We may be a deeply divided nation when it comes to various issues like the best football team or where you can get the best tacos, but we’ve got our priorities straight on one thing: We love Costco! In 2021, over 111 million people were paying members of the warehouse club titan — that’s equal to one-third of the entire U.S. population.
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Given how much we cherish Costco, you’d think we’d know everything about the mega-retailer, but Costco is, in many ways, a complicated beast with a lot of interesting trivia bubbling beneath the surface. For instance, did you know that Costco is among the biggest car dealers in the U.S.? We’ve got 11 more little-known facts, so grab your carts and get ready to stock up on some serious Costco trivia.
They Sell Emergency Supplies
“Whether you’re worried about an apocalypse or just want to have items on hand in case of a natural disaster, Costco has a variety of items to stock your prepper pantry with,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “From freeze dried fruit, vegetables, and even meats to things like buckets of meals that just have to be mixed with water to be made and have a 25-year shelf life as well as self-heating portable meals, Costco has you covered. You can also typically find extensive first aid kits that make a great addition to your emergency supplies or even to carry in your car in case of on the go emergencies.”
You Can Shop Without a Membership
“You don’t actually have to have a membership to shop at Costco as long as you opt for one of the workarounds,” Ramhold said. “For instance, you can shop with a friend who’s a member, as members can bring a select number of guests with them when they shop. However, you can also have a member buy you a Costco shop card, which may be all you need to get in and do your own shopping without worrying about an escort.”
You Can Shop at the Liquor Annex Without a Membership
“If your local Costco has a separate liquor annex, you can shop there without a membership, period,” Ramhold said. “It has a separate entrance and you can just waltz in and shop for spirits and pre-mixed cocktails without issue. That being said, often the wine and beer are located inside the warehouse, so if you’re hoping to buy those, you’ll need access via a member.”
It Sells More Hot Dogs Than Any Other Retailer
Often praised as one of the best hot dog makers around, Costco isn’t playing around when it comes to food. And the proof is in the purchases. Costco sells more hotdogs than any other U.S. retailer, as of 2020. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Costco sells 151 million hotdogs a year, which adds up to about $226 million. With the mega-warehouse club offering dogs at the inflation-proof price of $1.50, it’s no surprise that it sells so many.
At Some Locations, You Can Park with a Horse and Buggy
The price of gasoline is so insane that it might just be a smart idea to switch to the most old-fashioned mode of transport: a horse and buggy. If you do, some Costco locations will actually be able to accommodate you. Yes, in areas with a heavy Amish population, such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shoppers can find a parking lot not just for cars but for their hooved chauffeurs.
It Sells More Clothing Than Ralph Lauren
Stores like Ralph Lauren pour money into marketing their clothing selections, but, as of 2019, they weren’t selling as much apparel as Costco does. The warehouse king easily sold more than $7 billion in 2019 in this category, while Ralph Lauren pulled in about $6.31 billion, and it has stayed under $6.31 billion in revenue every year since 2019.
For a While, Costco Stopped Selling Coca-Cola Products
What’s a mega-retailer without aisles devoted to Coke products? Costco — at least it was for a time in 2009 when Coca-Cola didn’t give Costco the discount it wanted. In response, Costco yanked all Coca-Cola products from its shelves– a move that got Coke to surrender to negotiations. It wasn’t long before Costco got its way and Coca-Cola got its products back in stores.
Costco Has Taken Off Overseas
Costco is so very American, with its teeming aisles, bulk offerings, cheap hotdogs and unthinkably vast parking lots — but it’s a hit all over the world. Costco operates warehouse clubs in eight countries including Mexico and Canada.
It’s One of the Cheapest Places To Get an Eye Exam
Who knew Costco and vision health went hand in hand? Well, probably anyone with less than stellar eyesight. Yes, Costco has become quite a competitive player in the optometry space. Costco Optical accepts most vision insurance plans and offers a pretty good deal if you don’t have vision insurance. A basic exam at Costco averages $79, which is less than Walmart and Target, but $6 more than Sam’s Club.
Brad Pitt Has a Problem With Costco
Brad Pitt eschews the mega retailer’s sheer lack of ethics when it comes to how it treats its chickens — and he isn’t shy to call Costco out on it. In 2015, Pitt sent a letter to the chief executive of the big-box chain asking the company to stop selling eggs produced this way. Pitt’s letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek stated his disgust at the fact that Costco cages its hens, causing them to suffer profoundly.
You Can Shop for Funerals
Thought you needed to head to a funeral home to buy caskets and urns? Not so! You can shop an array of chic funeral must-haves at Costco. Under the FTC, funeral homes are required to accept urns and coffins retailed by Costco but do give them at least a business day’s notice.
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