Costco is a wonderful place. This is one take my fellow Takeout writers and I all agree on. The bulk buys are unmatched, and my love for its free samples borders on obsessive. But even with all this Costco love in my heart, I’ve never actually purchased my own membership.
Instead, I most graciously freeload off of the people in my life who do in fact belong to the Costco club. It takes a certain skill set to draft off of someone else’s monthly membership without them growing tired of your requests to join them on their Costco runs. So, I’ve got some tips so you can be the best possible moocher you can be.
Full disclosure: I’ve never personally offered to drive because I do not have a license. But if you’re unlike me and have access to your own transportation, you should definitely offer. This applies especially if your car has more space than that of the person whose membership you’re “sharing.”
If driving is not something you can offer, I would suggest chipping in some gas money. We all know filling up the tank is not cheap these days, so tossing in a few bucks to ease the burden will likely also incentivize your friend to invite you along.
One of the few downsides to buying in bulk is the amount of space it requires, both in the cart and in the car (and, of course, your home). If you’re shopping with someone and you need to keep what you bought separate from what they bought, you may want to use two separate carts while shopping. Or at least keep your items separated by storing your stuff on the bottom of the cart and/or in some reusable bags.
Again, be mindful of whose car has more room to fit these bulk purchases. If your Costco-member friend drives a Fiat, you may need to rethink your plan of attack here. As you shop, imagine the backseat and trunk like a game of Tetris. You want all the spaces and edges of what both of you buy to fit together smoothly without anything sticking out at odd angles. Can that five-tier wedding cake made of fancy cheeses wait until your next trip?
The person you’re shopping with needs to get three cases of water into the cart? I suggest you start doing some extra squats at the gym and remember to lift with your legs. The most helpful moocher can hardly be considered a moocher at all. You’re more like an extra set of hands and muscles.
The helpful lifting should not end at loading stuff into the cart, either. From the cart to the car, you should offer to load up the vehicle so that your Costco benefactor can take a breather while they check traffic on their phone. You want them to think of your Costco runs together as more of a fun outing than a chore.
As the person benefiting from someone else’s monthly fee, don’t make things awkward by waiting so long to pay them back that they have to chase you down. Instead, be sure to get your hands on the receipt and highlight or tick off the items that are yours.
Do the math once you get to the car and use Zelle, Venmo, Cash App, or whatever form of payment is quickest to ensure the payment has gone through. This way, no one has to think twice about bringing you along.
Always remember, what you don’t pay in monthly membership fees, you’re paying back by being the best shopping partner around. The aim is, course, to be so wonderful that they essentially forget you’re not the one with the Costco membership. Easy, right?