The proverbial land of milk and honey. All it asks of us is a membership fee, and yet it offers so much in return. 

For perspective: The number of Costco memberships now exceeds the number of US households that pay for cable television. And in 2021, a stunning 91% of Costco members renewed their memberships, confirming what most of us probably already assumed: this tried-and-true wholesale giant is here to stay. 

Hails from the mysterious land of Kirkland, provides the world with everything one could possibly need to supply a home — Costco has now managed to convince most Americans that having access to a 64 oz. tub of assorted jelly bellies qualifies as a luxury we’d never choose to live without. 

But what happens when a large enough population of people belongs to an insiders’ club? In the case of Costco, nothing. No matter its size, this so-called “club” will continue to exist, progressively embedding itself even deeper into the collective American psyche — as essential to life as having your garbage picked up on Wednesdays, your lawn mowed, your hair trimmed. For many, a Costco run is already paramount to their routine — an indispensable contribution to a life well lived. 

Americans have been known to visit Costco for strictly therapeutic purposes; no matter what is going on in the world, in our personal lives — the hot dogs, samples, churros, rotisserie chickens, and Clorox Wipes are always there. Then there’s the no-frills signage: laminated 9” x 11” sheets of printer paper, Times New Roman font, a product’s essential information in plain view. 

Costco has become — perhaps inadvertently — a place of congregation and mutual understanding for Americans drastically separated in nearly all other aspects of life. We all need to shop, and large quantities of household staples is a concept most of us can get behind. 

Classic as its model may seem today, Costco actually takes an age-old adage and throws it on its head: within the confines of these cinder block palaces, it’s quality & quantity, not either or. Membership is what allows Costco to subsidize their prices on high-quality products (manchego, jumbo stuffed olives, televisions, patio furniture) — providing an unwavering standard of excellence for loyal members. Many Costco shoppers see the annual membership fee as a given, a simultaneously integral and hardly noticeable part of the experience. 

And if you make something that good, that predictable — to the point that many of us would actually feel comfortable staying the night at Costco — you’ve made membership feel like a lifestyle. Or even like a home. 

Our Access Highlights are fresh takes on Point partner brands and everyday experiences. Now through 02/27/22, earn 5x points on Costco purchases with Point Card.

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Point Editorial
A group of writers, thinkers, & designers from varying backgrounds — all part of the PointCard team. Sharing perspectives on concepts in design, finance, and culture through an everyday lens.
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