March 2, 2010

Surviving Costco

Posted in recommendations tagged , at 10:18 am by silversprung

If you like crowded areas, shopping at a slow pace, and rooting through bins of discarded cardboard boxes, boy, do I have the place for you.

Despite the effort required to shop at Costco, it’s well worth it. I’m a convert. We can get everything from televisions to soap at major discounts, and the Beltsville Costco is running a special where you get 2 percent back on every purchase plus a $20 rebate applicable the first time you buy.

For everyone from those of you just about to step your toes in the Costco waters to the experienced shopper, here are a few tips I’ve already learned:

1. If you’re going on the weekend- go EARLY. I’m talking right before it opens. You won’t be the only ones in the parking lot, I swear. If you don’t do this, the crowd can get ridiculous. But that won’t even matter because you won’t be able to park anyway.

2. Eat samples- keep that blood sugar up while you’re trekking through the aisles. Also key to preventing significant other and/or child crankiness. If everyone did this, Costco would be a more peaceful place.

3. Keep moving!- everything looks good in there. Could you eventually get through three gallons of crinkle cut pickles? Yes. Do you need three gallons of crinkle cut pickles? No. Get a move on and let the rest of us shop.

4. Don’t ask for help- it took four people on our last trip to tell us where the cleaning supplies were located. Never again. Just wing it- you’ll find it. Recommendations on vacuums? Forget it.

5. Pay efficiently- you need your Costco card again to pay. Get it out. And you’ve got to have packing boxes in your cart ready to load. Locate the nearest dumpster surrounded by people in the store and that’s where it is. Jump in and get something with handles.


  1. Julia said,

    You forgot about the hot dogs. Eat hot dogs. They’re so cheap and delicious.

  2. Jill said,

    We live in DTSS, and NEVER go to the Beltsville Costco. It’s totally worth the drive up 95 to the one in Columbia–you walk in, get your samples, load up, and you’ve rarely got more than two people in line in front of you, even on Saturday morning. Throw in lunch at 5 Guys and a trip to The Perfect Pour for fancy-pants beers in the shopping center across the parking lot, and you got yourself a Saturday morning. And you can get home before you’d even find a parking spot in Beltsville!

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