Costco trips are not for the weak of heart or spirit, and anyone who isn’t well-rested will be made miserable by the giant, bustling stores with unlabeled aisles. Shoppers must have their wits about them to snag items quickly, keep track of huge shopping lists, and deal with the long lines that build up during busy times of day. Tired? Better to stay home and nap than bother trying to navigate Costco.
People with weed-induced munchies, heed this warning: Stay away from Costco. The allure of the huge frozen yogurt cones and slices of pizza in the concessions area is strong, but it’s way too easy to wander the rest of the store in a daze and leave with a three-month supply of bananas, frozen fish, and SpaghettiOs. (These foods don’t make any sense in combination, and neither does going to Costco while blazed.)
Parents Who Can’t Say ‘No’ to Children
Bringing kids to Costco can be a problem for parents, grandparents, or guardians of persuasive children. Head into Costco with a kid who can’t be refused, and be ready to walk out with more T-shirts, toys, and fruit snacks than any child would deserve for three consecutive birthdays. Costco can be a great place to pick up stuff for kids, but it’s better to leave them behind and bring home a surprise.
Compact Car Owners
Costco seems like a great idea until there are three carts of loot to haul out to the car and nowhere near enough space to accommodate everything. The returns line isn’t exactly a carnival, so there’s no taking back what you bought if it doesn’t fit. Unless someone can babysit the carts during multiple car trips to and from home to unload, it’s best to hitch a ride with a friend who has a truck or minivan, sign up for a shared-car service, find a rental deal, or even call a taxi company with bigger vehicles.
Anyone With a Hangover
Costco can be very unpleasant for people who had a bit too much to drink and not enough sleep the night before. The huge warehouses have harsh, penetrating lights to illuminate every nook, cranny, jumbo jar of mustard, and quadruple box of cereal. Being surrounded by millions of items can be flat-out overwhelming to people who don’t drink at all, but to someone who’s still working those last couple glasses of pinot out of the system, the sheer visual noise of all the stuff and actual noise from chattering people can be too much of a headache.
Shoppers With No Impulse Control
One of Costco’s many blessings is the samples provided regularly to shoppers. This can easily turn into a curse for people inclined to scoop up and buy whatever they taste. Depending on the time of day, a shopper could get lucky and score 10 or more samples — great in theory, but not if it leads to a cart overflowing with miniature hot dogs, granola, soda, and crackers with cheese, along with a bill of a couple hundred bucks just for finger food.
People Who Hate Crowds
Costco can be an extremely crowded place (even with pandemic restrictions), particularly in the early evening and before events such as the Super Bowl. Anyone who hates big crowds and long lines should skip the trip, no matter how tempting the discounted frozen wings may be. It’s just not worth the frustration, sweat, and bulging veins.
Anyone in a Hurry
People with low levels of patience also might feel like they’re in purgatory at Costco. It’s tough to avoid a lot of waiting and maneuvering around people and their massive carts while they pore over lists or await help reaching items high on the shelves. Then there’s waiting in clogged lines to check out and leave the place — and forget about grabbing a slice of pizza or a hot dog in the loud, crowded food area once the shopping is done.
Like the bulk items it carries and sells, Costco is giant. The massive warehouses could swallow a small village, so people who fear big public spaces should stay as far from Costco as possible. There are other places to buy bulk items or grocery shop on the cheap, so it’s better not to cause extra stress by walking into what feels like the biggest store on earth.
Unless the plan is to sleep on the bulk rolls of toilet paper and paper towels, buying at Costco isn’t the best plan for anyone who lives in a small apartment or studio. There just isn’t enough room to stock up on most of the massive bulk items that are such a good value Costco.
Ready to take the plunge and become a Costco member, despite it all? You can apply here.