Costco Sales Up While Other Retailers Cry

Costco is doing well while other retailers cut estimates and bemoan the current state of retail, according to Bloomberg:

Costco shoppers, who might pick up a $1,270 strand of cultured pearls while buying cases of seltzer, spent more even as costs for housing, fuel and food rose. Customers also purchased iPods, digital cameras and prepared food.

“The thing that Costco has going for them is that they tend to get a little bit more upscale customers,” Rachel Wakefield, who helps manage $1.2 billion for Coldstream Capital Management, including Costco shares, said Oct. 1.

We wonder if people aren’t switching to Costco in an attempt to save a little money? Nah. It’s just that (according to this photo we found on Flickr), they sell delicious Mexican Coca-Cola by the case. Yum.

Costco Profit Rises on Flat TV Screens, Prepared Food (Update2) [Bloomberg]
(Photo:vlauria)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i love mexico’s pure cane sugar coke! they sell it at a tienda in my neighborhood. delicious!

  2. mopar_man says:

    I love Jones cane sugar soda/pop. I haven’t had a chance to try Coke though.

    As for Costco, I love shopping there. Everything is usually priced fairly according to competition, the stores are clean and the employees are friendly.

  3. Sucko-T says:

    I guess people like shopping at stores that actually pay their employees more than minimum wage.

  4. JustAGuy2 says:

    Costco’s demographic is, in general, higher income than some other chains (esp. Walmart), so they’re less affected by things like higher gas prices.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Personally, I don’t really care what employees make.
    I want my stuff to be good quality at a good price. I want to pay a fair price and shop in a clean and organized store.
    Employee wages are a personal matter between the employer and the employee. No one forces the employee to work at any store – employment is always up to the prospective employee. I know what I’m worth, and my number is realistic. A cashier is not worth $12 an hour, no matter how nice they are.
    I find it hilarious that people bemoan Walmart all the time about their wages. Walmart consistently pays more than minimum wage. Sure, they’ve have their issues and they are being taken to task about it (they will eventually pay). The notion that Walmart ‘owes’ their employees a living wage is ridiculous. Walmart only owes the employee what they agree to pay them. Don’t like it? Work elsewhere. OR get another job.
    I’d LOVE to make $350,000 a year, but I don’t hold a grudge against my employer because they don’t pay me as much.
    I find it funny that whenever a thread gets started involving waiters (please don’t start one again…), people are HAPPY to point out that wages are an employee/employer issue. When waiters claim to be upset about bad tippers, people call them whiners. When a Walmart stocker complains about not being able to feed their family, people call Walmart evil.
    I believe there are words to describe that:
    duplicitous and hypocritical come to mind.
    Costco rocks because they offer me great deals on stuff I like to buy. They keep their stores clean and organized, and have large parking lots.

  6. uricmu says:

    Coke made with sugar (or cane sugar) rather than High-Fructose corn syrup actually tastes better. You can find it in the spring in many locations as “kosher coke”

    It shows you how evil corporations are if sugar is too expensive for them in a drink that consists primarily of sugar.

  7. Instigator says:

    I’m a Costco fan, too, but I’m not so sure about the take that Costco’s members occupy higher rungs on the socio-economic ladder than Wal-Mart’s customers. The liquor store at my neighborhood Costco keeps the Petron behind the counter because of “loss” issues. Or maybe Costco just attracts a more discerning class of shoplifter.

  8. oldtaku says:

    I started shopping at Costco when Ralphs/Albertsons etc. had their big stupid grocery strike and nearly cried when I saw how much money I’d been wasting by shopping at grocery stores. You can get good stuff at Costco for half to a quarter the price for the exact same product. Assuming you can consume it all before it goes bad of course. The employees seem to be fairly efficient and courteous enough and it’s not filthy like a Walmart or the Target near me.

    The only two downsides to Costco – their stock is so variable depending on what you can get deals on. I can get addicted to a cereal or ice cream or whatever, then one day it’s just gone. Forever. The worst bit is that they’re so insanely busy. You just can’t go near it on weekends due to all the families who drive carts as badly as they drive their SUVs. But weekday nights? Awesome.

    So yeah, I make plenty of money but I buy everything I can at Costco.

  9. pyloff says:

    @fej Wow you are all over the place, try to stick with a cogent point. Stating you don’t care what people make and then ranting they aren’t worth more than $12…

  10. CoolTri says:

    I’m at Costco bi-weekly for basic. A 2pack of milk, bread, coffee creamer,and eggs. buying these there are way cheaper that Buying one of each at Safeway. In season i can get a heavy bunch of bananas for $.99 while its .99 a pound at the other stores.

    Also the tend not to sell crap that no one wants to buy. just to fill the shelves.

  11. adamondi says:

    Costco is doing well because it is a company that believes in not screwing over the people with whom it does business. They pay their employees well. They treat their customers well. They have excellent customer service and extremely fair return/exchange policies. They treat their suppliers well.

    Amazing how this is such a novelty in the modern business world. However, Costco is essentially just doing good business instead of trying to squeeze everyone for every last cent.

  12. niccernicus says:

    @pyloff: It made sense to me.

  13. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Costco does indeed rock. They have an awesome selection of produce nearly year round and their organic foods are pretty good too. Anything I can buy at Costco, I do buy there … even if the price is slightly higher (rare, but it happens) because, yes, I do care that a company pays it’s employees a living wage and tries to be a good corporate citizen. The Walmart way of doing business is ruining this country; those who can’t see that are deluding themselves.

  14. liquisoft says:

    Pure cane sugar coke? I thought they shoved High Fructose Corn Syrup into everything, everywhere.

  15. cinemabee says:

    I saw that Coke at Costco a while back as well. The sugar wasn’t what interested me — I was excited to see it was in GLASS! I love pop in a glass bottle. The taste is fabulous, and the experience of it is so much more fun and nostalgic. If it had been Pepsi, I’d have gotten it in an instant. Man, I wish I could find that somewhere. I miss it! Does anyone know if Pepsi in glass is available anywhere?

  16. Myron says:

    @fejjnagaf:
    “Personally, I don’t really care what employees make.”

    Fine. Some people do care and vote with their wallets.

  17. powerjhb says:

    For pure cane sugar Coke you could also buy the Kosher for Passover version that Coke makes every year around March or April. Stock up as they limit the supply.

  18. DrGirlfriend says:

    Whole Foods brand cola is also made with cane sugar, IIRC. Just another alternative if you can’t find Mexican Coke and have access to a Whole Foods.

  19. hollerhither says:

    @fejjnagaf:
    Isn’t it part of the story that there are fewer “elsewheres” to work these days? There’s Wal-Mart…and Wal-Mart.

    (Wouldn’t we all like to make $350K. I don’t see how that’s the issue at hand when you’re talking about minimum wage — or less when you factor in lack of insurance coverage.)

    Regardless, Costco is relatively employee-friendly, and, out of all of the big box stores, one that I feel okay about supporting from time to time.

  20. GrantGannon says:

    I love CostCo and use it for major purchases. Unfortunately the nearest one to me is 17 miles away. Meanwhile I have Sam’s Club 5 miles on either side of my apartment.

  21. Fuzz says:

    @liquisoft:

    Nope, just in the States. You can thank your government subsidizing the corn industry with your tax dollars for that one. Up here in Canada our Coke is made with sugar, and it actually tastes good.I don’t know how you can even drink that HFCS stuff. Nasty.

  22. Starfury says:

    My family shops at Costco 2-3 times a month. Most of our purchases are food. Costco has the lowest prices on eggs, cheese, and their meat quality is excellent. We buy 99% of our hamburger there and also most of our pork.

    It is very easy to drop $250 on a trip there for a major shopping run.

    Plus: Where else can you get a hot dog and coke for $1.50?

  23. Anonymous says:

    @hollerhither:
    No offense intended, I’m not buying what you are selling.
    When there are no other jobs, you move to find the new one.
    That’s been a part of American culture since it’s inception. People go where the jobs are.
    I remember asking my parents why my grandparents came to Chicago when they immigrated here. It’s cold here 3/4 of the year. The answer? This is where the jobs were.
    Now, I realize that times can be tough, but this concept of people being stubborn and staying in a town with few jobs seems a little silly.
    My friend was a swim coach in the chicago area. To do that full time in Chicago is almost impossible. He had to teach private lessons and run a pool at the Y to make ends meet. A few years back, he moved to California where swim coaching is a full time job, and the reward is greater.
    Walmart isn’t the only big company to displace small businesses. Walgreens and CVS did it too. Do you have a local pharmacist? Better question – do you use him or do you go to a big box pharmacy?

  24. Anonymous says:

    @pyloff:
    Sorry.
    Costco good.
    Better?
    :-)

  25. Beerad says:

    @fejjnagaf: I don’t know where you live, but I hope you aren’t anywhere near my community. I like fair prices and nice stores too (<3 Costco!), but I also like to support an economically sustainable system that respects its employees. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like my neighbors to be surly and resentful because they’re stuck in crappy jobs.

    I find it absurd and annoying when people say things like “the notion that [any company] owes their employees a living wage is ridiculous.” Yes, ridiculous that as a society we set limits on just how far businesses can exploit their workers, isn’t it? What kind of crazy world would it be if everyone was allowed to earn enough money to survive, huh? Companies exist because we, as society, allow them to exist. I, for one, expect a little something in return, and is “not oppressing your employees” really too much to ask?

  26. breals says:

    Yes, I have a case of Costco Mexican Coke in my fridge right now.

  27. Razzler says:

    @fejjnagaf:

    You still haven’t made a cogent argument for why a cashier shouldn’t be paid $12 an hour. A well-compensated worker is less likely to steal from the store, will stay at the job longer and will work harder because the job is worth it.

    Costco is posting gains, treats both customers and employees well, and still has unbeatable prices. What exactly do you think they are doing wrong?

  28. hollerhither says:

    @fejjnagaf:
    Actually, I used local pharmacies for years. There aren’t any, anymore. I also go to big box grocery stores when necessary. Those are choices of convenience — hours, location — but I do spend a considerable amount of time and dollars supporting local businesses in my area (that means avoiding the mall, for example). But there is nothing I need at Wal Mart that I can’t find elsewhere.

    However, I don’t begrudge those in remote communities the option of shopping at Wal Mart vs. driving several hours for supplies.

    I could go on about why/how/when I vote with my dollars, and talk about the impracticalities of moving locations for low-paying work and how the demise of manufacturing factors into the lack of options for limited-skilled workers :) but it seems unlikely we’re going to come to agreement on this one. Cheers!

  29. Anonymous says:

    @Beerad:
    I live in Chicago.
    I make a great wage, having worked hard to attend college and worked harder to do well where I work.
    There is nothing inherently disrespectful about paying your employees in excess of $8 an hour (walmarts average hourly wage is higher than that) to do what amounts to menial tasks. If you work at a job that can be easily done by a 16 year old high school student with the attention span of a small feral cat, then don’t expect a high wage.
    This is America. In America, you are compensated for your work.
    Simple. A business is not ‘exploiting their workers’ by paying them in excess of minimum wage. To make that claim is intellectually dishonest. Have you ever worked in retail? Most of your day is spent standing around or fixing the facing of shelved items. This is not neurosurgery.
    And I’d like an explanation of how you consider paying a stock boy at Walmart $8.50 an hour is ‘oppressing’ or ‘exploiting’ employees.
    It’s called work. If you agree to the wage, and that wage is above the legal minimum, then it’s on you, not the company.

  30. Vandon says:

    @Myron: “Personally, I don’t really care what employees make.”

    Fine. Some people do care and vote with their wallets.

    FYI, I’m starting a grocery store and the starting wage for all employees $250K a year. I’m the only employee and milk is $250,000 a gallon….I only have to sell one.

  31. Anonymous says:

    @Razzler:
    That’s easy.
    The answer to your query is: because that is more than the market dictates.
    If they can fill those same positions at $8-9 an hour, they can save huge money and get the same productivity.
    Let’s do the math, using a standard 40 hour work week.
    40×9=360
    most companies pay bi-weekly, which works out to a gross of $720. Yearly, that ends up being $18,720.
    40×12=480. bi-weekly = 960. yearly $24,960. By paying $9 and hour instead of $12, they save $6240 a year on labor costs. How many thousands of walmart employees are cashiers? 1000? 4000? Let’s just SAY its only 1000. That means the company saves over $6 million by paying them what the market commands.
    My whole point isn’t that Costco is doing something wrong. My point is that they are doing pretty much the same thing employee wise that Walmart does. Granted, they have better practices, but wage wise things are similar.
    And I find it laughable that you think it is okay to steal if you get paid less than you want.
    Moral relativism anyone?
    Simply put, you shouldn’t steal because it is wrong to steal, not because of a wage.
    Walmart offers job opportunities to people. Those that do their jobs well get promotions. I know for a fact that many of their store managers started out as stockers, cashiers, and other low rung jobs.
    Costco is great. I love them. They shouldn’t change. I was making more of a general comparison to the walmart scenarios because people seem to think that walmart pays their people less than other stores, which is just not factual.

  32. Anonymous says:

    @hollerhither:
    Don’t get me wrong, I support local business whenever possible as well.
    Like you, there are other factors that alter that behavior. And it is okay.
    If I want something that the local guy is charging 30% more than walmart, you can bet I’m in line at walmart thinking about how much I hate them.
    We agree more than we disagree, methinks….

  33. UpsetPanda says:

    @fejjnagaf: I actually have to agree with you on that one, though I’m thinking of bookstores. Mom and Pop places don’t tend to overcharge, but when B&N has it for 40% off, paying full price just doesn’t seem so economic.

  34. Beerad says:

    @fejjnagaf: I think you may have misconstrued what I wrote — I was simply referring to your comment that businesses shouldn’t have to pay employees a living wage. As you recognize, we have a federally mandated minimum wage. It’s there for a reason. I never claimed that it was exploitative to pay employees more than the minimum wage (although there’s plenty of argument that the minimum should be raise), merely that the position that “wages are a personal matter between the employer and the employee” is untenable.

  35. CaptainSemantics says:

    My partner and I spend $300 a month at Costco, buying various groceries/fruit/bread/whatever. The price is right, the people are nice, and heck, I get free samples. Although, on Mondays around Noon the samples suck. We got the executive membership, which costs an extra $50, but they give you 2% of your purchases (well, most of them) at the end of the year. It makes perfect sense for our budget. $3600/yr X 2% = $72, making an extra $22. Not much, but it all adds up.

  36. csdiego says:

    @fejjnagaf: OK, so you worked hard enough in college to be in a position to sneer at people making $8/hour. I worked hard enough in college to have the luxury of living in an urban area where I can do all my shopping without ever having to set foot in Walmart; instead I have the privilege of living in walking distance of a grocery where the cashiers are paid considerably more than at Walmart, plus health and retirement benefits.

    Are low wages the way of the world? Sure. So are salmonella-tainted chicken, flammable Halloween costumes, and lead-painted toys. I don’t mind not driving an SUV if I know my taxes are going toward better consumer product safety enforcement (not that they are, but that’s another story). By the same token, I’d rather my grocery dollar go toward paying my share of a cashier’s $15/hour than to allowing the Waltons to buy up half the state of Missouri and 3/4 of the US Congress, or whatever it is they’re doing with the spare cash.

  37. Anonymous says:

    @csdiego:
    Not sure where you get off saying I ‘sneer’ at $8 an hour cashiers. I am just being realistic, and honest.
    I always treat them with respect and kindness.
    I don’t frequent wal-mart either and completely prefer buying local – like you, I live in a huge city. But I would be willing to wager that you would be hard pressed to find a cashier getting paid more locally than you would find working at walmart.
    And, for the record, there is no cashier job in the US that pays $15 an hour. It just doesn’t exist.
    So let’s be realistic here for a minute – Starbucks starting pay around where I live is in the area of $9 an hour. Starting wages for a cashier at the walmart on the south side of Chicago is between 8 and 9 dollars. The guy at starbucks has to learn to make the coffee, operate the espresso machine, clean, merchandise product, keep up the standards on their beans, count their drawers properly and use their POS system etc. A walmart cashier has to learn to use their POS and how to count out their drawer. They never learn how to do anything, really. They don’t make anything for consumption. So why is it that the starbucks employees aren’t deserving of your sympathy?
    Because they don’t work for walmart.
    lets call a spade a spade here. A cashier making $8-9 an hour is doing a remarkably easy job. It doesn’t require a lot of skills and can be had by anyone who qualifies. So how is walmart taking advantage of the cashiers by not overpaying them to the tune of $15 an hour?
    The median salary in chicago for a retail cashier is around $10 an hour. I have no problem whatsoever with walmart offering a new cashier $9 an hour and the cashier to be accepting it. I don’t see it as an abuse and don’t find that practice to be either illegal or improper.

  38. Anonymous says:

    @Beerad:
    So we agree?
    If you accept the fact that I referred to them exceeding the federally mandated minimum wage, then we are essentially in agreement.
    What I meant by ‘a living wage’ is the ridiculous idea that walmart somehow should be required to pay their people more than the mandated minimum out of guilt or as a result of being a profitable and sustainable business.
    They are under no such obligation.
    Would it be nice if they did? Of course.
    Would we all feel better about walmart if they paid their staffs double what they pay them now? Sure. But then we’d be paying more for their products, stores would close leaving thousands jobless, and their business would tank.
    It’s a balance.
    All i am saying is that if you choose not to develop any marketable skill set, don’t be outraged when your hourly wage caps out. A company doesn’t owe you $15 an hour simply for existing. If they can fill their stores with employees for $9 an hour, more power to them to do so.

  39. Hawk07 says:

    I wish I had Costco in my area.

    Right now, all we have is Sam’s and they now have this new policy (or are enforcing an old one) that you must actually be holder of the card in order to buy. Personally, I use my dad’s b/c when he goes, he’s always with my mom.

    Anyways, they said I can’t purchase stuff there without him present anymore. Yeah, well I know Sam’s or Wally World’s PR might read this, so I’ll lay it out flat. The next time I go into Sam’s, I’ll be sure to buy more than I usually do. They pull this crap on me, they can have fun putting all the stuff back while I walk out the door and go to any of the four pure grocery chains in my area (even more if you include the super walmart’s and super target’s).

    Another reason I love Costco is that the store’s are always clean and has friendlier personnel. You can tell a Sam’s club is owned by the Walton family because the store’s are dirty as crap.

  40. csdiego says:

    @fejjnagaf: Your reply boils down to: “The free market dictates low wages for unskilled workers [by which I mean wages that are too low to allow the worker to afford the essentials]. They can suck it up or they can go to college.” That in turn boils down to “let them eat cake”. And the Starbucks vs. Walmart comparison is a red herring: low wages are low wages, regardless of who is paying them. If it doesn’t bother you to know that the person who rang up your groceries is going home to a rat-infested bedroom, or to know that the chicken you just ate was teeming with salmonella until somebody cooked it to a crisp, then lucky you. I feel differently, which is why I’m not willing to let the free market have the last word in every area of the economy.

    I’m pretty sure the workers at my neighborhood store, part of a unionized chain, make more than $15/hour on average, although the cashiers may be on the low end of the scale.

    But this is way off the original topic of Costco (for the record, I like Costco, although it’s too far out of my way for me to shop there more than 4-6 times a year).

  41. Beerad says:

    @fejjnagaf: We agree insofar as we recognize that cashier is not a high-skills job, it’s good for companies to pay above the minimum wage, and many people are hypocritical for bashing Wal-mart while turning a blind eye to similar practices of other employers.

    I vehemently disagree with your positions of “personally, I don’t really care what employees make” and “the notion that Walmart ‘owes’ its employees a living wage is ridiculous” (although it seems that you’re now interpreting “living wage” as “more than the minimum wage”, which is better although open to the argument about whether minimum wage is really liveable.) And, on a technical note, I don’t like whatever you’re doing in your posts to leave that big blank gap at the end of them.

  42. mconfoy says:

    @fejjnagaf: Do hold a grudge against your employer if the pay the CEO millions and millions unrelated to performance because they stocked the board with their buddies? I guess you don’t believe in the minimum wage either?

  43. internal says:

    Costco is great fun to shop at, but ‘wholesale’ stores aren’t that great for your pocketbook and contribute to over-consumption, IMHO, unless you are careful about what you buy and what you use.

    Sure, you can buy 96 flippin’ granola bars for $9, but why? Would you actually buy and eat that many at a regular grocery store? Not normally. 12 rolls of paper towels for $15? Great! But I bet you will use paper towels to clean up ever single mess you make and end up wasting a lot more then if you just got a couple at a time at Target.

    Also, some of the prices are worse than a Grocery Store sale prices. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts are regularly $2.35/lb at Costco, but at most grocery stores you can find them on sale for $1.79-1.99/lb. 32 Cokes for $7.90? I can find 24 can cases for $5 on sale.

    I could go on for a long while about Costco (I am kind of a junkie – I go way too much). Don’t assume everything is a great deal at Costco. Shop and use wisely just like any other store.

  44. Anonymous says:

    @csdiego:
    Your assessment of what I said is close.
    Let’s try it the right way:
    The free market dictates the wages of unskilled workers. They can either get more than one job, stay at their current wage or they can go out and get some skills by attending college, going to a technical school, attending trainings, or getting a job where they train you on the job.
    There is no red herring in the walmart/starbucks comparison. Same pay, same hours, different company. Yet you never hear about how starbucks employees deserve a ‘living wage’ or that starbucks is taking advantage of them.
    Which is my point. The difference lies in the way our perceptions color our opinions.
    And if the workers in your area are part of a union, that means they pay every month for union dues, which robs them of part of that pay.
    But it would absolutely shock me if they earned more than $10 or $11 an hour. Ask, then tell me what they tell you. $15 an hour is fantastic pay for unskilled labor.
    Here’s a few jobs that usually earn less than $15 an hour to start, depending on the area of course:
    janitor
    mailroom clerk
    Office manager
    payroll clerk
    pharmacy technician
    receptionist
    secretary
    retail clerk
    security guard
    HR assistant
    Data Entry
    computer tech
    ap clerk
    ar clerk
    customer service rep
    telemarketer

    So, does a cashier at walmart deserve a better starting wage than any of these other jobs?

  45. Anonymous says:

    @mconfoy:
    I do not hold a grudge against anyone for getting paid what they get paid.
    I think it’s great if you can be a CEO and earn millions.
    It doesn’t affect me, so I just don’t care.
    I’m not the jealous type.
    Do I believe in a minimum wage? Actually, yes. I do. I think it should be higher than it is.
    I think the minimum wage shoule be in the area of $8 an hour.
    It’s funny to me that people are now assigning me an evil personality…
    Truly. I think back to all the guys I knew who worked 2 jobs to support their families. They never complained, save to say they were tired when I asked how they were.
    @Beerad:
    I have no idea why huge gaps keep getting inserted when my comment is more than a few lines long…
    I promise I am not adding a whole bunch of spaces.
    I finish what I write, add a period and hit ‘submit’.

  46. @liquisoft: “I thought they shoved High Fructose Corn Syrup into everything, everywhere.”

    Shockingly, there are countries where HFCS isn’t heavily subsidized by the government and cane sugar isn’t tariffed into unaffordableness!

    @fejjnagaf: They may not be “oppressing” or “exploiting” employees, but it’s economically foolish in the long term. Ford knew that you have to pay your employees enough for them to be able to afford your products. Ridiculously low minimum wages are part of the problem in our current economic spasms.

    And PS – not everyone can up and move across the country because the jobs are elsewhere. Even if they’re free to do so, which not everyone is, moving still costs money.

  47. @fejjnagaf: “Yet you never hear about how starbucks employees deserve a ‘living wage’ or that starbucks is taking advantage of them.
    Which is my point. The difference lies in the way our perceptions color our opinions.”

    Indeed it does. I have frequently heard people complain about the wages at Starbucks. But your perceptions are entirely blocking out all data that disagrees with your pre-existing opinions.

  48. csdiego says:

    @internal: You’re right. I stopped buying cottage cheese at Costco because the huge tub kept going bad before I could finish it. And some of the treaty foods are way too easy to overconsume when you buy a ton of them (I’m looking at you, Stonyfield Farm Strawberry Smoothies), even if they’re the kind of thing that will keep, in theory. Most of what I buy at Costco are canned goods and dry goods (oats, cereal, things like that), plus the heavenly and amazing Wyman’s frozen blueberries.

  49. csdiego says:

    @fejjnagaf: No offense, but are you working for Walmart? Because a lot of what you are saying is, “Everybody else (Starbucks, the people who employ janitors and receptionists) is paying low wages. Why are you singling out Walmart?” Walmart is not the only low-wage employer out there, although it’s true that they hurt the low-skilled workforce more in the small towns and rural areas where they are the only retailer, because they have more power there over the prevailing wage.

    I have to laugh at the way WM has now decided that they’ve tapped out the low end of the retail market (the poor are too poor to spend enough money in our stores! funny, that!) and now they’re trying to go upscale. Good luck to them. Employees making bottom-of-the-barrel wages are never going to be motivated to create the kind of shopping environment that would attract upscale consumers, no matter how many songs and cheers you make them do to start the day.

  50. Landru says:

    @fejjnagaf = ringer for Walmart(also, was AKA killavanilla)

  51. XopherMV says:

    @fejjnagaf:

    You have this great belief in the “free market” that borders on religious faith. I’m sorry, but leaving everything up to the “free market” is a bunch of nonsense.

    The “free market” is constantly being manipulated by the rich, wealthy, and connected. It’s illegal to buy prescription drugs from Canada because the drug companies want profits. It’s illegal to buy “knockoff” goods that too-closely resemble other goods because Gucci and Disney wants their profits. ReplayTV was sued into oblivion because they sold a DVR that allowed people to skip commercials. Vonage was nearly sued into oblivion as well. There is a market, but it’s certainly not free.

    Leaving all decisions to the “free market” is just another way to say that the rich, wealthy, and connected choose who lives and dies.

  52. Boberto says:

    Re: Real sugar
    Boylans all the way.

    Re: Wages
    Clearly Costco has something here in their model of placing a value on Employees by providing a living wage.

    Sam’s/WalMart makes an attempt to commoditize the most banal of Employee tasks, for very low wages. In doing so, they’ve attempted to impose “the WalMart way” into employee wages. Basically, freeze out all other options for Suppliers, Consumers and Employees by virtue of their HUGE market capitalization. Isn’t it odd, that Costco’s treatment of employees today, rings eerily true of the early Wal-Mart? Sam Walton had firm values, of deep employee partnership. Sharing the success of the company, rewarding stock options etc. were once hallmarks of it’s success.

    To FEJJNAGAF;
    Perhaps you should walk in the shoes of those who cannot afford the basics of life, but wake up and show up for work everyday anyway. Clearly, not all of us are entitled to $250k/year. What’s even more clear is your utter lack of respect and value of work. What’s your opinion of those who choose to stay home and collect welfare? If we chose your logic, we’d have more respect for that, as it most certainly is the more efficient approach.

    Keep em’ working, but don’t give them enough to feed their Families, have ANY healthcare or safe housing. Sounds like good sound American/Christian value to me. Just let the market sort it out. I’m just glad to have saved $12 on my 50″ plasma.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I know a bit about this industry, and Costco truly has the best
    quality meat of any large grocery chain on the west coast. Their buyers
    purchase such a huge quantity that they can demand (and nearly always
    get, believe me)first crack at selecting the best cuts of meat from
    their suppliers. Buyers from other stores only get to place their
    orders after Costo gets first pick.

    I don’t know as much about the produce, but I’d bet it’s the same story.

  54. zolielo says:

    Costco is great in just about every way. I personally shop there more than anywhere else.

    What is neat is people stand up for Costco…

  55. @lorose: Best strawberries in retail. Every time. Boggles my mind.

  56. Suppafly says:

    one of the Kroger’s in my town occasionally sells Mexican coke in the Mexican food area, but its like $2+ a bottle. It is in a glass bottle though so it might be worth it for the novelty.

  57. Anonymous says:

    @Landru:
    Yeah.
    I’m a ringer for walmart.
    You caught me.
    Perhaps this will hurt your feelings, but I am not a socialist/communist. I think walmart gets a bad rap. If people hate walmart so much, it isn’t showing up in their sales.
    So please, spare me the nonsensical arguments. Why is it okay when people disagree with you for you to make the insane claim they are a ‘ringer’.
    I don’t like walmart, mostly for the predatory way they take over markets, but I find the argument that they ‘should’ pay more as ridiculous as you find the argument that everyone deserves a six figure salary.
    In America, you get paid based on your qualifications, job segment, and effort, not simply because you land a job with a big company.

  58. Anonymous says:

    @XopherMV:
    Yeah.
    Right.
    It isn’t possible that it is illegal to buy prescription drugs in Canada because the drugs you find there are often knock offs or imitations that are unregulated.
    It isn’t illegal to buy or sell knock off goods because of intellectual property rights. Why not buy a rip off of a Louis Vitton bag. Louis Vitton didn’t spend millions in R&D and marketing. They don’t deserve to earn money on their own design. They are rich.
    Vonage wasn’t sued because they stole proprietary technology and design, it was because the owners of the copyright are rich.
    Your skewed, nonsensical description of the free market is pretty stupid, if you ask me.
    The free market exists because it is influenced directly by the consumer. Without a free market, as a point of fact, this site simply wouldn’t exist. Neither would the ipod, the plasma tv, the BMW…
    Everything would be government controlled, and we wouldn’t have had all the innovations we have now. You know, like the personal computer, microsofts products, the watch you wear everyday.
    The government would control all research, development, distribution, marketing… How wonderful our lives would be.
    Go back to reading the genious of Karl Marx. he was the most successful tyrant to ever write fiction.

  59. Anonymous says:

    @Boberto:
    Ahh, how I love assumptive reasoning.
    You are right, I never had to struggle. I’ve never been unemployed. I’ve never worked a low paying job. I’ve never had to choose between paying my power bill or eating.
    How well you know me!
    Oh, wait. You don’t know me at all!
    I’ve LIVED that life. It’s why I had to work my way through school. It’s why I still have framed copies of my unemployment checks on the wall in my office at home.
    You make the most offensive claim of the day (thanks, moderators, for not bothering to step in when things got personal btw) when you say I don’t value work.
    It truly is a shame that you can be that dense and still muster the brain power to read the consumerist.
    I DO value hard work. That’s what I am saying.
    In America, you get paid based on effort, education, and the value you bring to a company.
    If you are 50 years old and the only job you qualify for is a cashier at walmart, I would posit that YOU don’t value hard work.
    I’ve been a dishwasher, a busboy, and a crappy jewelry stand salesman. I’ve had my fair share of low skill, low pay jobs. I’ve had to struggle to feed myself, clothe myself, and keep a roof over my head. Shame on you for assuming you know anything about me.
    Bottom line: Walmart still pays more than other companies. They pay well above minimum wage. They are not evil just because they are a for profit company.
    Is the consumerist evil for accepting ad revenue?
    Perhaps they should share that with us, the folks who post content?
    You argue like a child.
    And you know nothing about me.

  60. theblackdog says:

    okay, those who are getting mexican coke at their Costco, where do y’all live? I don’t recall seeing any at the Costco by my apt in Maryland, but perhaps I need to take a trip to one 20 minutes up the road.

  61. Gopher bond says:

    Mmm, I love that pure sugar Coke. Even did a test to make sure I really could tell the difference between sugar Coke and corn-syrup Coke. I definitely could. Even identified when it was both sugar and both corn-syrup.

    There’s also a place in Texas that makes Dr. Pepper with real sugar too. That stuff, ice cold, makes me tingle.

  62. K-9 says:

    Costco gets a zero for in-store customer service, but a ten for after-purchase service. I’ve never been enamoured with the in-store experience, but I’ve rarely had a problem with their products, and when I do, the staff fix it properly with no (or few) questions asked.

    That’s why they get customer loyalty, mine and so many others. It’s not because of their service, but because they make an effort to do things _right_, which counts for a lot more than doing things fast and wrong.