12 Costco Questions Everyone is Too Embarrassed to Ask

MANAGE MONEY - SAVE MONEY
Costco membership isn't complicated but questions like these are pretty common.
Last updated May 8, 2023 | By Sandy Baker Edited By Michael Kurko
woman talks to supermarket worker while buying at the store

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There are times when you think your question may be silly so you don’t ask. Making that mistake about Costco can lead you to miss out on some great opportunities to save money.

Many people don’t know if Costco’s products and prices are just hype or how the retailer helps shoppers beat the rising cost of inflation.

Here are answers to some questions you probably have about Costco but are too embarrassed to ask.

Do people really save at Costco?

dennizn/Adobe man holding costco wholesale membership card with receipt in store

Costco offers many ways to save money when you shop. The retailer offers products priced lower than local competitors as well as discounted travel, tires, prescription glasses, and more.

Coffee, eggs, yogurt, toilet paper, and many other items are typically less expensive at Costco. Gas is often much more affordable, too.

The catch? You’ll have to pay an annual membership fee to access those low prices and discounts.

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Can I shop if I forgot my Costco card?

dennizn/Adobe holding a costco membership card on a cart

You have to be a Costco member to shop at Costco, but if you don’t have your physical card with you, you can stop at the customer service desk for a temporary replacement.

You’ll need to provide some type of identification so the team can locate your membership status. You can also access a digital membership card on the Costco app.


Can I try Costco before getting a membership?

mandritoiu/Adobe aisle in Costco store

Are you worried about spending money on a membership only to find out you don’t want to buy anything there?

Just visit the customer service desk at a Costco warehouse to learn more about membership and get your questions answered.

While you will have to be a member to make a purchase, you can use the Costco pharmacy or enjoy a meal or snack in the food court without a membership.

Can I change my membership card photo?

deagreez/Adobe attractive cheerful girl holding in hands big paper frame

If you don't like your Costco membership card photo for any reason, just stop by the customer service desk and get a replacement. It only takes a moment, and you’ll be automatically issued a new card.

Is there a discount for teachers and the military?

Drazen/Adobe teacher and elementary students using digital tablet in the classroom

Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t offer free or discounted memberships to teachers or members of the military. However, both groups can receive a $20 Costco Shop Card when they sign up for a Costco membership.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like a product?

dennizn/Adobe holding costco wholesale receipt at costco store

Costco encourages its shoppers to try new things which is why it lets you bring back anything you bought and didn’t like.

There are some product-specific limitations, but the customer service team at Costco is nearly always willing to help. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and stick behind it. You can even get a refund of your Costco membership fee.

Do I need my Costco card for gas?

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe petroleum at Costco store

It’s not possible to pump gas from the Costco pumps without your card. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fill up if you left your card at home.

You can either use your Costco digital membership card on your phone or stop at the service desk for a temporary card.

What’s up with the toilet paper?

Adriana/Adobe Charmin ultra soft toilet paper

Costco sells about 1 billion rolls of toilet paper every year amounting to $400 million in annual bath tissue sales. So why are people so obsessed with it?

Good marketing helps with getting people excited about something so simple as toilet paper, but it’s also typically priced well.

The quality of Costco’s store brand (Kirkland Signature) competes with some of the leading brands. You don’t have to get the cheap stuff to save money, but you do have to buy in bulk.

Can someone else use my Costco card?

andy/Adobe Costco membership card

Although your friends can’t use your Costco card to make purchases, you can buy them a Costco Shop Card they can use.

The Costco Shop Card is much like a gift certificate, allowing the person who has it to use it to buy just about anything they want at any Costco location.

Only Costco members can purchase this card, though. So, if you want to buy a gift card to help your son or daughter buy gas, you can buy them a Shop Card and let them make the purchase on their own.

Can I bring my mom to Costco?

fizkes/Adobe grateful adult son hugging senior mother

Members can bring others with them to shop at Costco. If you want to show your mom all of the great deals and savings options out there, this is a great way to do it.

Just remember that she can’t go without you or another member. She also can’t use your card and misrepresent herself as you.

You’ll need to make any purchases for her using your membership card since she can’t buy anything without a Costco card.

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How fresh is the seafood?

Adriana/Adobe wild sockeye salmon fillet

Costco carries the best quality fresh and frozen seafood along with wild-caught fish, even at their landlocked warehouses. Team members can even tell you when the fish you’re looking at was caught.

Costco has direct connections with seafood processors who buy directly from the docks. This helps to minimize the number of “middlemen” in the process and gets products to stores faster.

Does Costco deliver appliances or furniture?

Sundry Photography/Adobe Costco Wholesale truck driving on the freeway

Costco offers a full delivery service to meet the needs of its customers. That includes in-home delivery of items like freezers, washers, dryers, patio furniture, and even large mattresses.

The retailer will also handle the installation of some items, including wall ovens, gas appliances, and dishwashers. You can make arrangements in advance to manage the whole process.

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe Costco Wholesale Store and trademark logo

If you don’t want to go to the customer service desk or just aren't sure about asking another member, you can use the chat feature on the company’s website. It’s a pain-free way to get your questions answered.

And if you don’t want to leave your house, you can buy many of the items you need online using your Costco membership card. Just remember to bring your favorite Costco credit card for extra savings.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.