The secret code behind Costco’s prices -- revealed

Once you go bulk, you never go back. That’s what shoppers who know these secret perks of having a Costco card say, at least. And it’s easy to see what all of the fuss is about; not only are Costco’s prices easy on the wallet, but the retailer also offers fantastic selections on its shelves.

But if you regularly shop at Costco, you might not be getting the savings you bargained for. (Pun intended.) The big box retailer has a little-known way of organizing their prices—and cracking the code could help you save even bigger.

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Shocking Costco food court secrets
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Shocking Costco food court secrets

The most popular item on the menu? The legendary Costco hot dog.

"There's something about a buck fifty that people really love," said the employee. 

But at 552 calories and 32 g of fat, you may want save this food court staple for special occasions. 

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Another discontinued item that Costco often receives questions about? The chocolate-dipped ice cream bar with almonds. We hate to break it to you, but it's probably never coming back.

"I think it might have been too expensive for the amount we give. That's what happened with gelato anyway," the employee said.

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Everyone knows that the best churro is one that is hot and freshly made. If customers don't think they're getting the best churro their money can buy, don't be afraid to ask for a new one!

The employee said, "I learn to check when we're running low on churros and wait for a new pan to come out," adding, "I recommend checking on them right before you shop and seeing the changes when you come back. My favorite is when they run out of churros and you wait for five minutes or so, then when they pull them off the pan, it is a hundred percent brand new."

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The beloved berry smoothie was recently replaced by a different fruit smoothie -- and there's a perfectly logical (and healthy!) explanation for it. 

"Corporate thought the benefits outweighed the negatives in this situation. The new smoothie has a lot of better benefits in it -- less sugar, less calories, nothing but real fruit and fruit juice, and four servings of fruit in each smoothie." the employee said.

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Have you ever found yourself blotting away all the excess oil on your incredibly cheesy Costco pizza? There's a reason for that. 

The anonymous employee revealed that the amount of oil used in making the pizza is "too much." In fact, upper management monitors employees to make sure they're using enough oil. 

"When you don't use the corporate requested amount because you think it's too much and corporate notices? You use more oil to avoid being in trouble. Some managers overcompensate and use a quarter cup of oil+ when making them."

Yikes! Talk about a heart attack on a plate. 

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And of course we're dying to know what the pizza is made out of!

"It's made with love," the employee jokingly said.

Another Reddit user who claims to be a former employee also chimed in: "I don't know what's in the sauce, it came to us prepared, as did the cheese mix . . . I know it was like 85 percent mozzarella and 15 percent provolone when I worked there."

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There's no denying that Costco's chicken bake has a massive cult following. Surprisingly, the food court hit is pretty simple to make! After flattening out a lot of pizza dough, employees mix in chicken breast strips, mozzarella cheese, bacon and caesar dressing. All these ingredients are rolled up into the dough.

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And if you prefer no bacon in your chicken bake, you'll have to come in earlier in the day when employees are making it. 

"Sometimes the employees are running little bit late and they'll make them during the day, but you'd have to catch them before they mix the cheese and bacon. Which is hard to do," the employee said. "You could always call ahead a day and ask. I'm sure they'd oblige."

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Surprisingly, employees don't get a discount at the food court. However, they do receive a free executive membership ($120 a year), which is also a pretty impressive perk!

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In the words of site AddictedtoCostco.com, “the last two digits of the price can tell you a lot.” For starters, any item whose price ends with a nine is regularly priced merchandise, so it’s likely that you’re not getting much more bang for your buck. Don’t bother with these things that are actually more expensive at Costco, either.

Meanwhile, items ending with $0.97 are general markdowns, so stock up. And if a price tag ends in $0.88 or an even dollar, the item has been marked down by a local manager who wants to clear a product from his or her store.

Easy, peasy! Now you’re a smarter, savvier spender than before. But the savings don’t stop there. Check out even more Costco secrets that will save you money.

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11 items to always buy at Costco
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11 items to always buy at Costco

1. Fresh produce

Photo via Getty

2. Gas 

Photo via Getty

3. Wine

Photo via Getty

4. Dairy products 

Photo via Getty

5. Eyeglasses

Photo via Getty

6. Giftcards

Photo via Shutterstock

7. Dog food

Photo via Getty

8. Baking items 

Photo via Getty

9. Bakery goods 

Photo via Getty

10. Oils (coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil)

Photo via AOL

11. Costco's snackbar (hotdogs, pizza, soda) 

Photo via Shutterstock

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[Sources: Business Insider, Snopes]

The post The Secret Code Behind Costco’s Prices—Revealed appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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