. If anyone tries to enter the warehouse and it is not their photo on the membership card, they will be denied entry. The cost of Trade membership is £20.00 per year (plus V.A.T) and includes a spouse card. Trade members may add up to an additional six cards at a cost of £12.00 each per year (plus V.A.T). I have got cards for some of my friends using this method. You may be wondering why you have to pay an annual member membership fee and Costco claim that by charging fees, they are able keep their prices lower as the money generated helps towards their operating costs.

          Costco sell a large selection of goods both well known brands as well as their own branded goods. Costco goods are branded with the name Kirklands and are great value for money. Some of the many departments they have within their warehouses are -

          *Bakery*

          They sell trays of pastries, muffins scones etc. which are delicious and are great for freezing if you can't use them all at once. They also sell a variety of cakes for different celebrations and you can pre order these if you wish a person's name to be added. They are great value for money.

          *Butchery*

          I have always been pleased with any of the meat I have bought from Costco and often buy large packs of mince, chicken breasts and steaks which I separate and freeze individually once I am home.

          *Electrical Goods*

          They are a good source for TVs, computers, printers and white goods. Being an American company they are especially good if you are looking for a one of those large sized, side by side fridge freezers with ice dispenser on the front.

          *Opticians*

          I don't know if every warehouse has this facility but my local one does. They carry out eye sight tests and have a large selection of both designer and non designer frames. I haven't used this service so cannot comment on what it is like, however, it always seems busy so I suppose that speaks for itself.

          *Tyre Centre*

          The title is, I suppose, self explanatory in that you can purchase new tyres for you car and have them fitted. I have found them to be competitively priced and it saves you time as you can have them fitted while you are going the rest of your shopping in the warehouse.

          *Books*

          I purchase a lot of my books from Costco as they are a lot cheaper than the recommended retail price. They also have a good selection of current titles although they tend to be predominantly hardbacks rather than the cheaper paperbacks.

          *Stamps*

          I often bulk buy stamps as you can save a couple of pence on each first class stamp.


          There are too many departments to cover them all individually so I will just give a list of some the rest -

          Bedding
          Alcohol & soft drinks
          Cameras
          Confectionery
          Cleaning products
          Furniture (Home & Garden)
          Office supplies
          Beauty products
          Photo Centre
          Cigarettes & Tobacco
          Sporting Goods
          Grocery
          Hardware
          Flowers
          CDs & DVDs
          Toys

          The main thing to remember when shopping at Costco is that the prices do not include VAT which will be added to your bill at the checkout. However, the VAT inclusive price is usually displayed under the non VAT price. It should be remembered that not all items have to have VAT added to them so the price you see is the price you will pay. If buying in bulk, the individual price is usually displayed which I find handy for comparing with supermarket prices. Some supermarkets are so competitively prices these days that it is not necessarily cheaper to shop at Costco. It is best to know your prices before you shop there to know whether you are getting a good deal or not.

          When you come to pay, please remember that they do not accept credit cards. You can only pay by cash, cheque or Swtich/Delta debit cards. You need to show your receipt to the person at the exit when you leave. They will check that you have paid for the goods and that the amount of goods in your trolley equals the number on your receipt.

          If you wish a quick bite to eat before you leave, Costco offer a small eating area where you can purchase from a limited selection of fast food items such as hot dogs, pizza and hot dogs. If you buy a coke or other soft drink you can have as many free refills as you like. The food is always fresh and good value for money.

          Finally, it should be noted that if you are a member you can visit Costco in any country where there is a warehouse. You are not limited to the country where you join.

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            13.01.2010 17:18
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            Something that you should experience at least once in your life

            Let me introduce you to Costco.

            Costco is a wholesale paradise. You can buy anything from canoes to cream cakes. Most things are sold in bulk, their sizes are usually larger sizes rather than you having to buy multipacks or large quantities of something.

            You have to be a member to shop at Costco but I would say that most people save the membership fee on their first trip.

            A trade card costs £20 this is for yourself and your spouse, each addition card up to 6 cards cost £12 + VAT each. You must have a business or be a professional to obtain a Costco card. When joining you will need to take along a business utility bill, business cheque book or other id, you will find all the information on their website.

            Costco originated in the states and there are now 22 warehouse in the UK a number that is ever increasing. They have a website www.costco.co.uk which tells you where they are located. You can't order anything online but you can download your photos to be picked up in store later which is a really good service.

            Costco isn't just a shopping trip it is an experience. There is a holiday feel in the car on an outing to Costco and a buzz on the way home knowing that you have bagged such good bargains. Make sure you take plenty of money with you and empty the boot out before you go because you will definitely be tempted.

            I have been shopping at Costco's for years and have got to know the staff in Thurrock quite well. I was given a little gem of information from one of the staff. I was informed that anything ending with .77p or .97p had been reduced. Costco really knock a lot off the price so it's worth looking out for. This is such a good way of the reductions going to the regular buyers.

            When I shop at Costco I can be confident that I won't get it any cheaper elsewhere. The quality is always the best too.

            The departments are as follows

            Appliances
            Automotive
            Bakery
            Bedding & Soft Lines
            Beers, Wines & Spirits
            Butchery
            Cameras
            Catering & Cleaning
            Confectionery & Snacks
            Cookware & Tableware
            Delicatessen
            Electrical
            Furniture
            Garden
            Grocery
            Hardware
            Health & Beauty
            Office Products
            Photo Centre
            Produce
            Soft Drinks
            Sporting Goods
            Tobacco
            Toys & Seasonal
            Tyre Centre

            Make sure that you take your debit card, cash or a cheque as they don't take credit cards.

            It is worth having lunch here too. Not much choice, Jacket potatoes, salad, pizza, chicken bakes, hot dogs, pastries, frozen yogurt ice cream, smoothies and hot or cold drinks. The portions are huge, food fresh and tasty and the prices ridiculously low.

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              02.01.2010 21:09
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              Simple shopping for cheaper goods in bulk.

              At Costco, you pay an annual membership fee, and you then have access to discounted and bulk goods in their warehouse. For trade membership (you need to prove you are operating as a business), it costs about £25 per year + VAT - and you can add a number of people as supplementary members to your account.

              For me, the best thing is the amount of stuff you can buy in bulk, as I have 2-year old twins, and we get through a lot of nappies and wipes! Costco do their own brand of many items (Kirkland), this is actually quite good for their baby products, but sometimes you can get the branded items for cheaper. The big drums of Kirkland coffee are a favourite with my boyfriend. There's loads of branded stuff in bulk too, from chocolate to instant noodles, and the big crates of wine (ok, it's not always the best stuff) are great value. Sometimes you can't always find the brands you want, but what they do have is very good value so I don't mind trying something a bit different to save some cash.

              Their frozen food selection is excellent, and the fresh meat counter offers food that is of far better quality than what you find in the supermarket. Also you get it in supersize packs, so it lasts much longer. The only downside it finding space in the fridge for it all, which is why Costco is probably best for non-perishables.

              You need to check the prices on the shelves, as they display two - one with VAT included, and one without.

              The Costco 'cafe' offers pretty basic fare (baked potatoes, pizza, etc), but is really convenient, quite tasty, and very cheap. It's quite handy after a long day's shopping, but don't expect gourmet grub!

              When they offer samples of food products in the store, it's great, and my kids seem to enjoy it! As an overall shopping experience, it's pretty good. There are two Costco's near to me (I live in Manchester), so it's very convenient - and the location away from the city centre and near the motorways is very handy.

              We definitely make savings at Costco, and in a house with two young children it's handy being able to buy toiletries and nappies in bulk so that we don't have to go to the shops every other day for essentials. Costco is convenient and good value, and pretty no-frills - it is a warehouse after all!

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              19.08.2009 12:52
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              Great for lots of things, always something new to lok at

              We visit Costco haydock every few weeks. I prefer this one to the Liverpool and Trafford Park branches as it tends to be a little quieter at weekends.

              Some of the best things to buy are house wares...pictures/cutlery/pans etc all really good quality at a good price. My husband also really likes the outdoor equipment ranges that usually appear in the spring. The run up to Christmas brings a whole range of American style decorations and the crackers are really good value with fab prizes inside.

              Jewellery is good too, I've got my eye on a ring and for the carat it's much better value than I've seen on the high street. They also have good prices on swaroski crystal, Chloe bags (still out of my price range but nice to look at!), some of the electrical is good but TV's always seem to be high. My OH loves the free taster that they have all over the store a the weekends...I like looking at the books and computer software, they don't have many games though. You can also buy magazines with a percentage off the cover price....30% off if I remember correctly.

              Costco is also the only place we buy tyres as they are so cheap...we had 2 michelen recently for my little car and they came to less than £90 fitted and all the doo dah.

              The best for me though is the photo printing, starting at 4p per picture (inc vat) the quality is excellent and the price for larger prints is also excellent, much cheaper than high st or anywhere else online that i've found.

              Don't forget to add vat!

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              15.08.2009 13:00
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              Great place to browse and spend

              Forget the shopping mall, go to costco!

              I have been a member of costco for about 7 years now, I know a lot of people gripe about the annual fee but really it is worth it. We are very lucky as the store is only about 4 miles away and a stones throw from our tesco so we tend to combine our shopping trips.

              If you are wondering what costco is? It is a membership only warehouse containing food, furniture, tools, kitchen stuff, wines, televisions, in fact anything. It refreshes it stock with the seasons, so you can expect ranges of clothing and sporting goods to change depending on the time of year.

              We buy all of our meats, chicken, fish, prawns and coffee almost without exception. This is because the quality and quantity is much better that what you will get in supermarket. It is true you will need to buy more of it but if you have access to a freezer, then you can store the excess.

              With televisions and computers you automatically get a five year guarantee without any additional cost. I have used this guarantee then when my television started playing up when it was about a year old, I took it back and got a full refund, which I immediately used to buy another.

              Another service I have used is the optician. I purchase all my contact lenses and solutions from them and it really saves a fortune. There is no way I would ever consider buying these items from Tesco with their 150%-200% markups for exactly the same product.

              The membership can pay for itself easily in one visit, in fact it is almost worth joining just to get new Michelin tyres on your car. There is not any way you can get kwick-fit, National or any other tyre reseller fitter to compete with price, I have tried.

              Other good things about costco, is the passport which offers big discounts on certain goods at a specified period and remember to keep an eye on end of line or end of season stock, there can be very big discounts to free up floor space.

              Almost forgot, at the end of a busy shopping trip there is always the cafe.

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                28.04.2009 15:44
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                The best warehouse of its kind

                Part of my husband's job requires him to use Costco through work and for this reason I can use it to as a family member. Costco is for businesses only and operated in all the major cities in the UK. It is a wholesale company where you buy in bulk with the normal purpose of selling on individually at a profit. However, you can, as we do, just use it as a place for getting products in for yourself, in bulk at rock bottom prices.

                The one thing to watch when shopping at Costco is the VAT which you have to pay upon purchasing anything. This is not a problem generally as it clearly shows you on the well positioned pricing notices that there is VAT to be added to the product in question and it tells you the full purchase price. That being said, I still fall into the trap of thinking "wow, that is really cheap" and then seeing the VAT included price and downgrading that to "wow, that is still cheap".

                Just about anything you can imagine can be purchased at Costco from the obvious like sweets, crisps and pop, right through to big Plasma TVs, huge (and I mean huge) inflatable swimming pools and even things like jet propelled canoes. There is everything here that you find in the largest of supermarkets including opticians and cafe areas. The food is really nice and cheap too. Infact, the prices for most things are more than reasonable, even with the items that can't be bought in bulk. By these I mean DVDs and books etc...

                You need to be aware of the fact that Costco is a membership only outlet before you go and the sign up process takes about 15 minutes, should you qualify. You will need to show this card on future entry to the venue and when paying for your goods. Payment can only be made by cash, cheque or debit card. There are strictly no credit cards allowed here.

                Dotted around the place are lots of little testing areas where the staff will let you try things for free with a view to trying to get you to buy some. this worked well for them when tempting me with some free cheese. Cheese is my achilles heal and once I had tried it, I simply couldnt resist. It should be said though that the fresh and frozen sections in Costco offer superb value if used in bulk and I got a huge block of Cheddar that upon working it out saved me around £6 on the same amount at my local Tesco.

                If you have a business or have any other means of qualification for membership, I urge you to join Costco and reap the rewards of the huge bargains on offer there.

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                  16.04.2009 00:39

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                  Quality items and purchase with confidence

                  I wont go into the joining fees and criteria as that has already been discussed in previous reviews but want to comment on my personal experience.
                  Having been a member for now 5 years and made numerous purchases from them i have found all their products to be of high quality and good value for money.
                  I have found if something breaks for instance after 4 months of using it, in my case a steam mop, that they will take it back and give you a full refund which i was pleasantly surprised with. They tend to offer you a long guarantee with most purchases like televisions and other major purchases.
                  I use Costco to do my food shopping as the quality of their food especially the Meat and frozen foods are very good. Like most retailers they have their own brand called Kirkland which is still very high quality and well worth trying.

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                  30.01.2009 11:16
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                  Good Cash and Carry - good choice of goods - but make sure you have room to store things

                  Costco is totally different to any of the mainstream supermarkets that you may be more familiar with. To begin with you need to be a member and qualify in their criteria, but you usually find that you come under one of their criteria - if you run your own business then its no problem and you can become a Trade member.

                  If you are a trade member you can vistit the store before 12:30 otherwise you have to wait until the afternoon.

                  There is huge cross section of goods available from washing machines to chocolate croissant from Engine oil to DVD's. The only thing that you need to be aware of is that everything is HUGE from the trolley to the sizes of the products. This is essentially a cash and carry wharehouse so is everything is geared to bulk buying. This means that some huge savings can be made - as long as you have the space to store things and will use things up in a reasonable time.

                  For example, do you have room to store 20 lots of 4 rolls of toilet paper?Will you use up a 5 litre bottle of olive oil before it goes out of date? It's only a bargain if you use it up!

                  If you have space in you freezer then I can highly recommend the meat and fish that they sell. I have yet to have a bad peice of meat and the quality is fantastic - I would say that it probably isn't any cheaper than Tesco or Sanisbury's - and is possible slightly dearer if they have it on special offer but the quality is so much higher and the majority of their food seems to be outdoor reared.

                  Obiously as you are buying larger quantities the total bill is going to be larger but I found going once a month or every six weeks is more than enough so it balances itself out.

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                  17.07.2008 11:04
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                  Mmm Cakes!

                  I go to Cost co every couple of weeks, everyone else has covered all the basic stuff on here so I thought i'd tell you about some individual products that really stand out to me:
                  Birthday cakes! - They have recently gone up in price, to £10.99 I think, but they have said they are now thicker which is why there has been a price increase. But they are still AMAZING value anyway. You can pick up a form a week or so beforehand and have the cake personalised - There are lots of designs, balloons, rainbows, chiristening you get the idea! You get to choose sponge flavour, filling flavour, icing flavour and icing colour. I would estimate that these cakes could serve around 50 people. It is a very american style cake with the frosting on the top. One warning though, these cakes are VERY sweet, you don't need much of it to give you a sugar rush. I personally prefer the chocolate one as the white icing is just pure sugar!!

                  Muffins & Scones - Ok, I can't quite remember the price, but they aren't too expensive but they are amazing! Just buy them!

                  Carrot cakes and fudge cakes - These aren't the same as the above mentioned cakes, these ones come in a circular presentation box and if memory serves me correctly are £7? They are so morish and could easily serve 12 - 15 people. I know cafes that sell these off for £3 a slice!!

                  (Can you tell I have a sweet tooth yet?!!) I would say that all non food items are quite expensive, unless they are on special offer (like toilet rolls and washing powder, they are on special quite often!) Things like DVD's and Cd's are especially so, so make sure you check around first to make sure you really are getting the best deal.

                  Warranty on all electrical products is great, we've taken loads back and not had an issue.

                  One last point, Cost-co's little cafe is AMAZING! You really can't beat a massive american hot dog and unlimited soda for £1.25, jacket potatos (which are huge) for £1.50. They sell the food that they sell, so if you want to try a scone or a muffin first before you buy them you can try them for 50p each from the cafe.

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                    12.07.2005 12:41
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                    Costco can be great - but you need to do your homework first.

                    What is Costco?

                    Costco is essentially a Cash and Carry Warehouse. You have to be a member to use it. They carry a huge quantity of food and non-food merchadise, from Washing Powder to Bakery Goods to Computers. Membership is limited to Businesses, and professional people or employees of various organisations including the NHS and Local Councils.

                    What do they sell?

                    It's probably easier to list what they don't sell! Tyres, Computers, TVs, Baby equipment, Clothes, Garden Furniture, Meat, Beers, Wines and Spirits, Healthcare goods, Books, Cigarettes... there are even Opticians and Photo Processing sections. All this at prices that are usually very competitive if not downright cheap, and that display both with and without VAT prices.

                    What's it like to go round?

                    Essentially it's a big warehouse. Your membership is checked on the way in, and in you go (usually with a large trolley) to wander along aisles packed floor to ceiling with almost anything you care to mention. You pick up what you want, head to the checkout and queue - especially on weekends they can be very busy - show your membership card and then pay, although not with a Credit Card (Debit Cards are OK though). Then it's through, load whatever you've taken out of the trolley back into the car, maybe stop off at their Cafe area for some very well priced food (Pizza Slices, Baked Potatoes, Frozen Yoghurt and the like) and then have your receipt validated on the way out.

                    Where's the catch?

                    To start with, you're buying in bulk. Either large packs, or large multipacks, of most things. Therefore you need to have the storage at home for whatever you're buying - and the means to get it home. Then, you will find that although there is a huge range of goods, choice is actually quite limited. What do I mean? Say for example you are looking for Corn Flakes. Go to a Supermarket and you will find at least a couple of brands - go to Costco, and you will only find Kelloggs. Nappies are limited to just Pampers and Huggies. Essentially you are talking that typically (with the food at least) there is just one brand of each item.

                    That leads in a way to one of the other downsides. Prices are low, yes - provided you are comparing like with like. Start comparing with Supermarket Own Brands - particularly the budget brands - and the differential can often be very small. If you have to have Kelloggs Corn Flakes then you'll save a packet - but if you don't mind Asda's own brand you might be better off sticking to them.

                    Anything to sweeten the deal?

                    Once or twice a year Costco send out an Offers booklet containing vouchers that can be used over a period of a couple of months. Each week there will be particular offers, one of which can be used on each visit. For example, not so long ago there was an offer on Toilet Rolls, with Quilted Velvet available for about 20p per roll - £12 for a pack of 60, and not limited to just one pack. Some of these deep discounts can be well worth going for.

                    Anything particularly recommended?

                    Some of the things from the Instore Bakery are excellent. A large tray of a dozen Danish Pastries costs about £3-4, and vanish very quickly at any event; a dozen large Croissants for about £2 is another bargain. There are some very good deals on some larger items - we bought a McClaren Techno XT Buggy for £40-50 less than the likes of Mothercare. And J2Os at just over 50p per bottle when you buy a 24 pack is an absolute steal.

                    General Advice

                    If you're considering a Costco Membership, ask yourself if it is worth it. At £30 for the first person, you need to be sure that you're going to save more than that over the year.

                    Work out how much the things you normally buy cost, preferrably per kilo or per pack, so that you can compare the prices. Remember, if you don't mind having a cheaper brand then Costco may not necessarily be cheaper than your local Supermarket.

                    Summary

                    Costco can provide some real bargains, and if you're someone that has to have specific brands you can save plenty. Just make sure you've done your homework first to get the best out of it.

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                      12.01.2005 22:07
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                      What Can I Say Guys! The word Costco & Opticians together can only mean one thing - FANTASTICALLY CHEAP GOOD QUALITY UNBEATABLE GLASSES CONTACTS SOLUTIONS AND SUNNYS.

                      Ive been shopping around and beleive it our not while out in liverpool few people in city centre opticians pointed me towards costco. So off i went and signed up as an individual member. Ive been at costco before with friends but didnt realise there was an opticians there.

                      Can i just say that the people working in costco liverpool opticians are fantastic. They know there stuff are very polite friendly - i had a sight test for £9.99 no vat with a very friendly optician. When i had the test i was told that my prescription on my glasses had changed.

                      I was surprised when this young irish lad spoke to me about the lenses, i told him my opticians always told me that i needed lightweight thin lenses. he said that was just a snobby word for standard but with a few extra pound thrown in. i had to laugh. he told me about costcos lenses and said there standard £30 prescription lenses included all coatings free!!!! which was ideal for my prescription. i mean £30! and free! They told me that just because it was £30 at costco it didnt mean the quality was low - infact this lens retails at £110 - a big difference.

                      Anyways i left amazed and was due back to collect my glasses in a few days.

                      If you need glasses or contacts i would recommend visiting costco professional polite and cheap!

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                        19.06.2001 00:34
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                        • "bulk buying doesn't suit everyone"

                        Initially drawn to the Leeds Costco by reports of cheap TVs, my partner and I ventured in there a few weeks ago and joined with Trade membership, which cost us £23.50 including the VAT. If you do not have your own company, you can join under the Individual membership rate, which is approximately £29.37 inc. VAT. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JOINING AS A TRADE MEMBER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To join as a Trade member, you will need to bring along two forms of ID: "1. An original copy of a current utility bill (ie, gas, electricity, telephone) from business address or a business bank statement. (Utility bills and bank statements must be dated within the last 3 months) and 2. VAT registration certificate Or 1. An original copy of a current utility bill from business address or a business bank statement. and 2. Two pieces of Business ID (ie, Business cheque, Letterhead, Invoice to your business address)" (quoted from the Costco website, at present still under construction). This trade membership will get you two cards, one for you and one for your spouse. Another six cards can be purchased at £14.10 each, any over that are available at £23.50 each. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JOINING AS AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To join as an Individual member is a little more problematic. Firstly you must be 18 or over, and secondly you must be a current or retired member of the following professions: Banking/Finance, Civil Servant, Education, Fire/Rescue, Local Government, Medical/Health Service, Police Force or Post Office or qualified as: an Optician, Dentist, Pharmacist, Solicitor/ Barrister/ Magistrate or Advocate. (list taken from, www.costo.co.uk) You will need to take along one item of ID from each of the following lists 1.Employee ID Card or Employee Payslip or Certificate
                        of Professional qualification Plus 2. An original copy of a current utility bill (ie, gas, electricity, telephone) from home address. or Bank statement from home address (utility bill or bank statement must be dated within last 3 months). (list taken from www.costo.co.uk) As you can see, the limited list of professions/employments could be enforced by means of the requirement to produce ID such as a Payslip or Certificate of Professionsl qualification. You can get round this by asking your employer if the company has a Costco Trade card - if not perhaps you could get together with your co-workers and lobby the management - after all it will not cost them much, but it could be a valuable benenfit to the workforce. If the company that employs you has a Costco Trade card, you will be able to get additional cards at the Trade rate of £23.50 each. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WHY BOTHER JOINING? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Costco have a huge range of products at very low prices: they supply small to medium sized businesses. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WHAT CAN I BUY THERE? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anything from TVs, to saunas, to swimming pools for the kids, a huge range of barbecue equipment, computers, stereos, car accessories, DVDs - latest titles at £14.91!, books, clothes, trainers, and a massive range of household products and foods. We buy: packs of part-baked french sticks - 8 for £1.60 = 20p each, 99p for 3 at Sainsburys = 33p each, saving of 13p per loaf. Comfort Easy Iron - 5 litre bottle for £4.05 = 81p per litre, £2.15 for 2 litres at Sainsburys = £1.07 per litre, a saving of 26p per litre. Kellogs Coco Pops bars - 24 for £3.75 = 15.62p each, 99p for 6 at Sainsburys = 16.5p each, a saving of 0.88p per bar. Flash Wipes - 4 packs for £5.28 = £1.32 per pack, £1.79 per pack at Sainsburys, a saving of 47p per pack. On Sunday we bought 10 x packs of part-ba
                        ked french sticks = 80 loaves @ 20p each,saving us £10.40, one bottle of Comfort Easy Iron, saving us £1.30, one pack of Coco Pops bars, saving us 21p, and one pack of 4 flash Wipes, saving us £1.88. This saved us £13.79. When we buy our TV there we have worked out that we will save a minimum of £30 on it, and we have already saved money on our lawnmower (about £15) and other items. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TACTICS FOR SHOPPING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The best tactic is to compile a list of all the items you buy normally, and which you use in reasonable quantity, such as cleaning products, toilet tissue, bread, condiments and crisps, and compare prices between Costco and where you usually shop. My partner works near Costco, so it doesn't involve an extra journey for him to shop there - but any extra petrol costs must be factored in when you are working out whether you will save money or not. We invariably come out of Costco with more items than we had on our list, so be disciplined (we impulse buy in any supermarket though). Remember - you have to be able to fit it in your car!! We are hanging fore until we get the estate car we have been waiting for for the last few weeks until we get our TV. Also - popular items such as TVs will be out of the store in no time - so you may have to make a couple of visits before you get the big items you want - it is worth ringing up before you go to check availability first. Don't take your credit card - debit cards, cash and personal/business cheques only I am afraid! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THE COSTCO GUARANTEE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "On Merchandise : We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund. On Membership : We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WEBSITE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ www.costo.co.uk

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