Big Ticket Costco
January 12, 2004 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Does anybody else here have really, really bad luck with quality for "big ticket" (say over $50) items from Costco? [more...]

I'm a frequent Costco shopper and it seems like I am forever returning stuff because it breaks after a short while. These items span from electronic (MP3 players, a computer printer) to housewares (a gas grill ceased to work after 3 months, and a coffee maker) to sporting goods (A golf driver that literally fell apart in my hands on the first trip to the driving range).

The interesting thing is that these are not Costco's "Kirkland" brand, but actual big name brands like H-P.

Don't even get me started on the horrendous watches I've bought there (Swiss Army and Fossil...)

Just wondering if others have had this experience and why we keep going back?
posted by vito90 to Shopping (10 answers total)
I have run into that as well when I was a Costco member. I go to Sams now, but only out of convenience, since the nearest Costco to me is about 12 miles away.

I had this suspicion that they were getting second-run things. The only time I have ever gotten defective DVDs was at Costco, and it happened more than once.
posted by benjh at 8:38 AM on January 12, 2004

Well, the microwave my parents bought there just died after 1 year (just out of warranty), if that counts.
posted by rushmc at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2004

My suspicion, based on my experience with a microwave I bought there, is that in addition to second-run things, that they pick up large lots of appliances that are already (or soon-to-be) discontinued.

This allows them to sell at their low prices, but can mean that getting them replaced or repaired can be problematic.
posted by Irontom at 9:06 AM on January 12, 2004

I bought a combination mini food processor/blender at Costco. The work bowl of the food processor broke, and now I have a ridiculously expensive blender. Even when it worked, it was terrible at grating cheese, which was mostly what I wanted it for. It was also a name brand-- Cuisinart. Our Costco membership is about to run out, and we're planning on switching to Sam's as it's a lot closer since we moved. Actually, the BIG problem I've had with CostCo is that their produce goes bad very quickly. Not because I can't use the amount, since I'm cooking for a lot of people. But we've had all kinds of things-- carrots, celery, apples-- from Costco go bad long before they should.
posted by Shoeburyness at 9:15 AM on January 12, 2004

Yes, I bought a digital camera there, which died right after it fell out of warranty. The company that manufactured the camera offered to fix it, for a nice big charge...
posted by greengrl at 10:12 AM on January 12, 2004

Thank you vito90!!! I never thought about it before but I have seen a TV die after 2 hours of being bought from Costco as well as a digital camera do the same thing. Good to know this is a trend. (My take is that they get products with poor history that are soon to be discontinued/ redesigned)
posted by Dr_Octavius at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2004

Individual DVDs and CDs have been fine, but as an example, when we went for the Mega 14 DVD set there were two #11s. I find Costco good for household/office staples, but frequently find their short run items to be either quirky or flawed.

(Am aware of a software company who purposefully dumped defectively packaged product to Costco).
posted by Feisty at 10:16 AM on January 12, 2004

I dunno if it's just in the U.S., but I haven't had many problems with items bought at Costco (I'm in Canada). Mind you, I haven't bought any big ticket items from there, but when I have had problems with merchandise in the past, they have returned/exchanged it, no questions asked. I bought a pair of pants from there that shrunk in length (to the point where they were flood pants) and they took them back no problem.
posted by kelrae3 at 2:24 PM on January 12, 2004

To date:
- Sylvania 17" LCD monitor: works fine after 2 years
- 4x outdoor speakers: work fine after 6 mo
- Pioneer receiver: works fine after 6 mo
- DVD player: works fine after 6 mo
- rice cooker: set on fire by stoned roommate after 1 year
- coffee machine: works fine after 6 mo
- big-ass TV: works fine after 2 years
- huge desk: works fine after 2 years
- best pair of shorts I've ever owned or ever will own: eventually disintegrated after 3 years *sniffle*

And you can return just about anything to CostCo, provided you can demonstrate that you purchased it there. My father's monitor (same model as mine) developed something with the on switch, so he went in, more than a year later, and got the equivalent product, plus some money back (as the price on LCDs had fallen).

CostCo's kind of like a First World flea market, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if anyone decided to get Expensive Delicate Things elsewhere.
posted by Coda at 7:43 PM on January 12, 2004

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