I'm Giving Up My Costco Membership

There. Like ripping off a band-aid, I said it and there's no going back.

We've been a Costco family for several years, and it's been a great run. Warehouse shopping just seems to make sense when you have kids. If there's a more cost effective place to buy diapers, milk, toilet paper, dried cranberries, sandwich bread, olive oil, chicken, bulk bananas, string cheese, strawberries, and frozen chicken nuggets, I haven't found it. Occasional impulse purchases include books, clothes, and videos. We generally stick to essentials and don't venture into the higher end merchandise, despite the magnificent display of flat panel TV's at the entrance.

My family says I have the "cheapiosity" gene. If I believed in heaven, it would probably look something like Costco, except that a hotdog and drink at the food court would be $1.00 instead of $1.50.

So why would I give all this up voluntarily? In a word: sprawl. The Des Moines Costco store is about as far as you can get from my house and still be in the Des Moines metro area.

  • It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to preach the gospel of urbanism while making a sizable percentage of my basic purchases at the fringe. As an urbanist, the trip through sprawl is a difficult one to make. I will probably write a whole lot more about the Jordan Creek area as this blog develops. Suffice it to say, I'm not a big fan.
  • I want my tax dollars to support growing the Des Moines economy. Where I choose to spend my money is like voting. It expresses an opinion to store owners about the types of shopping environments I feel most comfortable in.
  • Gas is getting expensive. Because of the cost of fuel and the membership fee, I start out a trip to Costco about $6 in the hole. I don't like getting trapped in the cycle of needing to buy more to justify the shopping trip. I'm going to be doing a whole lot more shopping at places I can bike or walk to.

That said, my membership doesn't actually expire until November. It's Saturday morning and I'm going to head to Costco. I think we need paper towels.

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