Coffee heat rising

B’bye, Costco!

One last view…

ENOUGH, already, with shopping at Costco. I’ve had it, and I’m NOT goin’ back there!

Whaaaa? ask ye who are familiar with Funny’s Costco love affair.

Well, I do hafta say that my patience with Costco wears thin every now and then, and yeah, every now and again I vow never to return. But this time, it’s stickin’…bigawd!

Only two exceptions:

1. To buy gasoline (sometimes: if I happen to be in the vicinity and the lines don’t stretch halfway to Yuma)
2. To keep access to their tire shop

Otherwise, I…yam…DONE. Not going into the store ever again, and never, ever again making a special traipse across the city to buy gas.

Whither this withering insight, you ask?

Well. This morning I took it into my dizzy little head to go in and talk with their CSRs about the screwup I experienced there a couple weeks ago. I’d gone into the store in Paradise Valley, wasted some unholy amount of my priceless time roaming around the store and collecting a basketful of goods, wasted some more time standing interminably in a checkout line, and stood there while the (excellent! all their staffers, by the way, are beyond excellent) cashier racked up a couple hundred bucks worth of purchases, and then handed over my debit card.

The same debit card with which I always pay for Costco purchases.

You need to know that Costco does not accept American Express, which is my credit card of choice. Both the business and the personal charge accounts are with AMEX. When this charming decision came down, I acceded to signing up with their Visa or Mastercard (don’t recall which, after all this time), and that devolved into a headache of Brobdinagian proportions. Canceled that annoying card and resorted to using my debit card, which is issued through my credit union.

This worked fine until a week or so ago, when the check-out clerk said she couldn’t take my credit union’s debit card — it was no good!

Ohhhh yeah?

So now I shoot down to the CU, haul the card in, tell them this sad story, and ask them WTF?

Their answer is, indeed, WTF?

They have no idea why Costco has suddenly decided to quit accepting a debit card on a checking account that has, shall we say, a balance that measures in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Maybe they just don’t believe than anyone who’s not a scam artist would deposit a year’s worth of spending money in their checking account? How might that be any of Costco’s bidness, anyway?

The CU’s agent says there’s nothing wrong with the debit card and hands it back.

Eventually I decide to traipse over to the Costco on the west side, barge up to their customer service desk, and ASK them what is their problem. That’s when I get the suggestion that I should kill some more of my time farting around in their store and repeating the fiasco that I would like to have resolved.


Enough, already!!!

WHEN did Costco forget that customer service is a key part of retailing?

Well, thought I, their gas is still the cheapest in town. I’ll keep my card so I can buy gas here.


Maybe not.

First, to get to a Costco store from the Funny Farm, now that they’ve closed their outlet that was centrally located in Phoenix, you have to drive way to Hell and gone into Scottsdale, or else you have to drive way to Hell and gone up the I-17 freeway, halfway to Flagstaff.

I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO IN EITHER OF THOSE PARTS, now that I’m not working at ASU West and no longer have pals living in Moon Valley. So you wanna know what I ain’t doin’? I ain’t drivin’ halfway to Flag, and I ain’t drivin’ to Snotsdale West, just to save maybe $1.50 on merchandise I don’t much need anyway. Fry’s has a mega-supermarket on the fringe of Snotsdale West, much closer to my house, which peddles just about everything Costco does.

Soooo…why, pray tell, should I keep a Costco membership that requires me to burn vast quantities of overpriced gasoline in order to spend vast quantities of cash?

Which brings us to Second: Practically around the corner, QT has not one but TWO gas stations, each generously equipped with pumps.

Are they the cheapest gas in town?

Probably not. Costco usually claims that honor.

But by the time I’ve burned a gallon or three driving up the freeway to a Costco gas station, how cheap — really — is CC’s gas?

My guess is, the price ultimately is about the same. As for the aggravation factor? Any day I d’ruther spend a few cents more at a QT than drive halfway across the city to stand in line 20 minutes and then be told my membership card doesn’t work (which is what happened the last time I tried to buy gas at Costco).

I’ve spent my last dollar in Costco. Alas!

2 thoughts on “B’bye, Costco!”

  1. I understand where you’re coming from because I’ve about had it with Walmart. I used to buy the bulk of my food/household supplies there, then hit Kroger for produce/meat. Well, I’ve never lived close to a WM, so have had to go out of my way to shop there. With gas prices so high, it’s too far to drive to be verbally assaulted by other customers. Yes, that happened on three different shopping trips last year. Thank Goodness, none of these incidents got physical.
    Also, until recently their self-checkout section was a confusing pain-in-the-@ss experience. It’s recently been re-designed to function more smoothly, but what the Hell took them so long?!?
    These days, I mainly shop at Kroger. Using Kroger coupons matched with sales, I can get some amazing deals, much better than WM’s prices. And nobody talks ugly to me. Win-win!
    As for buying gas, I use the self-service station located in the strip mall where I work. Saves me time as well as money.

    • “Walmart people,” eh? 😀

      We have a Walmart “neighborhood market” here, on the border between the ‘Hood and the barrio to the north. The clientele, which largely Latino, are polite and un-obnoxious, as a rule. The store has, however, dumped all but one of its human check-out clerks, trying to force everybody into self-service checkout lanes…and almost everyone goes through that lady’s stand or over to the customer service counter, where they also will take your money for goods. So in effect, they now have only two check-out clerks. Which is, yeah: one of the reasons (besides the alarming venue) that I also limit my shopping trips there. There’s also a large, regular Walmart in the moribund Metrocenter Mall, once the largest shopping center in the land but now a ghost mall. I think most of the clientele there are WT — I don’t shop there because I don’t feel safe walking around the parking lot. There’s a much more vibrant Walmart way up north on the I-17 freeway, where the young middle-class whiteys have moved into the stick-and-Styrofoam tracts up there — and it’s not a bad place to shop, if you don’t mind driving halfway to Flagstaff for the privilege.

      I think our Fry’s is Kroger. And the huge one in Paradise Valley is a pretty nice store — they do vary widely in quality. Since it’s just a few miles from the Costco, I’ll probably be shopping there for junkets in search of the kind of variety and product you can buy at Costco. Sprouts is fine for food, but their sundries offerings are limited.

      The truth is, though, that if you fill in the blanks with orders from Amazon, you can get everything you need from Sprouts or a decent grocery store.

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