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Costco (Formerly Price Club) - A Washington-Based, Membership-Only Retailer - the Second-Largest Retailer in the World

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Why in the hell don't they open at 8? Or 7? I have written this on countless comment cards. Please your customers and make more money--a company should be so lucky...

They have one eight-hour shift of workers the way they do it. Much simpler for them.

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They have one eight-hour shift of workers the way they do it. Much simpler for them.

That was the same explanation given to me by someone who used to manage a store. Stock work goes on off-hours, but this way the customer-facing staff doesn't have to have shift changes, varying schedules, etc. They apparently save a lot of management and overhead money this way.

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For the next week or so, the two-packs of whole chicken are buy one, get one free. This means four chickens, which can strain fridge/freezer space for some, for around $8. I'll cook three, maybe dress the other one up in a gingham frock and put it on flickr.
I have coupons for the month, but I don't have a coupon for that. I must have missed a mailing. I was there today but opted not to buy, since I didn't have the coupon. Normally, I don't buy chicken there.

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I have coupons for the month, but I don't have a coupon for that. I must have missed a mailing. I was there today but opted not to buy, since I didn't have the coupon. Normally, I don't buy chicken there.

There were two coupon books that arrived about the same time. One vertical, one horizontal. You could also see if the cashier has the coupons. Last Sat. I passed by the coupons on the wall display and saw that Ratatouille was $5 off and realized my coupons were at home. The cashier had the coupons and was just scanning them whenever she saw something on sale (this is at the Springfield Costco-on my one time visit to the Pentagon Costco I forgot my coupons and the cashier was like "and my problem is.....?" :( ). Customer service also should have the coupon book.

I've bought the chicken there before and they were good. At $4 a piece it's a good deal-even better is paying a buck more to have them rotisserie it for you :(

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Does anyone have a Costco card they'd like to exploit- or pity for a single, carless girl in the city? I'd love to go to Cotsco and get great prices on a lot of stuff (literally) but I don't need that much in storage for just myself. Anyone want to do a "singles" run- meaning we'd share the spoils?

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That was the same explanation given to me by someone who used to manage a store. Stock work goes on off-hours, but this way the customer-facing staff doesn't have to have shift changes, varying schedules, etc. They apparently save a lot of management and overhead money this way.

So, what then is their explanation for why the staff there is generally unfriendly and unhelpful? They save tons of money by hiring unmotivated employees who are willing to work for low wages? Then they pass on to savings to idiots like us who put up with it?

I understand the model, but I think that it is crazy--and lazy. We shop there and tolerate the irritation of the parking, the crowds, the limited hours, the irritable staff and the employees tolerate the amount of work, the pay, the irritable customers, etc...

There has to be a model for them whereby they open a few hours more and appease all the people that want to spend money and also keep their staff happy. The whole Costco model is based on volume--that's why the prices stay low, supposedly. Increased customer volume would certainly raise the overhead, but so much so that their profits would go down? I doubt it. I love the stuff there, but I always feel like I have to tolerate so much to get it.

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I can't speak to their entire business model, but having managed retail at one point, I remember that a HUGE amount of my time was spent creating the schedule - early shift, mid-day shift, late shift. Who wanted off one day, but only in the morning. What to do when someone didn't show. Dealing with employees who forgot not which day, but which shift they are on.

Costco has solved all of this by not having shifts - you're either on or off. Extending the store hours by even a single hour would force shift work, and they have simply made a corporate decision that the costs of shift work are higher than the returns.

As to the quality of their employees, I don't think they are any less or more friendly than other customer service workers in the industry at that pay rate. I find the workers in Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, etc. are equally crappy. Since the average American isn't ready to have their grocery bills go up by 50%, the grocery stores are not going to pay more to attract a higher quality employee.

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Costco has solved all of this by not having shifts - you're either on or off. Extending the store hours by even a single hour would force shift work, and they have simply made a corporate decision that the costs of shift work are higher than the returns.

But Costco is open for more than eight hours a day. At least for the West Ox Road/Lee Highway store, I believe they open to resale customers at 10:00, general customers at 11:00, and they close at 8:30. That means they need to have the checkout lines covered for 10.5 hours every day. So either they are having their employees work 10.5 to 11 hour days (and I guess if they work four-day weeks that would work with a half hour or an hour off for lunch), or they would have to have staggered eight-hour shifts to cover the whole day. Which is it?

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costco

From what I understand, the founder Sol Price's philosophy also included very humane treatment of employees, which has supposedly continued since the merger with Costco. Unlike Walmart, they provide benefits.

Yes, I've read those things as well, including information on how high the retention rates tend to be for Costco employees. The employees at the Pentagon City Costco (where I shop most often) are pleasant enough, especially given how slammed they always are with with customers. I've seen a number of those employees there for years (which doesn't account for employees I don't interact with directly and, therefore, don't necessarily know by sight.)

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Yes, I've read those things as well, including information on how high the retention rates tend to be for Costco employees. The employees at the Pentagon City Costco (where I shop most often) are pleasant enough, especially given how slammed they always are with with customers. I've seen a number of those employees there for years (which doesn't account for employees I don't interact with directly and, therefore, don't necessarily know by sight.)

And this, friends, is post number 100000.

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New to me was finding vanilla beans at Coscto. 2 glass vials with 5 beans in each for $11 and change.
Really, really disappointing vanilla beans :mellow: There's only a faint, odd plastic-like smell to them, not the heavenly aroma you get when opening a vial from Penzey's. They don't have a whole lot of seeds inside either. Avoid these beans.

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I'm currently enjoying their dried Goji berries in some oatmeal with vanilla soymilk. I also really love the dried mangoes from the Phillipines, which are moist and more tart than what you find in the regular grocery stores.

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There were two coupon books that arrived about the same time. One vertical, one horizontal. You could also see if the cashier has the coupons. Last Sat. I passed by the coupons on the wall display and saw that Ratatouille was $5 off and realized my coupons were at home. The cashier had the coupons and was just scanning them whenever she saw something on sale (this is at the Springfield Costco-on my one time visit to the Pentagon Costco I forgot my coupons and the cashier was like "and my problem is.....?" :mellow: ). Customer service also should have the coupon book.

I've bought the chicken there before and they were good. At $4 a piece it's a good deal-even better is paying a buck more to have them rotisserie it for you :)

Due to the vagaries of retail employees I can't promise this would ever happen again, but my Pentagon City cashier pointed out that the chickens were two for one, didn't ask for a coupon, and let me run back to grab another pack of chicken while she watched my cart after I paid. So, yes, it's a surly worker grab-bag anywhere you go, but I'm a sucker enough that I would prefer to shop where I know the workers are treated well. Even if the Pentagon City Costco has to be the closest thing to parking in Beyond Thunderdome... after the Trader Joe's lot in Seven Corners, of course. Two go in. One comes out.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costco

From what I understand, the founder Sol Price's philosophy also included very humane treatment of employees, which has supposedly continued since the merger with Costco. Unlike Walmart, they provide benefits.

OK, jeez if you are going to go all Wikipedia on me :mellow: .

Further looking found this from the WSJ: "From the perspective of investors, Costco's benefits are overly generous," says Bill Dreher, retailing analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Fine points, especially the one that employees at Costco are no more or less friendly than any other retail store. I would have to agree, for the most part. Furthermore, as at any other retail location, you can truly find great people.

My resentment stems from buying a King size mattress and frames a few years ago. I asked for some help loading it onto a cart and two different employees said "we don't do that." It seemed completely ridiculous. I am (somewhat) young and (on occasion) able, so I didn't even really need the help, but what if my Mom was trying to buy this thing? It's like she is saying, "hey, I want to spend $1,000 right now, right here--can you give me a hand?" Couple that with the gruffness I tend to get when I try to exchange pleasantries or ask a question about a product, and it leaves me a little bitter.

I probably could easily equally resent WalMart or Target or Starbuck's for that matter, so allow me to tilt at the Costco windmills no more on this site. But they still should extend their hours....

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OK, jeez if you are going to go all Wikipedia on me :mellow: .

Further looking found this from the WSJ: "From the perspective of investors, Costco's benefits are overly generous," says Bill Dreher, retailing analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Fine points, especially the one that employees at Costco are no more or less friendly than any other retail store. I would have to agree, for the most part. Furthermore, as at any other retail location, you can truly find great people.

My resentment stems from buying a King size mattress and frames a few years ago. I asked for some help loading it onto a cart and two different employees said "we don't do that." It seemed completely ridiculous. I am (somewhat) young and (on occasion) able, so I didn't even really need the help, but what if my Mom was trying to buy this thing? It's like she is saying, "hey, I want to spend $1,000 right now, right here--can you give me a hand?" Couple that with the gruffness I tend to get when I try to exchange pleasantries or ask a question about a product, and it leaves me a little bitter.

I probably could easily equally resent WalMart or Target or Starbuck's for that matter, so allow me to tilt at the Costco windmills no more on this site. But they still should extend their hours....

A perfect example of the big problem with the predominant model of capitalism in this country: maximum profits for investors and CEOs completely trumps the needs of workers for decent pay and working conditions. Companies that treat their workers well are seen as aberrant by the WSJ.

There is a good chance that employees have been forbidden by HR from doing heavy loading/lifting, in order to prevent back injuries. I believe that one can pay extra to arrange for heavy items to be delivered. If your Mom were trying to buy it, she should plan to pay the extra fee to have it delivered, or buy at a store that provides loading-in or on-car services, albeit at a higher price. The trade-off at Costco, Home Depot or other warehouse stores, is that you are more on your own than at places that charge more.

By the way, my elderly parents shop at Costco all the time--they are 91 and 95. They ask for help from able bodied members of the family, if they want to buy something big at Costco.

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The Costco in Pentagon City does have a terrible parking lot, as I discovered on Saturday. On the other hand, it has more upscale stuff in the coolers, definitely more than Springfield.

12 Reidel O glasses for $74.99!

We usually go to the Costco in Fairfax, which is a little more downscale than Pentagon City but I think has more books. We've been going there so long that the employees ask after my kids.

Comparison shopping the different Costcos. I know, I know, I should get a life!

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If anyone was ever interested in buying a 15 pound, Grade A-5 Wagyu ribeye roast...well, now's your chance!

A little over $150/lb. Hmmmm. That would be quite the item for one's New Year's Day buffet. I suspect the Costco that's likely to write the most orders for this baby will be the one nearest Greenwich, Conn., provided there are enough solvent hedge fund operators left.

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Pentagon City Costco currently has clamshells of Meyer lemons--4# for $6.99.

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I baked a Martha Stewart ham from Costco for dinner tonight. Although it's a little pricier than the other brands at $3.49 a pound, it's hormone and antibiotic free and well trimmed. It's got a nice tender texture and is moderately salty. Most hams taste overly salty to me but this one was just right. Another bonus? It's not waterlogged the way most grocery store hams are.

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USDA Prime NY Strip Steaks spotted last week - $9.99/lb.
They've still got them, at least at Pentagon City. I dont recall the price, but I bought some prime boneless ribeye there today for $8.99/lb., and the NY was only a little more than that.

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