Confession of a Costco Shopper


Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s not. Love Hate Costco

I have a love-hate relationship with Costco. The world’s choice of cheeses, deliciously prepared salads, easily ordered cakes, a month’s supply of toilet paper, healthy options for kids’ lunches, free samples, inexpensive snack bar treats and the latest household gizmos were all some reasons I enjoyed shopping there.

Not all was well, though. Read on – Here goes. . . Confession of a Costco Shopper.

However, finding a parking spot, pushing a super-sized grocery cart through crowds, the long lines, the kids (by kids, I mean my kids, the ones actually with me, not at home or at school), and the unspoken sample wars between moms and the “other” people caused an inner part of me to sincerely avoid trekking there. So I did. I stopped. I spent our money elsewhere.

Until one day, I journeyed back to Costco. My 3-year-old and I arrived as undercover detectives. We had a mission: to find hard evidence proving my case that the never-busy Sam’s Club I now frequented was indeed cheaper than Costco.

After reviewing the pictures snapped on my iPhone, the images of items from both stores proved me wrong. Sam's Club and Costco Gold Fish Comparison

Costco sold goods grouped in larger quantities. True, it felt like I spent more money there and I did. In reality, the general prices per unit at Costco were lower than Sam’s Club.  I probably visited Sam’s Club more often because they sold smaller amounts, a double whammy on the budget.


Sam's Club and Costco Item Comparison


As I drove home feeling bummed about my wrong choice in the stewardship of our family’s financial resources and down about my newly busted pride in the “lower cost” Sam’s Club, I couldn’t help but reflect on the reasons I fled Costco in the first place. Were those my real rationales for leaving?

Ever been at Costco and thought…

“Man! Open Already? I am here. It’s 8:15 a.m. I’ve been up since 6. I survived the preschool drop off. We were even on time. Granted teeth might not be brushed. Only 2 hours left to gather necessities before the next feeding frenzy and the last diaper in our possession gets soiled. The toddler finally stopped crying from the rush to get out. Plus, I see tons of “rock star” parking spots. Come on! You don’t open up until 10 M/W/F or 9 on T/TH?!”

Sam's Club and Costco Open Times
(I went to Sam’s Club. They opened at 7 a.m. for Plus and Business Members. I could shop pronto. Rock-on!)

Or, has this happened and you wanted to shout…

“Seriously? Excuse me! Did you not see us?  We were waiting right here for the same sample to be ready that you just snatched from us. Oh! It must have been because we were so quiet. You know the ginormous, heavy cart full of goods with kids of all ages and sizes flailing off it in every direction crying ‘I want one’ like hungry, screeching, monkeys swinging from vines searching for bananas. Give a Mom a break! You should know.

(Sam’s Club is rarely crowded. It ends the fight for demos. Sweet!)

Or, maybe you experienced this…

“If you all behave, then we can get something from the food court afterwards.” Then you wait 15 minutes in line at the snack bar, zig-zagging with a buckled toddler in a forward-only moving cart all the way to the front, only to realize you forgot what you going to order. The cashier stares at you like a crazy lady. You remember and with that problem solved, you pull away from the counter to hunt for an open table. Finally, you can relax, right? Wrong! It is “we want to sit under the umbrella, Mommy”, “I need a straw”, “Mommy can you please cut this?”, “Can we get yogurt yet?”, etc. ENOUGH!!!

(Sam’s Club doesn’t have umbrellas. It may solve only that one, but still, it is one less kid stress. Awesome!)

When it comes down to it, I miss Costco. If I dig deep, I know the main reasons I left:

When shopping there, I did not like who I was on the inside.

The angry, inpatient, unfriendly, selfish, always rushing to get ahead or around, lacking in self-control, mean Mommy came out more than I wanted. Just look at my thoughts above. Ugly and yuck!

And thus, I ran. I found a safe haven in shopping at Sam’s Club. It kept the dealing with crowds to a minimum. I took the easier road. Is that wrong? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Either way, it taught me something about myself. I backed away from a fight. I did not even try to win the battle between good and evil raging on inside of me.  I wasn’t as strong as I thought. I just fled.

So, after discovering Sam’s Club is more expensive (only by cents but those add up), I have no more excuses to hide from Costco. I love it. I will pray for inner strength and pure thoughts before I venture in again. I will challenge myself to be more loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled and to teach my kids through my example.

“That person just took my spot.” Be patient. “They just cut in front of me in line.” Show love by putting others first. “There aren’t any empty tables in the food area.” Find a person sitting alone and ask to join them. Talk with them. Show kindness.“This would be so much easier if the kids weren’t here.”  Have self-control, be gentle, and find the joy in their happiness. They love those smiley faces on the back of the receipts. They use those boxes at home to build towers, forts, pretend airplanes.

It will be tough but I am not alone in this struggle. On those days I do not feel up to it, I will be sporting the open aisles of Sam’s Club. But, if you see me at Costco with my kids, send a smile my way, and know I am trying to be the better me.

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Amy Troxell, native to AZ, studied structural-engineering at USC in LA in hopes of meeting the cute guy on the department’s ad. A degree and a full-time job later back in AZ, she met her now 10+ year structural-engineering husband. The two are blessed and busy raising their 4 kids (2 boys and 2 girls). Amy enjoys anything active. Whether it’s hiking, group fitness classes, coed-softball, playing in the backyard, driving the minivan, couponing, volunteering, or aiding at a school part-time, she’s constantly moving. Amy looks forward to sharing her thoughts, experiences, joys, and tears on this journey of motherhood with SMB.


  1. I avoid the Scottsdale Costco.. lol. It made me so angry every time I was there- I kept getting run over with a cart.. every time.. like I was invisible.. the one on CC is better, and so is the one at I17.
    Sunday morning is a slice of heaven.. after 11, not so

    I also love that Costco treats its employees better and is not associated with Wallyworld!

    • Ittzy… I went to the Cave Creek one once in between my son’s baseball games at Reach 11. Although busy, the crowd seemed different. We were surrounded by other families who comforted me with just a friendly glance of understanding! Thanks for commenting. Best wishes.

  2. I too am a Sam’s shopper switcher – for the Exact Same Reasons … and I didn’t look back 🙂 – fun article, thanks!


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