COSTCO STICKER SHOCK
Costco is known for free samples, cheap hot dogs, and low prices on bulk purchases. However, Costco sells some surprisingly expensive products, as well. Even if they are a relative bargain, a few are pricey enough to wipe out some shoppers' savings.
NEW CAR: MORE THAN $150,000
Costco's auto-buying program offers pre-negotiated prices on new and certified pre-owned cars, including some luxury models, at selected dealerships. Top-of-the-line options include the 2016 Porsche Panamera, 2016 Mercedes-Benz S- and G-Class, 2016 Nissan GT-R, and the convertible Maserati GranTurismo.
JEWELRY: UP TO $94,000
Costco sells individual pieces of jewelry with precious gems that are certified by the International Gemological Institute. A 5.22-carat diamond and platinum pendant sells for $94,000, and an 18-karat yellow-gold ring with diamonds and a 3.94-carat ruby in the center for $84,000.
ENGAGEMENT RING: $1,400 TO $20,000
It may not have the same ring as "he went to Jared" (or Tiffany, for that matter), but it turns out he may have gone to Costco. There are more than 50 engagement rings available, ranging from a platinum band with a multi-stone center to a $20,000 ring with a 2-carat diamond. Men's gold and platinum wedding bands are available for $250 to $2,000.
ORIGINAL BEHRENS PAINTING: $22,000
Table for Two-Capri II is an original oil-on-canvas painting offered exclusively through Costco. The work is by Howard Behrens, an American artist who died in 2014 and, according to the product description, was once called "the Monet of the 21st century."
WHEELS UP MEMBERSHIP: $17,500
Costco members get a $3,500 Costco Cash e-voucher with the purchase a one-year membership to Wheels Up, a private jet service. The deal includes guaranteed access to two types of business aircraft, and members can either pay a fixed hourly rate or pre-purchase hours or credits.
SOLAR POWER KIT: $13,000
The Grape Solar kit comes with 22 solar panels, an inverter, and a power optimizer. The kit is intended for mounting on the roof, and buyers have to hire a contractor to install the panels. Even potential savings from tax rebates and credits don't do much to dull the initial sticker shock.
REDWOOD PLAYSET: $13,000
A large redwood play set available through Costco has six play decks, four slides (including a spiraling tube), five swings, monkey bars, two sandboxes, and a picnic table. To top it off, there are two rock walls and a drawbridge. The manufacturer recommends a 6-foot safety perimeter around the entire set, meaning buyers must have an open area about 50 by 35 feet. One saving grace: Installation is included.
Costco sells five different Riga greenhouses that can keep gardeners growing all year long. The largest of these high-tech greenhouses offers about 415 square feet of space -- enough for nearly any green thumb. The sturdy polycarbonate-and-aluminum building must be installed on a concrete foundation or by burying a foundational beam in a trench. The package includes two shelves, a ventilation and heating system, a solar light, and plant hooks, among other features.
PATIO SET: $12,100
Homeowners with estate-size backyards will have no problem filling some of that space with this comprehensive set of outdoor furniture. Included are a seven-piece dining set, a six-piece "deep-seating" set, and a five-piece conversation set that includes a fire pit, ensuring the whole neighborhood will have someplace to sit.
A 35,000-watt generator keeps the energy flowing during a power outage by tapping propane fuel or a home's natural gas supply. It provides enough power to keep many major appliances running, including a refrigerator, water heat, well pump, furnace, and smaller luxuries such as a TV or microwave. This model includes a wireless remote.
HOT TUB: $8,500
Divine Hot Tubs' Deluxe dual-massage tub can fit four people comfortably and has 100 jets, waterfall fountains, and lounge seats with pillows. The Wi-Fi-connected tub can be turned on from a mobile app or computer and, once inside, bathers can set the mood with multi-color LEDs and a built-in Bluetooth sound system.
BEDROOM SET: $7,900
Costco shoppers can outfit a bedroom royally with the Chateau Sainte-Louis California king bedroom set: a bed frame, two nightstands, a dresser, a mirror, and a chest. The pieces in this regal collection are made out of birch and basswood and the dresser, nightstands, and chest have velvet-lined drawers.
STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCE SET: $6,050
A four-piece LG kitchen set in black stainless steel comes with a dishwasher, microwave, double-oven gas range, and four-door French-door refrigerator -- virtually every appliance needed to give a kitchen a fresh look. Delivery, installation, or haul away may be included depending on location, and orders placed before June 14 may be eligible for a $400 rebate, making the price somewhat easier to stomach.
VACATION PACKAGE: $5,600
Costco's travel service offers discounts and money-saving bonuses for members who book cruises, rental cars, and vacation packages. However, some trips are still quite expensive. The seven-night Alaska cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises starts at $5,450 a person before taxes and fees. An eight-night all-inclusive safari package in South Africa starts at $5,600 a person during the busy summer season, including economy airfare.
78-INCH 4K TV: $5,400
A 78-inch Samsung ultra-HD TV from Costco is loaded with high-tech features. A curved screen and 3D capabilities provide an immersive viewing experience while the 4K resolution delivers crystal-clear pictures. This is also a smart TV with built-in Wi-Fi, a web browser, and a quad-core processor. A remote with a touchpad and voice command is included, as is a pair of 3D glasses. But really, couldn't they throw in a few more?
COMPRESSED-AIR CANS: $5,000
For those with Pentagon-size offices who haven't dusted since the Vietnam War, Costco offers a pallet of Dust-Off XL compressed-air cans to make short work of the job. Each pallet has 132 cartons, or 1,584 12-ounce cans -- enough to ensure every dust bunny meets its maker. The canisters are ozone-safe and come with extension straws to ensure every crack and crevice is swept clean.
MASSAGE CHAIR: $5,000
The Oaski Apex AP-Pro Regent massage chair is packed with relaxing features, including heated surfaces for the back or chest, as well as a heated foot massager. The 31 air bladder massagers can pulse at three speeds and the massage rollers have five intensity settings. There is also a rhythmic massage feature that synchronizes the massage to music being played on the chair's built-in speakers. Still, at this price, we'd expect real cowhide, not imitation leather.
INFRARED SAUNA: $5,000
Dynamic Monaco offers a six-person infrared sauna made from reclaimed Canadian hemlock. Inside, the benches can be turned into recliners for maximum relaxation. There are four built-in speakers with an MP3 auxiliary connection to keep the party lively, while LED displays show the time and temperature. The manufacturer says all this takes two people only an hour to assemble.
EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY: $4,500
Preparing for the apocalypse has never been so easy. Costco sells a year's supply of emergency food, with meals packaged in 220 1-gallon cans. Many have a shelf life of more than 25 years. Each serving from Mountain House costs $1.13 and a day's worth of food offers about 1,986 calories -- ample energy for fighting off a zombie or two. There are also less expensive and more plentiful offerings from Nutristore ($3,800) and Thrive ($4,000). Each has enough food to last four people for an entire year.
CABINET SET: $4,000
The 14-piece NewAge Products Pro 3.0 storage set, with doors made out of double-wall steel, is intended for an industrial setting but also tempting for a garage. The 14-piece set is available in three colors: red, gray, and white. The storage set measures 21 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and nearly 7 feet tall, providing enough workspace for just about any weekend project.
Costco sells caskets through Universal Casket Company, as well as a variety of urns. Available in select states, the Edward Casket can be shipped with expedited next-day delivery. The 275-pound casket has a champagne-velvet interior and a brushed natural copper finish.