Is there any way to find a product Costco just got rid of?
May 31, 2006 6:25 PM   Subscribe

When something is gone from Costco, is it like totally gone forever and there's no chance I can ever purchase the item? I know they do seasonal stuff, but I saw this item less than a month ago and checking three locations reveals they replaced the item with a different yet similar product. Do they ever have overstock sales? Should I call every Costco within several hours of driving distance?

Should I just buy things the moment I see them at Costco from now on? This was a fairly big ticket item (some outdoor furniture for about $500) and I guess it was seasonal but I was actually planning part of my backyard around it. The last time I saw the item it was just a couple weeks ago so I was dismayed to see it vanish when I set out to buy it last night.

Is there any hope?
posted by mathowie to Shopping (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A lot of items at costco are one time only deals. Outdoor furniture is usually squarely in that category. They used to use the cents portion of the price to provide floor crew with an indicator about whether an item is a one-time only deal, and how much more stock is left. They may well still do it, but I don't remember how to interpret them any more.
posted by Good Brain at 6:32 PM on May 31, 2006

Unlikely. I worked a long time at Sam's Club, which is Costco's evil twin. For large items like furniture and whatnot, they'll order a giganto order from some Chinese company that is exclusive to Sam's/Costco. They distribute their giganto order company-wide based on how well it will sell in certain market (e.g. in an order of 500 snowboards, 495 will go to Utah stores and 5 will go to Florida stores). Once it's gone, it's usually gone.

If Costco's inventory system is anything like Sam's, they'll be able to look up inventory by store number. Sam's also had an application that would allow you to look for items in other stores within a certain range of miles, so ask about that too.
posted by chiababe at 6:37 PM on May 31, 2006

Do they ever have overstock sales?

Costco is pretty much inherently an overstock sale when it comes to non-consumable items. I wouldn't hold my breath.

Should I call every Costco within several hours of driving distance?

Worth a try, although good luck getting someone on the phone who will check the inventory.
posted by staggernation at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2006

I hate to be obvious Olive, but have you checked Costco's website to see if the furniture is available there? Granted, there's a shipping cost, but if you planned your backyard around it, it might be worth it.
posted by MeetMegan at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2006

Response by poster: Naw, it's not on the website, but actually the product they replaced it with isn't on the website either. The Costco website and store don't seem to sync up where I live.
posted by mathowie at 6:53 PM on May 31, 2006

CostCo's web site sucks. There's all kinds of things inside the store that's not on the web site and vice versa.
posted by geoff. at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2006

My parents ran into this once on a seasonal item - they saw an outdoor fireplace, liked it, went back for it, and it was gone. Costco couldn't say where they could find another or whether it would ever come back. About 4-6 months later, on a routine visit to Costco, there it was - the identical fireplace they had wanted before. Maybe your furniture will mysteriously turn up one day too.
posted by pocams at 7:54 PM on May 31, 2006

Costco usually has a book near the coffee grinders past checkout where you can request that they carry products or reintroduce products. That won't do you much good, but it shows they have some decision maker somewhere with a grand plan. Can you ask the store manager if he can find out for you if any stores still carry it?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:20 PM on May 31, 2006

They were really helpful when we saw a media center we liked, but the last floor model was all ganked up. You'll probably have better luck if you get their stocking number or descriptor for it.

As far as whether it'll come back next year or not, it's the luck of the draw. Some vendors bring back the same stuff, sometimes they change it out and sometimes Costco changes vendors. If they've filled the space in the plan-o-gram with something else though, it's not coming back this year for sure.
posted by Gucky at 8:45 PM on May 31, 2006

I worked for a company that sold merchandise to Costco and Sam's ... generally they placed one really big order and once it was gone, it was gone.
posted by Ostara at 8:47 PM on May 31, 2006

What chiababe said is right - my mother works at the Costco corporate office and said that if you ask the front desk, they should be able to search all of the warehouses for it. They'll probably want an item number, though.
posted by milkrate at 9:31 PM on May 31, 2006

Yes, they'll be able to look it up in other stores, as it seems you've already done. Success on knowing if something's coming back tends to be mixed. I have, however, seen plenty of stuff disappear to later return (definitely keep an eye on the nearby stores).

Look at it this way--if it was popular enough to sell out, wouldn't you want to sell it some more?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:02 PM on May 31, 2006

A couple summers ago this happened to a coworker, but it was Target that she missed out on patio furniture at. If you know the name of the set or some details about it you might have luck calling their home office and being super nice, explain your plight and your quest to find the item. They may have a set at another store that doesn't move patio furniture as well. That's what happened for the coworker. She paid an extra amount to get it shipped here, but it's sitting in her backyard right now.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:38 PM on May 31, 2006

At Costco, if there's an asterisk (fairly conspicuous) on the price tag, that means after what you see is gone, it's gone for good.
posted by umlaut at 11:59 PM on May 31, 2006

There's a "Costco Home" dedicated to only furniture in Kirkland. You could give them a call and see if they still have it in stock. They've got a pretty large selection of furniture there compared to a normal Costco store. I'm guessing they'd ship to Oregon, but it wouldn't be that bad of a drive if that particular set really tied the room together.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 12:08 AM on June 1, 2006

When I went to my nearest Costco (San Luis Obispo, CA) for their pharmacy last week, they seemed to have most of the same outdoor furniture they'd had a month earlier (it actually got my attention that they hadn't changed much). If you call the warehouse number for that store in San Luis Obispo on FROOM Ranch Road, I might be able to help you at this end. (But then you'll owe me... and you don't really want that...) Go ahead and call Santa Maria, Bakersfield and SW Bakersfield too, they're within driving distance for me (You'll just owe me - for gas, too! Bwahahahaha!)
posted by wendell at 3:02 AM on June 1, 2006

Hey Matt, maybe check the Canadian website or give a couple stores in BC a call? It's not that far and there's a chance that the timing or something might be different.
posted by mikel at 4:16 AM on June 1, 2006

There's a CostCo Home right next to my work. If you send me the product name/SKU or other identifier I'll check it out.

If I find it for you, you have to bring back the big tag. ;)
posted by loquacious at 4:49 AM on June 1, 2006

I may be connected to the supplier, if you'll send me the SKU/name/picture I will check.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:37 AM on June 1, 2006

Do you have to have that exact set? If not, look at sets available at Lowes or other such stores. We were able to pick up a great set, long rectangle table with 6 chairs for about $500. Also, check BJ's. They will have different stuff, but the prices may also work for you if they are in your area.
posted by onhazier at 6:46 AM on June 1, 2006

When my wife and I got married, we "registered" at Costco. Actually, we registered with another website for things at Costco. We had a hard time because items kept disappearing and reappearing. Looking for other items since, that has been the case a few times.

Short answer- you never know if it will come back again or not, but often, the managers can give you a slightly-more-definitive answers. Also, is quite far from a one-to-one correspondence with the contents of the actual warehouses.
posted by JMOZ at 8:15 AM on June 1, 2006

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