12 Things You Might Not Know About Costco

Consumerist readers seem to love Costco, but how much do you know about the warehouse retail chain? Here are twelve interesting facts that you may or may not know about Costco. If you did know them, you can feel smug about it; if you didn’t, then you’ll learn something new. Everyone wins!

CBS News presented these in a slideshow this week, with some great photo choices, but if you’re pressed for time, we’ll save you 12 clicks: here are the items on the list.

The $5 rotisserie chickens aren’t going anywhere …even though Costco doesn’t actually make any money on them. The $5 chickens are convenient meal-starters that members love, and that help get them in the door. Also, the chickens have a fan-run page on Facebook, which is both wonderful and weird.

90.6% of members renew every year. Presumably, the other 9.4% have been forced by work or life circumstances to move to areas where there is no Costco nearby, and have spent weeks weeping about it.

Costco is a baby-boomer joint. That’s not a bad thing by any means, but some members of younger generations can afford houses now, and fewer of them are flocking to Costco. The stores are trying to coax them in with initiatives like more organic food offerings.

Employees there are well-paid and content, earning an average of more than $20 per hour–and that’s for workers paid hourly.

The company’s stock isn’t doing well: maybe investors want to see more young members sign up.

Their #1 product? Toilet paper. Actually, this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Gas costs 6 to 12 cents below the local market price. Hey, as long as you’re here, Costco member, how about you stop over at the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, 144 rolls of toilet paper, and a massive jar of honey?

They’re the largest fine wine seller in the country. Costco sells more than $1 billion worth of wine every year.

You always buy more than you had planned. With fresh food in the back, the layout of a Costco is like a grocery store writ large. With lots of other stuff in it. The stores are designed to take you past all of the merchandise.

$1.50 for a hot dog and soda doesn’t change. The deal always stays the same. You’ll visit the food court, then drop fifty bucks on toilet paper.

There are only 4,000 items. This actually reduces shopper anxiety: if there’s only one brand of honey, you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other.

The highest markup is 15 percent. That’s it: after all, Costco has already collected at least $55 from you for your membership before you’ve even put a single package of toilet paper in your cart.

12 things about Costco that may surprise you [CBS MoneyWatch] (Thanks, Kate!)

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  1. Liberal says:

    Those content employees do not equal superior customer service. i find they are often flippant, arrogant. i have spent a large amount of money this year and saved myself money so my $55 was well spent. i may not renew. customer service is slipping everywhere, you have to work for good service even at costco.

  2. limbo says:

    I’d happily go to Costco, but their locations are few and far away from Boston.