5 Things I Hate About Costco

As someone who not only shops at Costco weekly but also writes about the store often, my love affair with Costco is pretty obvious. I’ve even been known to visit Costco stores while on vacation just to check out the inventory and see what other locations look like.

But while I’m definitely a huge fan of Costco, some aspects of shopping there really get under my skin. Here are five things I can’t stand that I’d like to see Costco try to improve on.

1. The parking lot

I can’t say with certainty that Costco parking lots are a nightmare everywhere. But in my home state of New Jersey, that’s sort of a universal truth. And I’ve spoken to friends in other parts of the country who say the same thing.

In a nutshell, it’s rare for me to pull into a local Costco parking lot and get a spot without having to wait for someone to leave. And this is coming from someone who’s willing to take the absolute farthest spot in the lot.

I wish Costco would find a way to add more spaces. It would not only save shoppers time, but also make the parking lots safer.

2. The long lines at the pump

Costco offers some of the cheapest gas in town, so I usually try to fill up my car before I do my shopping. But pretty much no matter when I go to Costco, there’s always a wait to get gas. And sometimes, that wait is so long that I end up skipping the fill-up and paying extra at a more expensive station with no wait.

Costco could solve this problem by adding a few more pumps or by adding a few more attendants. The latter is probably easier and it seems simple enough.

The good thing is that I have several credit cards that give me extra cash back on gas. So if I can’t endure the wait at Costco, I at least get that savings.

3. The long lines inside the store

As much as the lines to get gas can be annoying, an even more frustrating experience is waiting in long lines to check out at Costco — even when you shop at off-peak times like I do, such as when the store first opens. The introduction of self-checkout also hasn’t helped matters, because often, you need a store employee to scan heavy items from your cart.

One potential solution would be for Costco to have an express lane for shoppers with, say, 10 items or less. See, I shop at Costco every week, so I don’t often have all that many individual items in my cart. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck behind people whose carts are overflowing with products because they only come to Costco once a month.

4. The arctic temperatures you need to endure to buy produce or milk

I appreciate Costco’s effort to keep perishable goods cold. But if you’ve ever been inside the dairy or produce section at Costco, you’re no doubt familiar with the “I’m this close to frostbite” sensation that comes with grabbing a couple of gallons of milk or a few bags of salad.

Of course, it’s not as if I’m hanging out in the dairy section for more than a couple of minutes. But I do like to check the dates on the items I’m buying. It’s harder to do that when you’re so instantly cold that you’re immediately planning your escape route.

I’m not sure there’s much Costco can do about this. But free hand warmers would be nice.

5. The constant temptation to spend

OK, so this one isn’t Costco’s fault, per se — it’s my fault for not exercising self-control. But because Costco is constantly updating its inventory, I’m constantly tempted to buy extra items and bust my budget.

I don’t expect Costco to end this practice anytime soon. In fact, it’s a key component of the store’s strategy. I just wish Costco would at least hide the yummy seasonal products at the back of the store, so I’m less likely to find them.

However, when I’m trying to be cautious about spending, I make a point to steer clear of aisles that don’t contain an item from my weekly Costco list. You may want to do the same if you’ve been known to fall victim to Costco impulse buys.

Overall, there are plenty of things I love about Costco, from the low prices to the generous return policy. But a few tweaks could make my Costco shopping experience — and yours — even better.

If you have suggestions for how Costco can improve, you can write to the company at:

Costco Wholesale

P.O. Box 34331

Seattle, WA 98124

You can also leave feedback by phone at 425-313-8100.

I can admit that I haven’t yet gone this route. But I’m considering it, because if there’s any store that’s likely to take customer feedback to heart, it’s Costco.

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