HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


worth joining costco?

I love Costco. But - I hesitate to join because I don't have a car. So I'll either have to control myself and buy just enough to be able to lug it on the subway or have to cab it. Any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. well, you can #1, rent a zip car if or take a cab home if nescessary.
    #2 - if you dont mind being that guy on a crowded subway or bus with a plethera of oversized bags, then costco is for you.
    (ps-there is no controlling yourself in a store like that...trust me.)

    1. You could save a lot of time and effort (well, not your effort) by swinging over to the "chains" board and searching for "Costco." Remarkably, you are not the first person to have asked this question.

      (Answer: maybe)

      1. You can also order stuff online - not sure about food - check out their website to see if there's anything you would want/need/use. I absolutely agree with smokeandapancake that there is no controlling yourself once you get in the warehouse...

        1. I love Costco but in all honesty I cannot imagine going to one w/out a car. Even my Land Rover gets packed. That's the point, no? Go in and ask for a "guest pass" and start to really look at the sizes, you'll see...

          1. I assume you're talking about the one in Manhattan, since you posted on the Manhattan board?

            If so, and you can't get a Zipcar, keep in mind that there is a fleet of car service right outside Costco (they looked to be professional and from one company) . From what I've heard, the fare is reasonable.

            Also, if you do rent, you have to pay for Costco parking.

            9 Replies
            1. re: gloriousfood

              OK - did some minimal subway route research. It appears Costco in LIC is closer to me than the one in Manhattan. So my trek would be from Heralds Square to 21st on F train (no transfers, thank god). Both stations have elevator access. I'm tempted.

              I didn't know one can get a guess pass at Costco. I will plan to do a tour soon.

              1. re: jycnyc

                The Costco in LIC is a quite a hike from the subway.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  Not to mention, as others have pointed out, unless you have amazing self-control, it would be a heavy load to handle yourself.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    it is really not that far. it is about a 10 minute walk max. I just did it the other day. The costco in LIC is much bigger than the one in manhattan.

                    1. re: Yaxpac

                      It's 0.7 miles according to Google Maps. It's not far but after a trip to Costco...

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        there are taxis waiting outside the LIC Costco as well. No need to walk it on the rebound.

                        they also just started carrying Mexican coke by the case!

                  2. re: jycnyc

                    I do not believe guest passes are generally available. I got a "try me" day offer from Amex, but you can always accompany a friend who is a member.

                    1. re: City Kid

                      fwiw, I called the Manhattan Costco and was told you don't have to be a member to enter the store, just to actually buy things. Apparently their policy varies from store to store, or maybe state to state...

                      1. re: MikeG

                        all costco pharmacys in NY have to be open to the public by law and in fact are often the cheapest option for prescriptions. THus you can always get into the costco by telling them you are going to the pharmacy and looking around. However you won't be able to buy anything without a membership (other than prescription drugs)

                2. I don't have a car either and recently joined for the first time and give it an unqualified thumbs up. This is worth posting on the Manhattan board, as opposed to Chains, because there are different considerations (i.e., transportation and storage space). I don't know where you live in Manhattan but the transportation issue is a non-issue for me. I load up the cart, push the cart out the exit, walk a few feet to their designated car service (rates are posted), ask the driver to put my bags in the trunk, and I am whisked home (96th btw Madison & 5th) for a mere $10 -- not much more than delivery and tip from the local supermarket -- and net huge savings on my purchases. So you do not need a car and you do not need to lug stuff on public transport. And as far as storage space, other sizes than mammoth are generally available.

                  As I and others observed when I first posted here about Costco, they have not done a good job of marketing themselves here and addressing Manhattan-specific questions like yours.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: City Kid

                    This issue that I have wth Costco is where do you store all those larger than average packages of stuff in a NYC apartment? We occasioanally shop there with someone who has a memebership and when we get home, the apt looks like a warehouse, which I don't like. So, while I shop there a couple of times a year, I dont see the point in buying a membership as a NYC apt dweller.

                    1. re: Ora

                      It does require some restraint to pass up the huge sizes, but I have been doing a lot of my regular marketing there every couple of weeks -- buying what are normal sizes for a family of 4 -- and recouped my $50 membership fee on the first visit. Also got incredible prices/quality on a new showerhead I needed, as well as a coffee maker...and the 64 oz. jar of artichoke hearts, which I couldn't resist, is a conversation piece!

                      1. re: Ora

                        We have been using Costco (as members) for years (two people, one bedroom apartment) - as others say, you just have not buy the bulk things that are simply too large/plentiful to store in your apartment. I don't find that to be an issue with the food items that I buy. (I do use our bathtub for bulky items such as paper towels, etc., since we have a sep. shower.)

                        When I only need a couple of things, I make a point NOT to get a cart - that way I only grab what I can carry!

                    2. I believe it is Costco's policy that you do not have to have a membership to use a Costco gift card there. For Christmas I buy my aunt and brother several $10 gift cards just to get them in the door, and then they make up the rest of the purchase price with cash. In the past Costco would not take anything but cash from non-members, I don't know if that has changed. As an extreme example, my brother bought a $999 patio table without a membership using a $10 gift card and $989 cash.

                      You could get a member to buy you several gift cards to use and practice--see if it's feasable for you to shop there. It may even be possible for you to purchase gift cards at the customer service as a non-member, I have never researched that. Good luck.

                      1. If you are taking cabs or renting cars it doesn't seem worth it in NYC. Between the annual membership and the transportation costs I don't see you saving that much money. Even if you try to save by using public transportation it is still a pain to lug all of those goods back to your house. Then you have to have good closet space to store all the stuff.

                        I have checked into it and you generally save more money by buying smaller amounts on sale in regular supermarkets and you have less waste.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MVNYC

                          I would have to agree that renting a car to go there doesn't seem worth it, but since the car service is so convenient and inexpensive, I still come out way ahead, when factoring in things like delivery and tip from the supermarket, as well as Costco quality and savings. And it is absolutely a myth that you have to buy everything in bulk...worth it for their barbequed chickens alone:) Also amazing savings on everything from designer clothes and accessories to beauty aids, over-the-counter/pharmacy, appliances, electronics, etc., etc., etc.

                          1. re: City Kid

                            I agree--their BBQ chicken, pizza, already-made food, even some of their frozen items.

                            Also, their nonfood items. For example, the Manhattan Costco has a great deal on Xerox paper.

                            And my husband has stopped by many times just to get milk. Best price we can find in the city so far .

                            You just have to be judicious in what you buy. The first few times I went to Costco (not the one in Manhattan), I went hog wild. "Yes, I DO need six 96-oz. of ketchup!" Then it was a scramble to give them away before the expiration date.

                            The Costco in Manhattan is already suffering from layoffs. I agree with an earlier post that it hasn't done a sufficient job of marketing itself. Many people are also unhappy that they have to pay for parking on-site.

                            I hope this Costco thrives. We're pretty happy with it (and it's just the two of us for now).

                        2. The wonderful quality inexpensive mixed nuts make the trip worthwhile. Liquid detergent, their own brand, pays for the trip. Duck confit is the bonus.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: serious

                            My goodness you guys have all but convinced me to join! I was quit shocked that one has to pay for parking, though. How are the rates? Can we talk about what else people with Manhattan apartments find to buy there? Is the place a total zoo on weekends?

                            1. re: erica

                              The parking is $5.00. We went on a Sunday morning just as they opened a couple of weeks ago, and it was not a zoo. I think non-food stuff is "OT", but if you email me, I'd be happy to "share"!

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                MM: I wrote to you about this topic...

                              2. re: erica

                                I normally go to Costco on Saturdays or Sundays and have found it to be a little exasperating at times, more so lately than when they first opened. It's not a total "zoo," but navigating around the hordes that treat the samples like a picnic area can be difficult.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  My husband was just there again this morning - around 10:30 and said it wasn't too bad. More Meyer Lemons for me! Also, I don't think I mentioned this above, but at $7.00 or so for four pounds, the butter is a steal.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    10:30 is about as late as we've gotten there on the weeknds, and it's always been smooth so far.

                                    Trader Joe's, however, is another story (and another thread)!

                            2. Kirkland -- the store brand -- is very high quality for everything I have tried. There is a Kirland "Organic Blend" coffee, roasted by Starbucks, that is just wonderful and cheap at $9.99 for a 2-pound bag. I also love their rotisserie chickens ($4.99) and they are huge. If you like baked, kippered salmon, try their Royal Fjord brand smoked roasted salmon in a sealed 1 lb. package: 1/2 lb. plain and 1/2 lb. cracked pepper...it is my favorite and a fraction of what it would cost anywhere else in the City. Good herring, too.

                              1. Hi, if you're into fresh natural/organics, BJ's is better. 1/2 gall. organic milk, in (1%, 2% whole) for $2.99 where I am. Organic butter. (Earth's Pride, their store brand.) Harvestland products, http://www.purelyallnatural.com/ I'm pretty sure they're = to WF natural.

                                For staples, like organic almond butter, rice, etc., Costco has a few more items. My friend picks up stuff from Costco for me, I get things from BJ's for her, and we both pester each of them to carry more of the stuff we like.