Thursday, December 4, 2014

Costco Wholesale's return policy may be way too liberal

Even though Costco Wholesale in Hackensack was far from crowded on Tuesday afternoon, the return line went out the door, below, repeating what I encountered on Monday. So, members were exiting with full carts through the same door others were using to return items. What a mess.


A Costco Wholesale member shouldn't have to go to the store three times to return a package of organic spring mix that started rotting several days before the expiration date.

But that's what happened to me after encountering return lines that extended out the door of the Hackensack warehouse store on Monday and Tuesday, with waits of 30 minutes or longer.

I couldn't try again on Wednesday, but this afternoon, I finally got my $4.89 refund on spoiled Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix.

This afternoon, there were only four or five people ahead of me on the return line, above. The employee who gave me a refund said the return line this morning was even longer than on Monday and Tuesday.

Costco's return policy on merchandise: "We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, with a full refund."

Thanksgiving gifts?

I wondered what people were returning, considering that Thanksgiving isn't a gift-giving holiday.

Today, Monday and Tuesday, I decided not to waste a trip there just for a salad refund, and picked up a few items we needed.

A new item at my Hackesnack Costco is organic extra-virgin olive oil from Crete, the biggest Greek island. A 1-liter bottle was $12.59.

Instead, I purchased a 2-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a blend from Italy, Spain and Portugal, for $14.99.

Great ingredients, great meals

Fresh wild fish fillets, 100% egg whites and peeled California garlic are just three of the items I've come to rely on for great home-cooked meals.

And Costco continues to add to its list of organic and non-GMO foods.

I used organic lentils, diced tomatoes and chicken stock, plus peeled garlic and Spanish saffron -- all from Costco -- to prepare a moist dish of organic brown rice in an electric cooker (two cups of stock for each cup of rice). I had leftovers for breakfast today with a simple egg-white-and-Swiss-cheese omelet.

Seeds from Costco's pomegranates crown an organic spring mix salad with Grana Padano Cheese and Campari Tomato halves, dressed simply with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Most of the ingredients are from Costco.

After-Thanksgiving sweet potatoes from ShopRite in Paramus (5 pounds for $2.99) went nicely with a wedge of egg-white frittata topped with Costco's smoked wild salmon from Alaska.
Thin skinless and boneless flounder fillets, wild caught in the United States, were $7.99 a pound at my Hackensack Costco. Here, they are coated in a homemade Super Spice Mixture, which includes bread crumbs. They baked in about 10 minutes. I served them for dinner tonight with cabbage and a frittata wedge.

There is no substitute for Arirang Kimchi, now available at the H&Y Marketplace, a Korean shopping center at 1 Remsen Place, Ridgefield. I like the firm House Foods Tofu I buy at Costco (a total of 3 pounds, 9 ounces for $3.79), but not the kimchi, which contains beef-bone extract.

Not just food

Don't you love a store where you can get great prices on aged Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese from Italy ($10.59 a pound), LED light bulbs and beautiful clothing, such as the 100% wool gabardine slacks I picked up today for $39.99 (after a $10 instant coupon)?

The selection of light bulbs is limited, but I found two LED floodlights for my son's bedroom ($14.99 each).

The slacks, with pleats and cuffs, are perfect for chilly weather.

Honeycrisp Apples from Washington State were $10.99 (5.5 pounds), more than the same apples from New York State I purchased at Costco a few weeks ago.

I also bought another 42-ounce bottle of Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread, made with fresh strawberries ($6.99).

The price was $7.49 in June 2013.

I also found salted Pacific codfish for $8.99 a pound.

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