* Prices may differ from that shown
Costco in Edinburgh has the most grumpy staff l have ever met in my life, very unfriendly and not helpful at all. They really need to work on their customer service. Not all their products are cheap in there. You have to shop around.
I've been a member of Costco for around two years now. It is basically a large warehouse that offers cheap items, but you have to be a member to be able to shop there. They sell many things like a normal supermarket would, but also large electrical items and even tyres!
The membership basically comes in three different forms, trade - where you are a business owner or manager, individual - where you are from a selected employment group or profession (this is what we've got) and executive - this costs more and is the upgraded version where you receive rewards when you spend.
Now, we found that when we first went to Costco it is easy to get carried away as there is a lot of cheap goods, but they do come in sizes and numbers that you are not used to. For example I love Yazoo milkshake, however, unlike a normal supermarket I could not buy one or even four, I think I had to buy twelve in a pack. Also, not everything is cheaper than a normal supermarket. There are also no bags to put your purchases in, so you either bring your own or load up your vehicle. Plus, there at the moment there are only around twenty five branches in the United Kingdom. Although this means that most large cities will have one you may have to drive a fair way to get there and of course what with the cost of fuel these days it eats into your savings. To give an idea there are three stores relatively close by Croydon, Farnborough and Thurrock, but none would be as close as my nearest Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury's.
That's the negatives out of the way, it's all positive from here on in. For me by far and away the best things to buy at Costco are meats and cakes. There's so much to choose from. I find with the meat, it's a lot cheaper than the supermarkets and the quality is superb. We buy loads and then when we get home divide it up into smaller portions in freezer bags so that it keeps. Then when we want to use it we simply get it out of the freezer and away we go. The variety of cakes and other baked goods on offer is remarkable and I don't think you could beat it if you are celebrating an occasion or like us for Christmas. They have everything you could ever need from the turkey to the spuds and pudding to the wine, beers and brandy.
Costco also has a huge electrical section where you can buy things like televisions, fridge freezers and washing machines. I've never personally got any of these items from Costco, but they do have a decent selection, so I would consider it in the future.
Lastly, when your all done and paid up, there is a café at the end where you can reward yourself with something hot, very nice. A bit like the meatballs at Ikea I suppose.
For me you can't beat Costco so I give it five dooyoo stars *****. Feel free to comment and share your experiences of Costco.
Costco is an American wholesalers with stores all over the world. There are a few branches in the UK, mainly in the South East - Endmonton, Croydon, Lakeside Thurrock etc.
You need to be a member to join and it costs about £25 for the first member and about £12 for additional members. Costco have set criteria for membership e.g. being a public sector work, self employed etc, but the criteria is quite broad. You should check the documentation you need to provide before going for the first time so that you can join up, otherwise you won't be able to shop. Costco is only open to Trade Members in the morning, but individuals can shop after midday.
Costco does a wide range of products, many of which aren't available elsewhere in the UK. You can find some real hidden gems which have become family favourites in my household.
Kirkland Signature is the Costco own brand and they are aiming for quality product and I've been happy with the quality. I have a pair of the Kirkland Signature UGG style books and they aren't much different from the real UGGS and half the price.
* take your smart phone with you to compare prices - some offers are brilliant, whilst others are not so.
* check the 'including VAT' price - labels have a big price on them, but the 'including VAT' price is in a smaller font below the price. Otherwise you will have a shock when you get to the checkout.
* you can get a customised cake for £13. The cake is bigger than A3 and whilst they are standard designs, they will put a message on there for you. However, you have to order a few days in advance. I think they accept faxed copies, so if you take a form home, you could fax it at a later date to save you a trip.
* try the free samples as you walk around, as you may find a new product you like.
* the meat is good value and really good quality. I buy a packet and portion it up when I get home.
* they have a really good book section and I get books as presents (mainly for children). I haven't seem some of the books in other shops, so they are unique.
* in the restaurant, you can get a large hotdog and a soft drink for £1.50. I bought an ice-cream (about the size of a small McDonalds drink) for £1.30 something. Great value.
* they have a small magazine section which is 20-30% below the normal price. They have magazines like Glamour, Women and Home, Hello etc.
i traveled more than an hour to go to costco for a membership application, unfortunately i only got my drivers license and some utility bills as proof of my address (which most of the other company ask for ) but been told buy NOT SO FRIENDLY staff that i need to prove them that im a professional and that i need to show them my pay slip or my work ID. i explained that i dont live near and is it possible to accept my license and utility bills but the man on the counter still said no and that these are not enough. i think its a bit DISCRIMINATING....what if the person who wants to try to shop in costco dont work at all because they cant for some reason....what do they think they are? a posh store? just dont get it! knowing that its not that cheap anyway and still we need to pay some rediculous amount yearly just to be able to shop with them?????nevermind...ill stick to our local store instead!
I signed up for Costco at the Ideal Home Show and waited for the store to open.
Every month you get a brochure of offers sent to you. Generally they are always roughly the same offers. Although "offers" is a loose term. Yes, 40 toilet rolls for £8 is very good. But paying nearly £20 for 40 Twix Bars is far from a deal.
You need to do your home work before you go. Just because you are buying more of a product, does not mean your getting a better deal.
However, despite all this, soft drinks, coffee, water, washing powder are great for bargains.
On the first visit I spent close to £80 on cat food, toilet roll, drink and a few other things. I thought it was a lot but then had to tell myself that I will not need to buy these items again for a good few months.
I have not tried the meats. However I have been told that the cuts are very good quality and rival that of a good quality butcher, at slightly cheaper prices.
You do feel like your in the US in one of those Target stores. There is pretty much everything to buy. Food and wine, electronics, homeware, toiletries, clothing and more.
I am having to look at buying some shelving for the garage to stock the massive amount of toilet rolls and other bulk bought items. My wife does not want it all stored in the house.
I must congratulate Costco on the wedding food we had for our son's wedding from you on them on 12th April.2013.
Sandwiches were so fresh it was hard to believe they were not just made that minute , cakes were to die for I have not tasted better, and the wedding cake had so many compliments on look and taste, we were overwhelmed.
I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending them for any gathering that needs food and the cost was excellent. I will certainly be using you again at our next party which will be in August this year.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH COSTCO THE STAFF AT YOUR THURMASTON BRANCH WERE BRILLIANT SO THANK YOU TO THEM.
I have only been a member since March 2013 and have had only GOOD experience when I have shopped at Thurmaston. Selection is excellent.
AGAIN IF YOU NEED TO HAVE FOOD TO FEED YOUR GUESTS, DO NOT HESITATE TO TRY COSTCO.
Costco is the ultimate bulk retailer bar none. it doesn't even rival Makro. They literally have thousands of each item in stock at any given time, they have pallets not packets, and i am most definitely NOT exaggerating when i say they have flat beds if a massive trolley is not quite big enough for you. Costco tend to have a simple aisle layout whereby, you can walk up the middle of the store, look down each aisle and see what you want.
The store near me (Derby) is laid out in a sort of square circuit shape, so you can complete 1 lap of the store and then you have no choice but to go through the checkout. That is unless you want to scale the 13ft high fence filled with yet more bulk stock, but that would be preposterous. It really is that massive though, and whilst you can't get lost, it is a warehouse not a supermarket, and it isn't your average sized Tesco. It takes me 40 minutes to complete my shop there, and even walking around the store front to back without stopping is a good 5 minutes at brisk walking pace.
Costco have various forms of membership which i personally find quite easy to understand, they have simple membership to get it, executive and trade. Trade and executive can get in before everyone else on certain days and executive members also get 2% cash back on their shop, which if like me you shop there a lot, means the membership pays for itself pretty quickly.
Costco is a wash with big name brand and their own brand, known as "Kirkland" and they stock everything you need from medicine to bottled water, to clothes, to stationary. There are many trade members there who go to stock their shops and restaurants but ordinary members of the public out to get some bulk stuff can join too. The store is generally clean and the staff are friendly. They sometimes offer free samples of food or various products throughout the store, you can try them and if you like they do have boxes on the desk you can take.
When it comes to value Costco offers a simple 1 price, any quantity rule. I.E you don't buy more and save more. The prices are with and without VAT on the labels for the purposes of trade members so bear in mind the big price is not the price you pay, its the small print one underneath... they will try and get you with that.
They also have a small cafe which sells cooked food which can be bought on the shelf. This is certainly true of their own Kirkland brand items which can be bought as hot meals from the cafe, such things as pizza, hot dogs, chicken bake and sundaes.
Overall i generally have a good shopping experience at Costco and if you are a big family that practically cleans out the shelf at Asda every week then start shopping at Costco... you'll barely make a dent in the amount of stock they have on their shelves!
Visited Costco today while passing through Wartford area . I thought of joining after viewing the shop.Membership team do not allow viewing unless you qualify their membership criteria. I had my ID and address proof, but still they didn't allow viewing unless I bring my employment proof. I spoke to membership manager and requested to see the shop and join when we get back with the employment proof, but in vain. I have been a Costco member for 7 years in United states and never seen such unfriendly Costco customer service or membership team. Probably they don't care about having more customers ? I will never go back that side.
Costco is a wholesale outlet with many different branches dotted around the UK. It is also an international company and definitely exists in North America too. To go into Costco you have to be a member through a business so my friend owns a business and pays £25 per year for a membership card then he is allowed to get sub-cards for people who don't own businesses for £13 per year. I am one of the sub-card holders and pay £13 to go to Costco every year. It is well worth the money based on the savings you can make.
You must remember your membership card to (a) get into the shop and (b) pay for your goods. You can take one or two guests at a time and they are allowed to use your card to buy things with so if there are a group of you, it might be worth splitting the cost of the membership but be aware that the main card holder would always have to go due to the Photo ID you are issued with.
==What do they sell==
Costco mainly sell wholesale items and large packs of everything but there are individual items that you can also buy. They have a good range of brand new electricals such as TVs, iPods, cameras etc. They have a bulk range of stationery and office equipment, they stock baby wipes, nappies, health supplements, designer clothes, books, some DVDs, garden furniture, painting equipment and a small range of interior furniture. Then they stock food items some of which are in bulk like the crisps, herbs etc. but others are manageable sizes for families to purchase such as the bread which is in a pack of 2 loaves, chicken which has around 8-9 fillets in rather than the typical 3-4 in the supermarket. Fizzy drinks and frozen items come in bulk too such as chicken kievs in packs of 12 and then there is beer and wine which comes in bulk. So as you can see a wide variety of items.
The key with Costco is the stock is always changing, they may not have a huge range of furniture in, but you can almost guarantee if you go back a month later for the nest tables you saw, they won't be there. It is always best to buy it when you see it in Costco. I like that the stock changes regularly and it makes me want to go more often. There is also seasonal stock at Easter & Christmas and then summer items such as tents and BBQs.
==Savings and Quality==
OK it is hard not to go into Costco and spend £100 every time so be aware of how things can add up - a fairly expensive trolley is still an expensive one. One thing I will say is that I don't find Costco to be cheap but it is good value for the quality of item you are getting. I have never had anything from Costco that I have found to be poor quality or tasting horrible. I buy all of my meat from there in bulk and batch cook before freezing it. I can't even eat mince from anywhere else as it isn't a patch on the Costco mince, same goes for the Steaks, the quality of the meat is superior and I'm willing to pay slightly more than supermarkets for the improved quality and taste. Any furniture etc. I have bought has always been great quality and I've never been disappointed with any of it.
The other thing with Costco is the voucher booklet, every couple of weeks, the offers change and you might get £2 off a pack of chicken which makes it very good value, same with toilet rolls, coffee etc. If you have room to store the items in your house then in my opinion buying in bulk is the way forward.
Christmas is brilliant, lots of toys and lovely gifts for people, again not cheap as such but good value for the quality of the item. It is my favourite place to go Christmas shopping as there are so many unusual gifts in there which you don't see in other shops.
One other notable thing is you can only pay by debit card or cash which flummoxes me every time as I nearly always forget my debit card pin, no credit cards with the exception of American Express (I think!). There is also a photo lab which develops photos and makes invitations for you, that is fairly good quality for the price of the photos. There is also an opticians which I haven't used. The cafe is always worth a visit too, it may look tack-o-rama with the plastic seats and gaudy boards but the food is delicious and once again cheap as chips! Pizza and chicken bakes highly recommended (and the danish pastries!). Try and go with a friend who has a card for the first time to see if you like it or not but it is one of my favourite places to go to.
I love Costco, and always end up coming away with far more stuff than I actually need, but it all gets used and it keeps our food bill down by buying in bulk and stocking the cupboards. I have a membership card which is part of a work membership scheme, so it only costs me around £13 per year, but I think it's usually about £25 at full price.
Most people associate Costco with food, and they do have a great range of food and catering supplies. They also stock a lot of electrical equipment, small appliances, TV's, clothes, books and beauty products.
The food in Costco is nice, and works out cheaper due to buying in bulk. It's not somewhere you'd go to get one or two of something! It's mainly designed for caterers, but the food is suitable for households and as long as you've got space in your freezer, it works out cheaper than supermarket shopping. They stock fresh bread, pastries and cakes, and have a good range of pizzas, meat and party food. They also sell frozen goods, pet food, cupboard favourites and home laundry and cleaning items. The thing to look out for is how much the items cost individually, and then you can see how big a saving you will make compared to a supermarket.
Once you become a member you'll get regular leaflets through the post, telling you what offers are on at the moment. You can rip out the coupons you want to use and take them with you to make your bill even cheaper.
Most Costcos have a café area which sells some nice snacks such as pizza, pasta and baked potatoes. This is also fairly cheap and well worth having. There are often trial areas set up where you can taste certain food or drink if they are having a push on selling something in particular, so you can usually get some nibbles as you wander round.
I've never had electrical items from Costco so I can't comment on prices or range, but I've had some great offers on food and get the same items regularly. The chicken breasts are a good deal, and work out less than £1 each which is good compared to most other places. They're also a good size, and decent quality so there's hardly any waste on them.
I also get food for the cupboards such as pasta sauces, tuna and crisps, but with the sauces you have to be careful because if you get too many you'll be sick of having the same tea all the time! Things like toilet roll work out very cheap when bought in bulk at Costco, but do bear in mind that you'll have to store them until you need them, so things like these can end up taking over your house if you're not careful!
I think if you live close enough to a Costco to go there once a month, it's definitely worthwhile investing in a Costco card. I tend to go there just after payday, and stock up on meat and cupboard foods, and then when I do my supermarket shop it's just a top-up shop to get fresh things to go with the bulk foods that I've bought. This does mean my major food outlay is at the beginning of the month, but it's not really a problem because it means I spend less for the rest of the month.
When I last met up with my friend Mary Lou in the US, she kept telling me to go to Costco. She told me you could get everything cheaper there - in fact when I met up with her in Hawaii she was staying in a timeshare at the Waikiki Hilton with her family, eating food she'd got at Costco, and drinking drinks from there too.
It never entered my head to shop there however - wasn't it a place for trades people to shop - to buy stuff in bulk to sell on?
Of course I could have joined because back then my husband was still alive and he was a freelancer, working under a limited company, so we ticked all the boxes for a trade membership.
It wasn't until a few months ago that my sister suggested joining on an individual basis. I didn't realise individuals could join, but she informed me that certain jobs would allow you membership and as a civil servant, she qualified. Furthermore, you could get another card for a spouse or other family member, meaning I could get a card too.
~~What is Costco?~~
Costco is basically a cash and carry warehouse predominantly aimed at those who wish to buy a product for resale or for business use. You have to be a member to gain access to a Costco store however - or be the guest of a member.
Membership costs vary depending on the kind of membership you want - a basic Trade membership starts at £30 for instance, or you can go for an Executive Trade membership which costs £50 per year and relies on you spending a fixed amount each month but gives you 2% back on what you spend.
Individual membership costs £30 per year but you are limited in when you are allowed in the warehouse - weekday mornings up until 12.00 pm are strictly for Trade members only.
There is a members' area at the front of the store and you need to go there if you want to join. You will have to show you are eligible - my sister had to show a utility bill, and her most recent payslip before paying the membership fee and signing up. As I was being added to her membership as a family member we both had to get photos taken as your photo is included on your card. The entire process is very quickly done however - we had our cards within five minutes of asking about joining.
Individual membership allows you to bring one "guest" with you to the store too.
I found membership had paid for itself after just two trips to Costco and I certainly didn't begrudge it in the least.
It's also worth remembering that you can use your membership in any Costco store worldwide - not just those in the UK.
I have been in two Costco warehouses since I joined - I mostly visit the Glasgow warehouse but I have also been to the Edinburgh one.
Both are laid out in a similar fashion and if you think Lidl is the ultimate in "no frills" shopping, you clearly haven't been to Costco.
Every warehouse is filled with pallets of goods, and the philosophy of "pile em high, sell em cheap" is evident everywhere.
Items are not laid out carefully to lure you in - they are set out on pallets with prices and you are left to rummage to find an item in your size, in the colour you like or the flavour you want.
Costco also have a fairly limited range. For instance they sell many brands of washing detergent but don't expect to find every single fragrance or variety. The philosophy seems to be to have the top brands but not every item from that brand. So you will find Heinz Baked Beans but you won't find the Chilli variety.
You also have to buy in bulk. You can't come in here for a pint of milk either - this is for people who need large quantities of food and if you see a 2 pint bottle of something which looks like milk, it's more likely to be cream. Similarly if you have decided you want those Heinz Baked Beans you will be looking at buying 12 tins at a time.
Each store stocks electricals, homeware, gifts, clothing, footwear, beauty and toiletry items as well as alcoholic and soft drinks, pet food, confectionery, frozen food and cleaning products, and you will also find a deli bar, a butcher and a bakers, along with fresh fruit and vegetables and a huge array of fresh food in chiller racks. You can even pick up magazines in here at 10% below the cover price.
The Glasgow warehouse has an opticians and tyre centre and also sells branded beds and mattresses. Both warehouses I have visted have areas selling tobacco products too.
Once you have paid, there is a very basic café area beyond the tills and you can buy a hotdog and soft drink here for £1.50. The soft drink allows for as many free refills as you like, making this the cheapest lunch in town. Unsurprisingly it's always very busy.
~~The Shopping Experience~~
The first thing you need to do once you have parked up your car is to get yourself a shopping trolley. The very first time I went to Costco I didn't get one and lived to regret this - bitterly. Shopping in Costco isn't like whizzing around the supermarket - you need to consider if you are buying in bulk, bulk can very often be heavy.
When you enter the store you need to show your membership card to the staff on the door. All staff tend to be casually dressed but there is clearly a strong work ethic throughout the company and customer service levels are high. I've always felt I have been welcomed when I show my card at Costco in a way that shows my custom is genuinely appreciated.
You won't get round here in a hurry either - except if you have a list and want to stick to it. Electrical items are located near the entrance and there is always a good selection of televisions, audio and hifi, computers and other home entertainment items.
Similarly there is a selection of small appliances, then there is lighting, some furnishings, kitchenware and the like.
You do have to be careful when you shop in Costco however - it isn't always the cheapest place for items and it pays to do a little research before you buy. Every month items are discounted too and a coupon book is sent to members. Last month for instance the Highland Spring mineral water I buy was on buy one get one free - meaning I got 40 750ml bottles for £7. Similarly I got a DeLonghi Dragon heater on offer for just under £60 which was significantly less than anywhere else.
You do have to read the price labels carefully however. Everything is priced without VAT. If you are buying a VAT exempt item the price labels will say so, but the main price is VAT free with the price including VAT underneath in smaller print. So always look for the price including VAT before you think you are getting the biggest bargain ever - you might not be.
The reason my sister and I joined Costco was because we had read online about the sheepskin boots they sold which were a fraction of the price of Uggs. These are sold under Costco's "own label" which is Kirkland, and since I joined Costco I have bought three pairs of the junior short shearling boots and one pair of sheepskin slippers.
If you have quite small feet the kids' boots are ideal - they cost £17.99 (and it's a VAT exempt item) and whilst they perhaps are not quite as good as Uggs, they certainly are the next best thing and they go up to adult size 5, which fit me and I usually take a 6. Adult sheepskin slippers cost £14.99 plus VAT and tall sheepskin boots for adults are around £35 plus VAT - which is a fraction of the price of Uggs.
I can vouch for the quality of the sheepskin footwear I have bought and must admit I'd never even countenance buying branded Ugg style boots or slippers again - the Kirkland ones from Costco are fine.
I have also seen Crocs for sale and genuine Uggs but there tends to be a very limited selection of sizes and styles and it really is just your luck what you will find when you visit. Stock turnover is very high in Costco so if you see something you want, my advice is to buy it rather than wait as it might be gone the next time you visit.
There's also a selection of towels and bedding for sale, along with stationery and magazines. I haven't bought printer cartridges here because they are cheaper on Amazon but not by much. There is also a selection of clothing on offer which is usually branded. I have seen Regatta items but don't normally pay too much attention although on my last visit I picked up a feather and down padded coat for just under £40. Clothing does tend to be pretty seasonal so if you were to go now expect to see cashmere knitwear (sold under the Kirkland brand), fleeces and coats, but nightwear and underwear are sold all year round.
If you are hosting a party then Costco is definitely a place to consider for the catering - the food department has huge packs of meat and cheese for sandwiches, cakes and large jars and pots of olives and other nibbles. The butcher's meat looks amazing but I'd have to freeze most of it and work my way slowly through so I haven't tried. You do see people who clearly buy their shopping in bulk here, picking up huge slabs of diced beef and packs of cheese that would feed the 5,000 and I must admit if I had more kids, I'd probably do the same myself.
Costco also sell ready made meals and I have to say their lasagne looks amazing. I have tried a couple of the ready made salads they sell and have really enjoyed them.
One thing you do have to be careful about is fresh fruit and vegetables - and more importantly where they come from. I have seen strawberries flown in from the US in Costco during British strawberry season and obviously that's not good from an environmental impact.
You will also come across American branded food here - for instance Costco sells the magnificently named Otis Spunkmeyer frozen cookie dough, and it also sells Johnny's ranch dressing which I have bought and enjoyed, but it still isn't a patch on Hidden Valley. Some of these products can be quite expensive however - probably to reflect the cost of transporting them to Europe so consider this as I had to when I spied a Kirkland cranberry cereal which looked lovely but at £6 for an (admittedly large) box was a bit on the pricey side.
I always buy a lot of soft drinks when I am in Costco and the range is quite good but don't expect to find every brand there. So if you are looking for Fanta you will be disappointed, but Tango is on offer. You can get Coke and Diet Coke but Coke Zero is a step too far. I usually buy canned San Pellegrino orange drink for my daughter. We both love the lemon variety too, but sadly Costco don't stock that one.
It's the same with cleaning products. I love the Surf Essential Oils Lemon and Bergamot laundry liquid and Surf is currently on offer in Costco - with a huge bottle promising 85 washes for sale for under £6 - but only in the Tropical Flowers and Ylang Ylang variety.
Paying in Costco is usually a reasonably quick affair. You are not expected to put all your shopping on the conveyor belt - heavy items can stay in the trolley and are pushed around one side of the till while you wait on the other side to pay. You must show your membership card before the cashier will start scanning your shopping so have it at the ready.
There are no carrier bags and no help packing although you will frequently see someone helping the cashier to ensure goods are moved through the tills as quickly as possible.
Before you leave the store you must show your till receipt to staff on the door who will check the number of items you have in relation to the number of items on the receipt. I have always found the staff who perform what is essentially a security job to be polite and courteous.
Customer care is taken incredibly seriously in Costco and this is probably most evident in their attitude to after sales.
All electrical items come with a free three year guarantee although computers are limited to 6 months. If you are unhappy with anything you have bought in Costco you just take it back to the store and they will refund it without quibble.
I was debating whether to buy an electrical item on a recent visit and another customer told me you don't even need to keep your receipt if something isn't to your satisfaction as your membership card keeps a record of all your purchases so all you need to do if you want to return an item is show that. Further research backed this up and it's great to know you can buy something safe in the knowledge that should something go wrong, Costco won't take the line of so many other retail outlets and struggle to offer you anything in the way of your money back except within the first 14 days or so.
~~Other Store Features~~
I have already briefly mentioned the café which is always located after the tills in all stores. It's definitely worth a visit if you are peckish and I can recommend the pepperoni pizza which costs £1.50 for a huge slice with other varieties available, and the chicken salad bowl which costs £2.85 and will easily feed two people.
The menu is very limited but this helps speed up service - jacket potatoes, cottage pie and a selection of cakes are also on offer, with teas and coffees and self service for soft drinks which cost 70p for a huge cup and free refills.
Everything is very basic and disposable and there's never enough tables when I go so you may well have to share yours and you may also have to wait in a long line for service but it's cheap and certainly cheers me up.
All stores have toilets which I must admit I haven't visited and an ATM machine, both of which tend to be located near the café area.
You can pay using debit card, credit card or cash.
I really cannot recommend Costco enough - even though the inside of their warehouses are Spartan and the shopping experience is basic, the service you receive is second to none, and I really enjoy shopping there.
You do have to bear in mind certain things however - shop during the week if at all possible - I invariably go midweek and try to get there for 12pm as it's quieter. Weekends and evenings can be horrific however and I would avoid going then if at all possible. If you are a trade member you really should take advantage of the fact the store doesn't admit individual members before 12pm on weekdays to avoid the crowds too.
Even when the store is relatively quiet expect queues to pay, and even though aisles are wide, the shopping trolleys in use are wide too. I have to say the shopping trolleys are probably the one thing I don't like about Costco - they are huge and heavy and very hard to steer. I appreciate they get a lot of use but they really can be very tricky to manoeuvre around the store.
Also remember that not everything is cheaper than the supermarket - my sister likes Coke and found it's cheaper in supermarkets when it's on offer - and it's on offer pretty regularly. Similarly I found Always sanitary towels significantly cheaper in Boots.
The staff are a credit to the company and I really do have to mention that. So often I go shopping and encounter staff who don't seem to care about the brand they represent but whenever I have dealt with staff in Costco I have been left feeling as if my custom is valuable and several times I have asked my sister where a product might be and a passing staff member has told me, without being directly asked.
Parking is also a joy at Costco because unlike so many retail car parks, theirs are laid out to ensure every space has room around it to accommodate doors being opened and trolleys put beside your vehicle. Trolley bays are plentiful too so you don't have far to walk to return it.
If you like a bit of bargain hunting and bulk buying then I can thoroughly recommend shopping at Costco - it's certainly a store which has very quickly become one of my favourite places to shop.
There are 22 Costco locations in the UK, and they tend to be situated just off motorways or major trunk roads. They are listed on the Costco website, which can be found at http://www.costco.co.uk/.
Costco is a membership only shop, with stores in 555 locations worldwide. It is a membership only store, which basically means that you have to pay an annual fee, in order to shop there. This is in the region of £25, but to be honest I can't remember the exact price. The reason they charge the fee, is to go towards admin, so that they can keep the cost of the products down. Membership will gain you access worldwide.
The shop itself is geared more towards those who wish to make bulk purchases ie shopkeepers. That is unless you like munching your way through a box of 24 mars bars. However there are a lot of items in store which you do not have to buy in bulk.
The stores themselves are open 7 days a week, and open early and finish late during the week. There are a number of different departments in store:
Bedding & Soft Lines
Beers, Wines & Spirits
Catering & Cleaning
Confectionery & Snacks
Cookware & Tablewares
Health & Beauty
Toys & Seasonal
One of our favourite is the fresh food department. The food is always of very high quality but again you need to buy in volume. Great if you have a large family but not ideal if you live alone, or if there are just two of you.
The bakery is absolutely superb. At this time of year they do more out of their normal range, such as mince pies. These are delicious to say the least, and are large too. They come with a sponge topping. Last year there were queues, and dare I say it 'nearly fights' over them in store. You really must try them.
The meat department really work hard to get the best quality meat cuts, and this can be seen. Again you need to buy large portions, but it can always be frozen. They also do cooked meats, which are piping hot, and ideal to take away. Talking about takeaway, they also do a number of dishes which are ready for caterers. This includes pizzas and platters of sandwiches etc,
I can't really complete my review, without mentioning the cafe. We always visit this on the way out. They only stock basic items, such as pizza and jacket potatoes, but these are very reasonably priced, and I can normally buy all 5 of us a meal and drink for less thatn £10. No mean feat these days.
So in summing up would I recommend. Well to be honest, the jury is out. The prices are not really cheaper than many of the supermarkets, and to have to pay for the privelege of shopping, goes against my grain. But we all seem to like shopping there, and I do renew my membership, so I guess they must be doing something right. I will award them 3 dooyoo stars.
Copyright stebiz 2010 - also on ciao.co.uk
As an individual member at cost-co I was worried that my options would be slim, after all this is a place to bulk buy. However after paying a small fee for a membership card (you get a spouse card for free and can have extra cards for other family members at a small cost) I was plesently suprised. Of course the majority of items are sold in crates however there is so much to choose from here that didn't faze me at all. The items that are on sale include Electrical, Food ranging from an on site bakery and butchers to frozen goods also, alcohol and everything that is good for your cupboards. The prices overall are alot cheaper than the supermarkets, of course this does depend on what you are looking for. If your an individual member note that the prices you intially see are excluding VAT. The price you pay is underneath in smaller writing. A great place if you are wanting to stock up on fresh meat, beverages and cupboard items.
Costco is a membership only wholesaler. In order to obtain an account you need to be self employed, vat registered company owner etc. They offer 2 kinds of membership......Trade or Inividual. Individual membership is open to certain emplyees, ie finanacial directors etc....it does restrict access to the store at certain times, you are not able to shop before noon Monday to Friday. Can go at any time at the weekends.
*****What is Costco******
Costco is a huge Warehouse style cash and carry wholesaler and bulk seller.
Annual membership costs £34.00, should I say, thats what my uncle pays, and you can have additional card and members on the same account. He owns a Car hire firm and Garage, so is elligable, and my husband and I are additional card members on his account. Each card costs £18.00 and needs to be displayed upon every visit, and swipped when paying.
*****What do they sell******
Costco is Amercan, and the product range is very varied, and does also contain many American item, and Amercan influenced item (Big bottles of Hershy Sauce for instance). The product range is vast. You walk in and are greeted by a huge array of Electical products, TV's, PC's, MP3 players and accesories and many more.
It has a full optical centre selling glasses and contact lenses.
A photo centre with digital booths, offering canvas prints, enlargments etc.
A large array of kitchenalia, cooking equipment, plates kettles and similar.
A great range of books, fictional and non fiction, childrens books and cook books. DVD's, both current ish and old. Fitness equipment, toys and bikes. Along with seasonal items, tents and outdoor items, BBQs and garden furniture in the Summer months, and Tin Soldiers (yes really) massive Santa's, blankets and quilts, Christmas cards, gifts etc in the Winter months.
Food and Drink. Many of the items are sold in larger quantities. For instance, baked goods, Muffins are sold in trays of 20, as are cakes. Bagels are sold in packs of 12. So great for parties and large families. Or indeed businesses.
The bakery is wonderful, a lovely array of cakes, bread, bagels. They do massive celebration cakes that feed 60 and can be decorated and customised, and cost £12.99....brilliant! Big Choc fudge cakes, carrot cakes and other lovly items that cost between £6-13 depending on which ones you go for.
The meat and fish is also great, although this is really where the bulk buying comes into its own. I get a whole side of skinless, boneless fresh salmon, average price is £10, this splits into appox 16 portions that I cut up and freeze. This is often on special. They also stock other types of fish, both fresh and frozen.....mainly whole or filleted whole fish. Chicken is sold in various states, whole, breast and halal. I cannot even begin to list the meat....pretty much all standard meats, in different cuts and forms. Fillet beef to Angus mince, Pork joints to legs of lamb, the list is vast. The quality in my opinion is outstanding. Not quality specialist butcher oustanding I must point out, but if comparing to a supermarket for instance, it is wonderful.
They also sell, frozen foods, tinned foods, cleaning and laundry products, pet foods, clothes....I got my daughter some Lelli Kelli shoes that are usually £50 and currently instore at £29.00.
The booze section is great, from standard beers and wines, to a fine wine section, they even had a £400 bottle of limited edition Bollinger 007 collectable gifts. They also sell tabacco, but I can't comment on that as have never been in the scary cage they keep it in, as I think you need a seperate license to enter...plus non of us smoke!
Overall, a wonderful shopping experience. Chock full of interesting and very dull things. It can be much much cheaper than supermarkets, but check every price of what I buy and often is cheaper to stock up on special offer items in standard shops.
Costco publish a discount 'passport' which list special offers at certain times. These can be outstanding. Some items half price, others such as meat and fish offered at severel £'s off the kilo price.
They only take cash or debt cards, which can be a pain.....
Then when finished shopping, there is a cafe. They sell jacket spuds for about £1.20, a drink and a massive hotdog for £1.40, and pizza slices (can't remember the price, but I always think its great value) We feed the 4 of us to the brink for about a fiver.....great!!!!
I am a big fan of Costco, and if you are able to get a card, I would wonder around like I do for hours on end shopping and tasting new products (yes they have tasters as well!!!!)
But know your regular items prices and stock up with specials.
I will have definatly missed loads of the product range as it is vast.....but enjoy.
Ah... Costco. Coming from North of the border, I was used to Macro which was a bit of a mission to be honest.
It is unfair to compare Costco and Macro as the service, size and choice, in Costco clearly knocks Macro to the ground!
Some things you are better off buying in supermarkets, we were comparing washing powder/tablets/fabric conditioner. To buy the powder, they had a fantastic offer on both the branded Persil and the Costco own brand. (It's worth remembering that Costco 'own brand' is made in the same factory and using the same ingredients, so essentially the same product as a branded item) I am quite convinced their 'own brand' fabric conditioner is actually comfort. There is a website that tells you which each of them are, but I'm having a senior moment!
Fabric Conditioner is also a great buy there, generally working out a fair but cheaper than usual. Washing tablets would be the only area that I wouldn't recommend, unless they have an offer on it as the 148 Persil tablets saves you about 20p compared to buying them in the supermarket (Sainsbury's had 1/3 off) so do you want that amount sitting around the house?
Crisps and sweets are goid vakue, at Easter time they had Lily O'Brien Easter eggs for £5.
I find that the best bit about Costco is the meat, it's one of the main reasons we go. I have found both the meat and fish great quality. You can buy fresh in bulk and freeze individual portions. Examples:
15 (approx) frozen chicken breasts - £10
10 frozen tuna steaks - £10
Extra Matured Aberdeen Angus steaks (3 in a pack for £11) They are so big and tender, you would struggle to eat a whole one yourself, we cut them in half and with some Veg, it's more than plenty.
We're also fiends for cheese, some great deals if you can cope with 1kg of feta cheese!
500g of blueberries (fresh) for £5 (in Sainsbury's £2.99 for 150g).
The clothes in Costco are also worth a mention, Jasper Conran clothing for women (as seen in Debenhams, different items though), Pringle boxers for men, Birkenstock sandals for both men and women. All at reasonable prices.
The only things I would avoid buying in Costco would be wines and spirits as you generally get a better deal at supermarkets as they regularly put in special offers.
In summary, I love Costco, well worth a monthly visit to stock up on the staples. I have yet to find friendlier, more helpful staff anywhere! Well the Watford staff are.