17 Surprising Facts About Costco

MANAGE MONEY - SHOPPING
These fun facts about Costco may make the shopping experience even better.
Updated Jan. 31, 2024
Fact checked
Costco wholesale cart with groceries in Costco warehouse

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Costco can seem like a magical place with a delicious food court and tasty samples. It could also be a stressful shopping trip if you go on the wrong day or show up at the wrong time.

Whether you’re a regular or a new member, here are some surprising things you may not know about your favorite warehouse retailer as well as some genius Costco hacks.

You don’t need a membership to shop

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt

Costco is great if you have a membership, but there are some things you can still purchase even if you aren’t a member. You can get eye and hearing tests at many stores or have the Costco pharmacy fill your prescriptions.

Some states prohibit the sale of alcohol to only clubs or members of an organization, so you may be able to grab supplies for your next party at Costco prices without a Costco card.

Get meds for your pets

New Africa/Adobe Cat and dog together looking at camera on floor

In addition to medication for humans, Costco can also get you a deal on medication for your pets.

Costco’s Member Prescription Program, which is available to members, offers discounts on common human medications, but it also covers common pet medications like Heartgard for your furry friends.

Don’t shop on Mondays

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe petroleum at Costco store

You may think the beginning of the work week is a good time to head to your local Costco. After all, it’s better than dealing with the weekend rush, right?

But you might be surprised to learn that Mondays are one of the busiest days at Costco because other shoppers have the same idea as you.

Costco has a great return policy

dennizn/Adobe hand holding Costco receipt

Costco does have some limits on what you can return, such as restrictions on electronics or jewelry. Otherwise, you can return an item to Costco without a receipt and get a full refund, which is a great way to reduce money stress.

Costco sells caskets

Syda Productions/Adobe woman with lily flowers and coffin at funeral

Talking about end-of-life plans may not be the easiest conversation, but being prepared can help families manage during a stressful time.

Costco sells caskets that can be delivered to funeral homes in most states. The price includes shipping and handling. The retailer offers numerous styles and colors, including special caskets for each branch of the armed services. Costco sells urns as well.

Buy a car with Costco

Adriana/Adobe Michelin brand for sale inside a local Costco Discount store

Costco has more than just groceries and other items in its stores. You can also connect with the retailer to help you get a deal with their Costco auto program. Find the car you want and lock in a price so you don’t have to haggle with a local dealer.

There are some restrictions, but it could be worth it depending on how much you may be able to save.

Pro tip: If gas prices are getting you down, try these money moves to beat the pain at the pump.

Costco is a movie star

Jag_cz/Adobe Operator holding clapperboard

The warehouse retailer has made its way into several movies and television shows such as “The Sopranos,” “Baskets,” and the new movie “The Valet.” And some movie buffs may remember it making an appearance in the 2006 film “Idiocracy.”

Feed yourself for any emergency

Annop/Adobe Fresh vegetables and fruits on shelf in supermarket

Worried about a natural disaster like an earthquake or a hurricane? Costco has you covered.

Their Ready Project Emergency Food Supply includes a two-week supply of food that just needs a little water and cooking and you’re ready to go.

Pro tip: You can prepare for a financial emergency by taking these smart steps before the next recession.  

Costco sells millions of hot dogs

New Africa/Adobe Tasty fresh hot dogs on grey background

The hot dog combo at the Costco food court is a fan favorite. In fact, Costco sold 122 million hot dog and soda combos during its 2021 fiscal year.

Despite concerns about inflation increasing food costs, the warehouse retailer plans to keep the hot dog combo price at $1.50.

Put a ring on it with Costco jewelry

Piman Khrutmuang/Adobe Jeweller hand polishing and cleaning jewelry

Want something unique and special for someone? Get a diamond ring at Costco. The retailer announced at its shareholder meeting in January that it had a 7.45-carat diamond ring for the perfect buyer for only $364,999.99.

Get insurance

sharafmaksumov/Adobe Costco website

An intangible item that you may not know Costco sells is insurance. Under the Services tab on the Costco website, you can find the types of insurance you can purchase at a member discount, including auto and home insurance, life insurance, and even pet insurance.

Pro tip: You can also use our online tool to find the best auto insurance.

Samples took a pandemic break

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe People stocking up at Costco wearing gloves and face masks

If you’re on a budget, you may like making a meal out of Costco samples as you shop. Or perhaps you just want to test an item before you buy it in bulk.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Costco took a cautious step back from providing samples for its customers. But in 2021, the retailer returned to giving out samples for all their best stuff.

Kirkland Signature may be hiding a name brand

Pascal Huot/Adobe kirkland signature Costco Wholesale Corporation

Costco, like other retailers, has its own in-store label, and Kirkland Signature items are better than you might expect in some cases. And some of your favorite brands may be behind the Kirkland Signature name.

Kirkland Signature products may or may not be better than the name brand, so it might be a good idea to try different items to find your favorites.

It’s international

Tada Images/Adobe Costco Wholesale's first China store

Costco warehouses aren’t just an American destination. Among its international locations are 40 stores in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Australia, and even one in Iceland.

Last year, it opened new warehouses in Japan, Spain, France, and China along with additional stores in the U.S. The company reports it has a total of 831 warehouses worldwide.

It has a lot of members

MelissaMN/Adobe Costco Wholesale warehouse opening

In May, Costco reported that it had 116.6 million cardholding members. And while membership does have its perks, including great deals on bulk items, there are some things you can get without a membership like vision and hearing tests. 

You can also take advantage of the Costco food court deals without a member card.

Costco has warehouse space

Voy_ager/Adobe officer checks inventory in the warehouse

Sure, you may walk into your local Costco and think it’s big. But how big? Costco reports that the overall space in its warehouses combined is 120 million square feet. And you thought your local Costco took a long time to walk through.

Costco sells rotisserie chickens at a loss

RobertCoy/Adobe rows of hot roasted skewered whole rotisserie chickens

Costco’s rotisserie chickens are a great bargain, but at $5 per chicken, Costco actually takes a loss on them. Costco prefers to use them as a way to get customers in the door even if it means they don’t make a profit on them.

The chickens traditionally warm the back of the store to make you walk through the warehouse and see all the products before you get there.

Bottom line

Jackie Davies/Adobe Costco Wholesale store in the Docklands District

The next time you’re at Costco, you can dazzle fellow shoppers and even employees with these little-known Costco facts.

Using one of the best credit cards for Costco, you can pick up Kirkland Signature brand items, grab a rotisserie chicken, and enjoy a fresh churro from the food court on your way out the door.

If you’re trying to manage your money, Costco may be a good partner.

Discover®️ Cashback Checking Benefits

  • Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month1
  • No minimum deposit, no minimum balance, and no account fees
  • Access your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay
  • 60K+ fee-free ATMs and make cash deposits at Walmart stores nationwide

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt