Some state laws require Costco to allow non-members to use the pharmacy. Call ahead to see if your local Costco pharmacy is open to the public, then enjoy some of the cheapest prices on medication. If your store won’t let you in, you can still fill prescriptions online without paying any non-member fees.
Even if your schedule doesn’t line up with your friend’s, a Costco member can still set you up to shop there on your own time. Anyone with a Costco Cash Card loaded with Costco money can use that card to get in and shop. Only members can buy the card, though, so you’ll need to have a friend pick it up for you. Find out more about how to use a Costco Cash Card without a membership.
Certain state laws, such as California’s, don’t allow clubs to refuse to sell alcohol to anyone without a membership—and yes, that includes Costco and other wholesale store memberships. Check your state laws to see if that rule applies. Then let an employee know you’re only going to buy beer, wine, or liquor, and you should be allowed in to buy your drinks (though you can’t grab anything else while you’re there). Just don’t be surprised if you end up needing to get special permission from a manager. Before you head over, learn the secret code behind Costco's prices.
Grab something to eat
Regardless of whether you’re there to grocery shop or hit up the food court, you’ll need a Costco membership to get in the door. If you live in a warm-weather city where the food court is outside, though, you can pick up that $1.50 hot dog-drink combo without using a Costco card. Find out which items you should never buy from Costco.
Buying from costco.com means the store’s cheap items will be delivered straight to your door. You don’t need to be a member to add items to your cart, but you will need to pay a 5 percent non-member fee. Do a little price comparison to make before confirming your order to make sure the price is still worth it. Don't miss these other money-saving Costco tips.
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Overall, Costco employees are pretty happy. The chain was named one of the best places to work by Glassdoor in 2019, 2017, and 2016 and has a four-star rating on the site. Over 80 percent of employees would recommend the job to a friend and nearly 100 percent approve of CEO Craig Jelinek, whom Glassdoor named a top CEO in 2018. Business Insider reports employees love the pay, the benefits, the job security, and the way the company allows them room to grow.
But employees of Costco say every job at the company is challenging and some are more difficult than others. One Reddit user and Costco employee says it can be difficult working as a frontend cashier at the store and having to push its programs. Supervisor positions can also be difficult because you’re “babysitting” employees and people are often upset with you. But the worst job? Entrance door service member. “It’s boring,” says this one employee. “Trying to stand in one place hurts more than moving around. You have to acknowledge every member that comes in.”
Costco now sets its minimum wage for hourly employees at $14 an hour. That’s in addition to offering benefits like healthcare for all employees, regardless of part-time vs. full-time status.
While I was at Costco, they gave employees complimentary memberships to the store. Each employee also got a free turkey to enjoy with their families on Thanksgiving. And to top things off, Costco paid employees time and a half just for working on Sundays.
2. COSTCO IS A GREAT DESTINATION FOR HEALTH FOOD
People who haven’t shopped at warehouse clubs might expect the “buy in bulk” mentality to mean the aisles are lined with junk food. While Costco does sell things like cookies and candy bars, there are plenty of healthy options, if that’s what you’re looking for. Greek yogurt, coconut water, protein powder, and lean meats are just some of the things that line the shelves at Costco. And the produce section is filled with delicious apples, bananas, berries, salads and more.
3. IT’S NOT JUST FOR BIG FAMILIES, EITHER
When I tell friends I still shop at Costco, they don’t understand what my husband and I buy there, since we don’t have kids and live in a small New York apartment. But there are plenty of options for any family size, and it doesn’t mean you have to keep ten spare jars of tomato sauce in your pantry. Things like Kirkland Signature protein bars and olive oil are shelf stable for our small household. Cleaning supplies like kitchen sponges are sold in reasonably sized packages, too. It just depends what you’re looking for—but there’s no one demographic that’s more suited to shop there. These Costco shopping tips will save you a ton.
4. COSTCO’S PIZZA IS THE REAL DEAL
If you find yourself eating at Costco’s food court, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how great the food is. The pizzas are baked fresh in store with Kirkland Signature ingredients, and they don’t skimp on cheese and other toppings. The hot dog combo—just $1.50 for a hot dog and a soda—is also superb. The food court even offers fresh diced onions, in addition to mustard and ketchup, to top your dog.
5. PEOPLE REALLY DO BUY THAT FAMOUS GIANT BEAR
The giant teddy may seem like an Internet novelty, and plenty of people (myself included) have stopped to take photos with the 8-foot-tall friend. But I saw more than one person buy the giant stuffed animal—usually grandparents purchasing it as a gift for their grandkids. (I do wonder how they stuffed it into a car/cab to get home.)
6. YOU CAN GO TO THE PHARMACY AS A NON-MEMBER
If you live near Costco and want to pick up your prescriptions there, you can do so without buying an annual membership to the club. But don’t think you can pull a fast one on the employee checking membership cards at the entrance—you can’t check out at Costco without a membership in your name.
7. COSTCO IS SELLING BLUE APRON MEAL KITS
I didn’t learn this one working at Costco—it’s a new initiative—but if you’re looking to save time on meal prep, this is worth knowing about. A handful of Costco stores on the West Coast are selling the Blue Apron kits, which make weeknight dinner prep way easier. Don’t miss the details! Plus, check out even more insider secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.